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  • Writer's pictureJan

Why is my cat so fearful of people and how to help

Cats come in different sizes and colors as well as different personalities which make each one unique. It is easy to assume that they will fit in easily with our everyday lifestyle which for the most part they do. However what happens when they become fearful as soon as we welcome a new guest into our home. We become witness to this usually calm, happy kitty looking completely terrified and making a dash for the nearest exit. Let’s take a look into why they might be acting so completely out of character.


This irrational fear can usually be traced back to when they were a kitten. If they didn’t have much exposure to people between the ages of 2 and 7 weeks, they have missed out on the important skill of learning to socialize. It could be that they didn’t come into contact with different types of people such as men or children and even people with loud voices. If you have adopted a rescue kitten, you may not be aware of past events that they have encountered. All these different scenarios can shed some light on why your kitty is so fearful.


If your cat has only recently started developing this kind of reaction when visitors arrive it could be an indication of a medical condition. If you have noticed other changes as well such as loss of appetite do consult your vet.


You are probably wondering what can be done to cure this problem. If you have a kitten you are one step ahead as you have time to expose them to lots of new people. Try to give your kitty lots of interactions with people of different ages, sizes, sexes, races, and anyone who looks different. Even people who wear hats, glasses, and have beards.


If you have an older cat you will need to be a lot more patient and persistent in exposing them to different social situations. As soon as your guests arrive, ask them not to approach your cat but instead wait for your cat to approach them. It is important that your guests sit and remain quiet so that they are not intimidating to your cat. Try to encourage your cat to come out of hiding by offering some food. If your cat is hungry enough they will eat, as long as there is some distance between them and your guests. You could encourage your guests to offer kitty some treats which might just do the trick. However, don’t be too disheartened if your cat just wants out! It’s all about gradually exposing your kitty to different social situations.


If your cat is really showing signs of anxiety, it is best to set up a quiet area with their bed and a litter tray for them to retreat to. Make sure to provide them with some food and water. This is especially important if you are hosting a large gathering as you want to give your guests your full attention. Make sure that children do not enter the room and make sure to check on the kitty a few times.


Never force your cat to interact with people as it could result in one of your guests being scratched or bitten. You wouldn’t forgive yourself if a child was injured by your cat so do make sure that you set some ground rules so that everyone is protected. More than anything else, do your best to make your cat feel secure in their everyday environment and hopefully, they will become more social as they grow in confidence.


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