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.

Editors' Recommendations

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…
Lap time, nap time: Why your lap cat chooses to sit on you
Find out the real reasons your cat lies in your lap
Cat sitting in a lap

As a pet parent, nothing is better than when your cat decides to curl up for a nap on your lap. Sometimes it can be slightly irritating when you need to get some work done, attempt to move your fur baby, and they look at you like you've not only offended them, but also the entire domestic cat species. But it's impossible to say no to their adorable noses and whiskers, so you let them stay. Have you ever wondered why so many of our feline family members become lap cats? We'll tell you everything you need to know about why cats love to sit on you.

Reasons your cat loves to sit on you
Wonder why your lap is your cat's favorite place to sleep? Here are some of the most common reasons.
Cats sit on you because they seek connection and attention
Despite their reputation for being aloof, most cats crave attention, especially from their favorite people. Cats get lonely when you’re not around and will beg for attention when you are. One way they do this is by sitting on your lap; it’s hard to ignore them when they’re right on top of you! They also come to you for connection and love. Usually, a cat on the lap gets affection, so your cat may come to you when they want to be petted and feel loved.
Cats get on your lap because you’re warm
Whether it’s by the radiator or in a sunbeam, kitties love napping in warm spots. One of the coziest places in your home happens to be wherever you are because of the heat your body emits. This could be why your cat likes sitting with you. They may choose to sit on your lap because they want to soak up all your body heat. Luckily, it’s not a one-way street; your cat’s body heat and fur can help keep you warm, too. With your lap cat, you’ll both stay nice and cozy.
Cats sit on you because they trust you
Sitting on top of you is a cat's ultimate sign of trust. Cats only sit in the laps of people they really feel safe with. This is especially true if they nap on you. Your cat is essentially saying they trust you to protect them from any predators while they're napping. To build even more trust with your pet, make sure you’re not forcing them to sit on your lap, and you’re giving them the option to walk away when they want. By acknowledging their freedom and leaving your lap open to your kitty, you're encouraging them to trust you even more.
Cats like the way you smell and sound
Your body is like a white-noise machine for cats. They find the noises human beings naturally make, like breathing and heartbeats, to be very soothing. It helps them relax into an easy slumber. Your cat may also be attracted to your unique scent. Smelling you may make your cat feel safer, making it easier for them to fall asleep. This can also explain why your cat always seems to love sleeping on your clothes, bed, and other possessions.

Read more
Video: We’ve seen some weird cat sleeping spots, but this feline’s is the strangest
Ever wondered why cats sleep in strange positions? We have the answer
Cat curled up in a ball while sleeping in grass

Cats sleep in the weirdest positions — this fundamental fact of feline life takes over the internet on a regular basis. We've seen kitties in boxes, baby bouncers, and sinks, but we may have found the new best cat-napping spot. Ever spotted a cat sleeping inside a pot? You're in for a treat with this viral video.

sephera._ posted this hilarious recounting titled "Orange cat behavior," and it went well beyond the hilarity of the usual antics we see from mousers. It opens with an orange kitty sitting in a pot on a counter in the kitchen. But that's just the beginning. We get to see him try out just about every cat sleeping position while staying inside his snug hidey hole. The text says, "When your cat's favorite spot is inside a pot," and takes us through the favored resting contortions, including curled up with his head poking out, squished all the way in, and with head in and butt up. It doesn't look particularly comfy to us, but we don't have this cat's flexibility.

Read more
Why is my cat peeing on my bed? The real truth (and how to stop this gross habit)
Causes and solutions for when your cat pees where you sleep
Striped cat sitting on a bed in the bedroom

No one likes to ask, "Why is my cat peeing on my bed?" but here we are. It can be so frustrating! Noticing that your cat peed on your fresh-out-of-the-washing-machine sheets is one of the most irritating things that can happen. There are a lot of different reasons besides your cat just being a jerk that explain why she would do such a thing. Understanding the "why" will help you figure out what is really going on inside of your furry feline’s head, so you can then determine how to stop this unwanted behavior.

While many believe the primary reason cats pee on the bed is because they're just being sassy, this is usually not the case. Read on to learn why your cat has picked up this undesirable habit and what you can do to put an end to it.

Read more