Why Are Cats Scared of Balloons?

Wait, are cats scared of balloons? That’s right; cats are scared of balloons, which is one of the weirdest things we humans can imagine.

Anyway, there are a few reasons why cats fear balloons, and the fear of the unknown triggers the major one. I mean, a large helium-filled balloon just floating in the air easily represents a monster to the little animal.

Even worse is the popping sound that balloons make when they burst. The sound frets humans, who actually have an idea that balloons are prone to making the sound. Imagine how much more it could do to our feline friends?

Let’s dive into this and much more on the cat’s fear of balloons, and probably what we can do about the whole globophobia scenario;

Can Balloons Scare Cats?

Yes, they can. If you have been following social media posts regarding cats and cat pet forums, you must have realized that cats are actually scared. Other than cucumbers, cats fear balloons most. They are so afraid of the harmless air-filled object that it can cause a health problem to the cat.

Hence, if your cat has never seen a balloon or prefers to stay away from one, respect its wishes. There is a wide range of reasons why cats stay away from balloons, and solving one challenge only gives rise to the next, as we will see in the next section. 

But yes, there are ways to lessen the fear that your cat has for balloons.

Why Do Cats Fear Balloons?

Cats are scared (what about banana fear?) of balloons for a variety of reasons, which we will look into in this article;

  1. Balloons Just Don’t Fit in Any Category!

At a glance, balloons neither represent a bird, an animal, or a non-living organism to a cat. It could be a hawk or an eagle, which are dangerous to cats, by the way, or some harmless object.

Cats are curious animals, but there is the possibility that the flying object poses a danger.

Unfortunately, your little pet will not stick around to see what the object represents. Therefore, the next best thing for them is to run away and hide from the balloon.

  1. Balloons Look Like Flying Predators

The first instinct of any animal naturally geared to be wild is to be protective of itself. Cats are inherently feral, and they can fit in both predator and prey categories. Being small in size, they, unfortunately, have a range of predators on their heads.

Large hunting birds fall in this category. A large flying balloon looks like one of these birds. It can be flying steadily in the air, sometimes pointing downwards like a sharp beak ready for its prey.

Hence, the first protective instinct tells the cat that it needs to be as far away from the sight of the flying object as possible. Thus, the cat runs away from balloons in fright.

  1. Balloons Make a Popping Sound when Bursting

Balloons are beautiful to look at. And from a distance, your cat may actually love the bright outlook of balloons. In some instances, you may even have introduced your cat to balloons, so seeing them fly doesn’t cause the cat an alarm.

But then we all agree that a balloon has a short lifespan. If it is not naturally bursting from heat, some kid is looking for an opportunity to get the sound in the air. So, either way, in a party or a celebration, a balloon has to pop.

The popping sound brings instant tension even to humans, and it is even worse to cats. Unlike you, the cat will not quickly recover from the burst since it did not expect it in the first place.

Surprisingly, the sound may even cause permanent psychological damage to the cat. It will always run away from the balloons and probably keep off the location from where it saw them.

  1. Cats Can’t Defend Themselves Against Balloons.

Quite interesting, right? Cats defend themselves with their paws, always ready to attack, even when playing with a harmless object or person. Their instincts are always arat in case of anything.

However, tables turn when it comes to balloons. Just when the cat thinks that it has the balloons under its paws and tries to roll or press them, the balloon bursts! The sound, not so pleasing to the cat. So, do you think that the cat will come close to the balloon ever again?

  1. Weird balloon Sounds and Feel

Other than the popping sound, the balloon has a range of weird sounds and feels. When you feel it with your fingers, it produces a screeching sound that most will not withstand. The cats are in this category.

Let’s not forget other sounds, such as when the balloons come together or are hit by a slow wind. It may sound like slow music to your ears.

Nevertheless, with their sharp and heightened instincts, cats will hear higher sounds, which causes them to stay on guard. They will look at the balloons, and they will definitely stay away from realizing that the balloons are the cause of the sounds.

6. Are they sensitive for the odor

It’s a well-known truth that cats are very sensitive to pungent smells. Additionally, cats are afraid of balloons since they are loaded with helium gas.
Some cats find the fragrance to be quite offensive and potent. On the other hand, some cats might actually find it enjoyable, therefore you should take precautions to prevent your cat from breathing any of the gas in.

How Do You Overcome the Cats’ Fear of Balloons?

The simplest and most recommended way to prevent the cat from trauma with balloons is to avoid the balloons altogether. Please don’t bring them home to the cat, and quit taking your cat for parties. After all, it is you and not the cat who will enjoy the party.

Unluckily, if you have kids, it is difficult for your cat not to come across balloons occasionally. Worse still, there will be more balloons popping when kids are around. So, you have to get your cat to be accustomed to balloons.

But how do you do this when the feline animal swiftly leaves the place at the slightest view of a balloon?

Essentially, you should try to introduce the cat to a balloon that is still and not flying. This means that you can take a balloon and inflate it as the cat watches so that it sees the balloon rise from small to large. 

If the balloons are already inflated, bring them to the house and hold on to them as the cat watches you. It may not run away, but it will closely watch the strange object.

To ensure that the cat knows that the same harmless object is the colorful flying object, tape the balloon. You can tape a large part of it so that the weight of the tape weighs it down when you release it.

Then, release the balloon in the air and let it fly. It won’t go as high as normal, given that the tape weighs it lower. The cat will look at the balloon as it flies across the room, and it will finally learn that the balloon is harmless.

Try not to let the cat touch the balloon with its paws, as a simple scratch will burst it. The outcome of the burst will jeopardize your plans of minimizing the scare of balloons on the cat.

Next, the cat sees balloons, and it might not act as scared as before. However, you must realize that you cannot eliminate the fear of balloons from cats. When it bursts, the cat will still be scared.

But the fact that the cat already knows that the balloon will not harm it is enough to prevent severe psychological damage from the fear.

What Should You Do When Your Cat is Scared by Balloons?

Sadly, some cats will be so scared at the sight of balloons that they are badly affected. I read a concerned comment online where a cat owner says that their cat will not even eat, drink, pee or poop after the experience. 

In another, the cat freaked out to the extent that the vet had to administer antidepressants to calm the cat down.

So, when your cat is so frightened at the sight of balloons, try the following tips;

  • Keep the cat away from balloons during the period. This will calm it down, as the sight of balloons might trigger the fear and worsen it.
  • Provide playing toys to the cat and lighten its mood.
  • If the cat does not eat or drink water, try its favorite fresh meat, such as fish, to lure its appetite back.
  • If your cat is fond of affection, take it on your lap, cuddle it and play with its fur to cool it down.
  • If it won’t pee or poop, try to bring its litter box to an open space where it will not fear being alone and watch it closely.
  • The cat may turn aggressive and start growling. In this case, keep some distance and let the cat cool on its own without any sign of danger.
  • If your cat is shaken, vibrating, and refusing to leave a specific room, find ways of reassuring the cat. Line his toys from the room to another room, or even a favorite dish. He might have to get out. If this does not work, you may have to seek an animal behaviorist or a vet for more check-ups and advice.
  • Sometimes the cat looks frightened, refuses to eat, drink or even go out. Now, you will have to see a vet. He will administer antidepressants and advise you on how to handle the pet.

While some people may consider it fun, cat owners and lovers will be negatively affected when they see a scared cat. It is a pitiful sight, and you will do anything to get a cat out of the situation. 

Are Balloons Dangerous to Cats?

Yes, they are. Balloons contain latex, which, if swallowed, block the gastrointestinal tract in an animal. The animal will not be able to eat, and neither will any food pass through the gut uneventfully. Eventually, the animal, or cat, in this case, will die of starvation.

Though balloons have a fatal outcome when ingested by cats, this is not why cats avoid balloons. They actually have no idea that balloons can be toxic when ingested. 

Ironically, cats fear balloons because they view the balloons as predators. In the real sense, balloons are only harmful to cats when they become a cat’s prey. 

Now, if your cat swallows a balloon, you need to take it immediately to the vet, and by all intents and purposes, get through the emergency door. The immediate attention will save your pet’s life.

If the balloon is in the cat’s stomach, an endoscopy is performed to remove the material. However, if it is stuck in the intestines, the cat will require surgery to remove the balloon.

So, yeah, balloons are dangerous to cats, even if not the way the cats tend to imagine.

Maybe it is for their good that cats are scared of balloons. If they are not frightened and eat or swallow the balloons, the repercussions are far worse than if the cat avoided the balloons.

Why Are Cats Scared of Balloons?

Most balloons, you will agree with me, are larger than an average cat. Therefore, to a cat, the balloons are like large predators that could cause harm to the cat. 

There are other reasons why the cat fears balloons, such as the popping sound of a balloon and their resemblance to flying predators such as hawks.


Because of the static electricity around them, cats are wary of balloons!

Since balloons are notorious for being a strong conductor of static electricity, it’s not unusual for a cat to experience a surprise shock after giving them a timid first sniff. Your cat’s extremely sharp whiskers may pick up on the vibrations of the air and sound that are caused by these weird floating objects.

Even though that usually wouldn’t be enough to entirely terrify a cat, it does add to the unfavorable experience they generally have.

Parting Shot

A large number of cats are scared of balloons, and it is with reasons. Balloons fly high in the air like eagles and hawks, which appreciate cats as a fine delicacy. And that’s not all; when full of hot air, balloons pop up on their own, producing a sound not even humans seem to get acquainted with. And much more, as we have seen in this article.

Nevertheless, if you can get your cat accustomed to balloons, this will be better for you and the kids around you. After all, scared cats could easily endanger their mental health.

Amelia Kteylor

Amelia Kteylor, DVM, attended the University of Georgia. She is a cat expert with 20 years of experiences in field. She has a passion as a writer and editor for pet publishing industry too. Amelia contributes to numerous pet magazines in the areas of pet health and groom. Further, she volunteered in cat rescue centers in her leisure time.

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