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Why Does My Cat Get Spooked Easily?

Find out why cats are so sensitive and ways you can help minimize their anxiety.

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Cats are “on guard” 24/7. They never rest for a full night’s sleep like we do. They have several cycles of sleep during the day (hence cat naps!). While your cat does have a REM cycle, they do spend more time in non-REM sleep during the most active hours.

Our domesticated cats are still predators, and predators are always on the lookout for prey or another predator that could be watching them. Cats that continue to act in a fearful manner tend to have a valid reason for acting that way. Whether your cat lacked proper socialization as a kitten or have been targeted by another pet in the house, could be why they are on guard all the time. Stressful living conditions or even an underlying illness could be contributing factors that should not be ignored as well. All of these are good reasons to contact your veterinarian for help in this situation.

Sensitivity of Cats

Cats are sensitive creatures and, as a cat owner, you need to understand and accept them for what they are. A cat is a creature of habit, and some habits (such as running and hiding when friends come over) can be quite hard to break. Some cats never get used to a situation no matter how often they are exposed to it. Often removing the offending action remedies the situation, but not may be ideal for everyone involved. You must remember to respect that your cat is stressed and, as and owner, you need to find out the contributing reasons of the anxiety so you both can have a long lasting relationship together.

How to Reduce Your Cat’s Stress

What you can do at home for your cat is give it plenty of spots to retreat for safety. It could be as simple as a cardboard box with a blanket inside. Many cats love vertical territory and enjoy being up high to watch what is going on and they are out of harm’s way. The use of a feline synthetic pheromone that mimics a cat’s facial pheromone when they mark territory as safe and secure can make a huge difference to a fearful cat. What is feline synthetic pheromone?

Other natural products to help reduce stress can be utilized as well. Royal Canin makes a diet that has been specifically formulated to reduce stress in cats that contains a hydrolyzed milk protein and tryptophan (an amino acid) to help maintain emotional balance of the cat. Calming supplements for pets that contain chamomile, valerian, ginger and tryptophan have been known to help naturally reduce anxiety.

Before you embark on starting any home treatments speak to your veterinarian to discuss any diagnostics that should be done and work out the correct treatment course for your cat. (Psychology: An Introduction by Russell A. Dewey, PhD.

Chapter 3: An Introduction to Consciousness: Part 2, REM Sleep in Cats (retrieved 12/27/2014) and

Pam Johnson-Bennett: Helping and Fearful Cat and Is Your Cat Stressed out? (Web articles retrieved 12/28/2014) FELIWAY, The Secret to Happy Cats: a product. (Retrieved 12/28/2014) Calm Diet: product. (Retrieved 12/28/14)

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