A few questions regarding scaredey-cat behaviour... - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-20-2015, 06:27 AM Thread Starter
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A few questions regarding scaredey-cat behaviour...

Hi all, I havent been on here for a while as I have been super busy with work (kitten season here in aus) and also moving house!
Pudding hasn't been too bad with the moving process, I've been amazed. But ever since I brought her home from work with me in august last year she has been a very timid cat. Only letting me and a very select few others pet her and hiding under our doona whenever there's a loud noise or visitors. I have always had feliway plugged in but we have always been in very open plan homes so I'm not convinced it's doing much. The strange thing, though, is that at night time she really comes out of her shell and you couldn't scare her if you tried. She runs around and plays and meows and will snuggle up to anyone. But she spends ALL of the day time in bed whether I'm home or not, and she very rarely comes out. Only to toilet. She won't come out to eat until night time either. So my questions are, does anyone else have a cat that's incredibly confident at night but terrified of every thing during the day/how can I help make her brave all the time? I know she has it in her as she displays her confidence of an evening. (She's an indoor only cat btw). Also, when using Feliway should I be putting it in the area she spends most of her time hiding (the bedroom) or where I WANT her to spend most of her time (the living area), so she can socialise? I fear the correct option is the latter in which case I don't think it will be effective in such a big space. I have also tried to spray but it doesn't seem to help her at all.
Despite the recent move she has always been like this and doesn't seem any worse or better in the new house.
Thanks in advance
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-20-2015, 12:40 PM
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Yes, I have seen this quite a few times. My sister in law had a very, very skittish little white kitty, and you never even knew she had a cat, because you never saw her. But at night, she would come out, meow, walk up to you, allow you to pet her. It was the strangest thing. I also had a little kitty who was likely a feral, he was a wild man! We took him because we knew no one else would ever adopt him. Took him home, opened the box, and he ran out, hid behind the fridge and refused to come out. But that same night, while we were sleeping, he creeped out, jumped on the bed and slept right next to me. The moment that I opened my eyes and he saw me, back behind the fridge he ran. He did this for weeks. He never did warm up to most people and was skittish his whole life, but he did this same thing you are describing, he came to life at night.

I would jsut give her time. There is not much else you can do. You can try to win her affections with food, or a treat that you know she can't resist. That can help a lot. But the best thing you can do is to have a nice, calm environment for a cat like this. Don't let people be loud and make lots of noise in the house, and if you have kids, this cat will probably be terrified of them, so I'd make sure they do not try to find her, that will be a nightmare. I think you should not try to hard to get this cat to come to you. The best way to win her over, is to give her space, keep it calm, and let her come to you. And she will, if you don't try to push yourself on her. Let it be on her terms.

Good luck, she will come around.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-20-2015, 04:21 PM
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Some cats seem to be skittish from the time they're very young kittens so it may be just genetic behavior and have what I call a "quick startle response"---most often found with domestics who are feral born or not, as it's a good survival behavior for them. It's my experience that purebred cats tend to be less skittish, likely because breeders will avoid a skittish female or male as they don't want it to pass on that quality. Skittish cats are too frightened of cat shows and will not show themselves off well for the judges.
Others kitties become skittish by some frightening occurrence during their socialization period during three to 12 weeks. It may be something they will get over by being exposed to various experiences, and other times a kitten never gets over its skittishness and that's just the way it is. It's a behavior that's very difficult to know whether it's genetic or social. I think you're doing very well and you can try to bribe her to be more social with treats and play which may or may not work. Worth a try.

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"A loving cat can mend a wounded heart." ~ Unknown Author
Alkitotle aka "Alkee", "Lambie" (July 2/04 - Oct. 2/15) -- white Devon Rex
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Last edited by catloverami; 01-20-2015 at 04:25 PM.
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