If They Run and Hide, You Might Have a Scaredy Cat

Scared cat in Beverly Hills MI

When closely observed and respected, feline behavior can communicate extraordinarily well. Indeed, knowing why they do certain things goes a long way toward meeting the needs of our feline friends. In other words, there are obvious differences between a relaxed and happy cat and a freaked out, anxious one

If your fluffy feline tends to run and hide in perplexing situations, you may have a scaredy cat on your hands. But don’t worry: there are many ways you can support their feelings and see them through negative perceptions. 

Scaredy Cat Body Language

An anxious scaredy cat will have an extra-alert look in their eyes (pay attention to how dilated their pupils are). You may also notice:

  • Ears may be pricked up in order to hear any sounds of threatening danger or lying completely flat on their head. 
  • Whiskers may be tautly pointed downwards and may flick. 
  • They may be crouching down, ready to spring or have the appearance of cowering.
  • The tail might be swishing back and forth or protecting their side and abdomen.

It’s worth mentioning that a scaredy cat can turn into an aggressive one if they feel they have no other option. Be sure not to encroach on their space – or prepare to get scratched or bitten! Alternatively, a scaredy cat may lose control of the bowels. 

All the Information

Equally important to noting the signs of feline body language, cat owners should opt to rule out injury or illness at a routine wellness exam. Sometimes strange cat behaviors, like running away, withdrawing or hiding out, can be explained by sickness or physical injury. If it has been longer than a year since their last visit (or 6 months for a senior cat), we recommend scheduling an appointment. 

Meeting a Scared Cat’s Needs

If your cat is otherwise physically healthy, addressing their environmental needs can reduce the scaredy cat syndrome. 

  • Be sure to provide lots of hiding spots for them to retreat to. These help them feel safe and secure!
  • If they seem to prefer high spaces, supply a few perches toward the ceiling. If they like low-lying zones, give them tents or crates to relax in. 
  • Offer daily opportunities for play time. This will help them burn off any pent up stress or anxiety. Playing together also strengthens the bond between you both. 
  • Take cues from your cat regarding when they’re tired or ready for some quiet time.  
  • Work to understand what your cat’s triggers are. If they become a scaredy cat in certain situations try to remove or reduce the stimulus. 
  • If they start to tense up when someone closes in on them, be sure to reinforce a respect for their boundaries.
  • Keep up the daily routine. Your scaredy cat relies on certain things happening at specific times every day.
  • Never scold or punish your cat. Remember, there are reasons that explain why they’re reacting in a defensive manner. Also, forcing them out of their comfort zone can have the opposite effect.
  • Draw your cat out with reassurances, pets or cuddles, and some high-value treats.
  • Don’t delay the help of a behavioral specialist if the symptoms of your scaredy cat get out of hand.

Scaredy Cat For Life?

Part of your cat’s personality could simply be a bit standoffish, but if you notice that their overall health and well being is suffering please let us know.Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates are always here for your cat.