Calming An Anxious Cat

No one likes to see their favorite feline friend constantly scared and anxious in their home. While it’s natural for cats to feel initially uneasy in a new environment or around new people, they should eventually come out of their shells and become comfortable. If your kitty feels overly skittish and constantly on edge, you may have a nervous cat on your hands. Not to worry! This isn’t as uncommon as it sounds, and we’ve included some things you may want to know about calming an anxious cat. 

Making Introductions Less Scary

If your cat scurries away from you or your guests, it’s important not to force them out of hiding. Doing this will likely scare your cat more and increase their anxiety levels. It’s best to let them react and find their comfort zone. They will come around in time. When they come out, encourage structured playtime with you, your guest, and your cat’s favorite toys. Please don’t take it overboard, but associating the new guest with something fun, like playing, will eventually show your cat that new people aren’t so scary. In time, your cat will come around more quickly to guests, and their socialization skills will improve.

Strategic Treat Giving and Positive Reinforcement

Using rewards and treats when your cat plays or enters a new territory may also increase their confidence levels. Small treats or positive affirmations and petting can be a sign of reward, which will positively reinforce their behaviors. However, it’s essential to ensure you’re not encouraging the behavior by giving treats when they’re hiding or acting anxious. This will do the opposite and reward them for poor behavior. Surely comforting your cat if you see they’re overly nervous and paranoid is helpful, but you must show them that by embracing their environment and new people, they will be rewarded AND given recognition.

Create a Safe Place 

If you find your cat likes to hide in small places throughout your house, create an environment in their play areas that mimic these spots but are out in the open. For example, cat trees are an excellent way for your cat to learn to socialize while also having a place of comfort and safety. If your cat has a bed or even some toys in a specific area, move them to a more social area to entice them to come out and play with friends and guests. This will allow your cats to associate safety with comfort and fun. 

Calming an anxious cat can be a lot of trialand error and will take a lot of patience; however, it will benefit you and your cat. You and your cat can learn to enjoy each other’s company with your friends, family and guests. A social cat that does not run away from guests can give you peace of mind knowing they are not frightened.