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Our Domestic cat seems skittish?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Long post...I'm sorry.

We have a cat that we've had since October 2001. She showed up on our doorstep around 6 wks of age...and has been with us every since. She has been neutered for over 3 years now.

Over the last week, she's apparently turned "wild" for lack of a better word. Skittish may be more appropriate. She's taken to hiding under our neighbor's shed or ours, and won't come out from under there....tonight, we took a bowl of food out to her and put it under there for her to eat and she ate it all up, but wouldn't come out from under the shed. *Let me back up a minute--first I went to the neighbor's yard, and lured her out with the food, and was able to pick her up and put her in our yard, then she ran under our shed, and I had my partner put the food under there, because I was afraid she'd never trust us if we came with food again, if she didn't get it after being "promised" food for coming out.*

I sat with her and talked to her while she was eating, and she didn't seem to mind at all..ate like a little pig...like usual. She still wouldn't get close enough to touch her though...I just talked softly to her like I usually do.

What's happened over the last 10 days? Well, I'm thinking it all has to do with my partner's Daughter-in-law dropped her Hound dog off at our house on 4th of July and picked her up Friday. Angel (The cat) disappeared on July 6th and it wasn't until yesterday we figured out where she was when we clanged the food dishes together to feed our other 3 cats. She came running in and ate about 5 bites then ran back outside and we hadn't been able to find her again....then we thought about the fact that a few years ago, one of our other cats went to the neighbors when she was angry at us for the fact that we had just gotten Angel. So, I went to the neighbor's with food.....etc.

I think that she is just stressed out and thinks that the hound dog is still here. I don't know if anything happened, other than the dog has one heck of a deep bark that Angel isn't used to. Our Lab rarely barks, so Angel isn't used to that deep throated barking on a regular basis....and he'd bark at the cats as they came in the house.

She's pretty much of a loner even when she's usually home...which since being neutered is almost always. She sometimes lets us pet her or groom her for about a minute or two, then usually takes off to lay on the bed or to lay on my computer desk. (She loves watching the mouse and arrow on the screen when it's dark in my PC room)...I love laughing at her when she tries to catch it. She loves our older cat Cindy who treats her like a baby cat...and she adores Trixie our Lab who adopted her when she showed up at our house....I swear that Angel thought Trixie was her momma for the first 2 years...that's where she'd lay when ever she wanted to sleep was with the dog.

So, what I would like to know after writing this novel is:

What do we do to win her confidence back? How do we let her know that it's safe to come home? Do we just give her time--or do we try to lure her back into the house and confine her? (I hope not, cause I want her to trust us again).
post #2 of 10
She msy be stressed or as an outdoor cat, she may have picked up a disease. If you can pick herr up, I would bring her to the vet to ensure there is no phsyical problems (I know getting her into a carrier may not be the best for her now but she does sound stressed about something or ill). Also, does she HAVE to be an outdoor cat? Indoor only cats lead much longer and is heathier lives. It is ahuge myth that cats who spend time indoors are less healthy - the reverse is quite true.

This article explains it much better than I.


She may have been spooked by something outside or by the dog's presence but if she has not rea ted that way in the past to dogs, it may well be something else. You may have to start all over to regain her trust and a vet visit may be where to begin.

Good luck!!
post #3 of 10
you can by feliway pheremone plug in and spray which is like happy hormones for cats which might help calm her down somewhat.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
She has reacted similarly to this particular dog when it's come here on two other occasions...usually running under the bed and staying there....not leaving home completly. For us, we don't have much of an option to make 4 cats indoor only as we have a dog door for the dog to go in and out and the cats are all "doggy door" trained....not one is litter box trained, or ever have been. It's extremely rare for us to "doggy sit" this dog, and I personally don't care if we do again or not, I don't like him.

I personally would have only indoor cats, but the first two were already indoor-outdoor cats and the last 2 learned from them.

Where would I find the spray and can I find it at walmart? What's the name of it exactly so I can look for it?
post #5 of 10
feliway, try ebay for the cheapest prices or do a internet search for it. vets often sell it but not sure about any where else.

have you got a safe quiet room you can contain her in for a day or two?
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Not really we don't...other than the bathroom, which we go in and out of regularly......it's a tiny house with few rooms....we took a bowl of food out to the shed where she's been hiding and set it down for her to eat when she gets hungry. The other animals have looked at it and then just walked away.....We're trying to be patient and to not scare her to death, but we don't want her to starve either.....

We do have a cat carrier that is quite large, but I hesitate to keep her contained in it if we get her back in...she went spastic when we took her to the vet to be fixed, and when she saw the cat carrier when we got it out for one of the other cats later, she just about had a coniption fit and couldn't leave the house fast enough.
post #7 of 10
You can buy feliway at petsmart/petco or a well stocked pet store. But you have to get her inside 1st. While she is eating can you pick her up?? Have a blanket nearby and put her in it and get her in the house. I had a inside/outside cat that got spooked by something once. We could hear here meow and once in a while see her. Somehow we got her in the garage and she ran in the house and crawled under the bed covers and stayed there a whole day. She was jumpy for several months after that-we never did find out what happened.
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Well all,
Don't ask me why, but she came home last night. She was in the yard sitting and for whatever reason I knew I could go outside and talk to her. I did...and she came over to me and started rubbing on my legs. I talked quietly to her for about 5 minutes while she did that, then started to pet her a little bit and she laid down to let me pet her. Then our dog that she loves to death came out and started grooming her, and we started inside and called Trixie and Angel to come in and she did!! She started eating the hard food. I went to my PC room and she came in and started rubbing on my legs, so I just reached down every so often and petted her. She went to the hard food and would eat a little bit for the next 2 hours or so, then she came just a "talking" to me, and I knew she wanted canned food, so we gave all 4 cats just half a can and she came back in and sat with me most of the evening. She went outside for a bit and then in the middle of the night when my partner and then I got up to use the "faciliities" she came in with each of us and rubbed our legs then laid down with the dog beside the bed. She's been inside all day long and isn't acting skittish hardly at all.

Can you tell I'm glad to have her back?!!
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
It's the strangest thing. Since being back, Angel is far more loving. She has jumped in my lap several times since coming back to be petted. You have to understand, she hasn't ever done this, even as a kitten. I'm thrilled, but curious as to what's going on with her. Last night, we turned the water on for something, and she jumped up on the counter like she wanted a bath....totally weird...She's definitly home---just so much more loving. It's curious to me--any ideas on what's going on with her??

New problem though with our oldest cat. We were getting ready to clean the pc and discovered a stash of ummmmmmm----cat poop behind the pc. She is fully trained to use the doggy door, and has been for more than 4 years. Why would she be doing this, and how can we stop it without causing any harm to any of the animals or whatever?
post #10 of 10
Go to the behavior thread. There are lots of "stickies" at the top of the thread, one has pointers about cats pooing in the wrong place.

I'm glad Angel is more loving now. Maybe she had time to think under the porch, and decided to change her ways!
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