A True Scaredy Cat!

by Diane
(St. Louis, MO USA)

My one cat (Simone) is approximately 3 years old. I got her when she was about 4 months old from someone who found her and her 3 siblings in her yard - don't know what happened to the mother.

Anyway, ever since I've had her (2010), she's been a true scaredy cat. I thought as time went by she'd get braver, but she still spends most of her time under the bed.

If she does come in the living room, and I happen to stand up, she runs for the bedroom! I don't know what to do for her - if anyone else does, let me know.

(I have another cat - Savana - who is approx. 4 or 5 years old. I adopted her from Petsmart.)

Editor's note: I'm sorry to hear that she's so frightened. I would look at several things...

First, how is her relationship with your other cat? Do they get along well and does the hierarchy seem to be worked out?

Is your other cat confident? Do they play together? You may be able to use that to bring her out of her shell by encouraging them to play together.

Second, I'd look at resources. It's important in a multi-cat household to provide adequate resources for the number of cats.

Things like:

Litter box number and placement (one more than the number of cats).

Food and water bowl number and placement (separate bowls for each cat with plenty of room).

Use of vertical space (cat trees, window perches, etc.). Some cats hide in the bush but most like to be up high (6 feed or higher).

Number and placement of scratching posts (at least one for each cat).

Third, try to reduce stress. I'd look at more grooming, Feliway, Rescue Remedy, and increased exercise/play time with you.

I would get a fishing pole toy like Da Bird and begin by playing with her while she's under the bed. If she's distracted enough by the toy, she'll come out.

Each day, try to get her to come out a little bit more (but don't push it). Use treats as well to try to make being out from under the bed more pleasant than being under it. Catnip may help if she responds to it as well.

With lots of patience, inch by inch, you should be able to get her more and more comfortable with being out in the open.

I hope that helps.
-Kurt

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