• Strangers. Some cats will
bond with only one or two
people, shunning all others. My
Peanut is such a cat. He’s very
sweet and loving with me and the
other cats, showing no fear at all.
But if someone comes over to
visit, he hides and isn’t seen again
until the person leaves. I had a
houseguest recently, and Peanut
hid until my guest turned in for
• Loud noises. Most cats get
scared by loud noises, but the
scaredy cat will often burrow under
the bed or inside a closet and
not come out for hours. Vacuum
cleaners, thunder, fireworks, even
someone knocking at the door will
cause them to head for a favorite
• New pets. The scaredy cat
might react to new pets either by
hiding or by exhibiting uncharacter-
istically aggressive behavior toward
the interloper. It’s not really that
he wants to hurt the other
pet; he’s simply reacting to his
fear of being hurt by the new
pet. Once fear subsides, the
• Household changes. Adding
or decreasing a person in the
household, or even just rearranging
the furniture can send the scaredy
cat into a tailspin. Once when I
moved into a new apartment, I
bought a new living room set at
the same time. Big mistake! My
Mischief was so scared that she
wedged herself under the new sofa
and wouldn’t come out.
Helping your scaredy
You might lessen your scaredy cat’s
fear and help him become less shy
him to more
them to give your
scaredy cat treats
and toys when they
come over to visit.
➜ Avoid looking your
shy cat in the eyes. Although
my Lovey enjoys snuggling, if I
look him directly in the eyes he gets
scared and runs off.
➜ Sit by your scaredy cat when
he’s hiding, and talk to him in soothing tones. Leave him a toy or treat
and let him come out on his own.
Never force him.
➜ Give your cat safe places
like tall cat trees and cubbyholes
where he can watch the world but
still feel secure and hidden.
➜ If your cat’s fear seems to be
getting worse, take him to the veterinarian to rule out health issues.
Medication might also help calm him.
Accepting your cat the way he is,
and his behavior for what it is, will
go a long way toward helping your
scaredy cat feel more secure. He
probably won’t become a fearless
feline, but he will feel less afraid
whenever he is by your side.
Rita Reimers’ cat behavior
counseling sessions have
helped many kitties
remain happy in their
forever homes. Visit
her website, thecatanalyst.com,
to learn more about her services
and to read her cat behavior
blog. Rita is also owner/CEO
of Just For Cats Pet Sitting; just
with Rita on Facebook at The
Cat Analyst and on Twitter at
@thecatanalyst. E R I