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Extremely stressed out cat

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Katie is a 10 year old tabby. We got her as a kitten along with her sister Maggie. They're both confirmed house-cats. They've never liked going to the vet (or going anywhere for that matter), but other than a little chase-around-the-house it has usually not be that great of a problem.

Last March it was shots time. I got Maggie in her box, but Katie figured out what was going on and went ballistic. Yelling and hissing, ears back, whacking with the paws (she's de-clawed in front). When I finally got hold of her she bit me. Wound up leaving her and taking Maggie alone. It was a month before I finally got her in for her shots.

Today I took Maggie in for a glucose & liver check (she's diabetic). I have not made a single move toward Katie, but she's freaking out again. When I got home, she hid under the bed a constantly growled and hissed at me. She finally came out about an hour ago, and even comes up next to me; but if I say anything, the eyes dilate, the ears go back, and the hissing and growling starts again. I'm afraid she's going to bite me again.

How the heck can you deal with a cat that gets this freaked out?

This is going to be a major problem, because in a couple of months we're going to move half way across the country.
post #2 of 10
Just a thought, but are there any vets in the area that do house calls? We have one here. And if so, could they give her a tranquilizer?
post #3 of 10
If she was declawed recently, she may associate things with the declawing and that's why you can't handle her. Fear-biting is a common problem in declawed cats.

I would try to get her to associate the carrier with good things - try feeding her in the carrier or near it or put some treats in there. Keep the door open till she is more used to things.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by spookzilla View Post
Just a thought, but are there any vets in the area that do house calls? We have one here. And if so, could they give her a tranquilizer?
Actually I have some to use for a trip next weekend, but I didn't want to use them for this.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
If she was declawed recently, she may associate things with the declawing and that's why you can't handle her. Fear-biting is a common problem in declawed cats.

I would try to get her to associate the carrier with good things - try feeding her in the carrier or near it or put some treats in there. Keep the door open till she is more used to things.
She was declawed over nine years ago. As far as associating the carrier with good things, that's an idea, but the mere sight of it sends her running. Remember, she's 10 years old. She gets a treat of fancy feast in the evening (dry feline r/d is her normal food). I'll try putting that in the carrier and see what happens.
post #6 of 10
Has her behavior changed in any other way? Do she and Maggie still get along (assuming they ever did)? Sometimes a change in behavior, including increased aggressiveness, can be the result of illness. But if she only freaks when she sees the carrier that probably isn't it.
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mschauer View Post
Has her behavior changed in any other way? Do she and Maggie still get along (assuming they ever did)? Sometimes a change in behavior, including increased aggressiveness, can be the result of illness. But if she only freaks when she sees the carrier that probably isn't it.
Actually, the problem seems to be getting worse. Yesterday morning she was fine. I went away for about four hours. When I came back, she was a different cat. Tail down, eyes dilated, growling, hissing, the works. I tried to ignore her, then she'd come right up next to me and sit down, but if I moved her way or even talked to her - back into the combat mode she goes.

My wife came home from work, and Katie showed absolutely no aggression toward her. Let my wife pick her up and everything. Still hissed and growled at me, though.

Then we go to bed last night, and she hops up next to me and spends the entire night with me. This morning she's fine..... for now.
post #8 of 10
Crazy as it sounds, but have you recently changed your aftershave, or shampoo, shoe polish, etc. The different smell might be scaring her. What might have changed that you normally wouldn't have considered? What about behaviour (not even necessarily toward the cat), or noises, or ?????
post #9 of 10
I have a cat like that, and we moved across the country as well. We all made it, so it's do-able.

I leave my cat carriers out at all times, with a nice comfy blanket inside, and she sleeps in them very often. However, the moment I pick up the carrier's front door, she's gone. I've been able to grab her quickly and without fuss a few times, but more often than not it's quite the drama. So I don't have a cure-all, but I do have some coping strategies.

1) Always go for the scaredy-cat first. My other cat is totally sweet and dumb, so I can always grab her, no matter the commotion. There is no way I can casually snag the scaredy-cat after snagging the easy one, so I always go for the scaredy-cat first.

2) It's easier to handle cats if they don't have a way out. If I can trap the scaredy-cat in the bathroom, I can easily grab her and get her into the carrier.

On tranquilizing and trips; I did it, and my super stressed scardey-cat was calm and easier to deal with, but she was so spaced out that she seriously scared my spouse and I. I don't think we'd ever opt to go with any kind of medication for a trip again. If you do, use the smallest dose the vet recommended.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larke View Post
Crazy as it sounds, but have you recently changed your aftershave, or shampoo, shoe polish, etc. The different smell might be scaring her. What might have changed that you normally wouldn't have considered? What about behaviour (not even necessarily toward the cat), or noises, or ?????
I've thought about that. As far as Monday goes, I went to an Urgent care facility to treat an injury to my left hand...maybe I picked up a scent there.

Another thing I thought about was the fact that our house is on the market. We've only had three showings in two months, but both our scaredy-cats go hide for hours if any strangers come in the house. Maybe that's got her nervous, too.
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