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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

Well, this weekend involved lots of travel and new people, and I'm afraid it didn't always go very well...

Basically, for the long weekend, I took her to my parent's house about an hour and a half away. She was abit stressed the beginning of the trip, but that's because a really nasty little storm passed over Long Island right before we left, which involved waves of heavy, heavy rain and even some hail. But once she got in the car and we were on the road, she curled up and went right to sleep so I was relieved! (She breaks my heart when she starts crying in the kitty-carrier)

Anyways, the next day, we picked up some family that we haven't seen in 3 years who were in town, and brought them to the house in Rockland County (suburban New York City). Included in this group is my 6-year old little cousin named Hannah. Hannah is a very smart girl, and loves cats, but was not too understanding of Kiera's signals. Kiera generally doesn't seem to have a problem with people, but there were at least 5 new people around, so Kiera would go under furniture a lot, I guess hoping for some peace and quiet. Hannah kept looking for "Meow Meow" and wanted her to come out and play. Kiera would sit quietly, but Hannah kept sticking her hand in, trying to pet her, and touch her ears and stuff. Now came some hissing and spitting. Now this is from a kitty that I have only heard hiss maybe 3 times - once was when I was clipping her nails and I held onto a leg she wanted to take away with her, and another was when a very territorial stray cat was at the patio glass doors making very loud meows at Kiera.

After a while, I got Hannah distracted with some Disney movies, but then nobody could find Kiera! We knew she had to be in the house, because the last person to arrive was my sister, and she was playing with Kiera a bit. But we couldn't find her ANYWHERE! We looked in every nook & cranny in the house, and couldn't find any trace. No meows from closets... nothing! Everyone was getting a bit upset... I'm really new at having a cat, and even though I knew she really couldn't have gone anywhere, I was really scared. Finally a few hours later, my mom found her in her bedroom. Turns out, as I used my detective skills later to found out, she found an obscure space that allowed her to get behind the boxspring of my mother's bed, so if you looked underneath, you didn't see her. Finally Hannah & company were off to New York City to see The Lion King, and Kiera seemed frazzled, but ok...

Then came Monday, and it was time for me to head out to Long Island. I had a friend of mine from out of town that was visiting her boyfriend in Long Island, who wanted to meet Kiera, and they are used to animals in that house, so since it was on the way to my apartment, I stopped over there with Kiera. Kiera seemed fine at first... sniffing around, exploring, tail up and everything. But then she went under the bed and into the corner. We couldn't get her out! More hissing and spitting, which was really starting to bother me. We weren't trying to torture her, but I just felt so awful. She was always such a good kitty...

We finally got her out by lifting the mattress up and reaching under...and then the boy's mother suggested that maybe she needed a litter box... so downstairs in teh basement, we set up a temporary litter box with fresh litter (so she wouldn't have to use the resident cat's box), and hoped she might give it a shot. She was once again exploring, but then wedged herself into this tiny spot under a bookcase. Since this was in teh corner of a piece of furniture embedded in the wall, we couldn't just lift it out of the way. It was getting to a time I had to leave, and she wouldn't come out. Everyone tried, we tried kitty treats, the laser pointer she usually can't resist, bringing her carrier which has familiar smells, but she was just hissing, making some interesting low-pitched noises (kitty growls? groans?) I wasn't used to hearing... and then at one point actually seemed to try to attack me (I don't know if she was trying to bite - it was like a snake striking or something!). That really scared me, and I sat back for a while... eventually we squirted her with water until she got out, and eventually dug her out from underneath the next piece of furniture she hid under.

She seems ok now that she is back home, seems back to normal behavior, but everything that happened really took me aback, and my kitty I thought was so socialable and good, I have permanent visions of her hissing and biting at me. I feel like I must have traumatized her for life. I think the biggest mistake aside from bringing her to the friend's house in the first place, was not keeping her in one room. We tried to introduce her to the resident cat too, to see if maybe they'd get along, but after a quick sniff, the other cat was fine, but Kiera was hissing. I guess she's not going to go for a kitty friend someday...

I know cats will be cats, and my friends who were with me (all of which have cats & dogs at home) were trying to convince me that this is not unusual, and that she'll forgive me when she gets home, but I was sitting there convinced that my cat hated me forever. Okay, well maybe I was being a bit dramatic, but I'm new at this, and it's almost as if I am more traumatized by what happened than Kiera was!

I just wanted to tell somebody, so if you read all that, thanks for listening!

-Heather
 

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Awww...I've been there. It sounds like Kiera had a rough weekend, and so did you. Some cats can get overstimulated really easily, and once that happens, everything that you try to do to calm them down and make them comfortable just has the effect of adding onto the overstimulation and making it worse. This isn't unusual or abnormal. Imagine yourself a foot tall and in the same situation...you'd probably hide under the bed and spit at a few people, too.

As for you...well, you'll recover, as well (though IME, it takes the person longer to recover than the cat :) ). Just try to refrain from judging her socialability based on this experience. It's a HUGE amount to ask of a cat to adapt to long rides, strange surroundings, other animals and a ton of new people all in one weekend. Now that she's back on her own turf, she's probably much more comfortable and happy...highly unlikely that she's scarred for life, and you won't be, either (though you may have an effort next time you try to get her in the carrier :roll: BTDT).

And once Kiera's been home for a few days, your visions of hissing and biting will fade, as well. Really, she had no other way of communicating her stress to you...she couldn't say "hey, get out of my face!" or write you a note, so she told you in the only language she knows. It's hard to get used to the idea that a hiss or swat isn't a sign of hatred, but just a cat's way of communicating without words and not to be taken too personally (I myself am guilty of having taken it very personally when Assumpta's been stressed and lashed out at me, so I know totally how you feel). But Kiera will recover and so will you. :)

Honest.
 

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I have to ask... Why did you take your cat an hour and a half in the car to a strange place, with strange people, and a resident cat who was bound to be an enemy?

Next time, it may be easier on Kiera (and you!) if you just leave her at home and have someone check on her.
 

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Oh yeah...I probably should have suggested that, as well. I know precious few cats who travel well, and it's usually MUCH easier on them to stay home with a visiting catsitter (unlike dogs). I'd never dream of taking Assumpta on a road trip...she would be absolutely miserable ('course, she also would have eaten the 6 year old cousin alive too...kids are a no-fly zone with her).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well..

To clarify, The hour and a haf car ride was to my parent's house. Where we stayed Friday until Monday. Kiera knows my parents' house very well, and knows my immediate family. No cats around, so things have been just fine on previous visits. It was the extended family that was visiting for just the day on Saturday, actually really just the 6-year old, that caused the problem on that day.

After the carride back to Long Island, the stop at the house that had the cat was a quick visit so I could see a friend I hadn't seen in a long time, and so they could meet Kiera. I couldn't drop Kiera off first or I would have missed them (they had a plane to catch)

I really didn't mean to stress out or hurt kiera in any way, although I'm sure it might look like i was just being irresponsible. In hindsight I can see what we did wrong, but we were really trying to make it better. I feel awful about everything.

-Heather
 

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Heather, I hope my post didn't make you feel worse. Now I feel awful too! 8O

Dusty does great at home and even pretty good with company... He'll come out and watch them with great interest and even allow them to pet him a little. However, it would never occur to me to put him in the car (he HATES it) or take him to a new/strange place. He doesn't do well with new surroundings.

If Kiera is familiar with your parents' house and does well in the car, then it may make sense to take her along. However, I can understand her reaction to a fiesty 6-year old! Dusty does not appreciate our friend's 9-year old son when he chases him around the house and tries to "carry" him - which ends up with the cat being dragged across the floor by a leg. I totally understood when he hissed once, hissed twice, then smacked the poor kid in the face (no claws thank goodness)!

Anyways, I digress. I hope Kiera is feeling better now that you're home and I'm sure this will all be in the distant past very soon!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
naw..

Thanks for the support - you didn't make me feel worse, I felt pretty bad to start with! So I'm sorry if me feeling bad made you feel bad. I just didn't want you all to think that I was just one of those people who just adopt a cat thinking that they exist for my own personal amusement & don't think about their feelings or emotions.

Kiera seemed fine this morning, so I think it's more me that has to recover than her! She seemed to want to cuddle and was purring this morning when I was getting ready for work. Now I just need to get over it, and I think all will be well 8)

Thanks again,
Heather
 

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Since she's been there before, and travels pretty well, it wasn't unreasonable to take Kiera along. However, next time you might want to keep her confined to just one room, to prevent that kind of "overwhelm" with all the activity--and to make it easier to find her when you're ready to go home!

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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Sounds like my cat's reaction to my house when we first got her!! She somehow got behind the walls... but anyway, it was just her reaction to new people and a new environment. Now she loves me and has forgiven me for those first few days. I'm sure your kitty has forgiven you as well, and soon you'll start to forget about her hissing. If a friend or family member yelled at you once when they were stressed out, that wouldn't be the only thing you thought of when you saw them, would it? It should be the same with your kitty.
 
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