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• NERVOUS CATS

Cats are not pack or troop animals, they are solitary hunters.

With that in mind it should come as no surprise that their priority is self preservation. In the wild they would only have themselves to rely on & due to their small size they are vulnerable to predators. Cats will almost universally choose flight over fight, & they can feel threatened easily.

 

Provide cats with safe dens.

Place a couple of Dens, carriers or cardboard boxes, in a quiet corner of their rooms for them to choose to retreat into, with food & water at hand & an accessible litter nearby. These "Dens" should feel secure & contain some comfortable bedding. Partially hanging a towel or blanket over the entrance can help them to feel secure, but leave an opening so you can make eye contact and chat to them occasionally when you feed them (Having to lift a cover to see them, can be a worrying invasion of their privacy).

Leaving a carrier out for them to use as a den, can help to de-sensitise them to that carrier, for when its time to go to the vets. Leave a little treat in it from time to time, so they can enter the carrier in your presence with no consequence. Then it should be easier to coax them into the carrier as is usual for them, & then close the door behind them when you really need to.

Cats often like to be able to get off of the floor (a dangerous place in the wild), so raised platforms such as tables desks or shelves can offer them more security. If you do place a box or bed on a raised surface be sure that they are stable & absolutely secure from the threat of toppling.

 

Cats are all individuals & some will have a more nervy nature than others. The behaviour may indicate that they have had bad past experiences, but it may just be their individual nature to hide away & bolt at noises if they feel uncomfortable etc.

This is a survival instinct

Fear & anxiety can emerge in various ways, your cat may freeze or back into the corner of their den. They might hiss, even spit & lash out on approach. Don't pressure them, give them space & the choice to relocate without attention, they will come round and forward in their own time.

Trying to reassure a cat & chasing them into their hiding place, no matter how quietly & gently, may cause them more stress. They may perceive you as a predator, trying to dig them from their safe retreat or den. Alternatively, if they recognise you as a dominant presence, your reassurance may convey to them that there is something wrong (as you are obviously worried).

Leaving the cat in peace in their own room & with their den to emerge for themselves, is the best way to relax them. They need to be able to reassure themselves that they are safe by investigating & emerging at their own pace.

This can take a very long time or a very short time depending on the personality of a particular cat & their previous experiences. If they feel more comfortable remaining in one room, after an appropriate amount time of being shut in it to settle in, don't pressure them to leave it. They will in their own time perhaps even at night without you knowing it. They are investigating their world & checking that it is safe.

You should behave normally & calmly (of course avoid vacuum cleaning & performing other obviously frightening activities etc. under the cats nose).

Creeping around will just worry a cat... "What are they afraid of?".

If you are relaxed & all is peaceful & routine, it will relay that all is well.

Once your cat has properly relaxed, you can try playing with them to encourage them out. Slowly dragging some string in at a distance but in front of them (keeping hands away), may trigger a little play. Not all cats will respond to this, if your cat doesn't seem interested or displays more fear or nerves abandon the activity.

Leave a hiding cat in peace, don't behave like a predator

Leave a hiding cat in peace, don't behave like a predator

Leaving their carrier in the room, can offer them a safe den

Leaving their carrier in the room, can offer them a safe den

Licking their lips can be a sign of anxiety

Licking their lips can be a sign of anxiety

Given their own space, they will gradually settle down

Given their own space, they will gradually settle down

They need to relax in their own space, before they will relax in yours

They need to relax in their own space, before they will relax in yours

Gently offering treats on a spoon can help acclimatise a nervous cat to you while encouraging them to eat. This must be positive for them & without pressure

Gently offering treats on a spoon can help acclimatise a nervous cat to you while encouraging them to eat. This must be positive for them & without pressure

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