Rain and thunderstorms can cause severe stress in kittens that have phobias for them, or who are experiencing them for the first time. This phobia, if not addressed correctly, could become a lifelong problem. But, luckily, there are steps that you can take to keep your kitty safe and relaxed.
Symptoms of stress during storms
You may notice some symptoms in your kitten before or during storms and they are signs that your kitten is stressed. These symptoms include:
Possible causes of the phobia
The cause of the phobia may well be as simple as your kitten not being exposed to either a lot of storms or indeed any storm before in its life. Therefore, they won’t know how to act. Owners may also, unintentionally, contribute to the phobia if they have a phobia for, for example, thunderstorms or loud noises.
Another cause to consider is genetics, as your kitten may be predisposed to what can be referred to as “emotional reactivity”.
Diagnosis of the phobia
If you find that your kitten’s reaction to rain, thunderstorms, or even other sounds (for example fireworks) are severe, you can go to your vet for assistance. Depending on the age of your kitten, there may be something which you can give them during severe thunderstorms to calm them down.
However, your vet will also need to make sure that there is nothing else wrong with your kitten health-wise and that it definitely is a thunderstorm or noise phobia. The reason for this is that there are some illnesses which also carry the same symptoms as those listed above.
It is therefore very important to take your kitten to the vet if you see that the storm is long over but they are still in a state of panic, as this may mean that there is something else wrong besides them being stressed.
Treatment for the phobia
Treatment for your kitten’s phobia need not be medication; they can also be treated with behaviour modification.
Behaviour modification includes such elements as not punishing your kitten when they are scared or stressed by a storm, but also not comforting them. Desensitisation is often used, with audio recordings of rainstorms or thunderstorms being used.
Behaviour modification must only be done with the help of experts, though. Improper use can make things worse!
Though not exactly treatment, per se, getting your kitten microchipped is a must. If you’re not sure if your kitten was microchipped at the breeder or shelter where you adopted them from, ask your vet to check. The microchip won’t hurt your kitten or impair their movement (it really is that small) and is also not very expensive. Just remember to keep all your details on the microchip up to date at all times.
What you can do to lessen your kitten’s fear
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