Fear Free Techniques for Cats

Do you have a perplexing cat? Does he avoid eye contact, pull his tail close to his body, or flatten his ears? These behaviors can be due to stress and environmental factors. And you can do something about that. You can register for the Fear Free Pet Behavior Symposium!

By recognizing our pet’s physical and emotional well-being, we can proactively decrease their stress and improve how we interact in their lives.

We know how to meet the basic needs of our pets with healthy food, clean water, shelter, and access to veterinary care. At the SF SPCA, we are committed to caring and treating animals both physically and emotionally and we are now incorporating Fear Free practices into our hospitals and behavior programs. Here are tips you can incorporate at home.

  1. Give Your Cat Somewhere to Hide: Make sure your cat has a safe space to hide from view. This reduces stress by ensuring she can retreat here to find comfort.
  2. Provide a Post for Scratching and Climbing:Set up a scratching post and experiment with different designs and textures to discover what your cat loves. There are horizontal and vertical options, along with posts covered in a variety of textures. Your cat will have a natural inclination to climb (in the wild, cats climb for safety), but you can encourage interaction with the cat tree by spraying it with stress-reducing pheromones like Adaptil, which is available in our online pharmacy.
  3. Make Eating an Enriching Activity: Cats are both prey and predator, so hunting food is a natural instinct. You can stimulate their mind, senses, and body by turning mealtime into a game. Start by setting out multiple bowls in the space where your cat normally eats, with each bowl holding a portion of a whole meal. When your cat begins to understand that each bowl has a reward, she’ll be interested in exploring more.Begin to place the bowls farther apart; this encourages your cat’s instinct to hunt, gives her more control over the process of eating, and keeps her mind alert. When your cat is engaged and confident, fear and anxiety lessen. She will enjoy finding each bowl and getting her reward.

Register for the Fear Free Pet Behavior Symposium hosted by the SF SPCA!

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