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Anxious & Scared Cat

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

I did search the forums to see if I could find an answer, but can't seem to find any question like mine - sorry if I'm duplicating a question here!

My wife and I adopted a 2-3 year old girl from the local ASPCA in February, and she's the most loving, happy cat I've ever seen. But she's also EXTREMELY anxious and scared all the time. When it's just my wife and I in the house, she's usually fine, and very affectionate. But if there are any loud noises outside, including rain, she will hide. Any visitors to the house, she'll run under the bed. I know that this is just her personality, and we try to help her anxiety every way we can.

Here's my question - when we adopted her, she was in an "open" room with other cats. She seemed a little shy, but actually came and rubbed against our legs after about a minute. Basically, she won US over, not the other way around! Do you think that it might help her anxiety if we were to get another (outgoing/non-anxious) cat? Has anyone ever experienced one cat helping another cat's anxiety/scaredness?

Thanks for your time...this really is a great site!
post #2 of 8
Originally Posted by blaffin View Post
She seemed a little shy, but actually came and rubbed against our legs after about a minute. Basically, she won US over, not the other way around! Do you think that it might help her anxiety if we were to get another (outgoing/non-anxious) cat? Has anyone ever experienced one cat helping another cat's anxiety/scaredness?
Many / most cats have an instinct to please themselves in. If we turn on it, this is why grown up cats do bond to new owners at least as well as kittens - perhaps even better.

Yes, I think too another, friendly, not anxious cat could help her. Even a friendly dog could do. It is preferable the other cat is good pal, friend with her. Or at least, friendly neutral.
An positive example from another cat is useful: they do learn from each other, especielly if the other cat is mom - or a friend.

You can also try with a feliway diffuser. Preferably both - Feliway diffuser and a cat - pal.

Good luck!

Ps. Welcome to the Forums!
post #3 of 8
The cats already in my house are the greatest reason I am able to socialize feral kittens. Cats are the original copy cats after all. Expect a little hissing until they get to know each other though. I think the Felway would be a great idea, and maybe it would be best if the new cat were younger so that it did not try to push the more timid one around too much.
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for your help! I had a feeling that possibly getting another, less anxious cat would be beneficial...but I've never been in a situation where I was introducing a new cat to an anxious cat, so I appreciate your insight!

I do have one question, however. You both mentioned the Feliway diffuser - could you please explain how would this help? I've never used one before. She always uses her litter, so urinating under the bed/behind the couch isn't a problem. I'm intrigued because you both mentioned that it might be helpful, and I've never used it before! Thanks again for your time and help...I REALLY appreciate it!!
post #5 of 8
Feliway mimics the happy cat pheramones. ^^ It is designed to make your cat feel more comfortable by surrounding them with happy smells.

It doesn't work with every single cat, but it's always worth a try. I hear they are pretty great.

The only downfall is that in the pet store they are fairly expensive.
post #6 of 8
You can find Feliway in a spray or diffuser (plug in) online for less than at a vet or pet store.

Like Nekomania said, it is a synthetic hormone that mimics the "friendly" markers in cats' cheeks. It was originally designed to help curb inappropriate peeing and scratching behavior, but it REALLY helps reduce stress. Basically, pheremones in cat's scent glands in their paws, their bum, and the scent of pee are all "territory" type markers. But the scent glands in their cheeks are "happy" "homey" markers. So while the idea was to help places that aren't the litter box or a place to appropriately scratch smell "wrong," to discourage the inappropriate behavior - it turns out that the "friendly" marker smell also helps calm stressed or scared kitties. Just make sure you don't spray near the litter boxes or scratching posts.

FYI our kitties are all feral rescues - the oldest was rescued at close to two years (but had a lot of human contact) - the youngest was rescued at 8 weeks. Our kitty rescued at 8 weeks old is now seven years old. He is STILL scared of "unexpected" loud noises (the TV doesn't bother him), and he doesn't come out for people that haven't been around a number of times. It took my MIL three years of visiting us for 10 days at a time before he'd hang out in the same room with her! On the other hand, the oldest kitty rescued is the friendliest, and greets anyone who walks in the door, and he isn't scared by anything - not even the vaccuum. So go figure.

But yes, cats learn a lot from each other. Consider adopting an older kitty that's really friendly and well socialized - perhaps one who was owned by a grandma or grandpa that passed and needs a new family.

As already pointed out, they won't necessarily be instant friends. Cats ARE territorial animals after all, and some are better about sharing that territory than others. Read up on introducing cats in the Cat Behavior and Cat Care sections of TCS (links in boxes at top of screen) and in this forum, and if taken slowly, with lots of love and attention showered on your existing kitty, scent swapping before an actual physical intro, and the positive behaviors emphasized, it should go just fine.

She may also just mellow a bit with age.... but be aware that some kitties are just "scaredy cats."
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
You've all been SO helpful...I really do appreciate the time you've taken to help me with this situation. I think I will try the Feliway idea - I guess it can't hurt, right? We're considering adopting another cat as well...I'll report back if we get anywhere with her. Like I said, I know that some cats are just this way, but we really do want to help her to be as comfortable as possible, and these tips might I really appreciate it. Thanks again, everyone!
post #8 of 8
Blaffin, in posting to another thread, I remembered that music can REALLY help stressed kitties. Check out these two links: and
There's a link to the music in the upper right corner:

Also, look for any harp music you can find.
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