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Stressed cat

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
My best friend has 2 cats. They are each about 2 years old. My friend travels quite a bit, and I am the regular cat sitter. One of his cats, Herbie, is a bit more high-strung or prone to stress than the other.

Herbie is the one who will go and hide if strangers are in the house, etc. Lately, it seems to me that he is getting more and more stressed whenever his 'dad' is away.

Yesterday morning, my friend told me that Herbie "just knew" he was going away for the weekend, as he has gotten to the point where he recognizes the suitcases.

Today, when I went over to take care of the cats, sure enough, Herbie was crouched in his stress-hiding-spot under the bed. He wouldn't come out.

I guess I am asking if there is anything I can do to make him feel a little less stressed when his dad is away?
post #2 of 10
Oh gosh that poor baby .
The only thing I can think off is the feliway plug-in .
post #3 of 10
Yes, for sure~~ What sounds do Herbie and his Dad listen to together, that is, does Herbie play music in the house? certain TV shows? Sounds are a great soothing presence--- if they are the right sounds. Can Herbie's Dad leave a CD that his kiitty and him have heard together? Or can the TV be left on to the shows, MTV, CMT, or whatnot that Herbie might associate w/his Dad? This really works in our household, so just an idea if it would work with them!
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
I think I am going to have to spend a few hours there tomorrow. Fortunately, both cats know me quite well. That's how I can tell Herbie is feeling stressed. He usually doesn't go into his hiding place for me. Perhaps just having someone familiar around the house tomorrow.
post #5 of 10
Deb next time before Chris goes out of town, tell him to put on an old pair of sneakers without socks and just wear them around the house as he walks around. Tell him to get the sneakers good and sweaty, then drop them into a ziploc bag.

When you go over there after he leaves, take one shoe out and put it near Herbie. The familiar scent should calm him down. You can even sprinkle some catnip inside the shoe (like I said make sure they are an old pair of sneakers)
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
I already try to give him a shirt he has worn that has his scent on it. Alas, no catnip. He doesn't allow it.
post #7 of 10
I have found that my cats are attracted to people who have used the same soap as me. Is there anything you could rinse out with the same soap that Chris uses Deb?
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
We actually use the same detergent. Herbie was in his spot again when I got there today. I know he has been out, because of toys in the water and food dishes. Only he does that.

Today I just turned on the tv and stretched out on the bed for awhile. He came out and sat with me a bit, but I know he is just not quite himself. Oh well, one more day til Dad comes home.
post #9 of 10
I think it's more than just the suitcases that are the giveaway to Herbie. The suitcases are one alarm signal that your friend is going away and all security is going out the window. There must be other habits that he has slipped into as he gets ready to leave for trips, and Herbie picks up on all of them. Your friend may also may be making a huge deal about leaving, knowing that Herbie will be heartbroken, which actually makes the process that much worse. Telling Herbie, "Don't worry, I'll be back soon, I love you soooo much," etc, just reaffirms to him that something bad is happening. Your friend needs to leave the house and not speak to Herbie for a good 15-20 minutes, treat it as if he were running to the neighbor's for a minute. In general, he has to switch up his leaving routine. Suitcases can't be left out, and I know this sounds funny, but Herbie can't see him pack, either. I know it's difficult, but everything your friend knows about his routine has to be examined. Herbie is a slave to that routine, and his stress response is just a natural part of that.

Also, it would be good to have you come over and feed Herbie, hang out with him a few days before your friend goes away. Not neccessarily in a row, but just so that Herbie gets used to you doing good catsitting things for him while your friend is still there. It'll just throw him off a bit. It's like taking a cat in rides in the car but just to the vet, if you catch my drift...

And, make sure your friend has specific play toys that he and Herbie have bonded over, so that when you come over you can help get him out of his stress spot with that toy, and keep the routine intact, knowing that routine eases almost every cat's stress.

Do you use flower essences? GREAT stuff for easing hardcore stress. You can start with Rescue Remedy, of course, days before your friend goes on trips, in the water, wet food, and applied to the body, and there are also specialized remedies like the ones I have at my site. I've always seen great responses.

Hope that all helps!
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Jackson. Those ideas help a lot. I don't think Kris makes a huge deal over leaving to the cats...he is a guy, after all. But he did say that on Wednesday night as he was getting his things out that Herbie was sitting on "his perch" (the arm of one sofa) and watching his every move. He knew for sure that a trip was happening this weekend.

I think I will break out some toys that I know he really likes today. And luckily, his dad comes home tonight.
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