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Normal Topic Scared cat. (Read 1,931 times)
LadyK
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Scared cat.
Aug 7th, 2006 at 3:07pm
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Hello! I've asked questions here before, and have always gotten a helpful answer, so thanks to all who've been so helpfull around here!

Our new kitten, who we've had for a few months, has always been a little jumpy. She's a stray, and except for the family, she hates strangers, and hisses whenever they come near her. We're not sure why. And, whenever someone in the family just walks into a room, she sees them, and jumps ten feet in the air, and sometimes races off, like she thinks she's done something bad??
No one before we got her has abused her, as far as we know. She has one specific person she likes, and curls up with, but even that person she'll be very spazzy with.

If someone tries to pet her, she'll bite, and she rarely tolerates being held. We leave her alone until she calms down.
I'm not trying to make her a nicer, more cuddly cat, but I'd like any thoughts on why she might be so afraid of loud noises, people, and sudden movements.

I'm not going to chuck her if she doesn't start acting friendlier, no worries! Lol, but I'd love to try to help her be more comfortable with us, and feel like she can calm down without spazzing, lol.

Thanks!
  
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Tempest
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Re: Scared cat.
Reply #1 - Aug 7th, 2006 at 7:34pm
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Some felines are just a lot more sensitive and reactive than others, and that may be the case with your kitten.  There may, however, be a physical cause for her spooky behavior.  Have you had her vision and hearing checked by your vet, or better yet, by a veterinary specialist?  If your kitten has vision and/or hearing problems, that may explain her overreactive behaviors.

If she checks out physically sound and healthy, then consider her tender young psyche.  At what age was she weaned from her mother and littermates?  Kittens and puppies who are weaned too early don't have the opportunity to learn how to cope properly with the world around them.  They lack the socialization skills they should and would have learned from their mothers and littermates if they'd been allowed to stay with them longer.  These early-weaned babies are often insecure and fearful, and sometimes they remain that way for life.

If this kitten was found as a stray, it's very possible that someone did abuse her before she found her way into your family.  Sadly, kids often enjoy tormenting helpless animals they find wandering around, and there is no easier victim than a defenseless kitten.  It's also possible that this kitten witnessed something tragic happen to her mother and/or littermates, and that sort of trauma can stay with a feline forever.  I know this from experience.  I rescued five pre-weaned kittens from a man who murdered their mother in a drug-induced rage, and those babies were so traumatized that they hid for two weeks before they'd come out from under the bed and let me see them.  Even now, 11 yrs later, they still hide when anyone unfamiliar comes into the house, and they are only moderately friendly with my male housemate who is a very gentle soul and has lived here as long as they have.

Lastly, kittens (and adult cats, for that matter) tend to go through love-hate cycles in their affections.  It's altogether possible that your kitten will cycle into a lovey phase and decide you're the next best thing to catnip for awhile.  It happens with my cats all the time.  One day the Three Mouseketeers will be all over me, and the next day they won't want to have anything to do with me.  No problem, because by then the White Boys have decided they want some extra Mommy time, and when they get bored with me the Babies move in to claim my lap and affections.  I never know who's going to love me or "hate" me from one day to the next.  Cats are fickle.  That's how they keep us lowly humans working so hard to stay in their good graces.  Wink

Enjoy your little girl.  She's obviously training you well.

Tempest
  
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Melissa
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Re: Scared cat.
Reply #2 - Aug 8th, 2006 at 10:11pm
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Cats are like people, they have different temperaments and different sensitivities. Just as one person is loud and outgoing, another is quiet and shy. Some people are naturally very timid, and prefer not to socialize at all. And at extremes, there are people who have phobias and are afraid to leave their homes at all. It's possible your kitten is at just such an extreme!

The best thing you can do is to give her time (and the time necessary may be quite a while!). As she gets older she may settle down and be less nervy. Also, I've heard of animals being put on anti-anxiety medication, so maybe that's an option? Just as you'd give a person with extreme anxiety something to help them cope, you could do the same for an animal.

Melissa
  
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LadyK
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Re: Scared cat.
Reply #3 - Aug 15th, 2006 at 7:48pm
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Thanks for the help!

I'm not sure about the pills.

And I think she WAS weaned much too early.

It's gotten worse recently. She doesn't even wait two seconds after you pick her up, she just starts growling and meowing like crazy and squirming.
We put her down, and let her cool off, but how do we stop this?

Although, if she's super tired, she'll let us pick her up, lay her in our laps, and start purring.

I can't figure out why she's so unfriendly to even the people she's around constantly.

Any help on how to remedy this, or even explain it is much appreciated.

Thanks!
  
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Re: Scared cat.
Reply #4 - Aug 15th, 2006 at 11:35pm
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Just like you'd be a fool to marry a man believing that you could change him, it's not realistic to believe that you can change a cat's basic nature.  If your kitten is one who does not like to be handled, then don't handle her.  If and when she wants attention, let her come to you and ask for it.  She really couldn't be making it any more clear that she does NOT appreciate having attention forced upon her, and continuing to do so isn't going to teach her to be more affectionate.  It's just going to make her more determined to avoid you altogether.

My girl, Pea, who died a number of years ago at the age of nearly 23, always detested being picked up, held, and petted.  She would sleep on my lap, but ONLY when she decided to jump onto my lap on her own and ONLY as long as I didn't touch her at all.  One of our current feline kids, Annabelle, also hates to be picked up and held, though she will on rare occasions allow me to stroke her for a few seconds before bounding away.  Some cats are only content with no-touch companionship, while others are all about the physical attention.

If I had a kitten like yours, I'd let her control all of the interactions with human family members.  If she wanted to run and hide, I'd let her run and hide.  If she wanted to nap on my lap without me touching her, I'd sit quietly and be a pillow.  If she wanted to hiss at me when I entered the room, I'd simply ignore her.

If you have taken your kitten to the vet and gotten a clean bill of health, then don't worry about her behavioral quirks.  She may outgrow them; she may not.  It's out of your control in either event.  Appreciate and enjoy who she is on her own terms, and you can't go wrong.

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