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IS Your Cat a Scared-y Cat?

Posted December 15th, 2015 by admin

Recently, there has been a flurry of activity on the Internet regarding the intentional scaring of cats. After all, we all know how fun cats can be, and how easily they can be startled (or perhaps startle us!) but taking advantage of that knowledge is unacceptable.

Yes, we all know that willfully injuring an animal is wrong, but is the harmless of fun of startling your cat so terrible? Due to a recent video of a cat being scared with a cucumber that has gone viral, there have been quite a few animal experts who have provided information regarding how scaring your cat can affect your pet.

While seeing a cat do a somersault out of fear may be amusing, it is not healthy for your cat – especially if the cat was eating prior to being startled (as is the case in the video). Certified cat behavioral consultant, Roger Mugford, shared with The Huffington Post that doing this could cause apprehension about a place your cat believed to be secure and safe. This distrust, could ultimately lead to your cat not wanting to eat or perhaps mean that you will need to find a new place in your home for your cat enjoy their meals.

The loss of appetite is not the only risk for a cat that has been scared – especially repeatedly- by something or someone. Other concerns include problems with their heart, thyroid, gastrointestinal tract and immune system. In fact, chronic stress has been linked to urinary tract problems in cats.

Studies have shown that because cats are social beings, their environment is important to them. They learn through cause and effect, so even one frightening experience can be enough to traumatize them. For instance, a cat that has been harassed by one young child may become aggressive with all children – even though other children have intention to harm the cat.

However, some cats do handled being startled better than others do. These cats are typically those who have been around people and have been handled early on, and tend to be more exploratory, social and outgoing.

It should be noted, though, that sometimes the startling could be used to your advantage. For instance, a quick squirt of water to teach your cat not to claw furniture, use the carpet for a litter box or to tame aggression can be helpful. Just don’t rely on this method as a way to interact with your cat!

A fearful cat is an unhealthy cat. If your cat struggles with change, appears stressed or is easily frightened, you may wish to talk to your vet or contact a cat behavioral specialist to learn how to help them. Yes, cats can be funny, but it is never right to scare them just to get a laugh.

If you have any questions regarding cat care, or need a recommendation for helping your cat feel better and more comfortable, give us a call. We would love to see that your cat is always happy.

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