14 Symptoms of a Traumatized Cat and Helpful Tips (2023)

People ask a lot about the symptoms of a traumatized cat and in this article we will describe all the symptoms of a traumatized cat.

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Traumatized cats are difficult to handle because they exhibit behaviors that cause you to wander while they are still cats or some type of wild animal.

When handling a traumatized cat, you must be careful.

Dealing with a traumatized cat should be something you keep in touch with your vet about at all times.

Always call the vet if you notice any new behavior while handling a traumatized cat.

After listing the symptoms, we will also address the causes of cat trauma.

See alsoHow to help a cat adjust to a new home.

Traumatized Cat Symptoms

Here are all the symptoms of a traumatized cat;

Cat shows insomnia due to constant sighing

This is one of the most common symptoms of a traumatized cat that you can see in a cat, as it shows that the cat is going through a difficult time.

If the cat is sick or has problems with the placement, type or size of her litter, this will affect her sleeping habits.

Cats are intelligent animals that remember many things, and it's not always easy to forget them after a horrible experience.

(Video) Traumatized Cat Won't Stop Attacking 14 Year-Old | My Cat From Hell

Therefore, if your cat is having trouble sleeping, try to find out the cause as it could be related to a traumatic experience.

Perhaps your cat has been attacked while sleeping in the past, or your cat may have had problems with the bed or sleeping position.

Increased hiding behavior of a cat.

Hiding is normal for most cats because during the day, when everything is loud and hot, a cat will always run away and hide for an afternoon nap.

This afternoon the nap is taken on shelves, in the basement, under the bed, in the patio, behind furniture, on scratching posts, in parking lots, etc.

It is normal for a cat to hide when there is noise or heat in the house, but it is not normal for a cat to keep hiding even when everything is quiet and the owner is nearby and the cat is calling.

When a cat continues to hide even though there is nothing to hide, that cat is going through a traumatic experience and at that time that cat needs the help of the owner and the veterinarian.

Dealing with a traumatized cat should be the job of your vet unless your vet tells you otherwise.

So contact your vet if you notice increased hiding behavior in your cat.

Also note if your cat consistently avoids people, places, and things that remind her of the trauma.

Sudden changes in the cat's temperament.

Every cat has unique temperaments or traits associated with it, but a traumatic experience can force a cat to change.

For example, ragdolls aren't aggressive, so you adopted one from somewhere, only to find out that the ragdoll has become aggressive in its new home.

Especially if the cat becomes unnecessarily aggressive when it comes to a certain activity or object.

This is definitely a sign of a traumatic experience with such events or objects.

Constant arousal and fear of a specific place or object

If a cat is always frightened or excited by some object, point, or activity, it is a clear sign that the cat has had a horrible experience with that point or object.

However, to observe this, you need to pay close attention to what activity or object triggered the fear or anxiety.

One of the basic ways to help the cat is to seek help or stop such activities or events and avoid those places.

The cat will constantly try to escape.

A traumatized cat will always try to escape from a traumatic experience.

An indoor cat that wants to go outside is normal, you may not have properly socialized your indoor cat.

(Video) 21 Ways You Are Hurting Your Cat Without Realizing

What is not normal is that your cat wants to run away even though you have made it comfortable, or that your cat tries to jump heights just to get out of the house.

Most traumatized cats who try to escape end up getting hurt, just as a traumatic experience with a human can leave you with reasons not to want to live.

The best way to deal with a traumatic cat is to take him to the vet.

The cat will constantly refuse food.

Refusing a particular food and wanting a different food is normal for most cats. But what is not normal is a cat that refuses to touch or go near food.

A cat may refuse food when sick, but if the cat is not sick and continues to say no to any food you bring with you, both wet and dry, that the cat likes, it is advisable to see your vet for advice.

Refusal to eat is a clear symptom of your cat's traumatic experience or that she is sick, so you should be aware of both.

The cat is becoming more and more aggressive.

Aggressive handling of food or toys is normal as all cats go through this phase in their lives.

As cat owners, we help correct this aggression in the kitten stage.

But what is not normal is for a cat to become unnecessarily aggressive towards anything, even if you are trying to give everything the cat needs to be happy.

If a cat suddenly becomes more aggressive than the normal range you've experienced as a cat owner, it's wise to see a vet.

Or you just got a new cat and the cat becomes aggressive during the day, you need to see a vet.

Or you may come home to find that your cat is not as calm and collected as usual. If all efforts to calm your cat are unsuccessful, it is advisable to consult your veterinarian.

The cat constantly displays avoidance behavior.

When a cat is traumatized, they feel alone in their world and want to be alone at all times, avoiding any contact with people or other pets.

Because of this, cats hide and do not look the owner directly in the eye when called. A traumatized cat will not want to be with you and will not always respond when you call.

This avoidance behavior is actually the main reason a traumatized cat will try or want to escape and die.

The cat becomes increasingly silent, paralyzed, or restless

A traumatized person is always restless and paralyzed when it is not necessary.

Cats are calm pets who feel right at home when they are shown love and care.

Cats are also pets that remember many past events. So if you're getting a new cat and you're sure you've done all the medical tests and the cat is still cold or restless, it's a good idea to see your vet.

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The cat will needlessly scratch the owner over and over again.

Hitting the owner repeatedly is a sign that your cat is trying to convey information to you, but as we know, cats don't talk.

In years of experience with cats, we and other cat owners have observed that if a cat repeatedly hits its owner, it will whine and you should be careful.

If you've been trying to get your cat comfortable and he's still scratching you repeatedly, you should talk to an experienced vet.

We explain the basic symptoms, which is not to say that there are no other symptoms, but we consider them secondary.

Unnecessary excessive vocalization by the cat.

If a cat is making more noise than it used to be, then something is definitely wrong somewhere, so always keep in mind that a can is making a lot of noise all the time.

Traumatic experiences can change the way cats view their new or old surroundings, which can cause them to become unnecessarily noisy.

The cat will be constantly panting and pacing.

Sometimes the panting, howling, and padding can be traced back to a past traumatic event that directly or indirectly affected the cat.

A cat's panting or padding is usually not a serious concern, but when a cat continues even when not needed, it becomes a problem.

This can happen during a particular activity, whether it's seeing an object or other animals, or even hearing a sound. This shows a traumatic experience.

Cat keeps refusing to use the litter box

Refusing to use the litter box is a clear indication that something is wrong and cats are very vulnerable to traumatic experiences.

If you've tried this and your cat still won't use the litter box, consider changing the litter box or position.

You can confirm that your cat doesn't like the litter box by buying a new litter box, that your cat is sick, or that it is a traumatic experience by changing the position of the litter box.

The litter box can be a traumatic experience if the cat keeps running away from it.

Or a specific color or size or design. So try to watch and see if your cat isn't wearing it because of the size or color.

The cat puffs out its fur and tail unnecessarily.

Unnecessary fur or tail blowing does not bode well for cats, as it can sometimes be related to traumatic experiences, such as a fight with another cat.

Swelling of the fur or tail is normal in cats for a number of reasons, but what is not normal is when it is associated with an event.

Pay close attention to what happens when your cat chokes on her fur and repeats the activity or event.

If the cat continues, it is associated with a traumatic experience, you need to stop these activities.

(Video) How to Help Your Scared Cat!

Causes of trauma in cats

In general, trauma in cats is caused by past bad experiences replaying in a cat's mind.

There are many causes of cat trauma, but let's highlight some of the most popular and common ones.

This is what causes trauma in cats;

  • domestic accidents
  • Owner Abuse
  • Jumping from great heights that resulted in injury
  • A deadly fight between the cat and a larger animal.
  • Escape from human traps
  • car accident
  • escape death from the jaws of a predator
  • Fomé
  • abandonment of loved ones
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Bad experience with the vet.

How to heal a traumatized cat

There are basic ways to heal a traumatized cat, and they are as follows:

  • Use of approved veterinary drugs.
  • Visit an animal behaviorist
  • Desensitization and counterconditioning
  • Visit experienced cat owners.

Aside from a visit to the vet, there are many natural ways to heal a traumatized cat and it still works just fine.

Here are natural ways to heal a traumatized cat;

  • Try to find out what led to the traumatic experience.
  • don't yell at the cat
  • Leave the cat alone if it refuses to go
  • don't pet the cat
  • Don't follow the cat up and down
  • If the cat wants to catch you, don't.
  • Provide the cat with a private, noise-free room.
  • Provide an interactive toy such as a moving mouse
  • Remove all suspicious objects from the area.
  • Stop any suspicious activity or event that triggers the experiment.
  • Expose the cat to low levels of the feared stimulus in a safe, non-threatening environment.
  • 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 it comes to a death threat.

A cat can also remember a traumatic event if at some point that event or a closely related event recurs around said cat.

How do I know if my cat is traumatized?

A traumatized cat will always show the following signs: a traumatized cat will have a sudden change in temperament, pacing, screaming too loudly, panting, shaking, hiding, urinating frequently, wanting to escape, and refusing to use the litter box. At this point, he should contact a vet.

How long does it take a cat to get over trauma?

On average, it takes 3-6 weeks for a cat to fully recover from a traumatic event, provided there is no relapse in the animal's behavior therapy or recurrence during the course or periods of recovery therapy. events.

How to socialize a traumatized cat?

Here are common ways to socialize a traumatized cat:
1. Eliminate any triggers for traumatic experiences.
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. If possible, walk the cat.
7. Add a radio or TV for cat company.
8. Respond to all cat aggression with kindness.
9. Play with the cat.

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How can I help my traumatized cat? ›

If you suspect your cat is suffering from a trauma, establishing a calm safe environment for them is critical. This can include pheromone or essential oil therapy in diffusers and playing calming music to muffle loud noises to create a peaceful atmosphere.

How do you tell if a cat is traumatized? ›

If your cat has gone through a harrowing experience, they might feel like they need to be on the defensive all the time in order to be safe. If you find that your cat is particularly aggressive, clawing, scratching, pawing or biting, this is an important note to discuss with your vet since it may be a sign of PTSD.

How long does a cat recover from trauma? ›

Recovery of Soft Tissue Trauma in Cats

It usually takes about one to two weeks for your cat to recover from a soft tissue injury, but you should restrict activity until several days after limping is gone.

How do I apologize to my cat? ›

Offer Affection and Praise

You can say the words, “I'm sorry,” but a more effective strategy when apologizing to cats is to offer them lots of love. Scratch them in their favorite spot and tell them how wonderful they are.

How do I know if my cat is seriously hurt? ›

Cats who are painful may withdraw from their usual family interactions, may become less engaged in their surroundings, and may start hiding. You may notice decreased eating and/or drinking. You may also notice changes in sleeping patterns. Some may sleep more, while others may sleep less.

What does a cat in shock look like? ›

Signs of shock include rapid breathing (which may be noisy), rapid heart rate with a weak pulse, pale mucous membranes (gums, lips, under eyelids), severe depression (listlessness), and cool extremities (limbs and ears). Your cat may vomit.

How long does it take for a scared cat to trust you? ›

Socializing Shy Cats

Each step will need at least 3-5 sessions before progressing to the next step, and make sure the cat is 100% comfortable before moving to the next level. The entire process can take anywhere from several weeks to more than a year…but it will all be worth it in the end!

What happens if a cat gets too scared? ›

When frightened, some cats may hide, try to appear smaller, pull their ears back and be immobile. Other cats may show signs of agitation or aggression, such as dilated pupils, arched back, pilo-erection (hair standing on end), and hissing.

Can cats survive trauma? ›

Recovery of Head Trauma in Cats

Every incident of head trauma is unique, so there's no way to determine what the survival rate is for cats. However, if your cat's head trauma is not severe and his condition does not worsen in the first 24 hours, this is a good sign your cat will recover.

How long will a cat stay scared? ›

Some cats may take a week; others may take months, depending on the individual personalities. Bring your fearful cat home to a secluded room set up specifically for the cat.

Should I comfort a scared cat? ›

Respect Your Cat's Space

Although it might make you feel better, resist the urge to pick up or cuddle a frightened cat. “Forcing interactions on a nervous cat is never, ever a good idea,” says Nicole Larocco-Skeehan, a certified animal trainer and behavior consultant and owner of pet training facility Philly Unleashed.

Does catnip relieve stress in cats? ›

Given that catnip can have a calming, soothing effect, it can be used to: help reduce a cat's stress and anxiety when going to the vet, help reduce stress when traveling, help with urinary issues (note that stress is a major contributing factor to urinary obstruction in cats!).

Will catnip calm a cat? ›

Catnip can calm and soothe some cats. As an herb, catnip is easy to grow at home. If you grow it, you may find your kitty indulging in it at intervals throughout the day and maybe even chewing on it. For the most part, it's a fairly harmless indulgence.

What does anxiety in cats look like? ›

If your cat has anxiety, you may notice pacing or restlessness, hiding, decreased appetite, vocalization, hypervigilance, trembling, salivation, and excessive grooming.

What does stress look like in cats? ›

Signs of stressed cats can include: becoming more withdrawn or hiding more than usual. becoming less tolerant of people. hesitating or becoming reluctant to use the litter tray, go through the cat flap or sit on your lap.

Can you hurt a cat's feelings? ›

Famously independent, sometimes falsely assumed to be immune to feelings, cats are in truth super-sensitive to emotions, sound, and stress. Perhaps because felines lack the eager-to-please openness of their canine colleagues, humans overlook the big and small ways they can break a cat's spirit.

Do cats remember past trauma? ›

Overhead movements or certain noises may frighten an abused cat, triggering a long-term memory of prior trauma. It's possible your cat will carry that unpleasant memory for the rest of his life. On a more positive note, cats are able to remember their cat parents, even when they've gone away for a time and return.

How do cats say they miss you? ›

Signs that your cat has missed you

Affectionate behaviour and extra purring! A good sign that your cat is happy you're back is if they show physical affection such as head butting, purring, rubbing against you and stretching. Shadowing behaviour.

Do cats stay mad at you? ›

“Cats don't forgive, and once they realize a person is causing them anxiety or hurt, they keep away.” So says John Bradshaw, an anthrozoologist at Bristol University and author of “Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet.”

Do cats ever say sorry? ›

But as it turns out, science shows us that cats are much more complex and emotionally attuned than we give them credit for. They may not say sorry the same way a human would. But they do apologise, in their own way.

How does a cat sit when in pain? ›

A cat in pain may express themselves in the following ways:

The cat may sit hunched over with their head lowered and back curved higher than normal. The cat may appear as if they are trying to curl up in a tight ball.

How can you tell if a cat is heartbroken? ›

Signs of a Depressed Cat

Changes in body language, including ears held back, tucked tail, and hairs standing on end. Meowing more or less than usual or making low-pitched, mournful meows. Lack of energy or a decrease in activity level. Retreating from humans or other family pets.

How do you know if your cat is crying for help? ›

Signs Of Obvious Distress

Cats are typically very stoic animals, so if your cat suddenly seems to be in distress, it is a cause for concern. Howling, crying, hiding, and otherwise acting in a way that is out of character for your pet should alert you that something may be seriously wrong.

What three clinical signs do cats commonly exhibit in shock? ›

Symptoms of Shock in Cats

The majority of cats suffering from shock exhibit the following hallmarks: Hypothermia (low body temperature, <97 F) Bradycardia (low heart rate, <140 beats per minute) Hypotension (abnormally low blood pressure, <100 mmHg systolic)

How do I bring my cat back to life? ›

Compress the chest at a depth of half an inch, at an approximate rate of 120 beats per minute or two per second. Cover the cat's entire nose and the front of its muzzle with your lips. Gently exhale with adequate force to cause your cat's chest to rise. Perform approximately one rescue breath per 12 compressions.

How to discipline a cat? ›

Toys that can be chased, swatted, and batted should be provided. Species appropriate punishment such as “hissing” or the use of punishment devices such as a water sprayer, can of compressed air, or hand held alarm are better than using any physical techniques since they are less likely to lead to fear and retaliation.

Will my cat ever stop being scared? ›

If you have a skittish adult cat, it will take some time to get them comfortable around visitors. A gradual approach and rewards may help a shy cat. If possible, have a friend come over to play the part of a visitor. The goal is to reward your cat for staying calm in the presence of a stranger.

Where do cats go when they are scared? ›

The most common places for cats to hide are in closets, under beds, in basements, and in laundry rooms. Under and behind large objects are favorite spots too. Cats seem to go to the farthest point from scary sounds, so keep that in mind.

Can cats sense if you're scared? ›

In a research made by Nottingham Trent University, the findings show that cats are able to determine when their humans are anxious or stressed. Apart from this, they can also mirror their human's emotions and well-being.

What do cats fear the most? ›

In the home, cats are often scared of noisy household appliances, especially if they didn't become accustomed to them as young kittens. Vacuum cleaners, lawnmowers, printers, washing machines and hairdryers are common culprits.

What are cats worst fears? ›

Loud Noises

Of all the cat fears, this one probably is the most relatable. Sudden loud noises can really startle your cat and cause them to either jump or go run and hide for a while. Things like the vacuum cleaner tend to trigger a cat's anxiety and send them to their favorite hiding spots.

Can cats cry? ›

Cats don't cry tears when they're sad or in pain. But Halls says whether your cat is experiencing emotional or physical pain, they'll exhibit behavioral changes that could include vocal crying. The sound of a cat crying is typically longer in duration and lower in frequency than day-to-day cat chatter.

Do cats can heal themselves? ›

Cats are well-known for their ability to heal quickly from their own broken bones, and the incidences of joint problems and bone cancer in cats are low.

What is cat stupor? ›

Marginal Consciousness and Complete Unconsciousness in Cats. The term stupor is used if an animal is unconscious but can be aroused with very strong external stimulus, whereas a patient that is in a coma will remain unconscious even if the same level of external stimulus is applied.

How do you massage a cat with anxiety? ›

Stroking involves running the hands with light to medium pressure over the cat from the head to the tail and down each of the limbs. By opening the massage with long, light-touch stroking, we can help relax the cat and set the stage for the rest of the massage.

What music do cats like? ›

The cats reacted most positively to classical music, followed by pop. Heavy metal, though, raised their heart rate and increased their pupil size; in other words, rock music stressed them out. As for when to play music for your kitty, any time is a good time.

Should I let my cat hide when scared? ›

Should I help my cat hide for comfort? Hiding places are one of your cat's basic needs. Providing a selection of possible options, such as some open cupboard doors, areas under beds, cardboard boxes and gaps behind sofas will give your cat a choice of places to go when they feel scared.

How do you know if your cat is traumatized? ›

If your cat has gone through a harrowing experience, they might feel like they need to be on the defensive all the time in order to be safe. If you find that your cat is particularly aggressive, clawing, scratching, pawing or biting, this is an important note to discuss with your vet since it may be a sign of PTSD.

How can I help my cat with emotional distress? ›

If you see that your cat is getting stressed, then make sure they have a quiet, safe place to go indoors or in the garden. Spend some time playing with your cat, especially if outdoor access is restricted. Food activity toys are a great way for them to get mental and physical stimulation.

What are signs of brain damage in cats? ›

Some of the more common symptoms include:
  • Seizures.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Abnormal posture or irregular movements.
  • Ear or nose bleed.
  • Bleeding inside the eye (involving the retina)
  • Bluish discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes (cyanosis); a sign that oxygen in the blood is dangerously diminished.

Can cats get emotionally hurt? ›

Famously independent, sometimes falsely assumed to be immune to feelings, cats are in truth super-sensitive to emotions, sound, and stress. Perhaps because felines lack the eager-to-please openness of their canine colleagues, humans overlook the big and small ways they can break a cat's spirit.

What calms cats down? ›

Use Calming Essential Oils

Johnson recommends scents such as honeysuckle and lavender, which can have a calming effect on cats. “At the vet practice, when we have an aggressive cat in the exam room, we'll put a couple of drops of lavender oil on a paper towel, so it's just airing in the exam room,” she says.

What smells calm cats? ›

Lavender, which has natural sedative properties, may help soothe an anxious cat. Copaiba, helichrysum, and frankincense are also considered safe for cats. Before using essential oils, even in the form of diffused scents, around your cats, check with your holistic veterinarian for recommendations.

What does a cat in distress look like? ›

Cats who are painful may withdraw from their usual family interactions, may become less engaged in their surroundings, and may start hiding. You may notice decreased eating and/or drinking. You may also notice changes in sleeping patterns. Some may sleep more, while others may sleep less.

What happens if a cat gets scared? ›

When frightened, some cats may hide, try to appear smaller, pull their ears back and be immobile. Other cats may show signs of agitation or aggression, such as dilated pupils, arched back, pilo-erection (hair standing on end), and hissing.


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