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Scaredy cat

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I am frustrated with one of my kitties and hoped someone might have some advice.

We adopted Oliver from a rescue shelter about 15 months ago, when he was four-months-old. He joined eight-year-old Scooter in our house and after the initial "getting to know you" phase wore off, they became buddies. Together, they do all the normal kitty things--play-fight, groom each other, sleep together, etc.

Our problem is this: Oliver seems to be afraid of both me and my boyfriend. He won't come any closer than five feet and if we move near him or make a noise (something like closing the fridge or turning on the TV) he runs like a ghost is after him! Occassionally, he'll warm his way up to us on the couch, but it's a miracle when he does. He hides under our bed 20-22 hours a day and we only see him when he uses his litter box or eats. He cowers like he's abused (not in our house...we spoil our cats!). He's an inside kitty, still has his claws and we're pretty quiet people.

Any ideas? He's not a behavior problem kitty, but just a plain ole scaredy cat.

post #2 of 7
Maybe he remembers something that happened to him before you adopted him? I remember reading somewhere that if a cat was abused by a tall man with glasses, he may be scared of tall men with glasses (this is just an example).
There are a lot of people who have good advice and have a great deal of knowledge which is VERY valuable.

I hope you can work it out with your kitty!
post #3 of 7
like people are just very timid or shy. I have a Persian Calico who is still skittish and we have had her for over a year. She has just begun to hang out with the other cats and lets me pet her on her terms. Each kitty is an individule.. gotta love em!
post #4 of 7
You cannot force him to get over his terrors, but you can become less of a threat to him. He does not yet know that he is in a good place and he has probably been abused before and so he is just waiting for you to slip up and hurt him. It takes time to build that trust.

You can do little things like sit on the floor with an interactive toy and play with him about 10 minutes a day.

When you interact with him, don't look him in the eyes, strays consider this a threat to their safety.

Speak low around him, keep noise to a minimum when he is in the room, keep the lights low as well until he gets used to you.

You really haven't had him all that long, and you have no way of knowing what horrible things he encountered before he got to your place, so just have patience with him, and love him from a distance until the trust is formed. And don't get frustrated with him, try to remember the world from his point of view.
post #5 of 7
It took Poppy almost 3 years to really even begin to warm up to us. And even then, a lot of change took place when she got pretty sick and needed a lot of care. She pretty much resigned herself to what we needed to do to her, and I think when she got better, our care had helped earn her trust as well.

Otherwise, during the first 3 years and even now, we are very aware of where she is and not frightening her. If we meet in the hallway, I stop, speak soothingly, and gesture for her to pass, and she does. She now comes up to be petted or to sit on your lap, but we don't go get her, nor do we ever invade her private spaces. She's not a pick up cat, but she loves us and thanks us for providing her with a nice home, good food, warm places to sleep, and petting when she wants it.

It takes time and patience, but the rewards are well worth it.
post #6 of 7
Pearl was abused before I got her a little over 2 years ago. She has just recently begun to be sociable with us. She will sit on the couch with both of us, but will only snuggle in bed with me. She is still very skittish, and will run away over very little going on. No one else ever sees her, and I beginning to think that my friends think I have an imaginary cat. It took a lot of patience, and she has made great progress, but still has a long way to go to be a "normal" cat.
post #7 of 7
We adopted poor ole Moogie when she was 10ish. She lived under the sofa for 6 months, only coming out for food, to use the litter tray etc. She became the most affectionate cat - but in her time.

My friend's cat, George (I want to love him and suqeeze him and call him George) has taken 5 years to stop hiding and will now sit on her lap, but still will not come near her partner. I have seen him in the open possibly twice in 5 years.

Good luck with Oliver
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