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Obsessed & Neurotic Kitty!

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone!

Newbie here. I have three cats - all will be three years old within the next month. Two of them are siblings (Pebbles, the sister & Drizzle, the brother) and one oddball (Squeegee, another female). Pebbie is the chatty mama's girl, Drizzy is the way-too-smart-for-his-own-good mama's boy, and Squeegee... Well, Squeegee just kind of hangs out. Not a whole lot goin' on up there, if you know what I mean. Anyhoo...

I'm having an increasingly troublesome issue with Drizzy. Background: Sometime last year I bought one of those laser beam toys that produce the small red dot the kids chase as you move it around. The girls weren't that thrilled with it, but Drizzle... Whoa! He became obsessed with catching that darn light! It got to the point where he would freak out and his eyes would open so big and wide that I thought they'd pop out. If he knew you had the little device, he'd just sit there and stare at you. He subsequently earned the nickname "Starey McStareStare". If you'd just touch the little contraption, he'd know the sound your hand makes when it touches it and come running from who-knows-where. I mean, it was freaky! Well, I should say - it *is* freaky! He still knows the sound and he still freaks if you move it, but we have long since stopped playing with it, because he was just too obsessed with it. Heck, after we'd get done "playing", he'd frantically look for the light dot everywhere for at least an hour or two. After being unsuccessful and giving up, he'd just stop and stare at you. Weird!

Up until recently, his neurosis over the darn red dot has been confined to the darn red dot. But a month or so ago, I needed to use a flashlight and turned it on to see if it worked. The light bounced off the surface of the wall and Drizzle caught sight of it. He freaked and got as excited over it as he used to over the red dot. Same thing all over again. Now, when the sun shines through the window and there are trees or curtains in the way making the light move on the wall, Drizzle is there attacking it and trying to catch it. He meows with great frustration, too.

But it doesn't stop there! Within the last couple of weeks, he's taken to spazzing out over shadows - people's, the other kitties', and even his own. He'll attack the carpet in front of him if he sees his shadow move. He sits there and watches me like a hawk in the morning when I'm getting ready for work because he sees the light moving on the wall behind me if I'm straightening my hair - or if I need to use another mirror to see the back of my head. The light reflecting off of that is even brighter! Same with CD's, tin foil... You name it! He just can't let it go, and it's starting to worry me.

Just this morning, he went into my work bag (that was zipped - he somehow figured out how to unzip things now) and dragged out a little shiny silver bag I keep my MP3 player in. I noticed that it was missing and went on a hunt. He had hidden it across the living room under my desk. When I picked it up to put it in my bag, he flipped out again. He's crazy!

Other than all of this madness, Drizzy is quite a "normal" cat. Although, he has also figured out how to open child-proofed cabinets, unscrew tub drain caps (I've seen him do it!), and a plethora of other things you wouldn't think a cat could do.

Wow - this is getting too long.

Well, I guess what I'd like to know is... Does anyone have any ideas as to why he might be so fixated on moving lights and shadows? And how can I get him to stop obsessing over it? Is there even a way?! Any input you have would be greatly appreciated.

post #2 of 11
I'm sorry...what exactly is the problem? That this cat is fascinated with certain things, like the laser light toy and the shiny bag? This is purrrrrfectly normal behavior for a cat. There's nothing you need to do. Relax!!
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
No - you don't understand... His little life is now consumed by moving and reflected light.

He doesn't act like his normal self anymore. He can't sit there and just hang out. He doesn't play with other toys, me or other people (unless we're manipulating a light source). And if the other two kitties want to play with him, he gets all annoyed and shoos them away so he can focus all of his time and energy on any kind of shiny object or light that strikes his fancy.

Seriously, it's all he does other than sleep, eat and visit the litter box every once in a while. I mean, he's even fallen asleep in a half-pounce position while staring at light reflecting off the wall.

I guess I didn't make the extremity of the situation very clear in my previous post. Sorry about that... I have had multiple cats at one time for my whole life and know the furry creatures and their eccentric little quirks quite well. But this is a new one for me... He is literally obessed.

post #4 of 11
Has he had a recent checkup at the vets?

This sounds like a neurological issue. But I am not expert.

I would take him for a complete overhaul and see what your vet thinks.

Good Luck!
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
I think they're due back to the vet for their annual tune up in November, but I could definitely check with them. I guess I just didn't think of this kind of thing as a medical/vet thing, but I suppose it sure could be. Thanks!

By the way, Lovey is adorable!
post #6 of 11
Don't think there is anything wrong with this cat other than he is bored and moving shadows are stimulating his prey instincts. If you ever watch a cat that is hunting a mouse, you will see them sit for hours on end near a hole in the ground, watching for movement. This is what he is doing. I would relax and not think of him neurologically damaged. I would give him one-on-one playtime every day several times a day with the laser light, as long as you don't shine it in his eyes. Follow each play session with a taste of something meaty and wonderful that he would never get otherwise- (reward for capturing the prey)

Thank your lucky stars that this cat is so fascinated with light sources. I had one years ago that went nuts over flashlights. We used to play with Gulliver for hours on end in the dark with a tiny flashlight. One day he got out of the house and we couldn't find him. So at nighttime, I went out looking and I snapped on a flashlight to see- in just a matter of minutes, he had zoomed to my side! I picked him up and brought him back inside where he belonged.

Your cat is not 'damaged' he is responding to his prey instinct and you need to cultivate it and understand it.
post #7 of 11
Cats get "obsessed" over things. I put the word in quotes, because I think it just looks like obsession, but really isn't. I just think that this cat is different than the other cats you've had before. You say that other than this "madness", he's a normal cat. Here's something you might try: indulge his "obsession". In fact, absolutely inundate him with it. Wear him out with it. I'll bet in time his attention turns to something else. This is probably just a cat that needs a high level of mental stimulation.
post #8 of 11
Yes, please don't think I was indicating that your cat was "damaged"!
I never meant that in the slightest so don't think that..
I just always like to check with a professional in a case where I am so worried such as it sounds you are...
And the responses were slow in coming on this one..

I have no experience with this level of obsession with a light source..
I mean, mine love certain toys as have dogs I have had.
But I find that dogs are more obsessive with toys..

Good luck with it and please let us know what comes about..

Lovey thanks you for the compliment.
I have another boy too but I am slow with the pics...
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your input everyone! I'll keep y'all "posted" ( hehe).

He used to be obsessed with water and would stare at dripping faucets, but even that was nothing like this. What's funny is that he is SO not a hunter in that he's afraid of mice and bugs. It took all three of my cats to corner a mouse one day, and as soon as it started to run toward them to try to escape, they all scattered in opposite directions to get away from it and then hid for a while. My little guy Drizzy just sat there and cried like a fraidy cat under the table - such a macho man (not).

The other night, it took both Pebbie and Squeegee to conquer a tiny moth that got inside of the house. Then they both shared in the "feast". Squeegee tried to eat it, but half of it fell out of her mouth and Pebbie picked up where she left off. Where was Drizzy during all of this?! Hiding in the corner, peeking up at them every now and then to see what was going on. Silly kitty! I guess he's just not afraid of the light and needs to transfer all of that displaced instinctual energy somewhere other than on "real" prey.

Thanks again!
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Here is a visual of my little man for y'all...

post #11 of 11
Oh Drizzle is gorgeous.
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