Skip to Content

Understanding Feline Behavior: Why Is Your Cat Scared Of A Ceiling Fan?

Understanding Feline Behavior: Why Is Your Cat Scared Of A Ceiling Fan?

“Mom, what’s that giant ogre doing on the wall? He wants to attack us – we’re under attack, I repeat, we’re under attack!” We assume that’s what our furry friends think when they freak out over something as simple as a ceiling fan.

Ceiling fans are there to keep them dry and drafty throughout the day – but our fluffers seem to think they’re the worst thing that’s ever happened to them, apart from not getting a treat after begging for fifteen minutes. Cats scream and shout at the sight of a ceiling fan, but why’s that?

Now, the term “scaredy cat” had to have come from somewhere. Cats are smart, strong, and capable of taking care of themselves which means they’re capable of protecting themselves against a myriad of predators.

Put your cat face-to-face with your neighbor’s humungous dog and she won’t even bat an eye – she’s going to knock that silly smile off of the dog’s face within minutes. Present her with a vegetable she’s never seen before, though, and she’s going to freak out.

Cats are scared of the unknown, for once. But they’re scared for a million different reasons, too – and we’re bringing you a few of our favorites down below.

Why is your cat scared of a ceiling fan?

Understanding Feline Behavior: Why Is Your Cat Scared Of A Ceiling Fan?

1. She thinks it’s a predator

Cats are cautious creatures.

On one hand, they’re predators of birds, mice, and bugs which means they’re familiar with how the whole hunting thing works. On the other, they’re prey to foxes, wolves, and even bigger cats which means they’re always on the lookout for trouble.

When your little kitten notices a huge thingamabob spinning on the wall, she might think it’s a hawk, an owl, or a bird that’s waiting to attack her. We’re aware that you can’t take off the ceiling fan when you’re dying of heat, but you might want to keep it away from your feline friend.

2. She doesn’t like the strange sounds it’s producing

Cats are blessed (or cursed) with a wider range of hearing than humans.

While that’s a great thing for wild cats because they can hear the predator from afar, run away, and protect themselves – domesticated cats don’t get the same benefits.

Quite on the contrary, domesticated cats get overwhelmed and overstimulated by the sound of people fighting, singing songs, listening to loud music, or watching TV. Ceiling fans might not be bothersome to humans, but they’re known to emit humming sounds that can disturb cats.

Older ceiling fans might even squeak, shake, or “scream” when they’re rotating. One of the best ways to battle that would be to buy a fan that doesn’t make any noise – if something like that exists.

3. She doesn’t understand why it’s moving

OK, we understand why you’re afraid of the ceiling fan, kitty.

Ceiling fans are a thing of nightmares – they’re huge, they produce squeaky sounds, and they move. Cats are scared of them because they’re unable to understand why they’re moving that much. Cats rather prefer napping, rolling on the floor, and lounging on the sofa.

However, they can’t do that because there’s a giant ogre on the wall watching over them. Before you reprimand your poor cat because she keeps running away, try turning the fan off and allowing her to take a closer look. Maybe she ends up liking it – or at least tolerating it.

4. She’s not comfortable with change

We brushed over the fact that most cats aren’t comfortable with change. Whether you move to a different apartment, buy a brand-new cat carrier, or try to get her to hang out with your neighbor’s cat – there’s a chance she might get scared, retreat, and resent you for the rest of the day.

Cats adore routine – they’re safe and secure when they’re doing the same thing every day. When you change that routine by putting up a spinning, screaming fan on the wall, you’re telling them they’re not safe anymore. We know you’re not doing that on purpose – but your fluffy friend doesn’t.

What can you do about it?

1. Get your cat accustomed to the ceiling fan beforehand

Cats react to change much better when you take your time to show them what to expect, how to react, and how to accept what’s going on. Sure, that might sound like a lot of work. But you’re going to be happy once you see your cat chilling underneath the fan without an ounce of fear.

When you bring the ceiling fan home, allow your cat to sniff out the box, explore all the different nooks and crannies, and get used to “the ogre in the sky.” Little by little, show her how the fan works and build up the time she spends hanging out with the fan every single day.

2. Give her enough time to get used to the change

Understanding Feline Behavior: Why Is Your Cat Scared Of A Ceiling Fan?

What are you supposed to do when you put the fan up without catching on to the fact that she’s scared? Of course, you can always turn the fan off, lift her up, and give her some time to explore. On top of that, you can bribe her with treats and reward her when she doesn’t freak out.

Whether she gets comfortable right away or needs more time to figure out what to do, keep up with the routine for a few days. When she’s comfortable enough, you can turn the fan on to get her accustomed to the sound.

3. Keep her away from the fan

Now, there’s always a chance she might not get used to the ceiling fan.

When you notice your four-legged friend trembling, meowing, and putting her ears back, you might want to get her away from the fan. Whether you take her to a different room or take the fan down, you might want to react before she starts attacking you – after all, you’re the one to blame.

4. Get rid of the fan

When push comes to shove and your cat poops every time she’s scared of the fan – you might want to consider getting rid of it. Get your hands on a smaller fan or a desk fan that won’t have the same effect on your feline friend. Good luck!

Understanding Feline Behavior: Why Is Your Cat Scared Of A Ceiling Fan?