Cat anxiety: Tips on giving your cat confidence
Cat anxiety can be difficult as it is often confused with unfriendliness and aggression, meaning it’s dealt with in the wrong way.
Hiding, hissing and scratching may actually be signs that your cat is trying to protect itself out of fear, rather than pushing you away out of spite. Not only will increasing your cat’s confidence make them more predictable around new people, your cat will also be happier in themselves.
Here are our top tips on giving your cat confidence.
Use treats as encouragement
Offering your cat treats is a great way to encourage them to approach you when you first bring them home and each time they meet a new person. This’ll increase their confidence as they’ll associate meeting new people with positive outcomes. Treats should really only be used as an initial means of encouragement. It’s important that your cat learns to be friendly even when someone doesn’t have anything to offer them.
Offer plenty of physical contact
Ideally, you should do this from the day you bring your kitten home. The more your cat is used to being stroked and cuddled, the more they’ll accept it and won’t be wary any time they are touched. Having said this, cats do need their own space, so just a 10-15 minutes of stroking each day should be enough. It is also important that your cat becomes comfortable with physical contact for the purposes of grooming them.
Use a calming pheromone
Pheromone diffusers and pheromone sprays can be placed strategically around the house to reduce your cat’s anxiety wherever they might be. This can be useful if you’re inviting lots of guests round as it can keep your cat’s anxiety at bay if they aren’t able to stay in their usual comfort place. Pheromone sprays and diffusers are also very useful if you are travelling to a new place with your cat so that the unknown environment is less likely to trigger their anxiety.
Increase play time
The more you encourage your cat to play the more they’ll want to. Aim for 15 minutes of structured play each day and use toys that encourage them to run and jump (fishing rod style toys are great for this!) as these will increase their exposure to unpredictable movements. Not only will extra play time increase your cat’s confidence, it’s also a great form of exercise and mental stimulation for your feline friend. What’s more, playing with your cat will strengthen your bond allowing them to put more trust in you.
No matter how long it takes to build your cat’s confidence, you should be patient and remain calm. If your cat suffers with cat anxiety, raising your voice and becoming angry will only worsen the problem as they will have a reason to not trust you. If your cat behaves inappropriately you should be firm with them when telling them it’s wrong, but you should avoid shouting and you should never hit your cat.
Some cats are naturally more anxious than others and some may not grow out of this for some months. If, after following these tips, your cat’s anxiety shows no signs of improving you should consult your vet for advice.
Looking for cat insurance?
Curious cats can sometimes find themselves in precarious situations which could result in an unexpected visit to the vets. It’s always worth having a cat insurance policy in place to help you with the veterinary treatment fees and other costs. You can compare cat insurance policies and find a level of cover that suits both your cat’s needs and your budget.
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