First and foremost: You are not alone with that and that is nothing strange!
The typical signs of anxiety are:
- Shock and Awe
- Kauer attitude
- Tail close to/under the body
- Tail bushy / and slightly kinked
- Fur bristled
- Wide-open eyes
- Big pupils
- Applied / bent ears
- Accelerated breath
- Paragraph of urine or faeces
In nature, fear has a very specific function: fear triggers flight, threat aggression. Both are for survival.
While daring, daring colleagues do not have a very long life expectancy, prudent behaviour – being on the hat – is a life insurance policy for others.
It’s better to sit back, always mindful that there might be a danger behind the next corner. So fear is something very useful and serves to preserve the species.
However, when fear becomes “self-perpetuating”, self-protection does not have much to do.
Then harmless events or encounters are the triggers of sometimes violent reactions or attacks, which make the life of the cat and its person permanently difficult. The whole thing increases in part so far that the cat is encapsulated, no longer eats and also no longer social contacts to conspecifics.
Many cat friends are then helpless and often do not know how to continue.
Why is my cat scared?
Fear is not the same fear, it has many facets.
On a wide scale – from uncertainty to panic – everything can be there.
But they have one thing in common: it is a feeling that this is perceived as negative.
Cats who are very self-conscious can become anxious about certain events. For us, that’s usually nothing great – but a world collapses for your Miez! To be able to help your cat, you must do cause research:
What could be the reason for her behaviour?
It is often not easy to realize what the trigger is or was. Has she had any bad experiences in the past and is now afraid that what she has experienced will be repeated?
Fear of negative experiences
You know that: who has once taken the hot plate, does not do it a second time (unless he is masochistically predisposed). The same is true of your cat!
She wants to avoid that something unpleasant happens to her again. Fear is a biological principle of self-preservation that tells the cat:
“Avoid dangers and pain – it could be your last! You do not want that, because you are here to multiply and sustain your species. ”
And because cats – unlike us humans – trust in their instincts, they are smart and scared.
Negative experiences with humans
Especially cats that have had bad experiences can be very suspicious of people: these include strays that have had to hit the streets or cats that have experienced violence in their homes.
And many a cat owner does not care what a cat’s “treatment” should look like; There is often no evil intention behind it – they just do not know it better.
Either way – what some cats have to endure is a very sad chapter and exceeds our worst imaginations. Rather, it borders on a miracle that even such cats with a lot of patience and love can regain trust in humans.
Negative experiences with veterinarians
“Could I only hermetically seal all body orifices …”
many cats think when they visit the vet. “First you put me in a tight basket, in which I can not even turn around; then I have rudely pulled out again and touched in bright light everywhere on the body. And that also from a stranger!
And then this horrible smell! After anxiety and pain – this is tormented – maybe it will be painful for me in the end?
Or I have to stay here again? In such a bare dungeon, only with food and water. Last time it was terrible! – Just wake me up when it’s over! ”
No matter how carefully you do it – the visit to a veterinarian is and remains more or less frightening for your cat.
Negative experiences with transport boxes
“A camel goes through the eye of a needle” … once your cat has had negative experiences with the transport box, it becomes a real challenge for you to bring it close to the ominous container!
By itself, a box of your cat makes no problems: cats love caves!
Cartons of every goodness are therefore occupied by cats with a preference; the new kitchen machine is unpacked – the packaging is occupied.
And that can be tight – a cat squeezes through every crack – in a shoebox!
With the transport box, cats often associate unsightly events:
The mobilization has effects that cats do not like. Excitement, stress, the unknown – all that would be better to avoid your cat.
Incidentally, you already feel that something is in the air if you have not even pulled out the box: suddenly your cat is as if swallowed from the ground.
Negative experiences while driving
One cat takes a car ride, another hates it.
Young children whining on long car rides: “When are we finally here?” – “I have outburst”! – Cats do that too! But in her way:
They start ” protest songs, ” which are quite pervasive, and thus express their displeasure. Too long, too hot, too helpless – imagine how you would go as a cat in a car.
Besides, your cat has no sense of time like you; she can not tell how long it takes or where the journey is going. As a rule, she does not see much in her box.
Maybe you have to lay down a full stop and your cat will be thrown back and forth. Or she just gets sick driving: some cats can not handle the swing – then a mishap quickly happens
Tip: Only travel – if it can not be avoided. Feeding for the last time 6 hours before the trip, then better not anymore!
Fear of the unfamiliar
The cat is a ” habit animal ” in the truest sense of the word! She does not like changes.
Constantly other circumstances that affect her immediate environment, they stress. That’s also logical because cats must be on guard; they constantly check their territory for dangers and can only relax when everything is controlled and approved; otherwise, they are under power.
For you, there are only other furniture or a new mixer – for your cat, there are “invaders” in their usual, safe living space, which must first be critically scrutinized.
Sounds like paranoia, but is quite normal for cats and quite justified.
Fear by moving
New home – new happiness? – Not really for cats. Certainly not when they find themselves in the new four walls suddenly no longer cope: “Where is the beloved old scratching post? The new one does not smell like me and it does not stand in the place that I like.
And anyway – everything is so different here. Nothing is more, as it once was! And “my” person is only occupied with packing and unpacking boxes. When he sees me, he pushes me aside – as if I’m one of the boxes! ”
All this can go against the grain of a cat.
Fear by strangers and animals
For cats, anxiety is a survival instinct. A cat that is not afraid and too reckless – cats are also very curious! – would quickly become victims of predators or attacks.
So rather flee first and aim the location from a safe hiding place.
Your cat lives with you, in a safe, sheltered home; but even a “domestic cat” is still a “wild” animal with primal instincts.
Mistrust of strangers, animals – even other velvet paws – is therefore quite appropriate.
From a “domestic cat” but the exact opposite is expected: they should be from the beginning to be compatible, cuddly – and affectionate anyway.
Fear by strange noises
Cats are excellent hunters. Your senses are sharpened. If that were not the case, they would not prey and starve straight away.
Imagine, you have an amplifier in your ear – so you hear everything better and louder. Very loud, unfamiliar or unexpected noises would surely scare you.
Above all, sounds that you do not know and therefore can not classify:
there it is again, the fear of the unknown. What is behind this strange sound? A huge monster, ready to jump, or just a harmless moth?
If you – like your cat – hear the fleas coughing, that would worry you, right?
Phase 1 of habituation
Your cat is new to you and you want her to settle in quickly?
She is still anxious and you wish that she becomes trusting? But she takes cover as soon as you approach.
Or she even takes off her clothes and hides from you. – Please do not take this personally, just leave it alone!
When you approach, make it as slow as possible.
Give her enough time to study and get an idea.
In no case corner them and do not force them – this will only do the opposite: they will completely entrench themselves and become aggressive because they feel threatened.
Ensure a stress-free environment
Cats are usually not fans of change. They love rituals, their usual places, comfortable rest breaks. All this is only granted to them if they know the processes and the environment; So that your cat feels lifted, you can create your quiet poles.
These may be elevated spots or caves where she feels secure – even if the “out there” is not quite appealing.
You can not completely hide the everyday life, but at least avoid loud noises or hectic actions – that helps the shy guy very much! Leave the rooms to her to make her picture of the unfamiliar territory: Your cat must first find his way and look around in peace. She wants to explore the new terrain to feel safe.
Only when she realizes that you are in no danger, will she gain confidence and allow (more) closeness.
Make sure there are enough space and hiding places
Give your cat options so she can retreat when things get tight in her eyes.
When cats are afraid, they usually react with escape; if she has a sanctuary where she feels safe, that eases the situation. This is her place waiting for her when she comes in distress – that calms her.
These are the places where she likes to take a long nap later or doze off. A hiding place – just for her. Since she can relax completely and without fear.
Cats find increased retreat places. But also cave-like hiding places are gladly taken. A place under the bed or in a niche between two cabinets is also not to be despised.
Anyway, your cat will choose her places – but help her a bit, and do not block her possible loopholes, but leave her all options.
Leave your cat alone
We humans always think that it helps if we take care of ourselves; This can be fatal with a shy cat. The more we “feed” the frightening creature, the more it will seek the breadth.
So please do not pursue and discuss like a Tibetan prayer wheel!
Cats understand these treatment approaches smoothly miss and disappear all the more. It’s best to follow your usual routine:
Everything as always – you should do without loud noises – so vacuum cleaners and other loud household helpers just take a break during this phase; is only so long until your cat has acclimatized and is not so scary anymore.
Give her enough time
Already Balu from the jungle book knew, peace and cosiness are the keys to success! Let your cat have the time she needs. This can be very different from cat to a cat: one overcomes their shyness faster, the other takes a little longer.
In any case, you should provide in this phase for a peaceful environment.
Avoid – as far as possible – hectic and noise.
Give your cat time and space: every positive experience will strengthen her and make her more self-confident: “Nothing will happen to me when I get out of hiding!”
This is already the first step. The more positive experiences she has, the more self-assured and trusting she will become. Out of fear can be so hesitation, then trusts and finally trust.