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Cat scared of new fan light!

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hey guys,

I have a 4 year old cat (girl, spayed)...we recently installed a new fan light in my room (where she stays, she doesn't like wandering outside my room) and she's deathly afraid of it. She wouldn't come out for days from my closet and oddly enough, she'd actually leave my room (she'd meow to get back in late at night though).

My problem is, I guess for days now she hasn't come out from under my bed due to the light--and she peed under my bed! I'm very mad! Right now, I stuck her on a kitty leash on a bookshelf that allows her to get to her food and her kitty litter but not under my bed.

Any ideas/help? I'm pissed right now it's not even funny, she's being completely ridiculous, I was hoping being forced to stay out and having the light/fan on will slowly get her used to it but I don't want pee in my closet or under my bed! Help.

- Frustrated
post #2 of 16
First of all, she's not being ridiculous, she's being a cat...and a terrified one at that! I had kitties that were afraid of a ceiling fan. Know what I did? I stopped using it. Why? Because my kitties peace of mind is far more important to me than using a fan.

Your girl sounds sorta skittish to begin with (because she doesn't really leave your room). I can guarantee you that leashing her is not going to solve the problem. She does not equate the punishment of being confined to peeing under the bed. She's not capable of such reasoning, so it's probably a waste of time, and most likely making your girl even more miserable than she already is.

Nobody likes cat pee over their house, and it is frustrating. There is a very simple solution to the problem. Stop using the fan. It's a choice between a piece of machinery and your cat's happiness. It's just a fan, and your cat is a living, breathing, feeling being who depends on you to provide a safe environment. She views the fan as being very, very scary, and therefore, unsafe.

It's your choice.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Sorry, I've just been frustrated...come home from work after 12 hours to sit down for 5 minutes and start smelling pee. I love my cat to death (Witney is her name), I've had since she was 5 days old, I bottle-fed her...but I don't want her being deathly afraid of this light fixture...especially since all the rooms now have them.

As much as possible I would like to solve this issue and not give her away as I've had her for a very long time...and because I basically "raised" her as a little kitty...no other cat can replace her...she's very friendly and affectionate and she's great with strangers (just not when there's a party). Thanks for your response clix...but I don't think my parents would be too pleased if I tell the electrician to get rid of the fan...the fan is a fixture on my ceiling and she seems scared of the fixture itself (even when lights and fans are off) so taking it out really isn't an option.

I won't be moving out for another year and I don't want to give her away to somebody for a year until then...adjusting to a new environment is stressful to cats and I don't want her to go through that.

I put her covered canopy bed by the kitty litter so she can access it without seeing the light. Right now, she's jus peeking outside staring at the light...and her food is nearby too, she tried to run out of the room again the but the leash forced her back into her bed. She stares at the light but she's closes her eyes and relaxes from time to time. Any help would be greatly appreciated...I'm no longer mad though, she loves me unconditionally and I have to return the favor! Just surprising as it's the first time she has done this with ANY object/person.
post #4 of 16
Well, maybe you could try laying on your bed with her while the fan just lurks above (Id not have the fan part on if possible right now, she has to get used to the look of it without the extra terror of the motion it would cause)...pet her, reassure her in soft tones that things are ok, and just show her through your calm presence and reassurance that the big machine in the sky wont hurt her. If you can, dump the leash right now because its getting linked in her mind with the scary fan and if you take her for walks with it normally, she may not have the same reaction post-fan as she did pre-fan. Im assuming that you had a leash for walking purposes. My kitties dont use leashes, so I dont have 'em around. You could always pick up some disposable aluminum cookie sheets to put under the bed as an option for her to pee and poop in while hiding under the bed from the fan until your diligence and patience with her while she gets used to the change in her environment.

Do whatever you two did together in your room before the fan arrived...to show her that things havent changed. If you two have some ritual that you do...be it listen to music while laying on your bed, playing with toys, whatever...keep things as normal as possible so that the familiarity and comfort of her routine will override her terror of the fan above. She doesnt understand that your parents paid money for it or that her fear of it will likely get her kicked from the house. She is probably peeing under the bed because she is afraid that the fan is going to hurt her somehow...so she is too scared to go out and use her box like normal. Think of it as some big huge _________ (whatever you are scared of, if nothing...then imagine something scary) lurking over you and the only safe place was under the bed. What would you want someone to do for you if you were scared to come out...and give that to your little kitty. Its obvious from the sounds of things that the only room she is comfortable in in your house is your room...and that just had a pretty daunting addition added to it. With patience and love and understanding on your part, you will hopefully be able to work her through this disturbance in her world
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks unsung_one...I tried that last night...I just pried her out of my closet and kept her in my lap...wrapped her up in my sweater. She stayed for a bit but hid under the covers and stayed there. I think at night I can keep her on my bed with me--but during the daytime she'll have to get leashed for sure as the housekeeper and little brother will more than likely leave the door open for her to run out and do her business elsewhere to piss off the parental units.

I heard that cats can also suffer from sensory overload--especially with bright lights? Could this be a cause? I don't really know though, she stares at the light...perhaps if I get different colored bulbs?
post #6 of 16
You could try a softer lightbulb, but Id venture to guess that its just the look of it and the shadow that it no doubt casts down on your room that is causing her distress. She could possibly view it as some sort of predator in the sky, but Im no Cat Whisperer While in the room with you, just allow her whatever retreats she feels are necessary as her timid little self gets used to the new changes. Some cats just dont adapt as easy to new things, especially the more nervous ones (which it kinda sounds like your cat is). Work with her as much as you can when you are home and of course do the best you can to not make your parents angry with her for something beyond her little cat control. I did edit my previous post and it seems we are on at the same time, so Im not sure if you got the final product before you replied
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks...right now she's settling into my lap, I have a blanket over her body so she can stick her head under the covers if she deems it fit. she's relaxing a little bit more now--but she still won't stop staring at it. I also turned off the light and resorted back to my old lamp until she gets used to something above her head like that.
post #8 of 16
Your kitty sounds terrifed. I just want to say that cats do not understand punishment and it just does not work and is both counterproductive to your objective and hurtful emotionally to an already fragile kitty.

If it were me, the lights fixtures would be gone. No ifs ands or buts. I had to install my computer system around my rabbit - mega wireless due to the cords and once, I also installed carpets in some rooms so he'd have better traction for his tiny paws. He is deceased now so said carpets are gone.

I think the desensitization is good if you could get her to understand the light would hurt her. I would say she might have been traumatized by something similar to be so afraid but she is a bottle baby, then that may not be likely. Have you considered escue Remedy or Feliway or any of those products that minimize stress in a cat?

Good luck - please don;t even consider surrendering her because of the furniture. She is a living creature dependent on you for life and health (physical AND emotional) and any shelter you bring her to (save a no kill Rescue) would put her to sleep if you enumerate her problems.
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
I would never give my cat to a Shelter, every cat I've ever saved has always been given up to good homes from applicants from craigslist or friends. It would be easy to say "no ifs and or buts", but this is not my home...this is my parents' home...otherwise my place would be tailored to make my home suitable for my animals.

I leashed her next to her bed where she was forced to look at the light for 2 hours...after 2 hours, I took her to my lap and wrapped her in a blankie to have her relax with me while I work. She wouldn't stop staring at the light...then I turned it off and turned on my old lamp that used to light up my room--she still wouldn't stop staring.

She's been on my lap now for 30 mins and I think she's doing a lot better. She used to just get down real low on the floor and try to find a way to run. But she got up and got on my table like she normally does and stayed behind my monitor. For the past couple days she's been ignoring me and wouldn't come to me when I call her nor meow at me when I mention her name. But I called her from the back of the monitor and she came this time.

I'm playing with her a bit now and she's just sleeping on my lap. I'm hoping this road to normalcy improves within the next couple of days. Oh yeah, she's also purring now--for the first time since it was installed.
post #10 of 16
You are traumatizing her permanently, and don't seem to get it. Keep her in another room if you're in love with the fan, but stop trying to 'desensitize' her for the short time you're in there with her. She's beyond reason about it, and you're punishing her in her eyes.
post #11 of 16
From the sounds of things, the parents have installed these ceiling fans in all rooms of their home. So I dont think that its really a matter or putting her in another room to get away from the fan because it sounds like the fans are everywhere. Besides, Ive gathered from what Ive read so far that kitty is only really comfortable in the thread author's room to begin with. Forcing kitty to live in another room of the home she isnt comfortable in will no doubt cause trauma to her as well...but I really got the impression that there is nowhere in that house that is ceiling fan free. And I dont think that the poster is loving the fan more than her kitty, it sounds more like he/she has to go along with whatever the parents (aka the homeowners) decide they want to do with their home. Im sure you didnt intend for it to sound harsh on the poster, but it doesnt sound like there are many choices available for them...especially with there being parent homeowners involved. Im of the same opinion that the leashing isnt really a good way to go either as I dont think forcing someone to face their fears is a really positive way of affecting behavior, but from what the poster has said...it will be alot worse for the kitty if she starts urinating in places where the parents will catch on and possibly make the kitty leave the home. The parents would save their rugs, but the poster and the little kitty would be the ones who would lose in that situation. And if the poster is underaged, its not like he/she can really just move out to their own place if parents force a decision like that. The person came here asking for advice on how to help the kitty cat given the situation that they have been given.
post #12 of 16
Just one quick question - are you leashing her up when you are not in the room with her?

If so, I'd be worried that she could choke herself or hurt herself in some other way.

If you are worried about the housekeeper or your brother letting her out, put a big sign on your door to not let the cat out as a reminder.

I do also think you are putting too much pressure on her by forcing her out and making her stay out.
post #13 of 16
Is this going too far...? Get a cardboard box from the supermkt that's wide & deep enough to cover the fan, cover it with matching paper or whatever and tack it over the thing until she's older, less afraid and forgets about it. Then try to use only the light rather than the fan i that room.
post #14 of 16
I'm sorry to sound a bit harsh, but I REALLY don't agree with tying kitty up just because she's afraid of something to the point where she won't come out. Not to be mean, but it's a bit selfish. Why not just change the dang thing out for something else, or close that door, so she doesn't wind up in there?

If you do such things as tying her with her leash to something, you will undenyably create quite the feral cat, and completely change her personality. You're in essence punishing her for her fear, which she, as a cat, has EVERY right to have.

As a human, you have the responsibility to create a safe environment for this kitty you've agreed to take care of in your home. That means if there's something that terrifies this kitty as much as that does, you should find a way to change it. It sounds like you recently acquired this light...why not return it for another? If you cannot return it, why not keep from turning it on, and find another light source?

I'm sorry to react so passionately, but it just is mean to punish your cat for being just that...a cat.
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbaby
Sorry, I've just been frustrated...come home from work after 12 hours to sit down for 5 minutes and start smelling pee. I love my cat to death (Witney is her name), I've had since she was 5 days old, I bottle-fed her...but I don't want her being deathly afraid of this light fixture...especially since all the rooms now have them.

As much as possible I would like to solve this issue and not give her away as I've had her for a very long time...and because I basically "raised" her as a little kitty...no other cat can replace her...she's very friendly and affectionate and she's great with strangers (just not when there's a party). Thanks for your response clix...but I don't think my parents would be too pleased if I tell the electrician to get rid of the fan...the fan is a fixture on my ceiling and she seems scared of the fixture itself (even when lights and fans are off) so taking it out really isn't an option.

I won't be moving out for another year and I don't want to give her away to somebody for a year until then...adjusting to a new environment is stressful to cats and I don't want her to go through that.

I put her covered canopy bed by the kitty litter so she can access it without seeing the light. Right now, she's jus peeking outside staring at the light...and her food is nearby too, she tried to run out of the room again the but the leash forced her back into her bed. She stares at the light but she's closes her eyes and relaxes from time to time. Any help would be greatly appreciated...I'm no longer mad though, she loves me unconditionally and I have to return the favor! Just surprising as it's the first time she has done this with ANY object/person.

Is there any way you can cover her space with blankets or something equivilent? I mean, including her litterbox, food, water, etc. Her whole area. She wouldn't see the light then, and would be able to exist comfortably. Then you could take that awful leashing off, and she wouldn't feel so punished for something she obviously cannot help.
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite
Just one quick question - are you leashing her up when you are not in the room with her?

If so, I'd be worried that she could choke herself or hurt herself in some other way.

If you are worried about the housekeeper or your brother letting her out, put a big sign on your door to not let the cat out as a reminder.

I do also think you are putting too much pressure on her by forcing her out and making her stay out.
I agree completely with all of that. Another note...you should consider the sign, and putting it on both the inside and outside of the door, so they see it as they're entering AND as they're leaving. Another thought...ask your parents to ask the housekeeper to not come in your room, and take your room upon yourself to clean. It's honestly not much work, so it shouldn't be any big change. (Sorry...I have no idea what having a housekeeper is like, so I don't understand why it's necessary for a bedroom, when you can do the work yourself, and ease the strain on your kitty.)
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