Monday, October 12, 2009

Fearful Cats | The Humane Society of the United States

Fight, flee, or freeze. No, it isn't the latest game show sweeping the nation. Instead, these three "F"s describe the ways that cats usually respond to objects, persons, or situations they perceive as a threat. Each cat has his preferred way of dealing with a crisis. You'll notice that your cat probably tends to try one option first, and if that doesn't work, she's forced to try a different option. For instance, if your cat is afraid of dogs and a friend brings his dog to your home to visit, your cat puffs out her fur to make herself look big, then hisses and spits at the dog. If the dog doesn't retreat, your cat may flee the situation, find a hiding spot, and freeze until she deems the situation safe. Although some fearful behaviors are acceptable, overly anxious or fearful cats may need a little help from you in the form of training, patience, and love. Here's some guidance on how to handle these situations

What You Can Do

Take the following steps to reduce your cat's anxiety and help her become more confident:

*First, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for a thorough physical examination to rule out any medical reasons for your cat's fearful behavior. Cats don't always act sick, even when they are. Any sudden behavior change could mean that your cat is ill. Some common symptoms that suggest your cat may be sick are sudden aggressiveness, hiding, and eliminating outside the litter box.
*If your cat is healthy, but hiding, leave her alone. She'll come out when she's ready. To force her out of her hiding spot will only make her more fearful. Make sure she has easy access to food, water, and her litter box. Clean the litter box and change the food and water every day so you know whether she is eating and drinking.
*Keep any contact with the fear stimulus to a minimum.
*Keep your cat's routine as consistent as possible. Cats feel more confident if they know when to expect daily feeding, playing, cuddling, and grooming.

Read the Full Article Here | Fearful Cats | The Humane Society of the United States

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