6 Things You Can Do To Help Your Nervous Cat

Written by: Adri Sandoval
Adri Sandoval is the Special Projects Manager for iHeartDogs and iHeartCats. Her work has deepened her love for animals, fostering a strong passion for rescue and animal advocacy.Read more
| Published on August 29, 2017

Does your cat seem to spend more time under your bed than anywhere else in the house? Are they grooming themselves so much that they have bald spots? Are they refusing to use the litter box? These are all signs that your cat is nervous and unhappy. What can you do to help your cat adjust and be happier? Here are 6 ways to help your nervous cat.

#1 – Lower your expectations

Trying to force your cat to open up, relax, and be more friendly can actually backfire and cause them to become even more timid. If your cat has always been nervous, especially if they were once feral, it may be too much to expect them to become a lap cat one day. Once you relax and accept anything you can get from your cat, they will feel less pressure and will become more comfortable around you.

#2 – Play with them 

Playing with your cat can help them learn to trust you and reduce their stress level. Wand toys are great ways to interact with your cat from a distance that makes them feel safe while engaging their natural instinct to hunt.

#3 – Let them snuggle with your scent 


While your cat may be too afraid to snuggle with you directly, they should learn to associate your scent with food, comfort, and love. The Project Play™ Comfort Cuddler™ allows your cat to snuggle up to your scent without them having to fear that you will make a sudden, terrifying move. Just add a used pillowcase or a t-shirt you’ve recently worn and your cat can get comfort from your scent even when you’re not around. Adding one to your cat’s favorite hiding place can even help them learn to associate your scent with safety. Even better than that, each purchase of a Comfort Cuddler™ provides a toy to a cat in a shelter. Playful cats are more likely to get adopted, so each toy donated can help save a cat’s life.


#4 – Give them a hiding place

You’ve heard of the “fight or flight” response. Cats are much more likely to run away from a fearful situation and seek out a place that feels safe. While you may think a life under your bed may be a miserable existence, it makes your cat feel secure. Allowing them a safe place to hide can help them feel more comfortable exploring the house since they know they have somewhere they can go to escape.

#5 – Give them treats

Your cat may be too frightened to take them directly from you at first, so you may need to leave some around the house. Hopefully, in time,  your cat will warm up to you enough to take them from your flat, outstretched hand. Single ingredient treats are a great guilt-free way to earn your cat’s trust.

#6 – Provide them with high places

Cats like to be able to look down on the world from a perch where they feel out of the way of foot traffic. Providing tall cat trees or other high perches can help them feel more comfortable away from their primary hiding place.

(H/T: Animal Planet, International Cat Care, Our Happy Cat)

Recent Articles

Interested in learning even more about all things dogs? Get your paws on more great content from iHeartDogs!

Read the Blog