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Timid, shy, almost paraniod

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
We got Mickey when he was around 6 months old from a rescue center. He was with the rescue center for around 3 months. Now he has been with us for nearly 2 1/2 years.

We currently have two other cats, and had Nikki, who lived to 21 and died a year ago. The three other cats are/were much more relaxed. Mickey has always been shy, but he still shows signs of fear in his home. He seems to get along well with the other two cats, one younger and one older. He really is fond of my 22 year old daughter, who is a vet tech and does clips his nails. He has never been as affectionate as our other cats, but I am concerned about the fear he still seems to show. Of course, he is treated well and never mistreated. We rarely even raise our voice to him.

He does have his friendly times on his terms when he wants to be friendly and be pet. I can live with that, but his fear makes me unconfortable. If we have company, he dissapears for hours, that isn't that unusual, but if one of my family and him cross paths, he will hurry the other way. My other cats will just pass by ignoring you or casually watch you. If you are sitting still when he walks in the room, he is alright, but make a move toward him and he runs.

Could he have been traumatized by something in his first few months? All of other cats have been a little uneasy at first and quickly adapted, but Mickey still seems uneasy. (He is a great guy otherwise) Today it bothered me the most because we had a delivery and I had to check to make sure nobody got outside accidently. It took me 4 hours to find him. I can trick to the other two to come, but this guy only comes on his terms.
post #2 of 10
Some are more shy than others. I believe he was born outsside as homeless semiferal?? It will be probably a little better with time.

Cats are individuals, he is one of the more shy...

Still, one of our cats, a russian blue male, is almost as shy. But we knew russians may be a little cautious and even shy, so we dont regret or even bother. It is nice this too... His friendship feels more worth then his son who is much more sociale....
post #3 of 10
He very well may have been mistreated in his early months. It happens more often than any of us care to think of.
He also may just not have been socialized at all in his kittenhood until he got to the shelter. So, you may have a semi-reformed feral kitten on your hands.

It sounds like you are doing everything right though!

May I suggest training him to come when you call? Zissou comes to the sound of her favorite toy, which has a bell on it. Its one of those feather boas on a stick things, and she's obsessed. if you so much as touch it she's suddenly right there. It will be hard to train him to come to your voice but perhaps that would work? Or is that what you meant by tricking the other two? If so perhaps a collar with a bell on it for Mickey is in order. Then you would know if he was trying to make a break for it.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom
May I suggest training him to come when you call?........will be hard to train him to come to your voice but perhaps that would work? Or is that what you meant by tricking the other two? If so perhaps a collar with a bell on it for Mickey is in order. Then you would know if he was trying to make a break for it.

Nikki, the old girl, who died last year was the only one who would come when you called. (Actually whistling the theme from the Andy Griffith show would bring her running, I bet you haven't heard that one before!) Yes, I didn't word it clearly, but I have tricks to call the other two. About the only time we can count on Mickey coming is when our daughter gets home from work, her voice will usually bring him around. Though today, how I finally found Mickey was to sit at the computer and type loudly, he most enjoys being pet when I'm trying to get something done at the PC. It seems like the last few days even when I'm petting him he was keeping an eye on the stairs watching for something and you can always tell when he is looking for an escape rout.
post #5 of 10
My 12 year old cat, Ollie, is just like this. I have had him, his sister, and his mother since his mother adopted me right after she gave birth. Ollie still acts as if my husband is an axe murderer and runs and hides under the bedspread whenever my husband enters the room. I can pet Ollie, but only when he is in his petting spot. Otherwise Ollie runs from me as well. I figure that Ollie's behavior is a combination of inborn temperament and feral background.

He has a good life despite being afraid of his own shadow. And is happy except when we have visitors or when he is startled by one of us. So, although I wish he was a braver cat, he is the way he is and I'm okay with that.
post #6 of 10
I know what you mean about not wanting them to be so afraid...what if you needed to catch him suddenly?

I would try working from where he is at. For example, if he tends to come when you click on the keyboard, start bringing treats to the keyboard. Click and call him at the same time. If he comes, he gets a treat.

And have everyone in the house start carrying around a string toy part of the day. This works on two principles. 1. It is hard to be afraid when you are having fun. 2. Cats like to chase, not be chased.

So you are walking around dragging a string toy (even a long shoelace or ribbon). Pretty soon, kitty learns to watch you, because after you pass by, he may want to follow. This worked well for my Jasmine...instead of running as I come down the hall, she is watchful, in case there is fun to be had. She still runs sometimes, but is getting tamer.

Best of luck, sounds like your kitty has found a home where he is happy.
post #7 of 10
For the past 20 odd years my husband & I have had an assortment of cats, and at one time we had 6 living with us (all in house, spade & with claws). We'd never had a nervous/anxiety ridden one until recently. About 3 years ago we adopted 'Misha' from a pound, she was extemely skittish and very fearful when we brought her home at about 9 months. At the time we had one other female who was very friendly, and while she wasn't afraid of her, she would hide and run from us. About 2 years ago we again adopted another young female, Gabby from our vets office. Gabby is EXTREMELY friendly, playful & loving. Her absolutely most favorite position is on her back with legs spread (the better to be belly rubbed!). She will also do countless rolls on the floor, waiting to be petted. Occaisionally now, we find the 'fearful' Misha copying Gabby and doing rolls , she has also found some areas (top of comfy chairs/couches) where she will lie curled up and 'allow' us to pet her. She also now will sleep on our bed adjacent to one of our other cats Tsuki, and there too she will not run away. We've found her favorite food is lobster & shrimp, and for those tidbits, she will even come over and eat from my hand--- but only for those choice morsel . So all in all, even though she is still fearful, and will hide at a moments notice, she is slowly coming around.
post #8 of 10
Dusty is a stray that came to live with us about 18 months ago. She took up residence on our patio, and ran off every time we opened the back door. She had a collar, and had been spayed, so we assumed for the longest time that she had a family. One day my cat-hating husband decided she looked hungry when he saw her licking the barbecue grill, so he fed her some old lunchmeat and cheese. Gradually we earned her trust and she came inside.

We don't know a thing about her background, but she has turned out to be the most affectionate kitty you could ever imagine. She loves to sit on us and purr and wants to be petted constantly. She nuzzles her little face against our lips, giving us kitty kisses. I truly believe rescue kitties make the best pets because they are so grateful!

BUT, she is still very timid, and hides when there is another person in the house. She doesn't like strangers at all. Also, since she has very long fur, she needs regular combing, which she enjoys - but only with a comb. She is scared to death of a hairbrush or a flyswatter, which makes me think she was beaten in her former life.

Another odd thing is she doesn't play with toys - just not interested.

From the minute we brought her indoors and got a litter box, she's never had an accident. She uses her scratching board faithfully, and does not claw the furniture. She is about as purrfect a pet as anyone could ever want, and we're blessed to have her!

post #9 of 10
My Ophelia was the same way, and still is to some extent. She came into our lives when she was just a 6 week old kitten, and either we were the first people she had ever seen (and been taught by Mama Cat that we weren't to be trusted), or she had bad experiences with people. It took almost 4 years for her to be comfortable with both of us petting her; 5 years to not automatically run away when anyone approaches including us; and at 6 years she has become a snuggly kitty who demands loves from both of us! Time and patience and letting her be her and moving at her timeline of trust was just what she needed. She's still skittish around people she doesn't know, and she does startle pretty easily, but she's really come a long way from the kitten who came from between the walls. (I'm a very proud Meowmy!)
post #10 of 10
I don't think it's a result of trauma. Cats, like people, have their own personalities, and some are shy... even if you own them from birth, that's just their personality, and there's some wiggle room, but their essential nature will stay the same. Though I've known some cats to have personality overhauls when they hit seniorhood: they become cuddly lap cats when they weren't before.
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