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Do cats have phobias?

Do cats have phobias? Yes. Cats can have phobias, just like humans. Felines who are anxious by nature are more likely to suffer from irrational fears. You may be able to tell if the cat has an anxious nature by the look in her eyes. My Princessa’s eyes constantly move around, looking for imagined dangers. Her body is often tense.

Do cats suffer from phobias?

Cats common fears

  • Unfamiliar environment
  • Sudden noise
  • Unfamiliar humans
  • Dogs
  • Closed places
  • Vets
  • Humans moving too fast close to her

Reasons for these common feline phobias

In the wild, you don’t know what kind of predators lurk in an unfamiliar environment. Rustling leaves can indicate the presence of a poisonous snake or a large predator creeping closer. Humans and dogs are also considered larger predators. Being stuck in a closed place in the wild isn’t a good idea because it cuts off your escape route in case of an attack. And vets handle cats and sometimes cause them minor pain.

Less common feline phobias

My Amiga had an irrational fear of my new pants. She refused to sit on my lap and kept staring at them, sniffing them and then retreating quickly. Maybe it was the smell. In the wild, an unknown smell can indicate poison, disease, predators, fire.

Also, she runs away when I throw a toy mouse for her to chase, and none of my other cats do that. They all run after the toy, not the other way around. She might fear the toy will hit her. She’s also a bit afraid of the shoelace when I wiggle it in front of her, which is why I don’t tease her with it the way I do with my other cat.

Years ago, I had my house exterminated. When it was over, I put a blanket on the floor before letting my cats back in, so they won’t step on the floor. Amiga was terrified of stepping on the blanket. She kept staring at it like she expected it to come to life and smother her. I had put a food bowl at the edge of the blanket and took it closer to the center of the blanket, one inch at a time. She had overcome her irrational feline fear.

See phobias through feline eyes

Cats aren’t as logical as we are, which may actually protect them against phobias. They don’t watch the news, and they aren’t aware of some dangers that lurk outside. They probably don’t worry about something that might happen unless they’d suffer some kind of prior trauma.

For example; your cat isn’t going to develop car phobia, and isn’t going to stay awake waiting for you to come home, worrying about an accident. Cats phobias need a trigger. The sudden loud noise or the smell from unfamiliar material. Cats don’t pick up phobias by obsessing about the statistics of car accidents and crime.

But felines have a hard time overcoming their phobias. They don’t know all the tricks, to take one step at a time, to pretend to be in a safe and quiet place, to rationalize that statistically it’s highly unlikely for a cat to be killed by dogs.

How to help your cat overcome irrational fears

How to help your cat overcome feline phobias? One step at a time, just like humans who suffer from phobia. First you place the object your cat is afraid of within sight, and then closer and closer. It might take time and patience.

Your kitty will feel safer if you’re there for her, and she doesn’t have to overcome her feline phobias alone.

Sometimes treats can help the cat associate the thing that scares her with something pleasant. There’s also petting and ear scratching.

Does your pet have a phobia? Let’s share stories in the comments. I’d love to hear your story.

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8 thoughts on “Do cats have phobias?

  1. This is so awesome post – unfortunately they really have phobias πŸ™€ He was bullied ( I adopted him when he was about 1 year, few months) He was first afraid of everything 😿 Sudden noises, (still is, because I live in neighborhood, where is always quiet. I listen music with headphones, and he hates the sound of television. My sudden movements, even we are cuddling (while going to sleep) If I move my leg under the cover, he looks frightened. Which is a bit ‘funny’ It is like he doesn’t understand it is my leg. Sometimes also another hand (the other I pet him) But at vets he has always brave boy πŸ’–He was bullied, and afraid of dogs, whistling. Probably because his earlier family took him to ‘daycare’ to a place where was other cats and dogs. They gave up from him just that reason, they are travelling a lot. That’s why (I think) they chose me to be a new ‘parent’. I am always home. And my Sweet is missing me even I go and throw garbage. He is such a loving boy. Who hates also my computer πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had a cat who’d cry whenever I went to work, and had once chased me down the street, crying and calling me to come home.

      You cat sounds amazing. Never heard of a daycare for cats before. It’s kinda difficult to get them out of the house because they’ll just run off.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They really miss us, even some people cannot believe it 😿 My cat was taken to day care for weeks :/ Because the earlier owners travelled. I guess the ‘daycare’ means Cat -hotel, some people they know (on family?) And those people had dogs and other cats. My cat is even a bit aware when he eats πŸ€” I think he was left to be ‘to second place’ in that home (or Cat -hotel) And those people did not care of my Sweet πŸ’– That’s why I have ‘dedicated’ myself to him, so that he feels safe. And he is inside cat, never goes out. I said in the beginning (when I saw, he was bullied) I am gonna make him the most happiest cat in the world 🐈 πŸ’– I love to spoil and pamper him πŸ’–

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Although I love cats, I don’t have one and haven’t since I was a child. But years ago I had a neighbor who had a cat that was terrified of the carrier. She had to shut doors to other rooms when she brought it out and it was some ordeal to get the cat into it. If she didn’t close the bedroom door fast enough, the cat would get under the bed and be almost impossible to get out. When she did get her into the carrier and we got on to the elevator you have never heard such horrifying screams as that cat could make. And loud! It wasn’t much better in the car. I don’t know if it was so much that she was afraid of the carrier or whether she remembered that the only place she went in it was to the vet’s. And try to give her medication when she came home! We had to wrap her completely in a towel and it took the two of us to get the liquid syringed into her mouth. Or hopefully it went in the right place. At other times she was a very peaceful, loving, very large calico cat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love calico cats!

      I know what it’s like to force a pill down a cat’s throat when it’s trying to kill you. I had a huge black cat who’d scratch and bite me whenever I had to give it a pill, and he could read minds, too. Always knew when I was going to give him the pill or take him to the vet, and I had to deal with him alone. You can imagine the strain.

      And he’d scream and cry and moan whenever I put him in the cage to take to the vet. It’s the fear of closed places. So many cats are claustrophobic.

      He was very loving, too. Wouldn’t get off my lap. Would put his head in the crook of my elbow, look me in the eye, and gurgle like a human baby.

      Liked by 1 person

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