How to help a cat that is afraid of noise
Causes for Cat to Fear Noises
Cats instinctively have natural reactions to loud or unexpected noises, but some cats have an excessive fear of noise which leads to skittish behavior. Sometimes, that fear is so extreme that it affects a cat’s ability to enjoy daily life.
In most cases, a fear of noises is caused by deep seeded insecurities and a lack of trust in humans. If your cat has a fear of noises, there are steps that you can take to foster a trusting relationship with your cat and methods that will help your cat to feel more secure in its environment. It takes time and patience, but eventually your cat will be able to overcome these fears.
Provide Cat-Only Space in the Home
To help a cat feel more secure in the home, you will need to provide your cat with a safe hideaway where it will not be disturbed. This may be under a bed, behind a couch, or in a far off corner of the home. If your cat has chosen a spot where it likes to hide, talk to other members of the household about leaving the cat alone when it is in this area. If the cat is having troubles finding a safe place, try to provide one with a box, a hideaway kitty condo, or a kennel with an open door and a blanket draped over it.
Give Your Cat Reasons to Trust You
Cats can overcome fear when they trust the people around them. Forming a trusting relationship with a skittish cat will take time and patience, but with perseverance you will eventually be able to form a lasting bond with your cat. Try to give the cat plenty of opportunities to be near you; when the cat approaches you talk quietly to the cat, and try not to make any sudden movements.
Do not ever force your cat to be near you. Some owners will remove their cats from hiding places in an effort to force the cat to be held. This will only intensify the cat’s fear. Let the cat come to you when he’s ready. You can try to coax the cat out with treats or toys, but don’t get discouraged if this does not work the first, second, or even the fiftieth time you try. If you consistently maintain a calm and reassuring attitude and tone near the cat, he will eventually begin to trust you.
When your cat eventually climbs onto the couch to sit next to you, your instinct may be to pet him or hug him instantly because you are so overcome with joy. However, always remain calm and relaxed, and don’t touch the cat. Only raise your hand to pet your cat after he’s settled in for a few minutes. Always move slowly and pet your cat gently. If your cat bolts when you try to pet him, don’t become upset. Simply wait a little longer next time before attempting to establish contact.
Slow Acclimation to Noise
Busy households, especially households with children, can be especially frightening to cats that are not used to that type of environment. If a new cat becomes skittish in the house, let the cat stay in a quiet room for a while until it begins to get used to its surroundings. Keeping a radio on a low level in the room can help the cat to become accustomed to noises. Turn the radio up gradually each day, slowly acclimating the cat to more stimulation.
Get a Second Cat
If you have just one cat and that cat is fearful, it may be helpful to get a second cat. Follow your veterinarian’s instructions for introducing a new cat into the home, so that your pet does not become further traumatized by the new addition. Over time, your fearful cat may begin to mimic the behaviors of the new cat, learning that the house isn’t such a scary place after all.
This technique can be extremely effective, but it also has tremendous power to backfire. If the new cat is domineering or aggressive, it may cause your fearful cat to withdraw even further. If you are looking for a second pet, consult with both your veterinarian and a cat behaviorist before introducing a second cat into the house.
When is it Time To Talk to The Vet?
If you have a cat that cannot seem to get over fearfulness, and that fear is affecting the cat’s quality of life it can be beneficial to call the veterinarian. In these extreme cases, medication can help a cat to feel more relaxed. Some cats will only require medication for a short period of time, while others may need to be on meds for much longer. Be sure to follow all dosing instructions to the letter if your vet prescribes medication for fearfulness. You never want to over-medicate a cat, and under-medicating will do little to help alleviate the problem.