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Trash bag fear?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Ella has a fear of big black trash bags. If I even carry a full one through the room, she is off and running to find a hiding place.

Now, it would be speculation, but what do you think caused that?
post #2 of 11
Was Ella a stray? Maybe she might have been abused in some way on the streets with the bag (sick teenagers stuffing her in, almost suffocating, etc.) Or maybe it's not large and creepy for her. Who knows-she's a cat!
post #3 of 11
My suggestion would be to open one up on both ends and leave it out in a room for her to investigate. If she never has the chance to do so herself, she will keep building up this fear that can develop into other behaviors. I would think that there is more then just the trash bag behind her fear.
On another note, this is so the opposite of Maia! She absolutely loves bags, any bag! If I shake out a trash bag to use, she comes running! Any bag that enters the home, she has to inspect!
post #4 of 11
I've had a few cats (and one right now) that ran when I opened the trash bag. Must be the sound it makes. Sprinkling salt scares Dusty, too. Of course, the salt shaker resides on a cabinet above his bowl, and he may have been accidentally "salted" (by my husband) at one point.
post #5 of 11
I think that threecatowner got it right....
Dexter hates the sound when I open a new trash bag.
He always runs and hides.
Maybe Ella associates that horrible sound with those awful bags.

Salt shaker fear is a new one for me.
post #6 of 11
My Ginger loves plastic bags, if they are just sitting there doing nothing but waiting to be stalked and killed by her. Open them up, move them around, she is afraid so I agree it is the sound. It is loud to our ears, imagine it on animal ears! (had a dog who felt the same way)
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Well, she definitely doesn't like the sound, but she panics even if I'm just carrying it through the room.

She was a Katrina survivor, so who knows what kind of trauma she suffered?

But it's not just the plastic. She's in the living room right now, curled up in a big plastic cover that came on a Sam's Club size pack of paper towels.
post #8 of 11
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
She was a Katrina survivor, so who knows what kind of trauma she suffered?
That poor little girl.
Our answers to your bag question might have been to simplistic.
She is probably suffering from some residual post traumatic stress.
I am so glad that she is safe with you now.
Ella ... a survivor.
post #9 of 11
Knowing she's a Katrina survivor and it's not plastic per se, it's got to be association. Spooky was abused, and they definitely threw things over her to try to "trap" her - blankets, coats, &etc. She would run and hide every week when we made the bed - of course the best part of the week for all the other cats, being just about their favorite game - and the first two winters were real tough for her, with the winter coats about.

It's six years later now, and she wouldn't move when I was making the bed the other day. I told her - I was going to toss the blanket over her - and she still wouldn't move. So I went ahead and did it - and she did NOT freak out at all. I lifted up the blanket, and she rolled around.

Ella will probably stop running in a few years. Cats have long memories.

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
The good news is that Ella continues to improve. She still doesn't like strangers, and she runs and hides at first, but she's gotten very friendly. I'd take pictures...but they'd be x-rated, since she likes to rub on us and get attention when we step out of the tub or shower.
post #11 of 11
We had a cat once that got tangled up in a plastic grocery bag as a kitten...he ran around crazy for a few minutes and it stayed stuck to him. We got it off of him, but he ALWAYS freaked out when he heard that plastic crackling sound.

Never tell me cats don't generalize.
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