"My cat jumps at the slightest noise, hides under furniture when my friends visit... But he isn't wild with me!"
Is that fear related to a lack of attention on your part? No, but renewed affection may be the cure...
What do they fear?
With their predatory nature, cats are always on the lookout, on guard, ready to pounce at the slightest danger. Some cats develop a more timid character than others. Their fears are often related to abandonment and suffering. The arrival of a new child or of another pet, a move could be a factor as cats are very sensitive to changes in their environment.
How to identify their fear?
Cats know how to use their own means of communication: meowing, posture, position of the limbs, eyes... With practice, we all become specialists in cat language! Here are the four hallmarks of fear in a cat:
- Ears and whiskers flattened
- Spiky hair on the back and tail
- Arched Back
- Dilated pupils
When they are afraid, cats choose either flight and hiding (immobile and trembling) , or attack ( wheezing threat, biting, scratching). More extreme behavior such as hair loss , excessive grooming , untimely spurts mean that you should consult an expert.
What should I do?
To make your cat braver, help build confidence by showing them, gently, that they have nothing to fear... of the washing machine or your friend Paul! Above all, do not rush or force, taking them in your arms, or brutally confronting the object of fear. This will only fuel fears and may trigger a violent reaction on their part. Reassure them instead in a soft and soothing voice.
You must earn their trust, patiently and lovingly. In the company of children, do not hesitate to explain to them that the cat may be afraid and that we must be particularly sweet and gentle with them; and teach them to respect animals.
Finally, a game will help your cat with their predatory instincts. Use a piece of string or laser pointer. And rest assured, with age and experience many fears eventually disappear or diminish naturally.
A little tip:
Even if your cat does not necessarily understand everything you tell them , they will always be sensitive to the way you tell it . A warm tone and soft gestures are the best ways to engender smooth communication between you two.