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 insecurity issues.
1. Biting, Clawing, And Hissing
An aggressive cat may not be angry or mean; they may just be insecure.
Some cats overcompensate for insecurity by trying to make themselves the meanest thing in the room. Think of it like a bully who only hurts other people so they won’t be hurt first.
A cat who’s always hissing and scratching at you might actually just be really scared.
2. 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 their home, they may start marking everything with urine.
Before deciding the problem is insecurity, take them to the vet to get checked for a urinary tract infection. Sick cats can also develop new habits of peeing in inappropriate places.
3. Hiding Under Your Furniture
This one’s a little more obvious. If kitty is always hiding under your furniture–for example, cowering in a small opening under your couch–you’ve probably 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 is only hiding for a peaceful sleep or if they seem to be hiding all the time.
4. Meowing Excessively
Excessive 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 they’re insecure or just bored.
5. Tail Down
If your cat is walking with their tail down, this can be a sign of insecurity. A secure, confident cat will usually walk with their tail held proudly in the air, sticking straight up or slightly curved at the end.
An insecure cat keeps their tail low or tucked between their legs. They may also slink when they walk, keeping their body close to the ground as if they’re trying to hide.
6. Dilated Pupils
Dilated pupils can indicate that something’s wrong. If kitty is insecure or scared, their pupils may dilate so they can observe more from their environment.
In contrast, an angry cat who’s ready to fight will narrow their 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 is insecure.
What Should You Do?
If your cat is insecure, try adding some cat trees and towers that kitty can perch on and know are theirs and theirs 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 is safe.
Do you have an insecure cat at home? How do you keep them comfortable? Let us know in the comments below!