Just like many humans are scared of loud noises, all cats will have some normal fear when they hear a noise that is strange, sudden, and loud. It is a natural thing for them to feel that way and part of their survival instinct. However, there are some cats that seem to be really sensitive to noise or will seem to overexaggerate their responses when they hear some sounds.
For example, there are some cats that will become scared when they hear someone knocking on the door or the doorbell ringing. Learning how to help them be comfortable around any noise that may scare them can really help them live a happier life. PS. Learn about common ear problems in cats here.
Behavior Modification is a Great Start
One of the best ways to help your cat deal with any loud noises that are scaring them is to work with behavior modification. This will help your cat become more comfortable with the sound so they aren’t as skittish. Before you start, make sure that your home is open and inviting to the cat. If they are not comfortable in your home yet, then all the work you do with behavior modification will not work.
Once the cat is comfortable in your home outside of hearing the noises that scare them, you can work with behavior modification. The idea here is that, over time, you will help your cat get used to noises that alarm them until they can hear the noise without fear. If you want to work through more than one noise, start with the one that causes the most anxiety and do them one at a time.
The way to work through behavior modification with your cat includes:
Decrease the Sound Volume
The first step is to decrease the sound of whatever sound makes your cat nervous. You can do this with muffling if you can cover up the sound with a pillow or a heavy blanket. You can then slowly uncover the sound as your cat gets more comfortable with it. Distance works too as you can just move the cat away from the sound that causes them problems. Or you can use a tape recording and change up the volume.
Find the Right Distance
You can then start the work by picking the distance or the volume that you can have the sound without your cat showing anxiety or aggression when they hear it. Keep moving it further away, or decreasing the volume, until the cat seems calm. You can play the sound there a few times before moving it closer over time. Eventually you will have the sound near the cat at normal volume and they will be fine.
Back the Sound Up
Your goal is to slowly move the sound closer to the cat and make it louder as you go. However, if you notice that your cat starts to get really anxious, then you need to take a step back and not force it on them. You can slowly move it back and watch how well the anxiety goes down. You would need to start your next session at this spot and use extra treats and attention as you work to move it a little closer too. Only decrease the noise or move it further away in small increments so you don’t ruin all of your progress.
Be Patient with this Process
One thing to remember as you work through this is that your cat may need a bit of time to get over this fear. The progress is not going to happen overnight so don’t be surprised when it seems to take forever. If it doesn’t seem to be getting better over time, you may need to consider some anti-anxiety medications to help make this a little bit easier. Your vet can also answer any questions to help you decrease anxiety in your cat.
It is normal for your cat to feel a little skittish and anxious around loud and sudden noises. Sometimes the issue gets out of hand and your cat will be scared of any noise that happens around the home. Working with behavior modification can make this a little bit easier and will help your cat feel more comfortable in their own home.