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Living With A Scaredy Cat: How To Help A Frightened Cat

Updated on October 12, 2012

Khalia and her brothers came to me with their mother when they were four weeks old. When she was still a kitten, she was fearless. Nothing happened to her, no accidents, nothing. Yet today she is a scaredy cat. I think it started with my step dad. He adores the cats and would like nothing more then for them to adore him. only two give him the time of day though. It really isn't his fault, he has brain damage and can't understand how to handle them. Plus he has a loud voice and a rough voice. I think Khalia has been frightened of him from the beginning.

She is a hard one to figure though, because for a time it seemed she got a kick out of scaring herself. For no reason I can see, she would suddenly skitter away hackles raised...even when no one or thing was anywhere near her. I have learned how to give my scaredy cat some peace of mind though.

At night, she and my other three all stay in my room with the door shut so moms cat can have the run of the trailer, while in the day, moms cat stays shut in moms room, while mine have the run of the trailer. This is because moms cat and two of mine do not get along well at all. When Khalia is in my room, she is fearless. I call her my flying monkey, she leaps from the top of the curtain to the floor and bounces off the wall as she turns and heads back for the curtain. Every once in awhile she will stop on my lap to say hi. She trusts me totally...because I am mom to her.

She has discovered A cubbyhole at the foot of my bed, and she spends a lot of time in there. I make sure she always has access to it. This is her safe place. When anything frightens her she makes a mad scramble for it. Sometimes if she is curious at what startled her she comes right back out to check things out. But if she was badly frightened she will stay in there for hours at a time. We don't get after her as we do the other cats when they are misbehaving...we simply talk to her while moving slowly to her and removing her from the counter or table or wherever, talking calmly and stroking her. The others usually get scolded and/or water squirted.

Recently, one of her brothers has began acting frightened of things. It takes a great deal of coaxing to get him to come to me, yet when he has finally come to me and I love on him, he kneads and purrs. I can't tell if he is having the same mental problem his sister has or if he is not used to me wearing this big bulky jacket I have started wearing with the colder weather. He may even be having vision troubles. He had gotten out of the pen yesterday and I could not find him until late that night. I finally heard him meowing and I followed it to him. He was at the end of the old trailer. My flashlight seemed to frighten him. In order to catch him, I sat on the ground and turned the light on me so he could see who I was. HE kept coming towards me then running away...he wanted to come to me but was afraid. I just sat there and called coaxingly. He finally got brave enough to come within reach of my fingers, and I rubbed his head, and that brought him closer to me. I was then able to pick him up. But he was still frightened. When I reached for the light he began to struggle. I finally had to wrap him inside my jacket so I could stand up and get the light without him getting away. I decided to go around the far side of the trailer because I felt strongly that if I went past the dog the cat would freak out. The cat remained fairly calm on the walk back to the trailer door, and only began to struggle again when I began to set him down in their room. This morning he again seemed frightened of me and would not come to me. Khalia and her brothers are roughly one and a half years old now.

I have had other cats born with this fearfulness inside of them. I don't know what causes it. But giving them a place they can hide in undisturbed is a big help for them. As long as they know they can escape what they are afraid of and hide in safety, they will not be so apt to get frightened over every little thing. When handling them, always talk quietly and calmly, and never make sudden moves.


Submit a Comment

  • tlmcgaa70 profile imageAUTHOR


    5 years ago from south dakota, usa

    hello Tammy...i hope your shy one outgrows it as many do...but if not i am sure he has a very understanding and loving you. those kittens are blessed and so are you.

  • tammyswallow profile image


    5 years ago from North Carolina

    Excellent suggestions. I have two stray kittens that I take of. One is very shy and skiddish. I will have try some of these tips!

  • tlmcgaa70 profile imageAUTHOR


    5 years ago from south dakota, usa

    good day to you Drbj and Kashmir56.

    Drbj, you dont know what your missing on not having a kitten/cat around. bbut i do understand that dogs are not for everyone and so to with cats.

    Kashmir56, i really do think his loud voice has made her more sensitive. she is such a clown though. a contradiction to as one moment she is playing fearlessly the next running to hide. today her brother was not acting afraid. i just dont know. maybe this is something i need to do some research on. thank you both for reading and commenting on this hub, as well as the votes.

  • kashmir56 profile image

    Thomas Silvia 

    5 years ago from Massachusetts

    Great interesting hub on Khalia the scaredy cat. You may be right your step dad may have had something to do why she is the way she is now, too loud of a voice maybe . Loved all the beautiful photos of Khalia .Well done !

    Vote up and more !!!

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 

    5 years ago from south Florida

    I've never owned cats, m'dear, just dogs. But I would agree that holding them and stroking them and talking softly when they are frightened should help allay their fear. Just sayin'.


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