The thunderstorm phobia in cats is the extreme fear which reacts back to the storm conditions like thunder, heavy rain, lightning, and strong winds. Because as you know, thunderstorms are bright, loud, and sudden, and they can easily alarm everyone which, include the nervous cat. The cats that have thunderstorm phobia will become suddenly anxious after they hear the sound of a storm, and their sense will change in barometric pressure during and before the storm.
Symptoms of Thunderstorm Phobia in Cats:
- Increased vocalizing
- Inappropriate urination
- Acting restless
- Decreased appetite
- Increased heart rate
- Destructive behavior
Causes of Thunderstorm Phobia in Cats:
The cats that have thunderstorm phobia will respond to the storm with fear of loud and unexpected flashes of lights and unexpected noises. Cats are also very sensitive like other animals, and they detect subtle changes in the atmospheric pressure that are entered by thunderstorms.
There are a few cats that are unknown, neglectful, and abusive backgrounds who are also more fearful of storms and loud noises that are triggering to them. The cats tend to have a straight response in unusual conditions. If there is a history of neglect, confinement, or a situation where a cat is not able to escape, it may irritate the potential for phobias to develop.
How Veterinarians Diagnose Thunderstorm Phobia in Cats:
Veterinarians diagnose thunderstorm phobia in cats through:
- Asked about the history of the cat, which has suspected storm fear.
- Performing the complete physical exam to rule out the other disease and ailments. If you notice that your cat is hiding more than normal and it will not act like itself for a long period of time, then there might be a medical issue with your cat.
- You need to order the blood test to analyze if there are changes in red and/or white blood cell numbers and elevated blood sugar in cats.
- The Increases in white and red blood cell counts can create in times of stress, although increased red blood cell counts secondary to stress are more typical and common in dogs
- High blood glucose is extremely common in stressed cats
Treatment of Thunderstorm Phobia in Cats:
The treatment of thunderstorm phobia in cats includes:
- Prescription medications like trazodone, gabapentin, and acepromazine all typically have sedative effects
- OTC supplements like oral calming treats and chews contain tryptophan, Zylkene, hemp, and colostrum.
Tryptophan is a building block for serotonin and melatonin; both can cause relaxation and sleepiness. Regarding Zylkene, research has been done on a chemical found in mothers’ milk that could help neonates relax after nursing.
On the other hand, the use of hemp is still get researched in cats; it might have calming effects that act on receptors in the brain. Although, the use of hemp in animals like dogs and cats is still controversial to many veterinarians. There has been some research on colostrum to analyze if it has a calming effect, but it might help alleviate anxiety-related digestion issues.
Ways to Calm Thunderstorm Phobia in Cats
In addition, the treatment plan might include medication, and there are a few additional ways through which you can help to calm your cat that, include:
- You can use feline pheromone-based calming diffusers. The Feliway is a diffuser that is plugged into the electrical outlet and gives out the pheromone into a small space.
- Use compression vests, the Thunder Shirt is a compression vest that develops a security blanket to keep your cat calm and relaxed.
- Making a small and silent safe space where your cat can take refuge with a favorite bed, blanket, toy, and treat.
- If your cat is scared, then you can be cuddling up with it in a quiet room
Recovery and Management of Thunderstorm Phobia in Cats:
Although there are some cats that might become fully desensitized to thunderstorms after receiving treatment. On the other hand, there are cats that may have a lifelong phobia.
It is Beneficial to be consistent with the approach that you choose to calm your cat and keep implementing it. It is equally important to try multiple approaches, which we recommend above in this article. This will be done in a situation where one approach will not work.
Thunderstorm phobia in cats is a common and normal fear that can create through various symptoms such as increased vocalization, shaking, panting, and hiding. While the exact causes of this phobia are unknown, some cats may have a history of neglect, confinement, or abusive backgrounds.
Veterinarians can diagnose this phobia by performing physical exams and blood tests. The treatment of thunderstorm phobia in cats includes prescription medications and OTC supplements. Additionally, there are several ways to calm your cat during a thunderstorm, such as using feline pheromone-based calming diffusers, compression vests, and creating a safe space.
It is important to be consistent with the chosen approach and try multiple options if necessary. With proper care and management, cats with thunderstorm phobia can lead a happy and stress-free life.
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