Probably every cat owner has encountered this scenario: You’ve moved an object in your house, made a noise, and seen your cat startled.
Cats can get scared pretty easily. Any kind of change inside your home, a stranger, a thunderstorm… These and many other things can make your cat scared.
But, noticing your cat scared of something you can’t see can be pretty frightening for humans, too.
My cat is scared of something I can’t see; Is there an explanation for this?
Yes, there are five possible explanations for the sudden fear in your kitten. Let’s look at them.
1. Something New Around Them
Cats love their routine; they will soon get used to you being away from home for some time in a day, and they will soon learn where is the place for all things inside your home.
But, sometimes you might buy some new object or piece of furniture. Do you think your cat won’t notice this? Oh yes, she will!
It’s not like cats are afraid of your new vase, a table, or a couch – they will simply need some time to get used to the new item inside your home.
My friend called me a few weeks ago, explaining how her kitten suddenly looked so scared, but she couldn’t figure out why.
The night before we had a little birthday party in her apartment. What was her cat afraid of? It might sound bizarre, but – a balloon that was still there after the party had ended was actually making her kitten so scared!
Yes, many cats might be afraid of balloons, since they can produce weird sounds, and could even remind felines of predators.
So, you might not see anything in her vicinity that your cat might be afraid of, but, things are different in her little head.
2. Loud Noises Might Be A Trigger
You can’t find anything that could make your cat look so scared, but, can you hear it?
American Academy of Family Physicians  explains how cats’ hearing is approximately four times more sensitive than humans, meaning that cats can hear higher frequencies than people.
Many cats are afraid of loud noises, such as thunderstorms or firecrackers, but also noises inside your house, such as the vacuum cleaner.
Felines love predictable routines and also enjoy peace and quiet. So, any deviation from this can make them feel scared and insecure.
How to recognize your cat is afraid of loud noises? Watch her reaction after you start using the vacuum cleaner.
According to Del Ray Animal Hospital, a frightened cat will usually try to hide and place her ears back. She might also show some aggression signs, such as hissing, arched backs, or dilated pupils.
3. Presence Of A New Human
Have you been living alone with your kitten for a longer period of time, and now your partner has started living with you?
Or, is there perhaps a new baby in your household?
Cats could also be afraid of new people. It might seem to you that there isn’t anything around your cat she could be scared of, but you might be missing the presence of another human in your home.
Cats love things to always be the same. This doesn’t mean that they will not eventually become fond of the new family member, but many cats will be afraid at first.
4. Vibration Sensitivity?
I believe both humans and animals are equally afraid of earthquakes. But, could this be the answer to why your cat is scared of something you can’t see?
Some people believe that cats are super sensitive to vibrations – so much so that they can hear the earthquake coming seconds before humans are able to feel it.
However, the Seismological Society of America implies that there is still no strong evidence to confirm this claim.
Since it’s not possible to confirm the cat’s fear as a signal for an earthquake even before humans are able to feel it – I’ll leave this potential reason with a question mark at the end.
5. Underlying Health Issues
In some cases when it seems that your cat is scared of something you can’t see she might be in pain, causing her to look frightened and disoriented.
Cats are masters in hiding their pain. When they were living in the wild, they needed to do this to survive and not look weak in front of predators.
Our domesticated felines still have some of their natural instincts, so, in many cases, they will not easily show there is something wrong with them.
You’ll need to read the signals of their behavior. You shouldn’t think that you’re not good at recognizing your cat is sick – since most cats will act in the same way.
You’ll need to use the fact that you know your cat the best in trying to figure out what’s causing pain in her.
Luckily, your veterinarian is just one call away – so, this is the person you should be talking to, if you have any doubts your cat might be having an underlying health problem causing her to look scared.
How To Help A Scared Cat?
You would really like to help your scared cat and stop seeing her hiding under your covers?
There are ways to help her, without stressing her additionally. First of all – you should try to discover what’s making your cat so scared.
This might be challenging, so, pay attention to the room your cat is in when she suddenly starts to look scared. Check whether there are any new things around her, any loud noises, etc.
If you succeed in discovering the source of fear, then you should remove it from your kitten’s vicinity.
If your cat is hiding in some place that feels secure to her, you shouldn’t push her to get out. Give her some time and solitude; she will come out when she’s ready.
You should also try to get your cat used to things that might be scaring her – by exposing her to them in a controlled way.
How to do this? If you notice your cat is afraid of your friend or your partner, you should slowly start introducing her to that person.
By doing so, be with your cat, make her feel safe, and also ask the other person to cooperate with you, to approach the cat cautiously, since even a friendly attitude can be a bad option with frightened cats. Over time, your kitty will get used to it and her fear will fade.
Ultimately, if nothing seems to help your startled cat, you should talk to the veterinarian. He will check whether there are any underlying health problems in your cat.
If necessary, some kittens might even get medications for anxiety.
You might think something is wrong with your cat – since she seems to be scared of something you can’t see.
Well, there are some things we don’t even pay attention to, but they can be quite frightening for felines.
Fear of balloons, vacuum cleaners, or a human can sound funny; still, all these triggers can be very stressful for cats.
I hope you have found your answer and that you’re able now to help your cat stop being scared.
If you want to know more about cats’ fears, check out our article on are cats afraid of the dark!
 American Academy of Family Physicians: Respectful handling of cats to prevent fear and pain. DOI, Retrieved May 15, 2023.