5 Causes of Phobias in Cats

February 28, 2019
Cat owners know how sensitive these animals can be to changes in their daily routines. Today, we'll tell you the main causes of some phobias in cats. 

Anyone who has ever owned a cat knows how sensitive these animals can be. From hearing strange sounds, to furniture being moved around…cats don’t like changes in their daily routines. In today’s article, we’ll tell you the main causes of phobias in cats and how to try to solve this problem. 

Some reasons for phobias in cats

These domestic felines are territorial animals and like having control over the place where they live. That’s why any changes in their environment may scare them. But when this fear becomes irrational, the cat will develop a phobia.

Among the main causes of phobias in cats are:

An owner dealing with phobias in cats.
1. Unusual and sudden noises. For example, thunder, alarms, sirens, different appliances being used, etc.

2. Strangers in the house. This usually happens if the cat wasn’t socialized correctly.

3. Contact with unknown animals. 

4. Moving or temporarily going to places it’s not familiar with. 

5. Moving the furniture around or bringing new objects into the home.

It’s easy to detect phobias in cats, but it’s hard to get rid of them. That’s why it’s important to learn how to detect the signs of anxiety and fear in your cat. That way, you’ll be able to keep the problem from getting even worse. 

How to recognize if a cat has a phobia

It’s easy to detect phobias in cats, and they usually have a solution. However, they’re more difficult to treat than regular fears. That’s why it’s important to identify the signs in time.

In situations they consider to be dangerous, kittens will suffer from anxiety and can react in different ways, such as:

  • Running away and hiding somewhere they consider safe.
  • Looking like they’re going to attack (their hair sticks up, their back arches, they hiss or tilt their ears back).
  • Not moving, as if they’re paralyzed, and even shaking with fear.
  • Having tachycardia or diarrhea. 
  • Becoming more hyperactive or aggressive.
  • Marking their territory with urine and feces anywhere in the house.
  • Licking themselves excessively, causing alopecia.

Tips to deal with phobias in cats

Remember, when a cat is scared or upset, you shouldn’t approach it, touch it, or try to pick it up. If you do, he’ll probably scratch or bite you.

Leave him alone for a while. Then, when you see that he has calmed down, try approaching him. But don’t force the situation.

Also, make sure your cat has a space in the house where he feels safe and can hide when he feels scared.

Keep in mind, after your cat acts like this, that you shouldn’t console him. But neither should you scold or punish him. You’ll only aggravate the situation and make his recovery more difficult.

Talk to a specialist in animal behavior

The dictionary defines a phobia as an ‘intense and irrational fear, of a sickly nature, towards a person, thing or situation’, and they will definitely require professional help. 

A veterinarian or specialist in animal behavior (ethologist) will correctly diagnose the issue. They will then decide the best way to solve your pet’s problem.

However, you can also play a role. You can identify which situations, people, or objects scare your pet. Pay close attention to your cat and explain the situations in detail to the vet.

A cat at the vet's clinic.

How to treat phobias in cats

A possible solution to this problem is to expose the animal, very gradually, to the situation that causes its anxiety and fear. This way, the cat will gradually lose its fear.

Also, it’s important to reward your pet as he’s making progress. You can do this with petting, affectionate words or some treats.

As you can see, patience and love are the keys to keeping things under control, both with pets and animals.