What to Do About A Nervous Feline – Guest Post by Kevin Davies

Siamese cat sitting on floral chair by red curtains looking out the window Hello Friends Jasmine here,
I’m excited to introduce a guest blogger who is writing about feline nervousness. I can most definitely relate to being a fraidy-cat because of the bullying problem I went through (you can read that story here.)  We felines have lots of reasons to be nervous, some our humans know about and some may have happened before we came to live with you. Our guest blogger friend Kevin has some tips to help you and your cat so, without further ado, I’ll turn this blog post over to our human friend Kevin.



How to Calm a Nervous Cat by Kevin Davies (a human)

Cats can be nervous for many reasons and bringing a rescue cat home can be a tine fraught with fear for your new feline.  Some indications of fearful behavior are hissing when anyone tries to pet them and hiding.  Don’t be discouraged if your new rescue acts this way. You help them get over their nervousness and become the loving and happy pet they are supposed to be with these tips.

How Your Cat Displays Nervousness

black and white cxat hiding under red and white rugA nervous cat will always shy away whenever you try to pet it on the head. It will spend most of its time hiding and you will also notice it walking with the legs bent low to the ground. It will also frequently lower its tail with the tip curved upward and twitch its ears. The nervousness also makes them groom excessively and in moments when the agitation is too much, they will groom to the point where bald spots will form on the back legs.

It is normal for newly adopted cats to be initially nervous because of the new surroundings. However if the nervousness carries on for more than a few days, you might be forced to take the initiative and calm them to avoid the stress for both of you. Patience, love and some persistent training will be required to help your cat come out of its shell.

Know Why Your Cat Is Nervous

siamese cat staring at a raccoon through the glass doorKnowing the reasons behind your adopted cat’s nervousness can help you seek the appropriate treatment for them and refrain from blaming yourself in case attempts to help fail to bear fruit. There are many reasons why your cat could be nervous, sometimes its experiences from their past. It could be new surroundings or being removed from the shelter. Some cats might also be overwhelmed with the new surroundings because they probably aren’t used to being around people and living in a home; this is very common with former alley cats. And some cats are just more nervous than others. Close observation of your cat is an excellent tool to understanding what makes him/her feel nervous. The first step in reducing nervousness is providing the cat a safe place to hide, then some  patience as they cat adjusts to their new home.

Help Your Cat Get Rid of Nervousness

Being loving and patient with your cat will make them more comfortable in their new home. There are some training techniques and medications you can give to help your cat quit the nervousness and adjust. When you bring your nervous cat home, prepare a small confined space where she can hide. It can be that corner where you have pushed off a few things to create space. Have everything a cat needs available in this space such as food, water, litter, a scratching post and some cozy material for them to sleep on. Ensure that the cat’s living space is comfortable because you will have to let them stay in that space for a few days or weeks until when they feel ready to venture to the rest of the house.

Food Bribes and Medication (if Recommended by Your Vet)

You might be forced to use food bribes to lure them into spending time with you, but ensure that you give them these food treats on schedule to avoid fattening them up. Ensure that the food bribes are the kind that a cat will really like such as cooked chicken which will be an effective treat during training. Every time your cat makes progress, reward them so that they can link you to the great treats and feel more comfortable around you. Administer medications as directed by the vet to ease their anxiety. Also talk to your vet about other effective medications that may further help your cat.

Final Thoughts and Tips to Help Your Nervous Kitty

black and white cat sitting on ledge by lampTalk to your cat in calm tones and pet them whenever they draw close. Give them a name and call them by it until they get used to it. Whenever they are afraid because a stranger is in the house or because of the loud cracks of thunder, talk to them in low soothing tones to calm them and pet them as much as you can. Plan Social Interactions.

After your cat is comfortable moving around the house and feels at ease with everyone in the family, it is now time to introduce other people and other environments to them to enable them completely overcome their fear. Most cats will walk around confidently when it is just the family that they are accustomed to in the home, but when guests arrive; they cower and go into hiding.

Introduce your frequently visiting guests to your cat. Food treats can work effectively in this situation too. Lure them into the room by offering food treats and have your guests feed the cat too but make sure they know that you are trying to help the cat overcome its nervousness. Also ensure that your guests like cats or don’t have anything against them, because cats are able to sense when negative vibe is coming from someone and will of course react negatively.

Never push your cat too hard when you notice slow progress or their reluctance to interact with other people. Have patience, it might take several visits and more training for the cat to be at ease around strangers. Always remember to provide the basics for your cat such as food in their bowl and fresh water every day for them to drink. Ensure that their litter is frequently cleaned and their living space is clean. Remain relaxed around your cat, felines are very adept at sensing your moods and your emotional state can adversely affect your cat. Encourage other members of the family to help make the cat’s stay in the home more comfortable.

A nervous cat need not stay nervous forever. Try these methods and help your feline transform from a wild alley cat into a calm and happy house pet.




4 thoughts on “What to Do About A Nervous Feline – Guest Post by Kevin Davies

  1. Snowball is only friendly to us when hungry and even then, we can’t touch her. I wonder if anti-anxiety meds would help her. She is good with other cats though so I usually just let her be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sometimes the vet recommends this but if you haven’t tried pheremones (like Feiway for instance) you may want to give that a try. We use the plug ins and have found it helps a lot. We’ve also used essences from Jackson Galaxay’s line (Spirit Essences) there’s one called “Safe Space” that you can put on the cat or in their water.


  2. About the medication: My parents adopted a dog who had been rescued from a puppy mill, and while she’s playful and affectionate when she’s with my parents and sisters, whenever we bring our menfolk around she starts barking… for hours. It’s like a compulsion, she’ll even take treats from them, but as soon as she swallows it’s back to barking. She’ll keep doing it if she’s in another room, outside…. it’s like she really can’t make herself stop. My parents and their vet tried medications for a couple of years with no results. Until last Christmas when they found something that worked, and she was a quiet girl and spent the evening relaxing with my dad on the couch.

    The point is, if your pet is stressed out and a good candidate for medication, if what you try first or second doesn’t help, don’t give up. Just like people, sometimes it can take a while to find what works.

    Liked by 1 person

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