The title of my questions is related to other questions that have already been answered, but what has happened is not and I feel the other answers don't answer my question, so here is mine.

About 4 days ago I was holding my cat in my arms with her front paws on my shoulders. I have done this many times and usually there is no problem, most of the time I pet her and she even purrs while hanging there. However, one of my neighbours all of a sudden started using a concrete wall-drill even though it was 20:30 in the evening. This sort of drill makes a really, really loud metallic/rock breaking sound that resonates from all the walls.

My cat was immediately scared to death, dug her claws in me (pretty badly) and jumped off. Her hair was raised and her tail was at its puffiest and she was kind of sitting on the floor but walking a bit around at the same time. The drilling stopped and she was sitting on the same place, but the drilling then started again and she ran away and jumped right into our desk with her body first, fell to the ground and kind of just sat there on the ground for a long time.

Its now been more than 3 days and she is very jumpy at the most random things. The drilling started again 2 days later, but she kind of just sat on the floor and was really scared trying to figure out where the sound was coming from.

I think she may have associated me with the trauma, because she is not scared of me and I am doing my best to not approach her and give her space. She has approached me several times happily and looking to be pet, which she then allows me to do and starts purring, but out of nowhere she will jump like she's being jump-scared of something and look at random objects like they've hurt her. Things like a hole in my pants, my slippers, my socks, the shadow beneath our living room table, my belt on the couch (which she knows and has even slept on).

She is not afraid of me even when I walk around and make noises akin to the drill, but she will just jump out of nowhere when she is close to me, even if it's 20-30 seconds into a petting session.

I have ordered the feliway spray and socket plug-in to try and make her be more at ease, but I have never seen this in a cat before (I've had cats my whole life).

I am somewhat afraid of her since she is so unpredictable to me now and I am not sure what to do when she approaches me for social contact, since she usually loves me and is a bit over-attached and approaches me several times a day.

What is going on with her and what can I do to make he stop being jump-scared out of nothing? She has now clawed me 4 times by accident because she was near me when she freaks out.

1 Answer 1


Your cat is scared because her instincts interpreted the loud noise as a threat in her territory, but being unable to identify what that threat was, she is also unable to determine that it is now gone. The fact you were holding her when the threat appeared may have had her associate it with you, which is unfortunate, but hopefully it returning when you weren’t holding her helped separate you from it. And every unusual sound, even soft ones, makes her worry that the threat is still there and stalking her. You would be on edge in that situation too if you didn’t have the higher level brain function to recognize the sound and dismiss it as not an actual threat.

I don’t see any immediate solution; she needs time to accept that the threat is gone now. Calming pheromone sprays, diffusers or collars may help speed that up, but some cats don’t seem to react to them.

  • 1
    Thank you by the way. It turned out to be the case that she just needed some time to recuperate. She is safe and happy again, but for some reason is still a tiny bit jumpy on the rare occasion, which is unfortunate, but that's just life I suppose. Until she is completely well again I'll just spoil her with pettings and snacks.
    – CB Madsen
    Commented Nov 29, 2020 at 12:28

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