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Strange Behavior?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone...

My cat just is doing something very weird, that is making me nervous. She SUDDENLY for no apparent reason, started staring at the bedroom.
(Nothing in there has been changed) She is very nervous, and has been aggitated now for about 2 hours. She keeps looking at the door. She was hiding, staring, definately afraid.

I just gave her some food to try to calm her down, and she is eating, but she keeps looking up. I had her on my lap, cuddling her, trying to calm her and make her feel secure. She just kept looking at the bedroom.

Do cats do this sometimes??? I am very worried...
post #2 of 16

Whenever I see a cat showing the behavior you described, I always think that they are hearing a noise that is either too high or too low for us to hear. I have also heard that animals can sense approaching storms.

Maybe one of the experts will have a better answer for you.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
My husband just pointed out that our next door neighbor, who is rarely home, and is behind our bedroom, is home now. Perhaps she is picking up on the sounds he is making, which to my ear are nothing, and is terrified.

Is there anything I can do to calm a cat?
post #4 of 16
Don't worry! She will soon learn that she does not need to be concerned about those sounds. It may take a few days but eventually she will learn that they are just noises! She will be okay. Honest!
post #5 of 16
I want to add that cats pick up on their people's emotions. So if you are stressed and anxious, your cat will be stressed and anxious too. The best way to calm your cat is to relax yourself!

I know that you and your husband are going through hell right now with the horrific events in NYC, so chances are that your cat is picking up signals from you two that the world is a dangerous place. Once you and your husband start being able to mellow out, your cat will become more mellow as well.

Good luck!
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 

Danielle is worse again. EArlier today, she seemed calm and happy. But now she is afraid of EVERYTHING. This started yesterday. Is she going nuts? Or is this normal. Why now, even with noises she has heard since she got here, is she hiding under the bed, wants no petting, and is obviously terrified.

I feel awful, can't help her. Is this normal behavior for cats...to have this happen sometimes.....for DAYS?????

post #7 of 16
She is still adjusting to the new environment. It's possible that some kind of noise (perhaps the neighbor's voice?) has triggered the memory of an old trauma which you know nothing about.

One of my two baby is a real scaredy cat. He was rescued from a garbage pit when he was about 3 months old and I'm pretty sure he was abused before that. He used to be terrified of strangers, especially men, and hide behind the fridge or whereever he felt safe.

He's now 2.5 years old and is doing a lot better. Lots of patience and TLC has turned him into a much more sociable cat. He is still afraid of strangers, but if they stay for more than 10 minutes, take a seat and everyone's relaxed he will come out and actually sniff them!

My point is that you never know why she's so scared, but you may just need to remain calm and patient and just accept her behavior as it is (when she hides don't try to get her out of her hiding place, just keep on doing whatever you do peacefully), spend lots of time playing with her and just let her build up her confidence. Hopefully, she will settle down with time and be more relaxed.

The other alternative I can think of is call in a professional cat behaviorist and have a proper consultation with an expert who can actually see her behavior and evaluate it. If you feel very worried, this may actually be a good option.
post #8 of 16

Snowball is terrified of thunderstorms. Whenever it storms, Snowball hides under a chair or the couch, and he is so terrified that he is physically unable to move. We stay calm and relaxed when we see Snowball showing this behavior, and just keep on with whatever we were doing. We don't start worrying and over reacting because if we did that, Snowball's behavior would get a lot worse. When the storm is over, Snowball comes out of hiding and he is fine.

Since your neighbor is seldom home, it is possible your cat will notice each time he returns, and you will find her starring in the direction of his apartment. When this happens next time, try to ignore this behavior, don't try to help her, and stay calm. That way, the cat will be able to relax more easily.

I have read some of your other posts and I know that this is your first cat and you may not understand their behavior very well. There are a lot of good books about cats and their behavior, maybe reading some of them will benefit you.

I hope this advice and also the very excellent advice lotsocats and Anne have given you will help.
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Lorie, Anne and Lotsacats,

Thank you all. Yes I realize that some sounds may have triggered old feelings from past experiences that I know nothing about.

It just seems that each day she is getting worse. Even sounds that didn't bother her before are now scaring her.

I picked up some Bachs rescue remedy.. I will see if that helps.
But otherwise, my husband and I have been doing just want you have said. We act normal, if she is with us, we pet and sooth her, or try to engage her in play. We do leave her alone if she seems totally scared and hiding under a chair or the bed. We can tell when she does not want to be touched because she is afraid.

I just don't want her to suffer. My poor baby... Boy I sure do sound like a new mommy, don't I?

Thanks again all
post #10 of 16
Perhaps she smells that terrible smell in the air, I hear the winds are shifting and that could be what is spooking her? If could be a thousand things that may be setting this cat off, and because you are not a cat and don't have the senses she does, you will never know what that may be. She is a special needs kitty, and maybe you should talk to the people you got her from and see if you can gain some insight (I am sorry, but I don't remember where she came from) You also may just be projecting your emotions and fears on to her, so far, to me, she just sounds like a kitty still in shock from her world being rocked. You may think she is acting unusual (because of your lack of experience with cats) and she isn't she is just trying to adjust. It takes time, to adjust, it doesn't just magically happen overnight, she has new smells, and sounds and stuff to get used to and you need to relax and let her just get used to them
There is a book I would highly recommend you getting. It is called The Cat Repair Book by Ruth M. James DVMD It is a good read and a must have for the new cat owner.

Put a paper garbage bag on the floor that she can hide in, take a big cardboard box cut a hole in it big enough for her to hide in then invert it and put it somewhere that she can hide and feel safe. That is all she is asking really, is just leave her some other places to feel safe when she feels threatened. I have had cats hide under furniture, up on rafters under the house, and eventually, in time, when they feel they can trust you 100% of the time, they come out.

Also please be careful with the remedys you are using. They really only need to be used when the cat is truly stressed, like before a vet visit, after strangers invade the home, that type of thing, to use it on a daily basis as has been suggested, is really not a good idea in the long-term.
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hissy, to answer your question, we are close enough to ground zero to get the smell. I remember a day or two after it happened, the wind shifted it here and it was an awful stink.
The smoke is much, much less now, so even though a kitty's nose is better than mine, I don't know if there is enough to be affecting her now.

I realize the new sounds and smells are scary. It just alarmed me because I expected her to be this way when she first arrived. She was actually calmer then. She has gotten worse. But it is not even two weeks, and maybe she is settling in, and I know she has gone through a big change, going from a shelter life to a home with just a mommy and daddy.


PS> I will definately check out that book!!
post #12 of 16
She smells the death....... I would be scared too, and their noses are so much more sensitive than ours. Good luck with her. Just a suggestion, maybe try and put things around the place to detract the smell? Catnip, burn some scented candles, bake a turkey?
post #13 of 16
Another thing to keep in mind is that if you give her lots of attention when she is behaving scared, she will act scared more often! This is because she will learn that if I cower and hide the people will cuddle me and give me treats and treat me special.

So...instead, when she acts afraid, just let her be. Then, when she comes out of hiding and walks with her tail in the air say "Oh! What a brave girl!" and then give her lots of loving and petting and coo all over her! This way she will learn that being brave gets her lots of awards but being scared gets her only quiet time.

If you try this, you will be respecting her need to hide and will make her feel more proud and confident whens she's brave!
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
lotsocats says: "Another thing to keep in mind is that if you give her lots of attention when she is behaving scared, she will act scared more often! This is because she will learn that if I cower and hide the people will cuddle me and give me treats and treat me special. "

Wow, I would never have thought it worked that way!
Thanks for the info.
post #15 of 16
I learned that from an animal behaviorist who specilizes in phobic animals. It was amazing to watch a video clip of a terrified dog who was "cured" in a matter of a couple of hours after the dog's person only paid attention to brave behavior. Who'd a thunk it?!
post #16 of 16

I have been reading all of your posts. You have to bear in mind that this kitty has been going through many, many changes lately.

She is in a new home. She is being forced to take a lot of meds. There are sounds and smells that she is sensitive to. The list goes on and on.

Cats do not like change, in general, and Danielle is currently being subjected to a lot of it. If she is going into hiding, just let her be. She needs to get herself to a place where she feels secure.

One of my cats tends to be on the jittery side. I have to just let him be by himself until he is ready to come out. When I moved earlier this year, he spent the better part of 18 hours on the kitchen counter. It was the only place he felt safe. I would go in, pet him, and talk to him reassuringly periodically, but mostly I left him alone. When he was ready, he came down. And that happened in the middle of the night when I was asleep, and there was no movement in the house.

I realize that you are concerned about Danielle, but sometimes being overly attentive causes more stress. Just give her a chance to adjust in a way that suits her.
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