Like people, no two cats will ever be exactly the same. Cats can certainly share similar traits to other cats. And one of those traits that many cats share is skittishness. Of course, there are cats that are laid-back and not easily frightened, but for the skittish “scaredy cat” types, the slightest sound or movement can send them flying. If you have a scaredy cat in your life, you may have wondered what it is that’s caused them to be this way. Keep reading to find out why.
First, think about what is making your cat a “scaredy cat”
As I mentioned above, some cats are naturally more skittish than others. And there are a few factors that can play into this. But one of the most important things that you can do for your scaredy cat is to find ways to make them feel at ease. Of course, you can’t tiptoe around in silence. But, you can find ways to encourage them to come out of their shell. The more you show your scaredy cat that not all people are bad and the world (and especially your home) isn’t a scary place, the faster you’ll be able to allow them to bring their wall down.
Negative associations early in life
If your cat was poorly socialized as a kitten, this could lead to a cat that easily becomes codependent on you and is quick to become frightened. When cats are wee kittens, they will often hiss at things that startle them. This is a perfectly natural behavior as they learn to navigate the world and discover real threats as opposed to not-so-real threats. As a kitten matures, that hissing lessens once they’ve realized what not to be fearful of.
When we adopt a cat, we do not always know their history. And, as we know, not all cats have an easy start in life. For cats who have been abused or not properly socialized, they will likely be skittish because the world, and people, have made them this way. With time, patience, and building trust, you can show a skittish cat that not all people are bad. And, as they say, love goes a long way.
Some breeds are naturally more skittish that others
When I was younger, I once heard a saying that “Siamese cats are strictly indoor cats.” At the time, I didn’t think much of it as I was a child. Now that I’m older, I fully understand what this means now. There are certain breeds of cats that are naturally timid and more fearful than others. While a Siamese cat might meow your ear off, they are generally a bit shy and reserved towards new things and new people. The same can be said of Persian cats, too. While cats are always unique, there are many breeds of cats that share similar traits to their breed. A Maine Coon is not a naturally skittish cat and is probably much less likely to be a scaredy cat. Consider your cat’s DNA when deciphering the reasons why they might be skittish—it just might have a little something to do with it!
Help transform your scaredy cat into a confident kitty
My small ginger cat Tom is naturally incredibly skittish. He is not a cat that likes to be held by anyone but me. When I adopted him in February 2017, he was already an adult cat thought to be around a year or so old. No one wanted to adopt him for the months the rescue had him, although he’s absolutely beautiful and incredibly playful. When they found him, he was living on the streets and they had to work to catch him. He was terrified of human contact. Well, we’ve come a long way since then I must say. Keep in mind, the shelter life is a hard one for cats. Our feline friends have a sense of hearing that’s nearly 5x what ours is. So, imagine all those sounds coming in of animals making noise, doors slamming, and strange people talking all around.
A cat’s memory is quite sharp, and they need adequate time to release their fears. But when they do, you’ll probably end up with a clingy cat who will make you the center of their universe. Practice a proactive approach to encourage your feline friend to reveal their more relaxed side. Any cat regardless of age can adapt, learn, and grow. Cats are not naturally trusting creatures, so sometimes you’ll have to work hard to build that trust. But, once you do, I promise that it’ll be worth it.
Did you learn anything new and interesting about our feline friends? Share this article with other cat lovers that you know so that they can learn something, too.