5 Ways to Calm Your Scaredy Cat
• 3 min read
You may already know from experience that petting your cat is a great way to relax and lower your stress level.
Ever wonder how you can return the favor?
Watching cats snooze in sunbeams, lounge across sofas, and settle into your spot on the bed makes it easy to envy their carefree lives. But no matter how much we pamper them, their life’s not always purrfect.
Just like with us, different factors create stress for different cats. Since their daily planners are pretty light, it’s more likely that issues in their environment are the cause.
Large open spaces can make cats nervous, so can sharing resources — like a litter box and food and water bowls — with a cat they don’t get on with. And speaking of other cats, low-hanging mirrors may make your cat fearful that someone else is encroaching on their turf.
Want to eliminate stress before it slips in through the cat door?
- Make sure each cat has their own food and water bowls and litter box, plus one more somewhere else in the house.
- Predictability is comforting to cats so try and stick to a familiar routine.
- Provide access to high perches, low hiding spots, scratching posts, and toys.
- Let your cat have a place to retreat, out of sight.
- Exercise daily. It’s good exercise for your cat and fun for you both.
Unfortunately, sometimes stress is as inevitable as a hairball, and just as unpleasant. Loud noises, fireworks, thunderstorms, and unexpected guests are some of the top triggers of anxious behavior.
Tension and posture changes like crouching, shaking, immobility, their tail tucked close, their eyes fully open and pupils dilated, or their ears flattened back, are signs that nervousness and anxiety are kicking in.
Try some of these settling strategies:
1. Have Presence
As your cat’s number one hooman, just being you and being around is a great start. Know that cats feed off our stress, so stay calm, keep your voice soft and low, even slow down your movement.
And be careful not to smother. Remember, this is about them, not you.
2. Let Go
Fight your instinct to chase after your darting cat and scoop them up. Let them bolt — as long as they’re safe — and find seclusion.
Don’t make a fuss or make them socialize, which might even be the cause of their stress.
3. Create Space
Cats need their own version of a she-shed, man-cave, book nook, or private clubhouse — a place, even just a tiny spot, they can escape to.
Give them time in their happy place to settle down and rebalance.
4. Calm with a Supplement
If you can see the storm — literally or figuratively — in the distance, try heading it off with a calming supplement, like a delicious, soft treat made with ingredients that promote calmness and composure.
5. Soothe with Sound
Classical concertos. New age instrumentals. Soft jazz. Relaxing surf. Or even white noise. Filling the room with a peaceful soundscape may help you both chill out. Your cat’s hearing is four times more sensitive than yours, so don’t over-do it.
And yes, there is such a thing as cat music, so check that out while you’re at it.
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