How to Stop Your Cat Being Scared of Other Cats Outside

scared cat

Seeing that your cat scared of other cats when they go out can raise some concern. It’s normal to feel this way, especially that cats are considered social animals. If your cat is experiencing this dilemma, this article will tell you everything you need to know as well as the best solution for this problem.

The main things to do are:

  • If your cat is scared of a bully cat, do things so it stays away from your property
  • Find out what distance from other cats it can cope with
  • Desensitize your cat being scared with training, slowly introducing it to other cats at closer and closer distances
  • Don’t punish or force your cat

Your cat’s fear of other cats outside might be due to different roots and scenarios. Below are the two of the most common scenarios many cat owners are dealing with. See which one applies to your situation and learn what you can do with it.


SCENARIO 1: Your Cat Just SUDDENLY Afraid to Go Out Because Of A Particular Cat

evil cat

If your cat was a social butterfly that used to enjoy exploring outside, and all of a sudden, a certain cat started visiting your property, scaring your cat into hiding, then, the problem is not your cat, but that another cat lurking outside!

Cats can be aggressive and extremely territorial, particularly male ones. Here are some things you can do to prevent other cats from coming to your property:


Speak to Your Neighbor

Many owners let their cats venture outdoors to let them do whatever they want to do. However, while the cat is out and about doing its cat thing adventures, the owners likely have no idea where they go.

If other people’s cat happen to be causing trouble in your property, you must not be afraid to raise this concern to them. Once the owner understands your problem with their feline, they might fortunately limit their cat’s outdoor time or might even stop letting it go outside.


Use Water Squirt to Shoo Them Away

Let that stray cat know that it is not welcome to your property by squirting its water using a water pistol. You should make your yard unappealing to unappealing visitors, and they will stop coming in.

Simply splashing stranger cats with water would be the best solution in this situation as this doesn’t hurt them.

You will see that when that particular cat stops coming around, your cat will eventually regain its confidence.


Add Remote a Deterrent to Your Yard

The option above of spraying the cat outside with water might sound good, but what if you’re not always there to stop the culprit from coming and scaring your cat? A remote deterrent would be helpful.

Unlike using a water gun, this device is triggered by motion sensors. When a cat trips these  sensor, the device emits water or a loud noise that scare away the cat.

Cats hate being startled, so when they like visiting your propertly and constantly get greeted by a deterrent, they’re likely to stop coming back over and over.


SCENARIO 2: Your Cat Doesn’t Want to Go Out AT ALL Since It Saw Other Cats

If you think the problem is deeper than the situation mentioned in the first scenario, there are treatments you can do to help your cat become more social and not afraid of exploring outdoors.

Treatment for Fear and Anxiety in Cats That Are Afraid to Go Outside


Solution 1: Desensitization

Desensitization is one of the most effective ways to help your cat with its fear of other cats outside your house.


What is Desensitization in Cat?

Desensitization is a process used in animals to improve their behavior and disposition towards the stimulus. Desensitization is often used together with counterconditioning to be effective.

The main goal of this practice is to mend an animal’s reaction when it encounters things that threaten it.

By using this procedure on your cat, you will be able to make your cat understand that fight or flight behaviors are unnecessary reactions when it sees other cats outside.


Important Things to Know Before Getting Started in This Process

Before starting this exercise, it’s important to give your cat enough space to retreat in case it gets intimidated and wants to withdraw. It’s best to start this off indoors, but you can give your cat space such as cat trees, boxes, or shelves where it can jump and hide to feel safe. You must also want to make sure that you have closed all doorways and windows.


Step-by-Step Desensitization Process

Step 1: Teach your cat some basic commands

giving cat treat

The first step is to be able to learn how to control your cat. You can do this by putting a harness on your cat, and if necessary, putting it in a crate. Just like dogs, cats can also be trained on how to respond to basic commands in exchange for treats. You can teach your cat how to sit, stay, and the like.

The goal of this training is to teach your cat to trust you. It will help your positive reactions and facial expressions whenever it performs certain tasks or actions.

Step 2: Determine the safe distance

The thing is, your cat is not just solely afraid of cats outside, it’s just scared of animals that it is not familiar with (whether the other cat is inside or outside the house).

This is why it’s important to determine the distance your cat can feel comfortable to be from its fear stimulus without reacting fearfully.

Step 3: Put your cat to the test

Introduce the other cat at this distance while you are giving your cat some treats and praises. Slowly move the other cat closer while still praising your cat and give it treats.

If your cat shows fear throughout this process, you might have done it too quickly. In this case, you might have to start over again. It’s okay and pretty normal, especially if it’s your first time. You just have to remember that this process takes a lot of patience.  

You have to note that if your cat acts afraid throughout the process, the stimuli are too much for it, and you want to stop. Again, patience is the key. And over time, you can present the fear stimulus at a closer distance.

Take It Easy

Again, you have to keep in mind that it will take a lot of time and patience to break your cat’s fear of other cats outside. It’s as stressful for them as it is for you. Don’t expect that it will be able to easily understand something just because you can.

You might be able to encourage interaction by using a soft voice and offering positive remarks without pushing it. Over time, when done right, your cat will learn that other cats outside are not all threats.


Solution 2: Let an Expert Help You

cat expert

If you did the process over and over but it didn’t work, you might want to get help with the desensitization process from an animal-behavior expert. Furthermore, there are cases where fear in cats can be a sign of a serious health condition.

Go ahead and schedule an appointment with a vet to put your cat in an in-depth physical examination. This will reveal any medical reasons on your cat – if there’s any – that induce your cat’s behavior.  

Cats don’t get sick to often, but when they do, it’s easy to see on their behavior, such as showing sudden aggression and fear.

On the other hand, if you find out that your cat is hiding, it’s better to leave them alone. When it’s ready, it will come out on its own will. You are just making them more afraid by forcing them to do things against their will.

Moreover, drug therapy prescribed by a vet would be useful in reducing fears when the stimulus is around. So, don’t be afraid to ask about possible drug therapies with your veterinarian.

Generally, drug therapy is not used forever, as it can lead to side effects.


What Not to Do When Mending Your Cat’s Fear with Other Cats

  • Don’t punish your cat just because it is showing fearful behavior, there are many other ways to discipline your cat properly. Keep in mind that just like humans, cats experience distress that they have no control over. In fact, punishing them might even make things worse. This will make your cat more afraid and confused as to why you are punishing it.
  • Don’t push and force your cat to face the situation that’s triggering its fear. If your cat is afraid to go out, the worst thing you can do its pick it up, put it outside, and close the door – that is just cruel! You are making things harder for it.
  • Don’t think that your cat will never bite you. When a cat is fearful, it may unintentionally direct its aggression toward you, so you have to be careful when handling it.


How to Tell If Your Cat Is Afraid?

aggressive cat

Each cat has its unique ways of dealing with stressful situations. Just like other animals, fight, or flight is their common response to fear.

Here are the behaviors your cat may show when it is scare of other cats outside:

  • Aggression (which includes biting, hissing, arching back, scratching, etc.) 
  • Fleeing away
  • Freezing in place
  • Hiding
  • Peeing/Pooing in place


Why Cats are Scared of other Cats?

There are a lot of possible reasons as to why your cat might be experiencing fear and anxiety when having an encounter with other cats outside. Here are the most common reasons:

  • Limited exposure to other cats

When cats are not exposed to other animals since they were young, they may develop a fear of other animals and particularly cats for that matter.

  • Previous bad experience

Just like people, cats can also experience trauma due to past experiences. They might have had previous fights with other cats that they are scared to happen again.

  • Genetic and early environment factors

These also play contributing factors as to why your cat might be fearful of other cats outside. Some cats are simply inherently fearful and timid. There are cats that may never become extremely sociable and outgoing.

Furthermore, poor maternal care and poor nutrition while they are still little kittens can also negatively affect the cat’s emotional and physical development.


And finally

patient cat owner

Regardless of what scenario you are dealing with, the solutions mentioned above work more effectively when done together with patience and consideration.

You must also always keep in mind that it’s important not to push your scared cat into situations that make it even more uncomfortable. By doing it right, you will find that in no time, your cat will regain its confidence and expose itself outdoor again!


Contributor: Cyril Balahadia

cyril balahadia