Behavioral problems

My Cat Is Scared of Everything

Anaëlle Laurent
By Anaëlle Laurent. August 23, 2020
My Cat Is Scared of Everything

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You may have observed your cat hiding, freezing at a certain spot or scrambling around to escape a certain situation. These are all common signs that your cat is feeling scared. So, what can you do as their caregiver to make them calm down and feel safe again?

In this AnimalWised article we're going to explain the different reasons why your cat is scared of everything, as well as give solutions to these problems. Continue reading to learn more!

You may also be interested in: My Dog Is Scared of Thunder
  1. How to know if your cat is scared
  2. Why your cat is scared of everthing
  3. How to help your scared cat
  4. Health issues

How to know if your cat is scared

Fearful cats is usually caused by negative associations made in their early life. This can be a fear of dogs when socialized at a young age, or simply a trauma that occurred when they were kittens. It can also be due to a past abusive caregiver. Whatever it may be, we will need to identify the trigger and help our cat re-associate that situation with something positive. We can do this through patience and positive reinforcement.

Common signs that a cat is scared:

  • Running away
  • Hiding
  • Aggression
  • Freezing in place
  • Non-voluntary urination

Common triggers:

  • A loud noise
  • Sudden movement
  • Strange environment
  • New person or animal
  • Noisy children
  • Stressful even

Why your cat is scared of everthing

New caregiver

A common reason as to why your cat is so scared is because they need time to get used to their new caregiver. If you've just adopted them, they will also need time to adapt to their new home. Cats are usually very reserved animals. This is why it's common for them to be a little scared and shy when first adopted.

New environment

Similar to a new caregiver, a cat may also be fearful if you move to a new home. They will need time to adapt to this new space. This is why they may be hiding under furniture or climbing up to high areas to observe the area.

New pet or person in the household

Another stressful situation for a cat is having a new person or a new pet in their home. Cats are very territorial and will have a hard time sharing their space with a new person or pet. This process will also take time and positive associations to the new pet or person.

Stray cat

If you've decided to care for a stray cat, you may notice that they are quite fearful, cautious and shy. This is because they have probably been living in the streets. They may not have had a lot of interactions with other humans and are, therefore, very careful. With time they will understand that they are safe with you and in your home.

Poorly socialized

Cats that have been poorly socialized as kittens may also have difficulties adapting to new situations. This will make them feel scared when confronted with a new person, another animal or a new environment. Some of these cats may have also had a bad experience when socializing as a kitten that will make them fearful of that in the future.

Suffered abuse in the past

When adopting a cat from the animal shelter, you may adopt a cat that have had a past abusive caregiver. This will make the cat fearful of humans or certain situations, loud noises or sudden movements. Your cat will need lots of patience and love to show them that they are perfectly safe in their new home and that they will not be abused again.

Health issues

Lastly, your cat be begin to appear fearful, reserved and shy due to a health issue that is making them behave abnormally. This is always the most important cause to rule out. You can do that by simply taking them for a check-up at your local veterinarian.

My Cat Is Scared of Everything - Why your cat is scared of everthing

How to help your scared cat


For most of these issues you will need patience. Some causes, such as a new person, pet or environment, will require time. However, you will also need to avoid common triggers and encourage your cat to socialize with the new member of the household through positive reinforcement. Never force them, as this may lead to larger problems.

If you've moved into a new home, remember to bring their own toys, bed, bowls, etc., so that they don't feel completely lost in their new home. Whenever they seem anxious or unwell, try to talk to them in a soft voice and get them to stay near you so they feel safe and accompanied.

Bond with them

Whether you have adopted a new cat or you have brought someone new to the household, you will need to bond with your cat. You can do this by playing with them, giving them affection and even training them to do simple tricks through positive reinforcement.

This will make your cat feel more calm in your presence or the new person in your household. This will also be important if you've adopted a stray cat or a cat with a past abusive caregiver.

Introducing them to a new person or pet

When introducing your cat to a new pet or person, it's best to do it slowly. Cats will need time. So, it's important to introduce them step by step, giving them space and time to get used to the new situation. We encourage you to read our articles how to introduce a cat to another cat and tips to make a dog and a cat get along.

Positive reinforcement

Lastly, positive reinforcement is crucial when it comes to raising a happy and healthy cat. You should never punish or scare your cat as it will lead them to feeling scared. They will also develop behavorial issues that can lead to health issues.

This is why we should always train our cat through positive reinforcement. This will also help them re-associate the situations they fear with positive things. Helping them overcome their past trauma.


Health issues

As we've previously mentioned, this behavior can also be an indication of a health issue. It's very important to rule this cause out by taking your cat to the veterinarian for a check-up. Your veterinarian will also be able to give you tips for helping your cat feel more confident and safe.

If you want to read similar articles to My Cat Is Scared of Everything, we recommend you visit our Behavioral problems category.

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