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My kitty Morse is a rescue tabby. I got him from a shelter who told me he came from a bad, bad man. Bad enough that he's in jail now, but not for animal abuse. That's neither here nor there now, as his charge was unrelated to Morse.

Morse is not a 'fraidy cat. He's bold, curious, and likes to play. He also likes to cuddle, but of course on his terms.

Today was a cuddle day. Usually when he wants to cuddle I also pick him up and carry him with me wherever I go. I filled up a pot of water to make a huge batch of Mexican rice, and went to put it on the stove. He was on 'his' shelf (we have a metal rack in the kitchen with odds and ends on it, including a cat bed) I turned on the stove and went to pick him up. He ABSOLUTELY flipped out. Clawed me to death and ran off to hide under the bed.

I think the bad, bad man pretended to put him in a pot of boiling water when he was a kitten! The water was still cold in this pot, but my poor boy! I feel so bad because cuddle time is now officially over, and he's in his tower all frightened. Is there anything I can do for him to make him less scared or do I just need to wait it out?
 

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I don't think anyone pretended to put him in a pot of boiling water. You could have simply moved too quickly and startled him. The tiniest things can set a cat of any age off into another zone. Offer him treats, if that doesn't work, wait until he comes to you.
 

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I've just never seen him THAT terrified before. The look in his eyes was horror. But I am happy to report that he must have known I was freaking out about it and asking for help because he's out here now, laying next to me.

I also wonder if maybe this had something to do with the hot heating stove incident. I can see how maybe he would correlate the lighting the gas (cooking) stove with the flame from the hot gas (heating) stove that he decided he needed to jump on awhile back. I feel better now though, it just made me really upset to think that he thought I would put him in a pot of water.
 

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Well that didn't last long! :grin:

Something definitely spooked him, glad he got over it so quickly.
 

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When I brought Zenobi (RIP) home I discovered she was terrified whenever she'd used her litterbox and would run and hide. I'd opened all the doors so that she wouldn't feel locked out of anywhere in her own home and her hiding place was over on the other side of the bed in the second bedroom. At first I tried to talk her out of it, but then decided to leave her. It took about three months for her to decide she wasn't going to get thrashed for spilling litter. (My guess as to the cause of her fear.)

Perhaps you should avoid picking Morse up when you're cooking. Something happened to him that puts him in fear. Trust will only come with time, I fear.

The other thing that Zenobi did was to bite me when I was petting. This happened twice (actually three times but she was ashamed the third time) and I, by means of pantomime explained that she wasn't to bite. (I'm a touch crazy) After we came to know each other, she became the most loving animal companion I'd ever known.

One thing, she had a definite routine for when she wanted to be stroked, and I got shown a lifted paw if I tried to do more.

Patience is your only tool I'm thinking.

There was an awful article with pictures the other day of a man swinging a cat by its tail (caught on cctv.) So some people do do things that can cause post traumatic stress in cats.
 

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When I read your first post I was JUST going to ask if you had a gas stove! If I remember right the gas ones make a slight hissing sound when you first turn them on? It could be that sound scared him - my Sassy is frightened anytime we have anything on the stove that makes a sizzling sound, and the only reason I can think of besides her just not liking to noise is that it sounds like someone's hissing at her.

Of course she's a bit of a nervous cat in the first place. She's also scared of the oven door opening, whether or not the oven is actually on, and she's absolutely TERRIFIED of the BBQ. If she's outside while my Dad is trying to cook something on it she crouches low to ground and sprints inside like the devil is after her - and I can assure you she's never had any negative experiences with a BBQ. I don't know what it is, but somethings just seem to scare them even if they've never been hurt by them (like the vacuum :roll:).
 

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Perhaps you shouldn't encourage him to stay in the kitchen by keeping a cat bed in the kitchen since he seems to be sensitive to the stove?
 

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I read a book by Karen Pryor about clicker training and started to use it with my animals. I have a nervous kitty and I was using the clicker to change her outlook on those things that she feared. Every time she would approach towards the item, even just a step or two, I would click and toss her a treat. At first it was plastic bags, and it got to the point where she sat on the bag. In Karen Pryor's book it was a kitten that was huddled in the corner of the cage in the shelter and she started by clicking and tossing a treat so the animal could associate the two. Then when the cat stepped towards the treat (and towards human) she would click again and toss another treat. It didn't take long before the kitten went from huddling in the corner to approaching the door when the humans approached. Reaching The Animal Mind If you want to watch the video. perhaps reconditioning this way may help?
 

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I agree with BoBear - about reconditioning. If you hadn't reached for him, would he have freaked out? It's possible he was abused, and it's possible he's just afraid of the smell/noise of the stove.

Give him treats when you turn on the stove and go slow and easy - no fast moves or petting. You don't want to over stimulate him. In time, I'm sure you'll see a difference with or without reconditioning. As others have mentioned, he'll come around through trust. :)
 
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