How to prevent your Cat from being afraid of everything...?

BigRayFromNC

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Allow me to introduce all of you to my 4 year old Cat, "Mr. Flash". I named him that due to the fact he is faster than a bolt of lighting and any noise that he hears he runs and hides and stays there for hours or sometimes overnight. Mr. Flash is a 4 year old long haired Main Coon.

About a few days after I rescued him from the shelter, I called my local vet and scheduled an appointment. Not that I didn't trust my local animal shelter, but I wanted to make sure he was in order. On the day I had to take him to the vet, it took me over an hour to get him into the carrier to transport him there. All he did was attempt to bite me, growled, hissed and spit at me and it was so bad, I had to put on a set of heavy duty gloves, because if I didn't he probably would have ripped me up into shreds. I can't understand what is causing him to act this way. I have had Cats my entire life but I have never had one that acts like he does.

I took him to my local vet and had him fully examined, checked out, he got all of the mandatory shots he needed, had all of his blood work performed, had the vet put a microchip in him, had all of his nails trimmed and I had him fully brushed and groomed. After he came out of the back, when the Lady who worked there put him back in the carrier, he looked at me strange, then he collapsed on his side in the carrier.

I said to the Lady, "What's wrong with him and why did he fall over?". She replied, "Sir, Mr. Flash was so bad, he was attempting to bite and nail everyone in the back, we had to give him a light sedative to calm him down and it will wear off in about 4 hours from now". I thanked her for her time and I went up to the front and paid the bill and I almost collapsed at the counter, because the total for everything was $450.00.

We left and when I got home I opened the carrier door on the front and walked away. Within 5 minutes he shot out of the front of the carrier faster than crap through a Canadian Goose and he hid under the couch. I moved his dry cat food bowl and water bowl in front of my couch just in case he wanted to eat or drink some water. The next day, he finally came out from under the couch and as he was walking by me, he gave me a dirty look, then yawned and he went in another room. A few days later the vet called me and informed me that all of his blood work came out good and he is in excellent health.

I have purchased Mr. Flash all kinds of Cat toys, a new Cat bed, a new Cat pan, a Cat house tower, Cat treats, Catnip and I spend a lot of time talking to him and people think that I am crazy talking to Mr. Flash and honestly I don't care what they think. Every single time I attempt to pet him or attempt to pick him up, all of a sudden he swats at me and sometimes he hisses and spits at me for no reason at all.

The main reason I took out the time to put up this post is I am trying to find out what I can do to have Mr. Flash stop being so afraid of everything and how I can get to pet him, pick him up and show him love and affection. I sincerely appreciate any ideas or suggestions on this topic. Thank you again...

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BBirdcat

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#1, stop trying to pick him up
#2 stop trying to pet him

You have to accept you may never be able to pick him up at that age. I raised a feral cat for a bit who eventually got used to and loved being scratched/pet but never quite grew to enjoy being picked up. Took around 6 months of constant day to day work to get her to like being scratched.

I would get a very long cat toy specifically a rainbow cat charmer and play with that with them. The longer toys I find are irresistible to cats even ones that you describe.

After at least a week of that get back to us but one of the main issues is you wanting to pick them up which the cat clearly does not want right now. Looks very cute though in the picture! Good luck
 
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BigRayFromNC

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Hello, I appreciate you responding. As I had stated I have done everything for my Cat that I possibly can do for him. I will take your advice is stop trying to pick him up and trying to pet him. The reasons I have been doing this is once I get to pet him softly, hopefully he will sense that I am not going to harm or hurt him and give him a sense of trust and security. The next time that I am out, I will get him one of those long rainbow cat charmer toys and see if that works.

I had a conversation about 2 weeks ago about this with one of my neighbors down the street from me and she has 28 Cats in her house and I really don't like going over there because every single time that I do, when she opens the front door the odor and stench of Cat urine would make anyone gag and take away their breath. I have to turn my face so I don't get sick to my stomach and vomit all over her porch. It's so bad there's a mist in the air and it really stinks bad and I mean bad.

When I get back home, I strip down and take a hot shower and then wash my clothes. I can't tell her what to do because it's her house and if she wants to live that way, that's her business and I myself could never live that way with 28 cats in my house and my home smelling of cat urine. All of the neighbors know that she lives that way and I am surprised no one has called the County Health department and reported her.

Either way, besides the way that she lives, when I had discussed with her about why my cat is acting the way that he is, she informed me she strongly believes whoever had him before I had obtained him from the shelter, abused or slapped him or perhaps kicked him and he thinks that all humans are going to do that do him that is why he runs and hides all of the time.

If that is the case that someone actually did that to him they should be ashamed of themselves to the letter. I appreciate your response and I will keep you updated on any progress that I make with Mr. Flash. Thank you.


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di and bob

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He could have been abused, or he could have been in a situation like that cat lady you mentioned and was not socialized when he was a kitten and is afraid of humans. When you have that many cats it is next to impossible to properly care for them, and spend time with them, as you found out. How long have you had him? First of all, you rescued him, bless you for that, and then drug him kicking and screaming to the vet. it had to be done, better to traumatize him early and then build the trust back up. Some cats are just nervous, leery cats. Mine, even the one that is super lovey and hand raised, bolt to the basement at every knock and if we have company for two or three days you don't see them for that long. There is nothing you can do about instinct and cats have been persecuted for a long time. It depends on their personality.
Depending on how long you have had him, it takes many months for cats to accept new situations in their lives, and though I really believe he will learn to love you and warm up to you, he will always be a little nervous, especially to strangers. That is normal. Staring at a cat is a sign of hostility to them, approaching them and attempting to pick them up or pet them is threatening. He will have to approach you on his own. It takes time, you are doing exactly right by talking to him and letting him get to know your movements and actions. I learned to pet ferals for the first time by approaching closer and closer while they were eating and finally touching then petting, stroking them while they were feeling good about eating. You may have to do that. Once they learn to enjoy your touch it progresses from there. Or offer treats and touch him when he comes to eat. always leave one or two treats when you leave so he associates good things with you. Set his food and water and litter box near where he hides until he learns to come out. If he uses them at night that is OK. you might read through some of our threads on caring for strays and ferals in our forum, they might give you some tips. You can't force a cat to love you, you earn their trust. and when you receive it, it is all the sweeter for all your work. Hang in there, I hope someone else gives you more tips! PS it took me almost a year to get a blended family to accept each other, it's hard work but well worth it. It WILL happen, you will see!
 

gilmargl

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I feel very sorry for both you and, of course, Mr Flash. I have fostered such cats - and one of them is still with me, as she acts "feral" as soon as anyone she doesn't know enters the front door. My advice would be - don't try too hard. Just let things happen.

I didn't even try to tame her. Emily was very shy but not feral and arrived with her 4 kittens. Apart from feeding them all, cleaning the litter boxes and making sure the kittens got used to me and other visitors, I left her alone, allowing her to climb up on top of the highest shelf whenever I entered the room. The kittens found new homes and Emily stayed. I would do jigsaws in her room, talk to her, and she would come down off her shelf and knock pieces on the floor. She would swat at me if I moved too close or when I moved to leave the room. I was new to fostering and my "boss" came to see how we were doing. The cat on the shelf, the shelter boss, sitting with her back to the cat, and me sitting at the table with the half finished jigsaw. I was told to call the cat which I did. She jumped off the shelf, and onto my lap. I nearly had a heart attack. She didn't let me stroke her for more than a few seconds before she swatted at me and went back to her perch. Perhaps that was the beginning of our relationship.
She was neutered but was kept on her own in the cellar, being visited by possible new owners without any success. When Christmas arrived, I decided to let her out into the rest of the house. There was quite a bit of hissing (I had 3 adult cats of my own) but no cat fights. At first I put her back in her room every night to give all the cats a break. But eventually she didn't bother following me into her room to get an extra portion of food and be shut in. She is now the boss as far as my other cats are concerned. She rules them by hissing when they come too close. Apart from me she has not accepted another human into her life. I can do practically anything with her, though she will still swat at me if something frightens her. People are frightened of her though she will at least stay in the room when regular visitors appear.

I think the main cause of her behavior is fear. She had been roaming the streets in a neighboring village, giving birth to kittens who suddenly disappeared, probably taken away and sold. No-one admitted to owning an un-neutered cat, so the cat shelter, eventually confiscated her and her kittens, who were all living outdoors.

Although Emily is perhaps not always my favorite cat - I do love her and feel guilty that I have three other cats to care for. After her experiences she deserves a full time cat mum and shouldn't be living with 3 equally demanding, abused kitties.

With Mr Flash, you may never have a self-assured loving cat as companion, but, one day, you will no doubt, as I did, feel a heavy cat jump onto your bed while you're asleep. He'll be purring but don't try to stroke him as he might bite! Emily hasn't bitten me for quite some time now but it`s been almost 7 years since she first came into my care. Which reminds me, it is high time I made an appointment at the vet for a full senior health check up. Time goes by so quickly.

I wish you all the best of luck with Mr Flash. Play with him if he likes to play or just let him watch you going about your normal business. Emily has never been a playful cat and cat treats are boring. She prefers to try to eat what I'm eating which confirms a rumor that she used to hang around and beg for food from workmen eating their lunch outdoors. They used to throw their crusts at her. Poor cat - no wonder she is always the first to demand feeding.
 

Katy Perkins

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We have a very nervous cat. We realized that it was lashing out at us when we moved closer, which sometimes meant it was scary.
Generally, keeping your distance works. Let the cat come to you rather than forcing the contact from your side.
Don’t make any sudden movements around the cat. Please don’t act like you are scared of too. Be confident, gentle, talk to but go on about your business while doing it. Cats generally hate too much attention, so it doesn’t significantly affect her when she loosens up a bit. If you have small children around, don’t let them near the cat, they usually want to pet them, even pick them up (which can be painful for cats).
We never went for any medication, but the realization that we had a nervous and scared cat on our hands helped us understand how to deal with the issue, and we have a very peaceful household now.
 
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