Is Your (Ragdoll) Cat Afraid of Thunder?

| October 11, 2013 | 16 Comments

ThundershirtI certainly have known dogs in my life that were terrified of thunder.  However, I have never known a cat to be.  In fact, Thundershirt has asked me to review their product several times, but there’s no way for me to review it because my cats aren’t afraid, nor are Caymus and Murphy.  I do know Thundershirt works wonders for my Aunt’s dog, so while I know it’s a good product, I can’t know for sure about cats.  I also like the idea of Thundershirt because it reminds me of the squeeze box that Temple Grandin created for herself as well as my interview with her.

Then Michael, a Floppycats reader, told me about how his kitty is afraid of thunder and I thought, “Maybe I should take a poll on the site.”  So here I am – is your kitty afraid of thunder?  Has s/he always been?  Or did something spark (no pun intended) it?  If so, what do you do, if anything, to alleviate the anxiety?

 

 

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Category: Ragdoll Cat Behavior

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About the Author ()

Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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  1. Dementia Boy says:

    As far back as I can remember, all of my cats have been terrified of thunder. It doesn’t matter whether the thunder is simply a rolling rumble or an end-of-the-world crack, they’re beyond scared.

    They run under my bed and huddle,even those who usually hiss and spit at each other. These are cats who usually like to climb as high as they can–they’re “up” cats, not “under” cats.

    Although there are two other beds in the house, they always choose mine. I *think* this is because (1) my bed has a bedskirt and (2) my bedroom has only one window. (Yes, the master bedroom and bath are theirs.)

    I close the shutters and lie on the floor with my head under the bedskirt. I sing or speak soothingly. I dampen cloths with Feliway and place under the bed. There’s already a Feliway dispenser plugged into the outlet under the bed.

    None of this helps. Sometimes we spend all night under the bed. They won’t let me touch them, not even William.

    I tried conditioning them by playing recordings of lightning, thunder and rain, but this seemed to reinforce their fear, even though the recordings obviously don’t include sights and smells (e.g., wildlife, fire, the bright white of lightning) they might associate with thunder.

    They have the same reaction to fireworks. (I live about two miles from a casino which sets off fireworks nearly every holiday and weekend unless we’re under a fire advisory.)

    • Michael says:

      You’ve described Ella’s reactions down to the smallest detail so saves me lots of typing! 🙂 Valentino on the other hand couldn’t care less about thunder, possibly because as a kitten he liked to sleep on top of my sound system subwoofer.

  2. Sheila says:

    My Raggy is not afraid of ANYTHING. I had dogs that were afraid of thunder, but I don’t recall any of my kitties being fearful. My Raggy hangs over the back of the sofa looking out the window chasing birds (in her mind) and checking the neighborhood. That is her “sport”.

  3. Our fearless gal, Pink Sugar, (who just recently had her first birthday!) isn’t scared of thunder at all. It doesn’t even stop her in her tracks. She just continues on with life as if it’s nothing when we get thunder in our area. 🙂 <3

  4. Teresa says:

    Both my sweet RD’s, Grace and Illaria, aren’t in the least bit bothered by thunder or any other loud noises for that matter. They pay attention and always kind of take my lead, which is to just do nothing but say, “anyone want a “kitty-kat”(Treat), or who wants to play? Always try to be upbeat and take their mind off it just in case they are the slightest bit scared, but so far, nothing. My MC, Mari, is a little afraid of thunder if it is really really loud. Since she was on her own outside for the first part of her life before us, know that she was subjected to all the elements, so that might be the reason.

  5. Lynn says:

    We get so little thunder in No. California, that I don’t have a good test on that! But, the small earthquakes we get don’t “rattle” either of my cats. I’ve looked right at them during a quake and they don’t even react. So much for the theory on early detection.

    • Dementia Boy says:

      Mixed reactions here on earthquakes. Izzy, William’s guardian angel, *does* behave differently prior to earthquakes and avalanches. When one hits, she runs under the bed with William in hot pursuit. But does William follow her because he’s frightened or because he naturally follows Izzy?

      William is NOT afraid of bears, BTW. Just had to add that so this huge Ragdoll doesn’t sound like a Brawny Cat Big Baby. =)

  6. Linda Gerten says:

    My rag boy is 6 months old and the first time he heard the thunder he looked at me looking like what the heck was that 🙂 I think he watches my tabby and she could care less…so far so good!

    A sad note though, he was neutered earlier this week and our in-home vet picked him up in the morning to bring him into the hospital for the surgery. She said by the time they got to the hospital, his heart and pulse rate were twice as high than it should have been 🙁 The drive home with me was not too bad, he meowed here and there but did calm down as I spoke baby talk to him (sorry I had too!) poor buddy!

  7. My two are not usually scared of thunder. I think they’ve hid once or twice from it or fireworks in their lifetime. However they are scared of our cell phones, the ice maker, the doorbell, singing (and not just my off tune singing) and humming- go figure. I didn’t know you interviewed Temple Grandin. We watched a movie about her and we were impressed. In fact I just told my SIL about her.

    • Jenny says:

      wow – cell phones. trigg loves the ice maker and runs to the fridge when it drops ice or when i am getting ice from it. yes, interviewing temple grandin was a grand experience.

      • Oh and the vacuum but that one is not as unusual. We’ve had the same ring tones, and fridge since we adopted them as kittens, just over 6 years ago. They also don’t like shoes walking on our tile or hardwood sound, even when it’s us. Big babies- I love em.

  8. Dementia Boy says:

    Now this is just downright embarrassing, shameful. Do Michael and I have the only skeeerdy cats in Ragdoll history?

    I recently discovered that one of my neighbors–I know his work, but I don’t know him–has a RD and a YouTube channel, CatsOnGlueCatnip.
    While Slider is flopped on the couch, Sean just lifts a furry leg and vacuums beneath it. While Sean is using loud electric saws to construct cat trees, Slider sleeps right next to him on some PVC pipe. And of course Slider plays fetch in the snow. (He probably makes snow angels, too.)

    Sniff. I’m not the least bit envious of course. But I’m sure not going to ask Sean if Slider is afraid of thunder.

    Would William be afraid of thunder if he had not grown up with street thugs, semi-ferals, hooligans and ruffians? Does he just pretend to be afraid of thunder to fit in with the crowd, an appeaser? Harrumph.

    (Do take a look at Sean’s channel–Slider is hilarious.)

    • Hello! Thank you so so much for the info on UTI’s

      I am pretty worried about Star. But Actually I think now she is doing a little better now.

      THANKS AGAIN!

      Psst: we read your suggestion on UTI’s.

      Thanks that was very helpful!

      Need to contact me?

      E-mail address: nicoandanya@gmail.com

      That’s my address. If you need it.

      Psst: you have a Ragdoll right???

      Kisses Ragdoll Mommy~

  9. Hi! I’m a DIE-HARD-RAGDOLL LOVER!!!!!!!!!

    And I have had/have 3 Ragdolls in my life time. One named “Tadpole” he was also my very first Ragdoll and he was a Sealpoint. The two I have now. Named “Nico” he is a Blue Bicolor. And my other one her name is “Anya”. I love FLOPPY CATS.COM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Oh and Anya is a Blue Mitted Ragdoll. And Nico&Anya are litter mates!

    And I have a blog about Ragdolls.
    Address: http://lifewithRagdolls.blogspot.com

    Ragdoll Mommy~

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