Many people are frightened by a severe thunderstorm with its flashes of lightning, crashing thunder, strong winds, and dark skies. Many animals are also affected by anxiety when it comes to thunderstorms. Though thunderstorm anxiety is mostly seen in dogs, many cats also experience it. Your cat may find a hiding place, pace, or tremble in fear. All of these reactions point to thunderstorm anxiety. So, what can you do to help your cat with their thunderstorm anxiety?
The best way to help your cat is through avoidance. If your cat hides in an area that makes them feel safe, let them ride out the storm there. Another option is using desensitization. The easiest way to do this is by playing a recording of distant thunder, then rewarding your cat if he or she stays calm. Through the exposure, your cat will be gradually retrained to respond calmly to the stimulus.
Some cat owners have found that mild cases of thunderstorm anxiety can be helped with natural remedies. There are many natural calming aids available on the market today to help your cat with thunderstorm anxiety. Many essential oils can be used to help your cat stay calm during a thunderstorm as well. A simple search online can help you find mixes that have been proven to help cats with their anxiety.
Regardless of what you decide to use to help your cat with thunderstorm anxiety, remaining calm yourself is the best way to help your cat stay calm. Pets are great at picking up on our emotions, so if you are anxious, they will also be anxious. You may be tempted to pick up your cat and cuddle him or her during a thunderstorm, but when you do so, you are rewarding the behavior. Instead, it is better to give them a safe and familiar place where your cat can ride the storm out.
If your cat has a severe case of thunderstorm anxiety, you need to discuss it with your veterinarian. They can provide prescriptions for antidepressant or anti-anxiety medications that will help your cat stay calm during thunderstorms.
My boy, Oscar, hates thunderstorms. Any time a thunderstorm comes, I find him under my bed. Many times, I have set near my bed to try and comfort him, but it never helps. Now, I just leave him alone and let him ride the storm out under my bed. Once the storm has passed, he comes out and is back to his feisty self. The other two cats could care less about a thunderstorm. To them, it’s just another day and another event.