Have you noticed some strange behavior on your pet cat lately? Cats may become jumpy and nervous because of anxiety, over-stimulation, being poorly socialized or because they have suffered abuse. But don’t fret, this type of behavior can be corrected with the right dose of awareness and understanding.
My cat is very jumpy and nervous: What are the reasons for it
Your car may be very jumpy and nervous for many reasons the most common being the cat being new to the house . Although, this type of behavior is also observed among cats that have been with their pet parents for some time. Additional reasons why a cat may be very jumpy and nervous include:
1. She may be anxious or stressed.
Cats can become anxious for a variety of reasons such as an illness, pain, or exposure to toxic substances. It may also be because of a psychological trigger such as a traumatic experience like the death of a companion cat, a family member going away, or you moving to a new home. If your usually affectionate and calm cat becomes nervous and skittish then it’s best to consult the vet to have her assessed.
The common signs of anxiety in cats:
- trembling and hiding
- destructive or aggressive behavior
- the cat is less active
- the cat tries to escape
- sores and lesions due to over-grooming
- the cat fails to use the litter box and pees or poops somewhere else
2. She may be poorly-socialized.
Your cat may not have been properly transitioned to human interaction in the first two months of her life. If she was from a pet shelter, it’s best to discuss with the people who took care of her so you’ll be aware of how she was while still a kitten.
3. She may have suffered abuse before.
A jumpy and nervous cat may have experienced abuse from her former owners so it’s best to have a full awareness of the cat’s history. A previously abused cat will tend to be nervous around all humans and it may need some time and cat therapy to fix the behavior.
4. She may not like other humans or children.
Cats, like humans, have different personalities, so there will always be cats that won’t like you or your kids. Some cats become nervous especially if kids get excited upon seeing them. However, this may just be part of the transition period especially if she’s a newly-adopted kitty. You can set up a kitty zone that is a good distance from children and closely observe if there are any interactions. Hopefully, as the new kitty gets used to the kids around she may eventually learn to like them.
5. She is a new cat and hasn’t lived with humans before.
This is somehow understandable and a cat will normally manifest nervous behavior once she’s rehomed or adopted from a pet shelter. The key is to have lots of patience and commitment, and hopefully, everything will turn out fine in the next few days with your new cat.
6. She may be sick.
If your cat has always been affectionate and friendly but suddenly becomes jumpy, nervous, and tends to hide a lot then she may be sick. Cats usually don’t make a big fuss when they’re ill but tend to hide to heal themselves. A visit to the vet is in order to have her checked.
What to do if your cat is jumpy and nervous
It takes time and patience to your cat adjust and act normal again. Sometimes, it may take weeks or even months but what is important is that this type of behavior can be gradually corrected with the right amount of commitment and patience. Consulting your vet is a good idea and in some cases, aside from medication, he may also recommend a cat behaviorist. Using Feliway or Comfort Zone may also help to calm and alleviate her nervousness.
Here are other tips on what you can do if your cat is very jumpy and nervous:
1. Try to spend some quiet time in the room where she’s hiding.
If you notice that your jumpy and nervous kitty is hiding under the living room sofa try to spend some quiet time with her in the room. You may try reading a book or watch a TV series then try to call her name in a soft and soothing voice.
2. Keep the home environment peaceful.
Make your home a conducive place for your cat so her nervousness will eventually fade away. Avoid loud music and sudden noises. Tell your kids to lower down their voices and if you tend to yell at times then it may be best to correct that. By keeping the environment peaceful, your cat will less likely become jumpy or nervous.
3. Entice her to come out with the use of treats or food.
If you notice her peeping from her hiding place, try to encourage her to come out by tossing some treats. If she comes near and eats it, you can try giving her another one while speaking to her in soft tones.
4. Rebuild her confidence through interactive playtime.
If your jumpy and nervous cat comes out of hiding, try to rebuild her confidence by engaging her in interactive playtime. You can try putting the feather end of a teaser toy then jerking it in tiny motions to catch her attention. If your cat starts to show interest then play with her a little more and praise her by giving her treats.
5. Exchange slow blinks with her.
Try this trick and notice how our furry baby responds. When she looks your way, close your eyes and slowly open them again. If she returns the gesture by blinking back it’s a sign that she’s starting to relax in your presence.
6. Provide her with vertical space and escape routes.
Giving her cat perches will encourage her to easily move around and be able to view the outside world as well. It’s also great in building her confidence. You may also install escape routes in the form of shelves so she can freely move around her environment and be more relaxed.
7. Don’t force things and let her be the one to approach you.
As mentioned, it takes a great degree of patience to make your cat comfortable and relaxed. Don’t force things. She may not get rid of the nervousness easily but in time she should be okay as a result of your patience and care.