TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Behavior › Cat Deathly Afraid of Bed, Couch, and Rug
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Cat Deathly Afraid of Bed, Couch, and Rug

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
We have a very strange situation, one I have not seen expressed anywhere else.

We rescued a 2-3 year old half-siamese a few months ago. The agency told us she was a real cuddler, and she was, for the first few weeks in our apartment. She would climb up into our laps on the couch, and climb up onto the bed after hours. She had the normal 'exploration' period in our (relatively small) apartment, but she adapted very well. There wasn't a single area she wasn't curious about, and not a single place she wouldn't wander over to, without reservations.

Suddenly, about two weeks in, she began exhibiting very bizarre behavior. My spouse went to place her on the bed and the cat scratched her and jumped three feet in the air, terrified. She then refused to go near the bed.
She also refused to go near the dark carpet next to bed, treating it like hot lava. If placed on the rug, she jumps sideways off of it, and walks away, scared and twitching. She's fine with the carpet though.

When also noticed she seemed skittish about the couch. Sure enough, she can't touch it or get placed there without doing wild frightened leaps once her paws touch the couch.

So, We try to leave her alone and not force her to go anywhere she doesn't want to go. Something about these places terrify her now. We can tell she wants to join us, but she can't - she's too scared. We have NO IDEA what might be scaring her.

We've already tried Fellaway hormone spray and catnip in these areas, no to avail.

Every so often she surprises us and shows up on the bed, or the couch, or is sitting on the carpet. Most of the time, she will jump and twitch after being near those places. Even when she (rarely) climbs into bed with us, in the morning when she realizes 'where she is' she starts freaking out again and jumping with fright.

Just so you know:
*Her claws are NOT getting caught on the bed, couch or rug. Her paws are healthy, and she handles all the carpet and most surfaces well.
*We know very little about her previous family except that that cat was always really loving and friendly.
*She is eating and drinking fine, and as long as she isn't placed near the 'scary zones' she is actually quite affectionate and 'normal.'
*We have a safe zone for her, with a bed/food/toys/everything she could need. From time to time she exhibits a huge fear of even this area, a fear that subsides minutes later.
*Again, she is usually a very normal cat, expresses affection, loves to play, talks to us once in a while, eats quite well.
*Nothing about our situation (bed, rug, couch) changed in the slightest before she began acting weird. Nothing was moved around or washed or scented. She was one moment to the next, a completely different cat.

It's a shame, since it's clear she wants to join us on the couch/bed places we sit, but something about these places terrifies her. We have tried everything and are at our wits end. How common is this 'area-specific' terror in otherwise normal cats?

Thanks in advance for any information or suggestions. Has anyone else encountered this?
post #2 of 13
Well, my boy Toby is *very* high strung and sometimes something silly will catch him off guard and scare the beejezus out of him. One time he was sleeping in my lap while I was wearing a pair of plaid house pants. He woke up and something about the pants freaked him. Don't ask me what but he jumped 3 feet in the air and afterwards wouldn't come anywhere near me. Later when the pants were laying on a chair he would come up to them and very gingerly touch them with his paw like to reassure himself that they weren't alive or something.

It might take him a couple of hours to get over something but it has never taken him 2 weeks. If I were you I would just wait it out. I'll bet she eventually gets over whatever scared her.
post #3 of 13
Chalk it up to general feline wierdness. As long as she seems generally healthy and happy, ignore it. By making a fuss over it you are making more important than it is. If you don't treat it as a big deal, it won't be, and she'll figure out sooner or later that there is nothing wrong with those places.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Chalk it up to general feline wierdness.
Hey, I really appreciate you taking the time to respond!

I do understand how someone hearing my description of 'cat freaking out at things' might think my reaction is overblown (or naive). After all, cats get jumpy at times for no apparent reason. It's typical cat behavior to freak out randomly at things for a while and then return to normal.

While that is true, this isn't random and it's a sustained reaction to specific stimuli. IMO, my consternation over a cat exhibiting prolonged fear and avoidance of the most prominent areas of a house is not an overreaction.

Now, if it was a lamp, or a certain shoe, or a something easily put away or hidden that scared her, I'd get over it. For instance, she is terrified of this pink balloon we have lying around the house... that's humorous rather than disturbing.

Since the items causing distress are the largest, most prominent pieces of furniture in the apartment, it gets in the way of our ability to share company with her, so it's distressing. It's particularly distressing because her fear reaction to these specific things doesn't pare down or switch on and off, for the most part.

Again, thanks for your encouraging words. I also hope she just 'gets over it' soon. I appreciate it!
post #5 of 13
You know, Ringo used to sleep on the bed and couch from time to time after we first brought her home and she settled in. We would often come home to her cuddled up sleeping away on the couch, but she almost NEVER gets on the couch anymore and she had stopped hanging out on the bed for a long while. She has just started napping on the bed again. I think that "general feline weirdness" is probably all that it is. She is very healthy, active, and happy otherwise. Though I have wondered if there were people who had her before us (Ringo is a shelter rescue as well) who freaked out on her if she got on furniture and if she remembers that sometimes.

Actually, I think that she just likes to confuse us...
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frida Kahlo View Post
Since the items causing distress are the largest, most prominent pieces of furniture in the apartment, it gets in the way of our ability to share company with her, so it's distressing. It's particularly distressing because her fear reaction to these specific things doesn't pare down or switch on and off, for the most part.

Again, thanks for your encouraging words. I also hope she just 'gets over it' soon. I appreciate it!
See, I'm picking up on your distress over her behavior. If I'm picking up on it, what is she picking up? I'm thinking that by reacting to her reaction you may be re-enforcing it and validating it.
post #7 of 13
I've heard alot of people on TCS talk about how sometimes there are cats outside your home and even though us humans are not aware of it, the cats are. maybe there is a new cat in the neighborhood that is scaring her through the windows? Animals are very sensitive to nature, maybe there was a small earthquake (didnt notice where u live). You could have tracked something inside on your shoes that freaked her out. I hope it is just a phase, but of course it never hurts to take the furbabies into the vet just in case. could be so many things...
post #8 of 13
I wonder about squeaky springs at a low level that we can't hear, but she can. What are the chances you could even temporarily just as a test, try switching out one of those pieces for an unsprung type to see what happens.
post #9 of 13
Have these areas been cleaned lately? I'm thinking either she doesn't like the scent used to clean the areas or perhaps they need to be cleaned. Just a thought.
post #10 of 13
What concerns me is this "deathly fear" behavior. I can't accept it as just feline weirdness to be ignored.
Since you live in an apartment, perhaps new neighbors/animals moved 2 weeks ago? The problem may be outside and your very sensitive cat is picking up something? Like Meowsers mentioned you could have tracked in something with your shoes from outside?
What is below your apartment? As I see it, bed, couch and carpet are connected to the floor. Maybe like Larke said it could be the springs or Meowsers mild earthquake?
post #11 of 13
I might take her to the vet, to see if she's healthy and just rule out any possible problem.

The second thing I'd do is completely ignore her behavior in those areas. I too think it's likely that something might have scared her temporarily, and it will just take time for her to get over it... and that her owners are suddenly acting tense and/or unusual when she's in those areas (for example, looking straight at her whenever she's on the rug, which could seem threatening). If you act like you used to and pay no attention, it'll help her get over it.

A third possibility: Animals sometimes develop aggression or neurosis when they're bored and understimulated. Try introducing new toys, and playing with her more to tire her out.
post #12 of 13
hmmmm....I would go with the old owner theory, that in her old home if she sent on certain areas she would be punished severely, and so she must be very panicky whenever she is around those specific places, or things that remind her of those places. She may have gotten over any fear of being beaten, but may be feeling her old instinctive reaction of associating fear with furniture.

Also, try not to do anything out of the ordinary or unusual when she DOES go near there, because that may just increase the terror reaction, as it would have been people who would have hurt her before.

just my little theory

hope she gets better soon!
post #13 of 13
ok i'll be the bold one and ask:

you guys didnt have loud, noisy sex in any of those places and scare the kitty did you?

im not asking to be funny, either.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cat Behavior
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Behavior › Cat Deathly Afraid of Bed, Couch, and Rug