A recent viral TikTok video offers a captivating glimpse into feline behavior. The video, posted by Dani (@lempikkkaaleinad), shows a ginger cat appearing terrified of a newly installed ceiling fan, garnering over 4.8 million views. The feline whimpered and buried its face into its owner’s arms upon glancing at the spinning fixture. While the cat’s reaction may have melted viewers’ hearts, it also raises important discussions on pet fear and phobia.
when your apartments install a new fan and now one of our cats is terrified 😭🤍 #fyp #catmom #catsoftiktok #catlover #cattok #orangecat
Animals, like humans, can exhibit fear or phobic responses towards specific stimuli, including people, objects, sounds, or environments. For cats, signs of fear can include specific facial expressions, raised fur (piloerection), and high-pitched vocalizations.
Kenneth Martin, Debra Horwitz, and Gary Landsberg, veterinarians at VCA Animal Hospitals, note that professional intervention may be required to prevent a pet’s fearful behavior from escalating. They also suggest using positive reinforcement training, such as offering treats in the fear-inducing setting, to help pets associate the situation with positive experiences.
However, they caution against excessive coddling, as it could inadvertently reinforce the fear response. Instead, a pet should be taught not to be afraid of the stimuli, avoiding codependent behaviors.
What causes fear and phobia in cats? It may stem from an early unpleasant experience, but it could also result from a lack of exposure to certain stimuli during the cat’s sensitive period of development (up to two months of age). This reminder underlines the importance of nurturing a safe, varied environment for our pets to grow, promoting their mental and emotional well-being alongside their physical health.
We encourage everyone thinking of getting a pet to only adopt instead of shopping. Read more resources about adopting animals on One Green Planet, including 7 Reasons to Adopt Your Next Furry Best Friend, 5 Reasons Why Everyone Should Adopt a Pet, and These Heartwarming Before and After Pictures of Adopted Rescue Animals Will Make Your Day! Read tips for pet adoptions and what to consider before adopting an animal. We recommend using these apps to find shelter dogs near you!
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