Thunderstorms can be very unsettling to animals. When we consider the impact of storms, we usually think of dogs as the ones who panic during loud events like thunderstorms or fireworks.
Cats have always been touted as the more independent house pet; however, just because they aren’t pacing, whining, or barking, like their canine friends, doesn’t mean storms or loud noises don’t affect them.
Cats may exhibit behaviors like being clingy, restlessness, or pacing. Also, these anxious behaviors may not seem out of the ordinary, especially if your cat seeks out a hiding space to ride out the storm.
While you can’t eliminate the threat of bad weather or loud noises, there are a few things you can do to maintain a calm environment when the time comes.
Keep in mind that it’s normal for animals to exhibit anxious behaviors during stressful situations, but if the behavior does not return to normal afterward, have a discussion with one of our veterinarians.
5 Tips to keep your cat calm during a thunderstorm
1. Keep your cat indoors.
Bring your cat inside as a storm approaches. This task is much easier if your cat responds when called! It truly makes all the difference when you are attempting to wrangle your pets before a storm hits.
Especially with outdoor cats, you may need to entice them with treats, food, or small jingle-bells to coax them inside. Once everyone is accounted for, lock the pet door, so they aren’t tempted to return outside.
2. Observe body language.
Keep an eye out for anxiety-induced behaviors, like sporadic running, aggression, pacing, etc. Some behaviors are normal, but destructive or aggressive behavior should be concerning.
Additionally, cats are masters at reading our body language, too. When we are anxious, our animals can sense the tension and react accordingly. Keep a calm demeanor and you may even be able to distract them with playtime.
3. Create a hide-away spot.
Where does your cat usually retreat for R&R? For most cats, being able to reach a familiar spot is the most comforting option.
Provide a few options for hiding out, including in the room where you spend a lot of time.
He or she may feel perfectly content nearby you or would prefer a closet, under the bed, or another place of respite. Some cats are happy curled up in your lap, while others may enjoy refuge in a room without windows or much light.
4. Keep tabs on all pets.
A common response to stressful situations is multi-cat tension and tension with other pets. Some cats become so fearful that they become aggressive toward another cat.
If this is the case with your furry friend, provide a place where they can feel safe and remain separate from the others. You may need to place the “trouble child” in a space he enjoys the most, while the others, less disturbed by the storm, can still access other parts of the house.
5. Let your cat decide.
Don’t force your feline out from a hiding place or force them to cuddle. These kinds of behaviors only increase the existing anxiety, and you may end up with cat scratches in the process.
Let your cat determine where he or she feels most comfortable. Do your best to create a calm and relaxed environment, and understand that his behavior will return to normal soon after the storm has passed.
If your cat’s behavior does not return to normal, give our office a call to plan a visit.