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by Rolan Tripp, DVM and Susan Tripp, MS

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Fears & Phobias of People

By Category   Media Center  |  Kittens  Cats  Products  |  All Pets  |    Print

Feline Fear of People

What is it?

There are many reasons why cats develop fears of people. These cats are often called skittish or scaredy cats. They run away if people get too close or hide when new people are in the home. They may also startle easily.
 

The goal of gentling exercises is to shape a calm, relaxed, friendly, confident adult cat personality.

Why is it?

Cats that are punished or experience something disturbing in the presence of a particular person or other animal may avoid that person.

Just one bad experience that was intense or traumatic enough may cause cats to avoid similar situations. For example, a bad experience with a small child can cause cats to avoid all small children.


What to do


Ideally felines fears are prevented by early positive handling of kittens from birth to adoption. Cats that are handled frequently and regularly during the first few weeks of life generally have more exploratory and  social adult cat personalities.

It is important that young kittens are protected from scary experiences with people and places between 3 and 9 weeks of age when in the peak of their social learning period.

For fearful adult cats, patience, protection from further reinforcement of fears and hand feeding may help regain a cats confidence. At first the person may simply sit quietly in the same room when the cat is eating, looking the other way. The goal is gradual increases in the cat's comfort and confidence.
The goal of gentling exercises is to shape a calm, relaxed, friendly, confident adult cat personality.


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