Fear when threatened is a normal behaviour for a cat, but it can become debilitating when disproportionate or inappropriate to the situation. To understand this, we must go back to the first steps of your kitten.
The importance of the first few weeks of your kitten
It is between the second and eighth week that the kitten discovers and opens themselves to the world thanks to their mother. And as for infants, they is attracted by movement, noise and odors. Their curiosity is their motto. Their brain is shaped and it is then that they will develop their senses ( sight, hearing, touch , smell and taste) but also fears.
During this same period the kitten learns friendly species. Human, of course, but also dogs, other cats , birds ... All these species with which they will share their territory.
Our advice : meetings should happen in a positive context, preferably with their mother, which will be most reassuring for them.
Beyond the eighth week, curiosity will have disappeared and only fear and mistrust will remain. The kitten will be a lot more difficult to get acquainted with another species.
Pathological fear in cats
Fear is an emotion reacting to an alarming and dangerous situation. It becomes pathological when it occurs in an uncontrolled manner. This is the phenomenon of anxiety.
An anxious cat is unable to acclimatise to change. And because of the stress, they may develop disorders: cardiac, urinary and digestive systems.
This can also be characterized by behavioral disorders: anorexia, aggression, lack of hygiene, susceptibility, nervousness, jitteriness. These disorders can be episodic or constant.
Our advice: if your cat is in this situation, it is important to tell your veterinarian: if left untreated, it can turn into depression.
How to help my cat not to be afraid
During intense stress, cats secrete an alarm pheromone. These secretions have the appearance of a very fragrant brown liquid. The territory in question will be marked as "dangerous" and it will be avoided by the other cats.
When fear is identified, they exist behavioral therapies to help your cat to live with fear.
Desensitization: This involves exposing your cat gradually to fear. For example, if your cat is afraid of a slamming door, repeat the noise, every day and in small doses. Until he realizes that there is no risk. The most important thing: go gradually.
The cons - conditioning: This is to associate the stimulus of fear to a positive activity! For example, if your cat is afraid of dogs, put it in the presence of a dog with a distance of about 6m. Start playing with your cat to cuddle, then get closer the dog gradually. Your cat in the game will be more inclined to accept the dog and therefore will no longer be afraid.