People ask about traumatized cat symptoms a lot and in this article we will outline all the symptoms of a traumatized cat.
Traumatized cats are difficult to handle, this is because the exhibit behaviors that makes you wander if the are still cats or some sort of wild animals.
When handling a traumatized cat you have to be careful.
Handling a traumatized cat should be something you stay in contact with your vet with all the time.
Always call the vet when you notice a new behavior when dealing with a traumatized cat.
After listing the symptoms we will also touch causes of cat trauma.
Also, see how to help a cat adjust to a new home.
Traumatized Cat Symptoms
Here are all the symptoms associated with a traumatized cat;
Cat Constantly Showing Sighs Of Sleeping Disturbances
This is one of the most common traumatized cat symptoms you can see in a cat, as it will prove the cat is having a hard time.
Whether the cat is sick or the cat is having issues with the spot, type, or size of his bed it will affect his sleeping habits.
Cats are intelligent animals that remember a lot, and once they have a horrible experience it’s not always easy to forget.
Therefore, if your cat is having sleep disturbances, try to find out the root cause as it may be associated with a traumatic experience.
Maybe your cat was attacked while sleeping in the past or your cat had issues associated with a bed or position of sleeping.
Increased Hiding Behavior Of A Cat
Hiding is a normal thing for most cats, because during the day when everywhere is noisy and hot a cat always sneaks out and hides to take an afternoon nap.
This afternoon nap is either taken on top of shelves, in the basement, under a bed, in the backyard, behind furniture, at the top of cat trees, in parking stores, etc.
It’s normal for a cat to hide when the house is noisy or hot but is not normal for a cat to keep hiding even when everywhere is calm and the owner is around and calling the cat.
When a cat keeps hiding even when there is nothing to hide that cat is going through a traumatic experience, and at this point, such a cat needs the help of the owner and the vet.
Dealing with a traumatized cat should be the job of your vet unless stated otherwise by your vet.
So when you notice increased hiding behavior with your cat, kindly contact your vet.
Also look out when your cat is constantly in avoidance of people, places, and things that remind them of the trauma.
Cat Sudden Changes In Temperaments
Every cat has unique temperaments or characteristics associated with them, but a traumatic experience could force a cat to change.
For example, Ragdolls are not aggressive then you adopted one from anywhere just to find out the Ragdoll became aggressive in your new home.
Especially if the cat becomes unnecessarily aggressive when it comes to a particular activity or object.
This is definitely a sign of traumatic experience with such events or objects
Constant Agitation And Fear Over A Particular Spot or Object
If a cat is always panicking or agitated over any object, spot, or activity, then it is a clear sign the cat has a horrible experience with that spot or object.
However, to observe this you must pay close attention to which activity or object that initiated the fear or agitation.
One of the basic ways to help the cat is to seek help or stop such activities or events as well as avoid such spot
Cat Will Be Constantly Attempting to Escape
A traumatized cat will always be attempting to escape because of some traumatic experience.
An indoor cat wanting to go outside is normal, maybe you have not properly socialized your indoor cat.
What is not normal is your cat wanting to escape even when you have made the cat comfortable, or the cat attempting to jump heights just to escape from home.
Most traumatized cats attempting to escape will end up hurting themselves, just like human’s traumatic experience may end up giving you reasons for not wanting to live.
The best way to handle a traumatic cat is to take your cat to the vet.
Cat Will Be Constantly Refusing Food
Refusing to eat a particular food and wanting another food is normal in a most cats. But what is not normal is a cat refusing to touch or get close to any food.
A cat can refuse food when sick, but if the cat is not sick, and it keeps saying no to every food you bring both wet and dry food that attracts the cat, then it is wise to check with your vet.
Refusing food is a clear symptom of your cat’s traumatic experience or that your cat is sick, so you need to pay attention to both.
Cat Will Increasingly Become More Aggressive
Being aggressive over food or toys is normal because every cat passes this stage of its life.
We as cat owners help correct this aggression at the kittens’ stages.
But what is not normal is a cat becoming more aggressive towards everything unnecessarily, even when you try to provide everything the cat needs to be happy.
When a cat suddenly becomes more aggressive than the usual you have experienced as a cat owner, it is wise you see a vet.
Or you just got a new cat and the cat keeps getting aggressive as the day goes by, you need to see a vet.
Or you came home and find out that your cat is no longer calm and collected as usual, if all efforts to calm your cat down are not working out, it is wise you see your vet.
Cat Constantly Showing Avoidance behaviors
When a cat is traumatized the cat feels all alone in its world and will always want to be alone thereby avoiding any sort of contact with humans or other pets.
This is why you see cats hiding and not looking straight into the owner’s eyes when being called, a traumatized cat will not want to be with you and will always not answer when you call.
This avoidance behavior is actually the root cause of a traumatized cat trying or wanting to escape and die.
Cat Becoming Increasingly still, freezing, or fidgeting
A traumatized is always fidgeting and freezing when it is not necessary.
Cats are calm pet that feels at home once you show them love and care.
Cats are also pets that remember a past event a lot, so if you get a new cat, and you are sure you carried out all the medical exams and the cat is still freezing or fidgeting, it’s wise to see your vet.
Cat Will Be Repeatedly Pawing At Owner Unnecessarily
Repeatedly pawing at the owner is a sign that your cat is trying to pass information to you, but as we know cats cannot talk.
Over the years of experience with cats, we and other cat owners have observed that when a cat repeatedly paws at the owner such cat is complaining, and you need to pay attention.
If after you have tried to make your cat comfortable and the cat is still pawing at you repeatedly, you need to talk to an experienced vet.
We have explained the basic symptoms, and that is not to say there are no other symptoms, but we consider them secondary.
Unnecessary Excessive Vocalization By The Cat
When a cat becomes unnecessary vocal than it use to be then something is definitely wrong somewhere, so always look out for when a can is constantly been vocal.
Traumatic experiences can change the way cats see their new or old environment which can prompt them to become unnecessarily vocal.
Cat Will Be Constantly Panting & Pacing
Constant panting, howling and pacing can sometimes be attributed to a past traumatic event, that directly or indirectly affected the cat.
Normally, cat panting or pacing is not something serious to worry about, but as a cat continues it even when it is not necessary, it becomes a problem.
This can occur during a specific activity, either on the sight of an object or other animals, or even sound. This shows a traumatic experience.
Cat Constantly Refusing to Use Litter Box
Refusal to use the litter box is a clear indication that something is not right and cats are very prone to traumatic experiences.
If you have tried and your cat is still not using the litter box then you should consider changing the litter box or the position.
You can confirm that either your cat won’t like the litter box by getting a new litter box, your cat is sick, or it’s a traumatic experience by changing the position of the box.
The litter box may be associated with a traumatic experience if the cat is always running away from it.
Or a specific color or size, or design. So try to watch and see if your cat is not using it because of size or color.
Cat Will Be Unnecessarily Puffing Fur And Tail
Puffing of fur or tail unnecessarily is not a good sign in cats as it can sometimes be associated with traumatic experiences like fighting with another cat.
Puffing of fur or tail is something that is normal in cats for many reasons, but what is not normal is when it is associated with an event.
Pay close attention to what is currently going on when your cat puffs its fur, and repeat the activities or events.
If the cat continues then it’s associated with a traumatic experience, you need to stop such activities.
Causes of Trauma In Cats
Generally, a trauma in cats is caused by bad experiences from the past that keeps reoccurring in the mind of a cat.
There are so many causes of trauma in cats, but we will outline some of the most popular and common ones.
Here are what causes trauma in cats;
- Household accidents
- Abuse from owners
- Jumps from heights that resulted in injury
- A fatal fight between the cat and a bigger animal
- escaping from human traps
- car accident
- escaping death from a predator’s jaws
- neglect from loved ones
- exposure to toxins
- Bad experience with the vet
How To Fix A Traumatized Cat
There are basic ways of fixing a traumatized cat which is as follows:
- Use of vet-approved drugs.
- Visit an animal behaviorist
- Desensitization and counter-conditioning
- Visiting experienced cat owners
There are many natural ways to fix a traumatized cat aside from going to see a vet, and it still works fine.
Here are the natural ways of fixing a traumatized cat;
- Try to find out what lead to the traumatic experience.
- Do not shout at the cat
- Let the cat be if the cat refuse to come out
- Do not pet the cat
- Do not follow the cat up and down
- If the cat is coming to you do not pick the cat up
- Provide a private room for the cat free from noise
- Provide an interactive toy like a moving mouse
- Remove all suspected objects from the environment
- Stop all suspected activities or events that trigger off the experience
- Exposing the cat in a safe, non-threatening environment to a low level of the feared stimulus
- Leave the cat alone
- Be patient with the process
Can cats remember traumatic events?
Yes, cats remember traumatic events because they have long memories especially when the danger of death risk is involved.
A cat may also remember a traumatic event if at any point such an event or closely related event repeats itself around a such cat.
How do I know if my cat is traumatized?
A traumatized cat will always show the following signs: a traumatized has a sudden change in temperaments, pacing, excessive vocalization, panting, shaking, hiding, frequent urination, wanting to escape, and refusing to use the litter boxes. At this point, you need to contact a veterinarian.
How long does it take for a cat to get over a trauma?
On average it takes a cat about 3 to 6 weeks to fully recover from a traumatic experience provided there is no relapse in the animal behaviorist treatment or there’s no reoccurrence of such events during the recovery therapy process or sections.
How do you socialize a traumatized cat?
Here are the common ways to socialize a traumatized cat:
1. Remove all traumatic experience triggers.
2. Walk your cat in a safe environment.
3. Visit experienced cat owners.
4. Get more interactive electronic toys for your cat.
5. Encourage interaction with treats
6. Hang out with the cat as often as possible.
7. Add a radio or TV for the cat company.
8. Respond to all cat aggression with gentleness.
9. Play with the cat.