Just like people, cats are prone to
fear and anxiety
. When a cat finds himself afraid or nervous in any given situation, he may react by vocalizing, hiding, showing aggression or displacement behavior (such as excessive grooming) or becoming destructive.
Fortunately, there are ways to manage your cat’s fears when they arise. Follow these three tips to help manage fear and anxiety in your cat:
Encourage Positive Interactions
The first step to managing any cat’s fear and anxiety is to attempt to eliminate negative interactions with the environmental stimuli that cause the cat to become fearful. If the cat is afraid of children, for example, you should do as much as you can to control the situation where children are being excessively loud around the cat, handling him or her roughly or chasing the cat.
Instead, the child should approach the cat quietly and the interaction should be brief and pleasant. This allows the cat to build positive associations over time, which will help rectify the cat’s negative expectations.
Desensitization And Counter-conditioning
Desensitization is the process of gradually reducing your cats sensitivity to the thing that is causing fear. Counterconditioning is the introduction of a more pleasant association with the thing that was causing fear. To be truly effective in helping your cat we would recommend speaking to a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist or veterinary behaviorist.
A good starting place is to ask a question here on LovePets.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Most fears can be prevented or limited through exposure to people, places, situations, noises and other animals when the cat is young. Socialization at a young age really is the key and should be continued into adult life.
Content reviewed by a veterinarian