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What stresses cats — 7 Comments

  1. My in laws visiting is the single most stressful event in Monty’s life. He hates them. I don’t know why. He has accepted our friend Melanieas one of his people now and she comes around less than Jeff’s parents. The past two times when they came over Monty was happily playing outside. He asked to come in, saw them, and literally threatened to run away from home like a sulking teenager.

    He did run away. To the old metal shed in the back corner of the yard. It’s been home to possums and raccoons on occasion but is empty now. I found Monty huddled inside it. He looked miserable and would not let me pick him up. I called my husband out. Monty listens to him. He dutifully left the confines of the shed, but then went behind it. As I approached him he howled mournfully as he crouched on the ground. Attempting to pick him up resulted in hissing and snarling. Jeff told him to “get in his house” so he began walking toward the house. However, the moment he saw I was following him he crouched again and made yowling sounds. Jeff just picked him up and took him in. Monty was definitely putting on a show for my benefit. He was saying: “Thanks to you letting those horrible people in I now have to live outside like a wild kitty even though I’m very cold and sad.”

    He pulled the same stunt last weekend. He’d been on the porch rail sunning himself and asked to come in as it was cold outside. The moment he saw THEM he took off down the porch steps and through the deep snow. He hates deep snow and this was up to his belly with a thin ice crust on top that a lesser cat might not have broken through, but Monty likes his vittles. Every step dropped his paws deep into the cold snow. I took off after him, getting snow in my shoes with every step. He was sitting by the back fence and hissed, snarled and showed me his claws as I approached. His fur was all on end, probably both from cold and fear. I did manage to pick him up and bring him in, because he was so cold. His little body shivered against mine as I carried him in. He would snuggle against me for warmth and then remember he was mad at me and growl. Once inside he hissed at Jeff’s parents and then hid under our bed. He would snuggle with me under the covers in bed.

    I think he is deathly afraid of Jeff’s parents. To them it looks like aggression, but when he is alone with me in another room I see a very scared kitty. We have no idea why. They have never done anything to him. The only thing we can figure out is Jeff’s mom is a bit hard of hearing and sometimes her voice is louder than she realizes, probably because she can’t hear herself. We think maybe her voice scares him. Once I was talking on the phone with her and Monty heard her voice through the phone and started growling.

    • Gabriel is terrified of all people except me who is loves and can’t do without 😉 . But seriously, a cat’s natural instinct is to be very cautious, at least, around strange people. Bolder more experienced cats are more forward but the default behavior is to run or hide. That says something about the human’s relationship with the domestic cat.

      • Monty, like Gabriel, was feral during that early time of life so critical for socializing kittens. Monty does well with quite a few people now. I have had several friends for whom he came out and sat calmly looking at them as if to say hello. The number of people he accepts is growing daily, but even as it does he gets more insistent on his refusal to accept Jeff’s parents.

        • You are spot on Ruth. Both Monty and Gabriel were feral or semi-feral and therefore lack complete socialisation making them more wary of strangers. I guess he is gradually being socialised in his adulthood.

  2. Wow that is an extensive list, but all of them are true.

    Sophie was a wreck after spending a week at a boarding cattery 🙁 She was hyperventilating the entire journey home, took hours to calm down and never left my side for days. I’d never previously had any problems getting her in her carrier for a trip to the vets, but after that stay at the cattery, she put up a fight every time. I feel guilty when I think of how stressful the experience must have been for her, that she remembered it whenever she saw the carrier.

    Charley started over-grooming his belly and I believe that was because he felt intimidated by Sophie. There was never any fighting, but she would often hiss at him or try to deny him access to certain rooms in the home. Since her death, I’ve noticed the fur on his belly is growing back. Much as I still miss her, I can appreciate that he doesn’t feel the same.

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