The first step in helping a cat who is afraid is to recognize him, a task that may not be simple, so you should start knowing your pussy. A naturally shy cat can be afraid of many things and spend much of his life hidden. On the other hand, a naturally safe cat will be less afraid and will generally recover more quickly from frightening events.
The spectrum of fear
There are a variety of signs that help identify if your cat is scared. Many times the trigger for feline fear is not a stimulus you can identify.
You should know that fear is considered mild if the cat has tremors, concealment, reduced activity and passive escape behaviors.
In the case of panic, the signs may include active escape behavior and an increase in potentially harmful and out of context motor activity. The response to fear is a complex behavior, which involves various neuronal structures. In that reason, the response intertwines sensory, motor and emotional processes.
The different manifestations of fear
The main manifestations of fear response Frequently, the answer is defensive:
- Somatic: alertness (or vigilance), retract the ears against the skull, remove the nails, arch the back, shake the tail, show the teeth or open the mouth.
- Vocalizations: Growl, snort, meow, snort, spit or squeal.
- Neurovegetative responses (involuntary): pupil dilation, bulging eyes, increased salivation, piloerection, increased sweating, loss of urinary and anal sphincter control, anal gland release, increased respiratory rate and heart rate.
- Displacement: freezing in place, standing up, walking in a circle, stalking, clapping, scratching, biting, fighting, hiding or escaping.
Long-term consequences of living with fear
Among the classic signs of sympathetic activity, persistent diarrhea may occur that triggers inflammatory bowel disease or an irritable bowel syndrome. In addition, a fearful cat can develop obsessive behaviors such as licking and biting itself.
How can you help a scared cat?
If your cat hides, but is healthy, leave him alone. It will come out when ready. Forcing him out of hiding will only make him more afraid.
Be sure to that has easy access to food, water and a litter box. Clean the litter box and change food and water every day to see if you are eating and drinking.
Food is a great motivator for cats, so If yours is afraid of someone in the house, give that person the duty to feed him.
Can you prevent a cat from being scary?
Although there is a predisposition to have a shy character in some cat breeds, owners can take into account the following facts:
- Cats that are deprived of social and environmental exposure until 14 weeks of age They may be afraid of contact.
- Phobias and panic can lead to a history of inability to escape or move away from the stimulus caused by phobia and panic. This is why cats that have suffered while being locked in a box or in abusive situations feel fear.
- Cats that have a history of abandonment, multiple owners, relocation or prior abandonment usually have separation anxiety.
- Maintain a good state of health: Any disease, intoxication or painful physical condition increases anxiety and contributes to the development of fears, phobias and anxieties.
Diagnosis and treatment to help a fearful cat
The first thing is rule out other health conditions that could be causing your cat’s behavior. If your veterinarian diagnoses a simple fear, anxiety or phobia, a prescription medication may be all that is needed.
But it is very likely that the professional makes recommendations based specifically on your cat, which is the trigger for fear and how you can relieve your cat’s fears and anxieties through behavior conditioning.
To help a pussycat in cases of extreme panic and separation anxiety, you need to provide protection until the medications can be effective, which may take days to weeks; Frequently, hospitalization may be the best option.
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