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I'm sorry, I know that I'm new, but I'm concerned about my sweet 4year old grey tabby named Jasper. This post may be long, but I want to make sure all the details are there so this behaviour can be properly analyzed.

I adopted Jasper from Peaceable Kingdom in October 2008. He was about seven months then. He was very sweet, although skittish. For about two years after that, we were inseperable. When I lived with my folks we had to keep him and our other cat, Austin (who has passed away) in a seperate room because my dog likes to go in the litterbox for a snack. Anyhow, they both would come out of the room and come mingle with everybody upstairs. I would often times find Jasper asleep on my bed and when I went in and I sat with him we would end up curling up and falling asleep. We had a generally good, happy mother and son relationship.

Then, for whatever reason, Jasper started not to like me anymore. He would freak out and run away every time I walked into the room or came near him. Even if I was very quiet and I just stepped in to say goodbye to my mom he would jump up and leap off the bed and hide underneath it. But I never did anything to him! All I ever did was love him up! Then, he stopped coming out of the room as much. Mind you, he would stay downstairs in the room sometimes without coming out for a week or two. This was happening BEFORE Austin passed away, and continued after.

Then, in January, I bought a house. Moved all my stuff in, and brought my dog over. Then came Jasper. I tried to sit with him for a little while (even though I had to go to work) but he wouldn't come out of the carrier. I left for five minutes and when I came back he was under the couch (we keep him in the den). And under the couch he has remained ever since. Oh, he will come out when we're outside or downstairs. He likes to sit on the desk and look at the window. But he won't even come out when the door is closed and there's no way for the dog to come in. He won't come out for boyfriend or for me. If we kneel down and pet him under the couch he loves it. And sometimes he can even be coaxed out but the tiniest little sound sends him scampering back under the couch on the other side and then he's not coming out.

What can boyfriend and I do to chill this poor boy out? I'm not getting rid of the dog. Are there trust exercises we can do or something? I'd like to start being a foster kitty mom which means we need to bring him into our room to live there with us and our other kitty, Midnight. They get along okay, Jasper has growled at Midnight but we want to take them to neutral ground (like the bathroom) and have them sniff it out there.

Sorry for the long post. Any ideas how I can help my cat?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Jasper gets regular check ups at the vet. He hasn't been to the vet since he came here but my mom took him in August I think of last year. I've read some stuff online about like anxiety meds for cats but...that scares me.
 

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No, I have not tried using those plug-ins or the Rescue drops. I will look into those. Are they readily available in pet stores?

I like the idea of playing harp music for him. I'm going on Google RIGHT. NOW. to play some for him.

I work overnight so my boyfriend usually feeds them. He has a bad habit with Jasper, because A) Jasper doesn't like wet food [although you said meat baby food...I'm going to have to try that!] and B) because Jasper is a couch kitty that he leaves Jasper's dish of dry food full and sitting out all day and night for kitty to be able to eat whenever he wants to. I will tell him to make sure he feeds the boys at a scheduled time every night and try playing with him with the toy. Like I said, if we go under the couch to pet him he purrs up a storm and he loves it and sometimes he comes out but then at the slightest noise he runs back under. If Jason agrees to take the time to do this then great! If not I guess he'll have to get used to eating his meal in the middle of the day around one pm.

Are you asking back to when he started hiding and being antisocial? Because I have always used the same shampoo and boyfriend and I use unscented laundry detergent. I can find out from my mom if she ever switched detergents or anything but he was still affectionate with her and my dad after he stopped talking to me. I met Jason a little over a year ago and Jasper didn't like me then. So no, there shouldn't have been any other cat smell on me besides his and the other cat we had at the time, Austin, but he and Jasper got along royally so that shouldn't have made him skittish.

One of the reasons we keep Midnight in the bedroom and Jasper in the den is that my dog sleeps in the bedroom. Also, Midnight wasn't going to be staying here for long but circumstances seem to be different now and I think he's here for good. They seem to be getting along decently, they bumped noses earlier but now Midnight is trying to sniff him and Jasper keeps hissing. Not nastily, just...in self defense I guess. Anyway, I would want to bring Jasper into the bedroom with boyfriend, Midnight and I and keep the foster kitty in here but I wonder if he would like being around all the action. Plus, I know he hates my dog and she sleeps in the room too. If she doesn't sleep in the room she poops in the house. She's twelve years old, she's a little senile, I don't think she means to. So yeah. I'm going to try these things though and I will keep you updated with any new goings on! Thank you for the post back!:daisy
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I wasn't talking about feeding him baby food regularly, but as a treat it's a great idea. I haven't gotten to spent much quality time with him to determine which treats he likes because he wouldn't come to me when we were at my parents' house. Now, he at least lets me pet him and he purrs for me and licks me.

I guess I'll have to start with just doing what I'm doing, petting him and trying to give him treats to find one he likes, and then use that for our sessions which you talked about. But I'm going to find those Feliway plug-ins and Rescue drops. You didn't say if they were available in most pet stores, or if I should order them online?

This first time trying didn't go so well...I didn't realize that you meant find a little treat food to feed ON TOP of the kibble. My bad. I just went to him under the couch and put a few pieces of kibble next to him and pet him a little bit. He just got up and walked away.

Thanks for the help! I will come everyday around 5:30 with my update. I usually leave for work around six so I thought 5 was a good time to feed. I have the harp music playing for him.

:angel

Edit- No, I don't have any other little hidey spots for him. It's kind of a small room. But I can definitely fit a little kitty tent. And then when he moves into the bedroom he can use it to be alone.!:cat3
 

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Interesting post.
I am a bit of a fixer in that I always have to gerryrig something for me or somebody, like the repair work I do. Sure nice to go out and buy an expensive vanity or kitchen sink but sometimes an owner just doesn't have that in their budgets. (or renters are hard on things so why go the most expensive).

Anyway, that is my history. With a litter of cats in our living room 9yrs ago I used lawn edging in a circle for their play area. It worked great while they were too little to let run loose in the house.

Which brings me to wonder why if Jasper hides under the couch, why not use something like lawn edging or wood pices or carboard strips to block off this area? Then as LDG suggested, get a small cardboard box and put it securely in a corner as a place to retreat to? And block off other escape place while you are there.

Your last post stated, "Now, he at least lets me pet him and he purrs for me and licks me.", so you must be making progress. How about finding a little jar of a cat treat...something good, and use these only when he is being friendly to you or your boyfriend.

Marble (you can check my posts) is fairly new to our house, has accepted us, but yet is not as friendly as Kermit has been. I accept that. She was out on the porch when I came downstairs and called her. (I want to know where all are in our house). she sat next to me and I petted her and then she went off. She has been back twice but only stays for a bit. Guess I am not as interesting as what is outside. (They have a cage in windows to 'sit' outside.) I just accept this as normal for her.

I don't know why the sudden change in Jasper back at your Mom's house. You may never know and it doesn't matter now I guess. I think you both are now going to have to be a Cat Whisperer. did you ever see the movie Horse Whisperer? If not, check it out. I think that movie and Secretariet have some insight into animal behavior and how humans have to understand them before a bond can be formed or reformed.

good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Cat'sHouse- Jason and I did talk about blocking off the couch so he couldn't get under but I was worried that would make him even more skittish since that's like his safe house. My bf actually told me last night that when he came upstairs Jasper was out in the room for a little bit. I hadn't done anything but turn on music for him as LDG suggested. I don't see how he couldn't like this music haha.

Also, Cat'sHouse, he's always friendly to Jason and I. Every time we come in to pet him he loves it up. He just won't come out from under the couch without a lot of coaxing and then he won't stay out. I'm about to go out with Boyfriend now to find a CD for him (he's currently listening to the radio online but there are commercials and I'm sure he doesn't like that) and then pick up a can of baby food...I really hope he likes that. We tried feeding him all different kinds of cat treats at my Mom's and he would eat like two and then walk away. So....hopefullly this is one area where he isn't so fussy!
 

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Update:

I finally bought some baby food for Jasper. I bought mixed vegetables and chicken, mixed vegetables and beef, and chicken noodle. I didn't try to feed him last night in the special way because I didn't have any special treat, and since the first time didn't go very well at all. I tried tonight, just now, to feed him the mixed vegetables and chicken. Just like he did Monday night he simply looked at it, and went to the other side of the couch. He doesn't seem interested at all. Should I leave the food sitting up here on the desk? So maybe he'll eat it later? Give him a chance to decide, on his own terms, if it's something he's interested in eating?

Also, I played with him with his new kitty toy. He liked it. He was playing with me with it but only from under the couch. He would bring his body like halfway out in order to grab the feathers but then when he got it he went back under. He even seemed to know that I was trying to draw him out because he then started to use only his paws to go after the feather.
 

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When they say baby food, they are talking about the infant, single item jars. Chicken, turkey - no veggies or noodles. Warm it up for a few seconds in the microwave, not to heat it, but make it more aromatic.

When did you aquire the dog in relation to the behavior change?
 

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I bought the single jars! I guess I'll have to go back to the store. I don't know what I'm going to do with the other jars. 8O

As for the dog, she was around before Jasper was adopted. She is twelve years old and he is only four.
 

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I would try feeding him regular meals, and enticing him out from under the couch before each meal with a treat. I grew up on a farm and we had feral cats show up a lot and I always had them eating out of my hand in no time with either cat treats, small bites of canned food (which you said he doesn't love), tuna, bits of bologna, hot dog, whatever. You could try hand feeding him his meals if he'll come out and eat them. Maybe try a new dry food. My 2 kitties were eating 9 lives or something when we got them, the lady gave me a plastic bin of it. I fed it to them for a while and now I'm doing a gradual switch to Earthborn Holistic Primitive Feline, which they absolutely go bonkers for. When I opened up the bag they came running and sat there begging. I gave them each one kibble and they acted more enthused than they do when they get their cat treats. Right now they're getting 1 part new food mixed in with 4 parts old and they gobble it up in no time flat, where they used to pick at their food. I plan on rotating between grain free kibbles and they also get a can of wet food in the mornings.

Anyway, I would use food to get him out from under the couch. Sorry for going off on a tangent. LOL! Good luck!!! Cats are moody. I had one as a teenager who went nuts at about 2 yrs old and attacked everyone. Except me. I went to camp and she "disappeared" while I was gone. :( She was healthy, I just don't know what happened. Seems to happen a lot with cats, they get weird sometimes. It's probably nothing you did.
.
 

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I'm having a similar problem with June. She has become Under The Bed Kitty. After our last bad butt wiping experience she has went into hiding. She's coming out to potty and eat, but if she notices me she bolts. (She's sleeping under a small bed in the room and I'm sleeping on my mattress on the floor, so sometimes she forgets I'm laying in my bed)
I hate to try and coax her with treats, being that she has the weight issue, but maybe that's what I'll have to do. :( I just think she really hates me for cleaning her bottom... :(
 

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Boyfriend and I have decided that we're going to block off the couch. I know that it's probably a little premature seeing as we've only been trying to coax him out with play for a few days but he's not budging. At all. He'll stick his head out to be pet or to play with the flower toy but then he goes right back under, and after five-ten mintues of play and/or pets he gets bored and doesn't respond anymore.

We're going out to get something to block it off with today, and then find a nice size box or something for him to use as a sanctuary.
 
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