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Anxious Cat.

Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 10:00 am
by cyberkath

This is seems very petty in the face of what's happening throughout the country, but this is really bothering me.

My male, neutered cat - Tom (aged 6) has become very anxious and clingy over the last two to three weeks. Wants loads of attention, day and night. Not eating much, when I put food down he looks at it as if to say 'am not eating that muck', even though it's food that he's wolfed down. He will eat Dreamies and deli sticks. I work part time and have changed my hours slightly last week but nothing significantly. My husband is in when I am out, so if he is left it's only for an hour at the most.

Re: Anxious Cat.

Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 11:37 am
by Mollycat
Life goes on don't worry about it, Tom doesn't know there is a virus out there.

What Tom does know though is if you are worried or your mind is on something, if you're not focused on him like you normally would be. If he is very close to either one or both of you, he will be picking up some anxious vibe that you may not even be aware of. Uncertainty about your jobs and income, worry for a relative or friend or neighbours, handwashing routine ... anything you are making an effort to remember or are on slightly raised anxiety about, he will pick this up. Even you worrying about Tom's clinginess, he will pick up on. Even the frustration of not going out as much in this lovely sunshine.

He will be picking up your anxiety but has no way of understanding what it's for or what it means. All he knows is there is an air of tension, and that will put him a little on edge and if you're very close he will be looking to you for guidance as to how to face this threat. By any chance did you have him very young, younger than the recommended 12-13 weeks? Or even hand rear him? Are you especially attentive to his needs, do you seem to just know what he wants before he makes it clear to you? Do you just look at him and 'know' what he's feeling? It's amazing to have that relationship with an animal, but it comes with a big responsibility - to manage your own stress so that the animal can manage theirs. Sometimes that means we have to make an extra effort to be calm, casual and normal.

Otherwise and much simpler, maybe a new cat moved into the area and Tom feels a bit threatened! or some other change outside, maybe everything being a bit quieter is unsettling for him? Are you cleaning more often or with different products?

Re: Anxious Cat.

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 9:36 am
by cyberkath
Thanks Molly.

In the last 48 hours he seems to be a lot better and more settled. Don't feel very stressed but am naturally worried about the current situation. Am cleaning more but only with gentle unscented products and keeping the place well ventilated.

As you say things are very quite at the moment, which could be affecting him. Will try to relax and hopefully it Tom won't get to stressed.

We had him as a two year old, he was abandoned and taken in by a friend who had a bit of a grabby two year old and another male cat who didn't have the nicest of personalities. So think he still may have some issues from there.

Re: Anxious Cat.

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:42 am
by Mollycat
Glad to hear there is some improvement. My Mollycat the reason I joined this forum (and why I used her name!) is an extreme nervous girl. She had a good loving home for 5 years and was given up to me due to a relationship breakdown (possible tension and arguments?) but the first 9 months or so of her life are where her issues come from. Similar to Tom - I call it inappropriate handling, nothing malicious, but rough and not respecting her personal space and feline needs. The lady I got her from said it was a noisy chaotic household. I suspect from some of Molly's behaviour that her own mother was probably young, inexperienced, maybe even neglectful. My sense is that Molly never experienced motherly protection, maybe her mother didn't react enough when people handled her kittens, that kind of thing.

At first we thought she hated being touched but that's not true. Now nearly 7 years on I can kiss her tummy, scrunch up her ears, poke her jelly bean toes and stroke all the way down her back. For the first year or more she would bolt whenever I stood up to move. I have heard of so many semi-feral outdoor cats who have never known love to become the biggest purring relaxed love-bugs so quickly, and yet some who have experienced unpredictable and rough humans seem to demand we earn the little trust they are able to give all over again every day.

It makes perfect sense that Tom would be so extra sensitive to the slightest shift in your mood and the atmosphere at home, it does sound like you have won his confidence and he looks to you for guidance. Hoe does he react to things like fireworks for example,, and how do you feel about them?

Re: Anxious Cat.

Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:24 pm
by cyberkath
Thanks for your replies Mollycat. They have been very helpful.

I must admit up until we had Tom I wasn't really a cat person, but now I am. I have learnt to much about cats since we first had him.

He was very nervous and stressed when we first had him. Cat Chat and friends who were more experienced cat owners were good with advice on how to help Tom settle in ie his own room, let him come to me and don't 'crowd' him. It's really been worth the effort as he is a lovely cat, but does have spells of anxiousness, but so do people. Just try to keep to a routine as much as possible.

He was two when he came to live with us - I don't know anything about his first owners except that he was abandoned - which would make any cat a bit nervous or anxious. Then when he was kindly taken in, but not an ideal situation for him. As to fireworks, he doesn't like them he'll stay in and just to out to do his business - not over fond of litter trays although I always leave one out for him.

When I was initially thinking of having a cat my first thought was to have an older cat, as they are harder to rehome. It stemed from putting food out for an neighbours cat who had gone into a home and the family left it. It was an elderly cat and another neighbour was feeding it too and it chose them to be their owner and had a happy three years with them until it passed away. So was trying to find another mature cat who it would have been harder to rehome, perhaps not the best thing as a novice cat owner but thought there was a need. Anyway as it happened Tom appeared on our radar, and hope he is happy with us.