Scaredy Cats - what are cats afraid of?
With most cats strutting round as if they owned the place the majority of the time, you might find it hard to believe that there are several things guaranteed to get them hot-footing it up the nearest tree.
The term “scaredy-cat” wasn’t coined for nothing, however, so here is a rundown of common cat-spookers and the reason why they can cause your feline to freak-out.
The internet sensation of 2015, videos of cats leaping in the air when confronted by a cucumber whilst eating, are still in plentiful supply online, poor things.
The extreme startled response serves a practical use; it is intended to get your cat as far away from a potential source of danger as quickly as possible.
There are several theories behind why the elongated vegetable triggers this response, however. Many experts believe that sneaking up and putting anything on the floor whilst your cat is busy with the food bowl would cause the same reaction.
Others believe that, at first glance, your furry friend may mistake it for a snake, inducing a sudden natural urge to get as far away from it as possible!
Another food likely to send your cat leaping in the air is the humble banana, and your moggy doesn’t even need to be munching down on his dinner at the time.
Their strong dislike of the yellow fruit is thought to be due to the chemical ethyl acetate, which is emitted by the skin, and has a distinct acetone element to its odour – a smell which cats find repulsive.
This aversion can be put to good use, however – some owners swear by rubbing banana skins on items of wooden furniture that they would like their cats to keep away from.
Most people know that cats and water are not best friends, many may not know why.
Cats are genetically programmed to avoid getting wet, as their fur is not designed to get damp. Wet fur is uncomfortable and adds weight to their delicate frame. It also causes a smell, and if there’s one thing that cats are acutely aware of, it’s odours!
Whether it’s a hairdryer, a balloon popping or the vacuum cleaner, most moggies will make a sharp exit to a place of safety if they hear a loud noise.
Whilst no-one tends to be fans of sudden noisy bangs, there is also a biological reason behind your cat’s keen dislike of them. Your pet’s ears are designed to pick up on subtle sounds, and can hear up to 100,000 hertz, whilst we humans can only hear 20,000.
Consider how loud things like fireworks can be to us, and magnify that by five. No wonder they react as they do!
We have all seen our furry friends casually strolling through the house, then encountering a mirror and – bam! They jump a few feet in the air then puff themselves up whilst hissing viciously at the image of themselves.
The explanation for this is pretty simple. Cats don’t recognise their own reflection so it’s as if an intruder has magically appeared right in front of them, and the natural instinct to defend their territory kicks in.
You’ll notice, however, that your puss will quite quickly back down from the Me vs. Me confrontation. This is because they rely quite heavily on their sense of smell to identify other cats, so once they realise that the invader has no scent, they will just ignore the kitty in the mirror as it doesn’t pose any threat.
While your cat’s reaction to unintentional scare triggers may seem harmless, it is not a good idea to stage a scenario to scare your beloved pet on purpose. The extreme fear reaction can be quite stressful for cats, and causing our moggies any unnecessary stress is never a good thing.
Have you noticed anything else unusual that scares our feline friends? Please let our community know so we can do our best to keep our cats happy: facebook.com/hilifecat, Twitter@hilifecat or instagram.com/hilifepets/
7 November 2017
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