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Fear of Paper or Plastic, General Skittish Behavior

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
HI. I'm new. I was hoping someone on the board has had a similiar situation and can give me some peace of mind until I can get into the vet. I couldnt find the search function either.

My kitty has become horribly skittish over the last week. She has always had issues with plastic bags being rustled. Now, she freaks out if you turn the page in a magazine too loud. All paper and plastic is setting her off. She runs as hard as she can upstairs to hide in the bedroom.

Outside of never reading a book or using a bag again, what can I do for her? She barely leaves the bedroom. Its really sad. She was never really super-friendly but she was at least social and would hang out in the room with me.

I plan to call the vet tomorrow but I cant take any time off for the next 2 weeks. I'll have to wait for the next Sat. appt. I was going to ask about kitty-valium with the hopes that she will chill out and after 30 days or so of not freaking out over paper or plastic, she'll have modified her behavior and forget about it. We can then wean her off the drugs. I would prefer no drugs but I am preparing for the worst.

She is eating, drinking and using the litter box. She isnt exhibiting any other weird behavior. I just miss her and feel bad that so much of daily life freaks her out.

Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 5
I wouldn't use the kitty valium for something that's really fairly minor at this point -- there's always a possibility of trouble with drugs. In fact, there's a current thread here that involves a terrible clawing attack on a six-year-old, and many people believe it may have been caused by valium.

Has your kitty been spayed yet? If not, it could be that she's in heat. Going into heat seems to cause all kinds of otherwise inexplicable behavior. (Just like in humans...)

Could it be that she's just playing, having fun PRETENDING to be spooked? Kitties sometimes carry this to extremes just out of boredom when they have no companions to play with.

Here's a long shot, but it's worth asking: Is there some event your kitty dreads that usually FOLLOWS the rustling of bags? I ask because my cats know that the sound of a plastic bag being snapped open means I am either about to take the trash out or clean their litterbox. In both cases, my cats come running to observe the operation... but if your kitty has had some sort of bad experience involving a bag, maybe she's running because she associates any rustling sound with that experience.

Just a few thoughts...good luck!
post #3 of 5
I would try feliway first. Its a little expensive, but it gives the kitty the hormonal message that all is well, and may be what she needs to calm down.

I have a friend who's kitty Jack went from being a little shy around strangers, to being terrified in his own house, whether they had company or not. A few days of spraying feliway around and he was settled down and calm again.

You can google it (or I prefer the search engine "dogpile"). Or they sell it at Petsmart.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
thanks for the advice on Scout's paper/plastic issues.

Scout is fixed. She is about 6 yrs old. I adopted her and her mom, Phoebe, together in 1999. She has feline companionship when we arent home, which isnt much. We are home-bodies. Phoebe is so laid back in comparison to Scout. I'm going to keep trying to work with her, reassure her, give her love. I dont want to go to the vet since that is traumatic in iteslf. I'll look up that stuff on the 'net.

thanks again.
post #5 of 5
Just wanted to add that, on top of the Feliway, Bach Flower Essences might help your baby. I have 4 cats and whenever I have a behavior issue (after consulting the vet, of course) I find that there is a Bach Flower Essence (or combination) that helps. I get mine from a wonderful company that produces Bach Flower combinations specifically for kitties...check out http://www.spiritessence.com/ for more information. They have a combination called "Scaredy Cat" that sounds like it might help Scout. And they're very simple to use...you can put them in her water, mix them in food, dilute them with spring water & spray them around the house, or even massage them directly on to your kitty's head (if she allows this).
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