Getting Started -
Fear is a physiologic,
behavioral and emotional reaction. The physiologic reaction
results in an increase in heart rate, increased respiratory rate
(panting), sweating, trembling, pacing and possibly urination
Behaviorally, the cat exhibits changes in body posture and
activity when afraid. The cat may engage in an avoidance
response such as fleeing or hiding. A fearful cat may assume
body postures that are protective such as lowering of the body
and head, placing the ears closer to the head, widened eyes, and
tail tucked under the body.
If the cat perceives a threat,
responses can also include elements of defensive aggression.
Whether the cat fights or flees when fearful or shows defensive
aggression depends on a genetic predisposition and learned
Because cats can tell us about
their fears, observation of body postures and facial expressions
are the only ways for us to conclude that the cat is afraid.