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Terrified Cat

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hello All,

We have a terrible cat problem, and I hope that maybe some of you folks here will have some suggestions.

About 3 years ago we adopted a feral kitten (from a rescue group). From day one she was VERY skiddish…but we also found her quite cute and hoped she’d just grow out of it. Aged 6 months or so, we started seeing less and less of her…she’d do anything she could to not be found (closets, under beds, etc..). We tried bringing her out every night, but she wasn’t having it, she’d hide somewhere in the same room. We bought her umpteen toys, cat videos, anything to peak her interest… all with marginal results. By the time she was 1.5, we had started to just let her be as she wanted…left alone. We make sure she has food and water, and always check on her once or twice a day. Apart from that, you wouldn’t even know she existed…she creeps out for some food at night, a quick trip to the box. And that’s it.

The problem is, it doesn’t seem like much of a life for her.. I mean, you so much as sneeze and this cat almost has a heart attack. I also think she’s a little under-weight from always being afraid to go out to the food bowl. She has had full vet check ups and her health is fine, but she doesn’t seem to be happy. We’ve moved into a different house, no change, we’ve taken her to stay at the in-laws, no change. We just can’t get through to her.

Has anyone had any experience with this type of extreme-scaredy cat? Any suggestions on what else we could try to help her gain some confidence and live a more normal life?
I’ve been thinking about putting her in a baby pen in the living room for a little time each day so she gets used to some of the everyday house-sounds.. but don’t want to do anything to make the situation even worse.

Any ideas at all? We’d really like to see this cat a little more content.

post #2 of 9
I would try some feliway. The diffusers and the spray. It's expensive but I think it would help tremendously
post #3 of 9
I also suggest Feliway. Have you spoken to your vet about her behavior? My Ophelia is a semi-feral with "issues". She has recently been put on Buspar, an anti-anxiety medicine & it has helped her greatly. She has gotten to be a "normal" cat.
post #4 of 9
Also, Rescue Remedy would be helpful. I have a semi-feral that has panic issues, and a 6-week course of a specialized Flower Essence added to his food daily made a tremendous difference in his attitude - he came out of his shell almost completely and is nowhere near as skittish as he once was.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Honestly, I don't think we ever mentioned it to the vet, though I'm not sure if my husband has when he's taken her in. We tried this product called "good cat" that was supposed to be soothing, but with no results. I'll pick up some of the feliway, but I suspect she may need something stronger...
post #6 of 9
Honestly? I think she needs another cat that she can relate to. All of my cats were born feral and what brings them around better than anything else is actually witnessing other friendly cats interact with us big humans. Even if that doesn't bring her out of her shell with people, she can still have a friend with her own species.

Just my humble opinion.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
We actually do have two other older cats that we got after her...they're very sweet and docile, but she doesn't seem to take after them!
post #8 of 9
Oh gosh, I so understand your frustration. Our Abby is the same way, and it's so sad, wanting her to have a happy life and not knowing how to create it for her!

Abby does love my mom, though -- because when we first brought her home (she was about two years old when we adopted her), my mom made it her mission to show Abby love, whether she wanted it or not. When Abby hid under a bed, my mom would crawl right under there with her -- not trying to catch her or even touch her, but just spending time with her, talking and singing to her, and sometimes giving her treats right there under the bed.

Abby lives in her own room, isolated from our other cats... but there's a french door on that room, so she can see into the sunroom, where the other cats spend a lot of time. From day one, Abby watched my mom sit and brush the other cats, dangle toys for them, and so forth... and now, when my mom goes and sits down in her room, Abby comes running out to greet her with a meow, and she loves to play and be brushed! (So Momofmany's suggestion is right on target, I think.)

But if Mom stands up or makes any move that Abby thinks may indicate that Mom's about to pick her up, Abby runs and hides under a dresser. She's terrified that Mom may bring her out into the presence of the other cats.

We believe in Feliway, and we had a Feliway Comfort Zone diffuser going in Abby's room for a month -- but it didn't seem to change her behavior. Just today, we started putting an herbal liquid called "Feral Cat Rescue" on Abby's food, so we'll see whether that makes any difference.

If you like, we could stay in touch and see if, between us, we can find some peace of mind for our scaredy-cats. Good luck to you!
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi Carol! Thanks for your post.

We've been trying the feliway with no results really. I've arranged to take her to the vet on Monday to see about these anti-anxiety medications mentioned earlier on in the thread. I'll be sure to share the info the vet gives!
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