by Ben Team
Hopefully, you have a happy and well-adjusted cat who walks through life boldly and ready to take on any challenge that arises. But many felines are at the opposite side of the spectrum and seem to walk through life like proverbial scaredy-cats. For that matter, even the bravest cats can experience fear from time to time.
As a loving owner, you surely want to help your cat feel better when he’s frightened, but fearful cats can react defensively in these situations. They may even use their nails or teeth to object to your attempts to soothe them.
Here, we’ll help you navigate these challenges by explaining how to calm a cat when he’s frightened — without turning yourself into a scratching post in the process.
Give Your Cat Some Space
If your cat is trying to cope with fear by hiding, it’s usually wisest to simply allow him to do so. Keep an eye on him from a comfortable distance, but don’t try to force him to come out and join the family. Once his fear has passed and he’s feeling more confident, he’ll emerge on his own.
Just be sure that your cat has food and water available while he’s hiding, and continue to clean his litter box regularly.
Food: A Great Way to Soothe Scared Cats
Even though it’s a good idea to let your cat hide when she feels the need to do so, you don’t want her cowering in a dark place for days on end. Instead of forcing her to come out, try to lure her out of her hiding place by offering her something she wants.
Different cats will succumb to different types of temptation, but food is often one of the most effective. If you start worrying that your stressed cat has been hiding for too long, grab a few of her favorite treats, or a food she simply can’t resist, and place them in the general vicinity of her hideaway. Once your cat is brave (or hungry) enough to come outside and enjoy a meal, she’ll likely feel better and stop acting so frightened.
Make Sure Your Scared Cat Is in Good Health
Acute fear, which arises in response to an identifiable cause (like the dog or the vacuum cleaner) and goes away in a short time, is usually no cause for concern. But, if your cat is exhibiting fear on an ongoing basis, you’ll need to ensure he’s not suffering from some type of health problem.
Pain and illness can often cause cats to act frightened, so head on over to the vet and have your cat examined.
Proactive Practices: Stop Fear Before It Starts
One of the best ways to alleviate fear is by preventing your cat from becoming frightened in the first place. But to do so, you’ll have to figure out what’s causing your cat to react with fear.
Some of the most common triggers of feline fear include:
- Other pets
- Loud noises
- Sudden changes to their routine
- Rowdy children
- Improper living conditions (dirty litter boxes, excessive household clutter, etc.)
Often by eliminating these types of issues, your cat will begin feeling more confident and stop acting in a frightened manner.
One More Proactive Option: CBD for Cats
Some owners have also used CBD — short for cannabidiol — to help their stressed cat feel calm. Many owners who’ve used CBD for cats believe that it helps promote a relaxed mental state, which may help your cat feel more secure.
Just be sure to speak to your vet before offering CBD to your feline friend. But once you have his or her approval to give CBD a go, be sure to check out Heelr’s CBD tinctures and chews.
Ben Team is a lifelong environmental educator and animal-care professional, who now writes about animals, outdoor recreation and the natural world. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with a spoiled-rotten rottweiler, who is probably begging him to go to the park at this very moment.