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Cats thrive on feeling safe and secure. When their security disappears, a lot of behavior problems can suddenly appear, seemingly out of nowhere. You might be surprised to learn that an insecure cat won’t necessarily just always hide in a corner. In fact, some insecure cats become more aggressive to make up for their feelings of inferiority! The following are some major signs that your cat may be dealing with security issues.
Biting, Clawing, and Hissing
An aggressive cat may not be angry or mean, she may just be insecure. Some cats overcompensate for insecurity by trying to make themselves the meanest person in the room. Think of it like a bully who only hurts other people so he won’t be hurt first. A cat who’s always hissing and scratching at you might actually just be really scared.
Peeing All Over the House
Inappropriate elimination is a classic sign of insecurity in cats. Cats mark their territories with urine as a sign of ownership to other pets in the house and even strays wandering around outside. If kitty feels insecure about her home, she may start marking everything with urine. Before deciding the problem is insecurity, take her to the vet and get her checked for a urinary tract infection. Sick cats can also develop a new habit of peeing in inappropriate places.
Hiding Under Your Furniture
This one’s a little more obvious. If kitty is always hiding under your furniture, such as cowering in a small opening under your couch, you’ve got an insecure cat. Some cats will hide in couches, chairs, or even under blankets when a new person comes to visit. However, hiding isn’t always a sign of insecurity. Some cats may burrow under your favorite comforter when they just want to sleep undisturbed. Take note if kitty’s only hiding for a peaceful sleep or if she seems to be hiding all the time.
Excess vocalization can be a sign of insecurity or boredom. Cats who are insecure may feel the constant need to get your attention by meowing. They may experience separation anxiety if you lock them out of your bedroom while you’re sleeping, which can lead to their meowing non-stop at your door. Watch your cat’s other actions and body posture to determine if she’s insecure or just bored.
If your cat is walking with her tail down, this can be a sure sign of insecurity. A secure, confident cat will walk with her tail held proudly in the air, sticking straight up or slightly curved at the end. An insecure cat keeps her tail low or tucked between her legs. She may also slink when she walks, keeping her body close to the ground as if she’s trying to hide.
Dilated pupils can indicate that something’s wrong. If kitty’s insecure or scared, her pupils may dilate so she can observe more from her environment. In contrast, an angry cat that’s ready to fight will narrow its eyes. Of course, a change in lighting can also affect your cat’s pupil size, so don’t go by pupil size alone when determining if your cat’s insecure.
What Do You Do?
If your cat’s insecure, try adding some cat trees and towers that kitty can perch on and know are “hers and hers alone.” Add catnip and cat toys to give your cat a feeling of ownership in certain spaces in the house. Bonding with your cat can also decrease insecurity, so pick up a cat wand and play with your cat every day. You can also purchase cat diffusers that emit scents that mimic calming pheromones. These can signal to kitty that everything’s safe.