Skip to main content

Do you have a scaredy cat? 6 effective ways to calm your kitty during a storm

Chances are that during a thunderstorm, a dog will be anxious and upset. But are cats scared of thunderstorms? Your cat won’t make a noise like some dogs do during a storm, and probably won’t tremble and cling to your side until the storm is over. But that doesn’t mean your feline friend isn’t afraid of the storm. If your cat is anxious about thunder and lightning, there are steps you can take to reassure and help your kitty to relax, even a little, while you wait for the storm to pass.

Do thunderstorms bother cats?

Are cats scared of thunder? In many cases, yes. According to Fear Free Happy Homes, cats don’t always appreciate the lightning as well as the thunder that comes with storms. Cats may react to the pressure changes and electrical discharges that occur in a storm. The loud sounds of wind and rain can also unsettle a cat.

Scared cat hiding underneath a blanket
black panther/Pixabay

Are cats okay with thunder and lightning?

Tipp City Veterinary Hospital notes that thunderstorms can be very unsettling to cats. A cat may be as upset as a dog during a thunderstorm but show it differently.

Dogs tend to bark and whine during thunderstorms, but cats may have more subtle reactions to thunder and lightning. Cats might become increasingly clingy or restless, and some cats may pace. It’s also possible that your cat will simply hide until the storm is over, and unless you see him go into hiding, you might not be aware that anything is wrong.

Scared cat sitting on a couch hiding under a blanket
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How can you calm a cat during a thunderstorm?

  • To help keep your cat calm in a storm, make sure your cat is indoors when the storm arrives. You don’t want your cat stuck outdoors in a storm, especially if you’re in an area where there are tornadoes and you might need to get yourself and your cat to safety.
  • If your cat typically gets anxious, check to make sure your nervous energy isn’t contributing to the problem. Cats often pick up on our energy, so focus on keeping calm. If you need to prepare for a storm, including closing windows and bringing yard furniture indoors, do it early on so you won’t be rushing around at the last minute.
  • Consider an anxiety aid. You can try using Rescue Remedy on your cat. Rescue Remedy is designed to help both humans and pets cope with fear, and the cat version is made without alcohol. It’s easy to use; just put a drop on your cat’s head.
  • You can also support your cat with a calming wrap, like a Thundershirt. Thundershirts can help pets feel safe and secure, but make sure you try one out before a storm so you’re ready to put it on your cat quickly.
  • Allow your cat to hide if they want to. This is your cat’s way of keeping safe. They might want to hide in a closet or under a bed, while some cats prefer a basement, where the sound of a storm is often dulled. Make sure to give your cat access to these spaces during a storm.
  • Some cats will try to cuddle or will look to you for reassurance. Be sure to give your cat that reassurance. He might decide that he’s the safest right next to you throughout the storm. If that’s the case, settle down with a book, pat your cat gently, and wait out the storm together.

Storms generally aren’t fun for humans or pets, but you can help your cat to get through them. Cats react differently to storms, and your cat might need different types of support than other cats do.

One of the best ways to ensure you’re giving your cat the support needed is to watch how he’s trying to navigate the storm. Some cats may take off and hide alone, while others tend to be more social and needy when they’re scared. The more you know about your cat’s typical behavior and body language, the better you’ll be able to tell how he’s feeling. It might take some trial and error before you figure out what your cat needs most, but with a little patience and effort, you can make thunderstorms easier for him.

Paige Cerulli
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Paige's work has appeared in American Veterinarian, Business Insider, Healthline, and more. When she's not writing, Paige…
8 reasons why your cat won’t stop rolling around
If you spy your kitty rolling around, this is what could be behind it
A long-haired cat rolls around on a brown carpet

Cats are famous for their chaotic personalities and unpredictable behaviors, but one of the most random things they can do is roll around on the floor. Most of the time, it seems to come out of nowhere. It's one thing to watch a sleepy feline lie down for a catnap in the sun, but it's another thing entirely when they flop over with all of their might.
While there's no doubt that it's entertaining to watch, not all cat owners or admirers know what's behind this silly-looking behavior. Why do cats roll around? Even though it may look like they're scratching themselves on the ground or asking for belly rubs like a dog, there are several real explanations ranging from obvious to subtle. At least now you'll know.

Why do cats roll around?

Read more
Why cats arch their backs (it’s not always aggression)
There are several reasons for this normal cat behavior
Tabby cat arching their back

Cat owners and non-owners alike have seen the famous Halloween symbol of a black cat with their back arched and hairs raised. The accompanying yowl can be heard in just about every Halloween movie ever made, but it's entirely different when a cat arches their back in real life. In books and movies, though, cats only seem to arch their backs out of aggression or fear. It's almost never a good thing!

However, a cat's arched back can mean many different things. True, it can be a fear reaction or an attempt at threatening another cat, but it can also be a reaction to completely normal, nonchalant things. These are the most common reasons why a cat might arch their back.
A cat's arched back can be a sign of aggression or defensiveness

Read more
Can cats see in the dark? We separate fact from fiction
Cats have night vision far superior than our own, but they still need light to see
A cat stares into the camera

When something goes bump in the night, you might wake up in a panic, only to realize it's just the cat. These beasties are well known for being up and about in the wee hours of the morning, ready to play, hunt, and eat. While it's true that cats love nighttime, they aren't actually nocturnal. Instead, they exist in an in-between state as crepuscular, meaning your feline will love dusk and dawn most. So, if they aren't actually night owls, can cats see in the dark? We break down what cat vision really looks like.
Can cats see in the dark?

Almost all of us can see something in the dark, but night vision varies considerably among different animals. Owls have particularly good night vision, while humans less so. Cats see about six times better than people at night, which helps them hunt successfully at twilight, in the wild, or from your backyard. But it's inaccurate to say they can see in pure darkness. Instead, kitties have special eyes that allow them to observe a lot more in low light. These are the three main ways cats see better at night.
Smart design
Cat eyes look totally different from human ones, and they are. Feline orbs have special qualities designed to help them hunt in near darkness, such as a curved cornea and large lens (we'll get into what's up with the pupils next). You may have heard of rods and cones, the parts of the eye that help us see light and color, among other things. Our furry friends have more rods and so see more light, and therefore, need less of it (by contrast, we have more cones and observe more colors). Lastly, cats have something called a tapetum that reflects light to the retina. While you may never have heard this term, you've definitely witnessed it in action — this is why cat eyes glow in the dark.
Pupil dilation
When the lights go off, our pupils get bigger, and it's the same with cats. However, our pet's pupils can go from a small vertical slit to a massive globe. As the eye grows larger, it does lose some clarity, otherwise you might expect to find your animal's eyes constantly at full blast. Generally, during the day, their pupils will show up as a thin line for maximum focus and then dilate as needed in dim-light situations. And the growth is an enormous difference, up to 300 times the size of their eye at its smallest.
Myopia is the fancy word for near-sightedness or the ability to see up close but not far away. Many humans wear glasses to improve their vision, but unfortunately, cats don't ever see as well as we do at a distance. The little buds have a wider frame of vision, but everything would look a bit blurry if you adopted their eyes temporarily. In a competition for who can spot a tiny movement, like prey burrowing in the grass, the cat would win.
How cats see the world around us

Read more