Is it possible to help cats overcome their fear? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-17-2012, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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Is it possible to help cats overcome their fear?

I was just wondering, would a timid cat ever change? Would they ever come out of their fear?

When ET was at the hospital, on the day of discharge, the nurses at the hospital was not able to get him into his carrier, cos he resisted badly. In the end we had to resort to using a basket with a large top opening, quickly put him in and then secure the cover with raffia string. But 2 weeks later, time for his vaccination, I managed to lure him into his carrier with treats (of course after the vaccine, when we got home, he gave me a very very hard bite). Now, this carrier is where he sleeps. Not that I can get him inside as and when I like, he doesn't buy that anymore, but at least his aversion to carrier was kinda lifted.

Next, is his fear of thunder/lightning/rain. Every time when it start raining, he will either freeze if he is not anywhere near his hiding place or he will belly crawl to his hiding place without fail. But, of late, I noticed he doesn't go into hiding immediately when we are around. He will still hide if he doesn't see us (sometimes we are either in the kitchen or bedroom), but the moment he see us, he will crawl out from his hiding place. So, I can see there is improvement. But, is it possible that he will completely overcome that fear, even when we are not around? Possible? A leopard cannot really change its spot? A timid cat will stay forever timid? cos there are still alot more other areas of his fear I need to work on.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-17-2012, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
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Another thing I have noticed improvement. Just 4days ago, my neighbour's 18yo daughter decided she wanted to come see ET up close. I brought her to ET's room. ET's was asleep in his carrier, I invited her to go up close to his carrier. She did just that and stayed watching for some mins. Then I asked if ET is awake, she replied 'yes', then I continued to ask if ET hissed, her reply was 'no'. This is something very unusual, he didn't run, was awake and didn't hiss. I have to try again with other visitors to know for sure he is no longer afraid of strangers. But 2wks ago, my hubby's friend came but was at the dining hall, while ET was at the study room and surprisingly too, he didn't go into hiding.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-19-2012, 02:29 AM
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He may be getting more comfortable with people; I think the more people he sees, the less afraid he will get. My timid one became less timid around people after I had 2 students catsit for 4 months. I think they had people over, so she got a bit used to it. She is definitely more afraid of men than women though.

However, the thunder, the vacuum, the carrier...11 years and nothing's changed there...
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-19-2012, 03:39 AM
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It varies - there will almost certainly be some improvement. All we saw of Oz in the beginning was his nose popping out for food! Now he is a real cuddle bunny but he still tends to be wary of strangers. Becky was timid on arrival (and when we first met her in the shelter) and is now the most confident little cat you can imagine. Princess Tramp, on the other hand, is brilliant with us but is always going to be semi-feral.

As far as fear of thunder is concerned, that is less likely to change - just like us, they can have an ingrained fear.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-19-2012, 07:06 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input, at least there's a possibility that ET may one day become a more confident cat. I suppose, a fear is a fear or rather a phobia of something is hard to eliminate, no matter what I just hope for the best.
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