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Scared To Death Kitty - need suggestions!

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi Everyone....
I need some help understanding my kitty Charley. We adopted him in March from a no kill shelter that had a display at PetsMart. His previous owner brought him up there just for the "display" time so he was never actually at the shelter. He is three years old and has had only that one previous owner. When we took him home we went with the slow intro approach with our other cat, Bunnie. We confined him to his own bedroom and for two days he stayed under the bed. That's understandable, he was freaked out. He slowly came out and we had a baby gate up so the two cats could sniff each other and get used to each other. After about three weeks the gate was gone, he started coming downstairs, moved his food down in the kitchen all seemed great. They were getting along, sitting in their perches in the window - we were one big happy family. He still seemed skittish at times and spooked easily though. We just figured he'd been through a lot and we would just give him time to adjust. After a month or so he still had strange movements sometimes when approached - which indicated to me that perhaps he might have been hit previously. He "slinks" backward and jumps side ways. He was declawed by these people so he probably scratched furniture and maybe that's when he was hit. He also had a medical history of UTI's and is on special food. But I don't think that's relative to this strange behavior. About three weeks ago he started acting a bit more strange, like he was reverting back to how he was in the beginning. I brought him to the vet, he has crystals in his urine but no infection. We switched food (slow intro once again) but he started going back to his "safe" room. Sunday morning we were all in the living room and he did this total "freak out"....he reacted as if a shot gun had gone off in the room or something - he practically did summer-salts in the room and took off upstairs! He's been up there ever since. I took his food up, he's eating good, using the box great but he's just too scared to come downstairs. His little sister comes up to see where he is! I just don't know what to do. Do you all think he needs kitty prozac or something? I know this was long - thank you for taking the time to read all of this!

Any opinions would be really appreciated!

post #2 of 14
Poor Charley! I'm just wondering, have you mentioned to the vet that he's been hiding upstairs since Sunday?

I wish I had an idea of what was going on with this kitty, but I just don't know. You may be right that he was hit or otherwise treated not very nicely in his old home (although that makes me wonder why his previous owner went through the trouble of bringing him in to the adoption display and then bringing him back home rather than just giving him up to the shelter). At any rate, I do know that sometimes kitties, like people, take two steps forward and one step back when they are adjusting to a new situation. Perhaps Feliway would help soothe him? I wish I could offer more...

Good luck to you and Charley, and please keep us posted.
post #3 of 14
Something else just occurred to me--and this is a total shot in the dark--but you mentioned that his major freakout came after he had been to the vet. I know he was already acting a little hinky before he went to the vet, but could it be that the trip to the vet raised his anxiety level even further because it reminded him of being toted back and forth to Petsmart, which was followed by a complete change in his home environment? These critters are smart and have really long memories.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for replying Stefanie!

We have given the vet trip some thought, but he went to the vet on Wednesday the 7th and the freak out happened on Sunday...I'm seriously considering contacting this pet communicator I've worked with in the past. Of course my husband doesn't want me to spend the money, and I don't think he really is into that kind of thing, but she's really helped me in the past with my cats that were sick (and have since crossed over).

Maybe I should call the vet too?

Charley lucked out...his previous owner only took him there that one time and we adopted him after only being there a couple of hours. The owner said that her "new" husband was allergic.....I think he was the one that probably hit him She should have gotten rid of him!

post #5 of 14
For the longest time after we adopted our kitties, Nedicks was terrified of DH, though she has always been a little cuddle monster with me, and we came to the (unproven of course) conclusion that in their old home there must have been a nice lady and a mean man. Perhaps the "allergic" husband yelled at Charley to keep him away or something like that. Poor little guy. I'm also wondering if maybe he was confined to a small space, again because of Mr. Allergic, and that is why he keeps retreating to the safety of the bedroom. Perhaps there is just too much house for him? What makes it weird is that he was comfy for a little while, and then got timid again.

If it were me, I would definitely have a chat with the vet before doing anything else. It can't hurt to have an expert point of view on the situation.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
I just put a call in for the vet to call me back....I hate to medicate him because he's a sleep little slug as it is! I'll have to try and post a picture of him...

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Here is a picture of Bunnie and Charley....he's the orange tabby...he really looks comfy doesn't he?! This was taken April 23rd and we got him on March I said, he was great for two months! I hope the doctor has something encouraging to say!

post #8 of 14
Set up a safe room for Charley to hide in and let him hide. Chances are good that visits to the vets will bring on this behavior. Charley was declawed, this is a terrifying ordeal for cats to have to go through, they go through immense pain, many times suffering quietly and stoically because that is how they are built. Low on the food chain, they instinctively understand that showing pain might end their life. My guess is the vet is a trigger point for him.

Cats don't always remember the good things that are done to them or with them, but they never forget the bad. Set him up in a darkened room, make sure he has all the comforts he needs. Feed him on regular time tables so he doesn't get surprised by visits. He will come out and join the world, only when he figures out this new world is not out to get him.

I would also invest in a pet fountain to put in there with him as well to encourage him to drink. Don't push the food to him, leave the food in the same places every day. Leave him be, he has been through what most cats would beg us not to do to them if they could talk like we do.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Well, I talked to the vet and she said to just let him be, that he needs to work this out on his own terms. I do agree with both of you - that vet visit did something to him. So he seems very secure and comfortable on the top floor where the bedrooms are. He's not confining himself to one bedroom, but likes to lay in the doorway to his room. His food is in the hallway and he loves it when my husband and I are on that floor with him. If I'm on the computer he comes and lays by my hopefully in time he will relax again and join us in the rest of the house! Thanks everyone for your input!

post #10 of 14
I hope everything works out with your kitty!

I did want to add in that he looks SOOOO much like a Garfield! I've seen other cats called garfield, but this one looks incredibly too much like him! lol
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
That's so funny that you said stepdaughter's friend said the same thing and now they all call him Garfield! He really does look like him!
post #12 of 14
Karen--I think it's promising that Charley likes to be around you. It seems like he recognizes you as the good guys. Maybe that will help to ease his adjustment. Glad to hear the vet had some answers. And btw, Charley and Bunnie are both cutie patooties!
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the encouraging words! I sure hope he looks at us as the "good guys"! He's here with my husband and me at the computer right now, sniffing around and approaching everything very apprehensively!

post #14 of 14
Well, you can be sure we'll all be sending him strong "be brave" vibes. Keep us posted on his progress.
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