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Beautiful but problem cat

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Help. I've joined this forum in the desperate hope that someone can help. Hector is a beautiful lilac spotted oriental tabby. He has several problems:

The first one is that he has a panic instinct and rushes to hide if he thinks we are trying to get him to go somewhere. (For example when I have to put him in the kitchen before we go out so that I can put the house alarm on.) Even when he goes in or out he scurries like a terrified creature. He has always been like this from when we first got him. If everyone is sitting down he is very relaxed and will roll around on the carpet in front of us and even total strangers. He loves to play with toys and is very good at retrieving. He is particularly terrified of my husband and son, both of whom are tall and noisy but I can scare him to death too. If I walk into a room he tends to look for somewhere to hide. This problem is only irritating but it is not very nice to have a cat behave as if we were animal torturers. (My family always had cats and Hector is the 3rd cat we have owned and the only one with this problem) He is 7 years old and our patience is running out.

His second problem is being noisy. I love orientals and have lived at different times with 3 adored Siamese and a Havana. I loved talking to them and having them shout back. Hector has been very vocal since we got him. As a kitten he talked in the litter box, he talked when he was eating (with his mouth full). It was quite sweet when he had a little voice - we used to call him "modem" at one time if you can imagine that sound! Now it is lound and endless and has a winge to it. When my husband is at home alone with him he keeps quiet. As soon as I walk through the door he starts talking to me. I know he loves me and I should be flattered but it's driving me mad! He sits on my knee and meows. He's doing it, now sitting on my shoulders, as he does when I'm on the phone. Deafening for people on the other end! In the evenings he shouts for his food from 4.00 pm onwards. I always feed him at 5.00 pm but he likes to start nagging early. First thing in the morning he shouts all the way through the house out into the garden, while he digs a hole, while he pees, while he covers it up and back into the house. If I try to get him to hurry up because I'm worried about the neighbours complaining he goes into panic mode and hides under a bush and continues shouting. I've tried spraying water at him. That shuts him up for a bit but doesn't help the panic thing. Trying to find a quiet moment to reward him is hard as if I look at him he speaks.

The last thing is chewing. I had a long woollen coat in the hall cupboard. It now has a very unusual pattern along the bottom where he has been chewing it every time the cupboard has been left open. He has other things to chew but loves woollen things especially socks, hats, gloves,scarves and jumpers.

He did go through a period of peeing on my husband's part of the bed but that has stopped. When we first got him our beloved Pushkin (Havana) was still alive. We got him because Pushkin wouldn't sleep on his own when his sister died. Hector and Pushkin slept together but didn't take much notice of each other after the first few months. Hector didn't seem to miss Pushkin. I think he thinks he can have me all to himself now and demands my attention. I really do love cats and spend a lot of time playing with Hector in the evenings and he sits on my knee or shoulders every time I sit down and comes to me when I have breakfast in bed. I think we can live with and find a way round most of the problems but the noise is horrid.

I'm sorry this is such a long whinge from me. You can see where he gets it.
post #2 of 7
Hector sounds so much like my Kahuna who is a lynx-point siamese with, I believe some snowshoe mixed in. "Special K" has always been vocal and he talks constantly. I stopped a long time ago from trying to guess what he wants, and now, I have learned, that if I get down to his level, and give him a long (and I do mean long) belly rub, he will give me some peace and quiet for a few hours anyway. But it took a long time to discover that this will work. There is a thread at the top of the Health Forum that has a list of "Flower Remedies" You may want to go wander over there and see if one of those remedies might help Hector.

About his "wool eating." That is called Pica, and no one really understands why some cats enjoy eating wool items. Some experts claim it is a vitamin deficiency in the diet, others say it is a behaviour quirk, others believe it is hereditary, but there are ways to stop this behavior and your vet can guide you as to how to help Hector. I do know, that the Siamese type cats seem to be the ones that are the most likely to do this type of eating of non-food items.

It is hard to deal with a cat who is constantly talking, and like you, we thought K would out-grow it, but instead he just grew into his voice. I just try to tune him out when I can, and right now, he is sitting under my chair meowing at me like "Mom pay attention!" Guess it is time to give him a belly-rub!
post #3 of 7
A couple of my cats run like I am an axe murderer even though they have lived with me for 8 years! They were feral when I adopted them which I think contributes to this scared behavior. However, even though they run when I walk toward them, when I'm sitting or in bed, they cuddle with me. For my cats, it is the walking towards them that scares them.

Oh...they are also much more frightened of my husband than of me. Perhaps it is his lower voice or the fact that he is bigger than me. Anyway, I know how frustrating it is to have a cat who runs from you, (I was muttering to my cat this morning, "Maggie, I've not tried to kill you in all the years you have lived with me, why would I try now......grrrrrrrrr") but I wouldn't worry about it.
post #4 of 7
Fallon, my 3 year old gets panicky when you walk around and often will run in circles because she gets so freaked and can't find a place to run to. If she doesn't run she will crouch really low to the floor and squint as she looks up at you.

Now on the other hand, if we're sitting down she'll run out in the middle of the living room and play and pounce on the other cats. She will also climb up on your lap and snuggle.

I am the only one who can feed her because if anyone else tries she runs and hides and will not come to her food dish. Sometimes she'll get so scared even when I'm feeding her she'll hide.

For the first year and a half of her life she lived in a tiny stainless steel cage that was 5 feet off the ground. She lived at the clinic I work at because she was deemed unadoptable and my boss didn't have the heart to put her to sleep. When I decided I was going to adopt her I had taken her out of her cage and put her on the floor with another cat so see how she would get along. She panicked at the freedom and leaped up 3 stories of cages to get back into hers.

Needless to say once I brought her home she hid for a week and would slowly come out of hiding after that. She made little progress each day and I was always very patient with her. If I moved too quickly she'd scamper back into hiding and stay there for a while.

So a year and a half later she socializes with my other cats and tries to bully them around(I say try because she's so little compared to them). She seems fine if you walk by her when she's up high on the couch. It gets fustraiting that she hides even though I feel she has no reason to but for some reason she gets scared. When she does this I leave her alone and let her come out on her own. She is getting better but just when you think she's through with the panicky act she reverts right back again.

If this really bothers you then you may consider consulting with a feline behaviorist. I've just accepted this as part of her personality and other than that she's a wonderful cat who loves to snuggle and is hilarious to watch.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thank you for taking the trouble to read and reply to my long schpeel (sp?). It comforts me to see that other cat lovers feel frustrated too by being treated like axe murderers. As you say it seems to be something we just have to live with as it is so imprinted in Hector's personality. When we went to view the kittens before buying them the mother and her kittens would all rush off and cower on the stairs as we entered the room. However, I picked Hector because when I put him in my knee he relaxed and purred very loudly. Pushkin, our Havana, never really mastered the art of purring. My mother once thought he had a breathing problem when she heard the noises he made while trying to purr. Has anyone else with a Havana noticed this?

The noise thing unfortunately cannot be relieved by tummy rubbing every time or I would spend the whole day on the floor. I also feel that, having read some earlier strings, it might just reinforce the noise if he gets attention every time he does it. I'm now trying to give him lots of attention whenever there is a moment's silence and gritting my teeth and letting it flow over me at the noisy times. This is pretty well what I do most of the time. I practice Yoga and can tune him out usually but my resistence runs low sometimes and also my husband can't tune him out so I worry about him getting upset, not to mention the neighbours.

Anyway thanks again and I'll let you know how it goes with rewarding silence.
post #6 of 7
I know that the typical siamese cat is very vocal, but just to be safe,I would take him in for a complete physical. I would have bloodwork done, a fecal and a urinalysis. Geriatrics for cats can be anywhere from 7 years to 10 years. Sometimes they can have minor problems that aren't very obvious until it's too late.
The skiddish part is a difficult one for anyone who owns a cat like this. Most of the time it's from the way they were raised until we got them. In a breeders case, they were probably not handled much and possibly in a cage most of the time. Siamese especially need to be handled at a young age. At 7 years old, it would be hard to try and change him. I would use the Dr Bachs rescue remedy and see if it helps any. You can put some in his water every day and see if it makes a difference. It would take a week or more to see any results.
The one thing you can try with the Pica is to give him a multi vitamin suppliment. A lot of times this eliminates the craving. It has helped quite a few cats with the problem.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the further suggestions. I'll try them all. I don't think its geriatric behaviiour though since he's been that way since we got him and only got worse when Pushkin died. I know the answer could be to get another cat and I'd love to but our dog is getting very old now and I think we must wait until she has gone. I love this site so it's an "ill wind" as I wouldn't have discovered it without Hector's problems.
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