Meowy Monday – Feline Fears Defined

Do your cats have unusual fears? Sure a cat might be afraid of a boisterous dog—but certainly some cats make friends with the family dog. Loud noises and unexpected sounds are high on the list of things cats fear. A cat will often run and hide when a loud or unusual noise breaks the silence. And most cats have a go-to hiding place where they feel safe. A sudden sound can be startling. Even we humans will flinch when we hear a loud, unexpected sound, and we might duck or run away from it.

Where does your cat hide when she feels like she might be in danger. For our snow-shoe-type cat, Max, it was under the covers in my bed. Lily (our sweet tabby girl) evidently thought that was a good idea because she learned to hide with him. The two did not interact much and they did not snuggle, but they did hide together under the covers when the gardeners were here, it was raining hard or hailing, and especially when there was thunder. Lily was terrified of thunder—Max, not so much.

Olivia has worked through some of her fears—the sound of large or noisy vehicles, for example. She loves sitting at an open window and watching the neighborhood activity each afternoon, but she’d run when a loud truck rumbled by. Now, however, she runs to the window to watch the garbage truck or a fire truck drive past. She still hasn’t come to terms with motorcycles, though.

One day recently my, then, year-old twin great-granddaughters were here and they were crying. That freaked out Olivia. For several weeks after, she’d run away upon seeing a child on a bicycle out the window or in a stroller or walking past. She’d panic when hearing a baby on TV crying and she’d run into another room. She has worked through that fear as well. Now she watches children play outside through the windows out of curiosity, as it should be.

A kitten or a new rescue might jump off your lap and run when you sneeze. Max never totally conquered that fear, although he got to where he’d just flinch and look at you strange when you’d sneeze or cough.

What about fireworks? I’ve come to really dislike them because of the fear they cause in so many animals. We had a large Akita show up in our yard one July 4th and climb into a friend’s lap for comfort during a fireworks show occurring a mile away. Our cats have all learned to tolerate those fireworks as long as we remain calm.

We learned recently that Olivia is afraid of earthquakes. We’ve had two small ones lately and they really upset her. She didn’t seem to know what to think and she ran into one of her comfort zones—my bedroom closet. When she finally returned, she appeared suspicious and very, very cautious. Experts believe that animals can sense or feel an earthquake before we feel it, and perhaps stronger and louder than we do. Whatever she senses or hears or feels, it sure does cause panic for her. What is your cat afraid of?


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