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Why Is My Cat Scared All Of A Sudden

Is It Normal For A Cat To Be Scared

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The short answer? Yes! Just like dogs and humans, felines experience a plethora of emotions and feelings. Their genetics, as well as their environments, influence these emotions. A cats behavior is also influenced by their upbringing and past experiences. Combined, this is what indicates if your cat is scared or anxious in certain situations!

Cats are usually not aggressive animals. By nature, they are more apt to hide or run when faced with something that frightens them. Hiding is their natural reaction to situations that upset them, whether it be fireworks, moving to a new place, or dealing with a hyper dog.

When a cat believes its in danger, their first reaction is to be scared. Their survival instinct tells them to run away or hide. Thats one reason cardboard boxes are so popular with kitties they use them for comfort when they feel frightened!

While being scared is a natural reaction to shocking or loud things, some breeds are more prone to fear than others. You should be mindful of your cats genetics and normal behavior. If their reaction seems out of the ordinary , thats when you should be concerned.

Signs That Your Cat Is Afraid

The following are some obvious and not so obvious behaviors cats may exhibit when they are anxious or afraid:

  • Hiding or freezing in one spot

  • Excessive vocalization

  • Having accidents outside their litter box

  • Frequent movement and general restlessness

  • Change in appetite

  • Excessive grooming

  • Increased dilation of the pupils

  • Uncharacteristic aggression

Pick Your Cat Up Gently And Hold Them Close To You

Cats are generally very independent animals, but if your cat is scared they can be easier to handle if you pick them up gently and hold them close to you.

Scared cats are really hard to deal with. It is important to remember that not every scared cat wants to be picked up instantly. When you see the sign, just pick the cat up.

Some cats are more scared than others, so it is easy to imagine how hard it could be for them if they are picked up too quickly.

If your cat is scared, try touching them gently. If they pull away or scratch, then stop and leave the room for a few minutes. When you re-enter the room, try touching them again.

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Why Is My Cat So Scared Of Everything What Can I Do To Help

Have you noticed your cat has been very jumpy and nervous lately? Are they hiding more than usual? Is your cat acting timid or skittish? If so, there is a good chance that your cat is frightened. These are all fear-based behaviors that prove your cat is worried about something.

Now, Im used to my cat getting startled because of loud noises or one-off events. I let my cat be, knowing shell be fine once the situation has passed. But if your cat gets scared so easily all the time and is afraid of everything, its more difficult to help. So, why is my cat so scared of everything?

Cats that are scared of everything are usually suffering from chronic stress. This can be caused by big changes such as moving home or linked to past trauma or illnesses. I discuss all of these in more detail in this article. Plus, tips on what you can do to help calm down your frightened cat.

A New Animal In The House

Why Is My Cat Scared All of a Sudden

Do you plan to expand your family with a dog or a bird?

Your cat might not be happy with this news. Just like with a new baby or cat, a new pet might scare your kitty.

Let’s say, you decided to bring a dog into the house. Since most cats are afraid of dogs due to their larger size, your cat will be shocked to see the new family member entering the front door.

And this is an understandable reaction.

After all, they see this as their territory being invaded.

Even if you introduce a new puppy, there is no guarantee your kitty will get along with it. In the first days, you may notice your cat retreating to a corner or hiding in a safe place. It will be more passive than usual and may even lose appetite. It will constantly avoid any encounter with the dog.

You should expect similar behavior with other pets.

Cats love to be the only ones, who receive all the attention from their human parents.

And when a new pet arrives, they get jealous, knowing that their owner will have to care for the new pet as well.

So even if it’s a smaller pet that is prey by nature, like a rodent or a rabbit, your cat will get upset.

It’s worth noting though that cats are less jealous of animals that are not handled, like fish or birds.

Here are some behavioral changes your cat may display with the arrival of the new pet:

1. The new pet may make different noises. Since they won’t sound familiar to your cat, they may scare it.

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Is Your Cat Acting Weird 5 Reasons Why

Even when youve lived with them for years, cat behavior can be weird, and sudden changes are frustrating. It may seem like your misbehaving cat wants to ruin your life, but she might actually be telling you that something is wrong. Here are five things that might be happening with a cat acting weird.

Give Them Cbd Cat Treats

Sometimes, the things your pet is upset about cant be changed like you leaving for work or fireworks going off over the weekend. But that doesnt mean your cat has to feel helpless. Try giving them CBD cat treats or calming chews to soothe them during tense situations.

CBD is a non-intoxicating phytocannabinoid that naturally occurs in hemp. It wont get your cat high because theres basically no THC! Instead, CBD interacts with the cannabinoid receptors in your cats endocannabinoid system . The ECS helps maintain their mood and comfort levels, just like our own ECS.

Despite outside sources , CBD ensures that your cats emotions remain balanced. They will feel a sense of calm, giving them relief from the fear or uncertainty they previously felt. Try giving them treats before you know an uneasy situation is approaching. Or drop CBD oil into their food each day. Holistapet even makes CBD catnip spray, which can be put directly on their favorite toys.

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Managing The Cat Scared That Scared All Of A Sudden

Facing the common cat fear is not easy, but its not impossible either. Cats are predators that are always aware of the danger. Owning a cat requires patience and understanding to live with one

Some cats are more scared than others and meowing, tails held high, and hissing helps you know that your cat is afraid. Reading these cues can be a crucial part of dealing with an anxious feline.

Four specific signs of your cat being scared that should alert you:

  • the ears and whiskers are lying back
  • the hairs stand on end on the back and tail
  • the back is rounded and the pupils dilate.
  • when your cat is afraid, he chooses to escape, hide, attack or paralyze, that is to say, he stops moving and trembles.

Why Is My Cat Avoiding A Room

How to Help Your Scared Cat!

Cats avoid certain rooms because something scares them inside the room or they can hear, see, or smell something you cant.

Unfortunately, its not easy to discover what has spooked your cat out of a room when you havDontwitnessed the accident.

Try observing your cats body language to look for clues and be patient. Dont force your kitty back into the room, and provide plenty of cuddles to calm down your cats fears.


  • 1. Petful. How Much Do Cats Remember? More Than You Might Think. . Petful. 2018 . Available from:
  • 2. Cat Senses | PAWS Chicago . Available from:
  • 3. A cats nose could make it better at search and rescue than a dog . NewsComAu. 2017. Available from:
  • 4. The Cat Socialization Continuum: A Guide to Interactions Between Cats and Humans . Alley Cat Allies. Available from:
  • 5. Cat suddenly scared of a room? . TheCatSite. . Available from:

What do you think about these 9 reasons why your cat is suddenly afraid of your room? Is your cat scared of rooms? Share your experience in the comment section.

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Helping A Cat To Cope With Change

Cats are creatures of habit, so changes to their routine cause significant anxiety. If your cat doesnt feel secure, itll feel increasingly nervous.

The most significant changes a cat can undergo are:

  • A new living environment
  • Getting a new pet
  • Arrival of a new person or baby

A cat will notice if its owner is missing for longer than normal. Likewise, cats experience bereavement if a person or animal companion dies.

Common Cat Fears And Anxieties

Theres a reason the term is scaredy-cat and not scaredy-dog: cats are sensitive creatures, the pets we most tend to associate with timidity. But its important to recognize that fear and anxiety are not natural cat traits, but serious feelings with causes that need to be investigated.

According to Ingrid Johnson, a Georgia-based certified cat behavioral consultant at Fundamentally Feline, fear and anxiety can be at the root of what we consider timid cat behavior. A confident cat is going to walk right through the center of the room, their tail held high, and act like they own the place, she says, while a more fearful cat may slink on the perimeters of the space. And cats behavior will depend on whether theyre experiencing acute or chronic stress, explains Dr. Jill Goldman, a California-based certified applied animal behaviorist. Acute stress is an event that happens and stops, she says, while chronic stress is something thats ongoing that the cat has to deal with on a long-term basis. Acute stress may cause the most obvious fearful reactions, like recoiling, an arched back, piloerection , aggression, running away or hiding. Chronic stress, on the other hand, can result in behaviors like house-soiling, litter box issues, or over-grooming, she notes.

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Behavior Modification To Relieve Cat Anxiety

If you try behavior modification, it will be up to you to put in the time and effort. As with all illnesses, it is best to start treatment early.

You will need to teach your cat some coping skills that can be used in a variety of settings. The goal of behavior modification is to change how your cat feels about a frightening stimulus . This change improves a cats prognosis instead of indefinitely avoiding the stimulus.

Two methods of behavior modification that may be recommended by your vet are desensitization and counterconditioning. Both of these methods require specific timing and the ability to read your cats body language and to notice the earliest signs of fear and stress.

Ask for help from your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist. If behavior modification does not work over the long-term, your veterinarian may want to modify the approach.


Desensitization is the repeated, controlled exposure to the stimulus that usually causes a fearful or anxious response. The key is that you expose your cat to the stimulus at a low level so that your cat does not show any signs of fear or stress.

A popular version involves playing a sound that your cat is afraid of at such a low volume that there is no fear or stress. After playing the sound three or four times at a low volume without a reaction, then you can increase the volume very slightly and repeat the process.


One Cat Smells Different

Why is My Cat So Jumpy All of a Sudden?

If one of your cats suddenly smells differently, the other cat may react pretty violently at first. This can happen if you took one of your cats to a vet or a groomer, for example.1 Cats identify each other through smell and voice, not just by sight. A weird, unfamiliar smell signals an intruder, not a friend.

Eventually, the two cats will remember each other, but it can be pretty disturbing to watch best friends fight until they figure it out. Some people schedule vet visits at the same time to avoid this.

If you can’t take them to appointments together, try rubbing the returning cat with a blanket your cats sleep on before reintroducing him to the home. Another option is to lightly rub your hands with a pleasant scent, like smelly treats or water from canned tuna, and then gently pet your kitty. The distracting but pleasant scent might overpower the vet’s scent.

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Patting Them Can Get Them Calmer

The owner of the cat makes sure to pet the cat while they are scared. The owners touch helps to calm down the cat. When you pet your cat, you are comforting them. This is because cats are creatures that love physical contact and love being rubbed on their bellies, necks, and fur.

If you have a scared or anxious kitty in need of soothing, there are three things that can help calm them down:

  • scratching their ears,
  • gently patting them on top of their head.

Should You Go To The Vet

A cat being scared is often no reason to be alarmed. Its very normal for cats to be afraid of sudden or new situations. But if your usually adventurous cat is suddenly hiding despite no significant changes to their routine or environment, your kitty may be injured or ill.

If you suspect that your pet is hiding because its hurt or not feeling well, you should immediately make an appointment with your vet. Its important that your vet does a thorough checkup in case your cat is attempting to hide a severe condition or complication.

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Why Is My Cat Suddenly Scared

Below are likely causes and what would make each of them more likely.

A change in the environment

Cats can often become fearful when there is a change in their environment. If your cat has suddenly started being afraid, after a change in their environment, it is likely to be due to the change. Examples could be if you recently moved home, got a new pet or a new noise was introduced to the house.

Injury or illness

The cause might also be that your cat has gotten an illness or injury. This would be more likely if your cat has started doing it since showing other signs of having an illness or injury such as limping, vomiting a lot more or being fatigued. If it does seem like, illness or injury is the cause, the best option would be to take them to a vet.

A change in how you interact with your cat

The cause could be that your own behavior is causing your cat to become intimidated. If you shout around your cat or you have aggressive looking body language, it will likely cause your cat to get afraid. Instead, it would help to be calm around your cat and to use more open looking body language.

You did something to scare your cat

It might also be the case that you did something to frighten your cat such as step on them or catch them unaware. In this case, your cat should become more comfortable around you again over the course of a few days.

A List Of Prime Suspects

Help! My New Cat is Scared of Me!!

Despite the fact that cats behave eccentrically from time to time without reasons, they nonetheless like to stick to familiar routines and well-acquainted environments. As a result, when the pets detect changes in their world, they may withdraw themselves to cope with the developments. Here are a couple of scenarios that could fill the felines with fear of uncertainty. Assess everything in order to determine just what is giving your cat a hard time. It’s worth noting that on occasions, there might be more than one thing that throws cats into a frenzy.

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Your Cat Is Reacting To The Presence Of An Unwanted Guest

In many cases, you specifically are not what your cat has suddenly grown fearful of. It is very likely that you invited a guest that is making your cat skittish.

It is very common, in fact, for couples to bring home a newborn baby, and notice their normally sweet and loving cat turn into a distant, mean recluse.

If you brought home a new kitten and yourcat is not having it, they might result in hiding in your room to stay awayfrom the unwanted newcomer. Which leads to the next point:

How Can I Tell If My Cat Is Scared

Those who are familiar with the body language of cats can easily identify their anxiety. The body is crouched when they walk and they often have puffed up hair. They approach other cats and unfamiliar situations with animosity. While other cats are interested in new situations, other cats or people, an anxious cat will retreat. Cats tuck their tail under or next to their bodies when they are frightened and expand in circumference. Its fur is unkempt not only during the moulting season and the cats owner might notice some patches that have been licked until they are bald. The cats behaviour is far from relaxed. Aggressiveness and lethargy can both be a sign of anxiousness.

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