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 Post subject: Extreme cat anxiety
PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 11:41 am 
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Mispronounces Daiya
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Location: The Latham Compound
For as charming as Sir Didymus is in photographs, he is a neurotic little bugger. He is EXTREMELY afraid of men, Mr. rabidchild excluded, though he isn't super cuddley with my husband as he is with me. My father was in town for the night last night and stayed with us, literally, for less than 12 hrs. Sir Didymus ran to the basement as soon as he got here, came up at one point when my Dad went upstairs to change, and I was cooking dinner and I caught him squatting to poop right outside the kitchen door! I grabbed him (thrashing and screaming, literally) and locked him into the basement for a bit (where 4 of his 5 litter boxes live). Later on I let him out again, and eventually he came up for snack, but not before vomiting slime all over the dining room rug. He still wanted his snack though, so I chalked it up to stress and gave it to him. This morning my dad said he was sitting outside the kitchen moaning (he does this awful moan when he's upset). He wouldn't eat breakfast this morning, and is still, as I type, wedged into the basement ceiling and won't come down. I was panicking this morning because I couldn't find him, so my husband went home at lunch to check and found him up there.

I don't know what to do for him. I don't want to force him out when people are over because I feel like it will make it worse. I don't want to medicate him for anxiety when he's completely fine as long as we don't have men over (or large groups of women). I would go broke on the number of Felaway diffusers I'd need to cover my house. It's not that I mind so much that he's in the ceiling if he likes to hang out there, but I don't like that he gets stressed to the point of him making himself sick. Also I worry that he's in the ceiling, stressed/sick and we have no way of getting him out without ripping down more ceiling panels. This even impacts our ability to go anywhere for the weekend. I have two friends who will come feed them if we go away, and he knows them and likes them, but if anyone else comes over, he won't come out and therefore won't eat when we're away. Thus, if they can't come over and feed him, I can't leave :|

I feel so stuck, and I feel bad for him. I have no idea what happened to him in the first 4 months of his life, but from the looks of him when we found him, it wasn't good. Obviously I love him like crazy, but his anxiety is out of control. Does anyone have any advice on this one?

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 Post subject: Re: Extreme cat anxiety
PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 12:08 pm 
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Has it on Blue Vinyl
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Sorry to hear about his anxiety, RC! The way I am thinking about my cat's anti-anxiety meds is that maybe it can be a short-term course to change her behavior now, and that she won't need them forever. The other thing I can think for Sir Didymus is behavior modification over time through stepped desensitization?


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 Post subject: Re: Extreme cat anxiety
PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 12:10 pm 
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Not a creepy cheese pocket person
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You can get anxiety medication that he only takes when he's in stressful situations. And maybe make him a hidey hole in the basement where he can hide when he needs to but you can still get to him.

I'm sorry the poor kitty is so freaked out. One of our cats has stranger fear, too, though it's not this extreme.


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 Post subject: Re: Extreme cat anxiety
PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 9:22 pm 
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Mispronounces Daiya
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Ok - part of this mystery is solved. I got home from work, Sir Didymus was STILL in the ceiling, and wouldn't come down, and hissed at me when i tapped on the ceiling. He came out when he heard me feeding the other cats, and took a few bites, and hid on a chair under the dining room table. I was able to catch him and he was dehydrated so I packed him up and we went to the ER (I'm surprised these people don't know me by name). He had impacted stool, not a lot, but a massive turd rock was preventing him from pooping. They had to give him a sedative because it hurt so bad :( He's locked in the guest room now working that off (read: stumbling drunk and confused). SOOO it seems on top of being stressed, he also was constipated. The vet said maybe he got dehydrated in the ceiling and that caused the constipation, but I doubt it honestly since he did the squat thing upstairs a few hrs after my dad came over, so it seems he was constipated prior to going into the ceiling.

She also said there isn't much we can do about his anxiety. She suggested locking him up when people come over, and if I can have someone stop by every day and give him treats (I already make people give him treats when they come over if he'll come near them) it might help, but he might just be a neurotic cat. :|

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 Post subject: Re: Extreme cat anxiety
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 11:31 am 
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My young cat is pretty skittish. Not as much as SirD from the sounds of things. But aside from the first twelve weeks of his life, I know no trauma occurred to him because he's been with me (other than when I moved more than two years ago, which unsettled him and took time for him to adjust but no trauma involved other than a change, per se) so I don't know why he never (EVER!) comes out when strangers are around and if I try and get him to show them to him (sometimes people say "where's your other cat?" and want to see him) but I've learned not to do that because he will claw me bloody if I try to pick him up when strangers are around, he gets so tense. He would never do that when it's just me in the house, he's so sweet and gentle. But I just leave him alone when people are over and tell them if they want to see him that it'll get ugly because he's too scared of strangers. And for no reason. He's known nothing but love and kindness in his life. It's just his personality.

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 Post subject: Re: Extreme cat anxiety
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 8:49 pm 
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Mispronounces Daiya
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Location: The Latham Compound
omg... emergency vet visit #2. They think he has an anal gland infection. They gave him a shot of metacam for pain, and I have to pick up triple fish flagyl at the compounding pharmacy tomorrow. somehow? i have an early morning doctors appointment which is not near home before the pharmacy (which is near home) even opens, and I work until 6 so I don't get back here until 6:30 (and also, I don't work near where the doctor's office is). I'm going to have to work something out... my husband is working late too. ARGH!!

I'm exhausted. He pissed all over the bed at 4 am. I just want him well.

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 Post subject: Re: Extreme cat anxiety
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 3:56 am 
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poor guy! I hope he feels better soon.
One of my cats is very shy too and doesn't come out when people are over. We generally just let him hide out wherever he's comfortable. As for leaving for the weekend, we use automatic cat feeders. They are so awesome. We have one for each cat and just have someone come over to re-fill them. Mr. shy cat doesn't have to face any strangers but still gets to eat. This is the one we have: http://www.walgreens.com/store/c/lentek ... 75d84c4cfe


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 Post subject: Re: Extreme cat anxiety
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 7:28 am 
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Mispronounces Daiya
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Location: The Latham Compound
We have two cat feeders like that (from when I just had two cats!). The problem is that one of my cats is super food aggressive and if the other cats weren't standing RIGHT THERE when the feeders opened, I'm sure he would eat everyone's food and the other two wouldn't get any. I guess if push came to shove we might just have to leave Didy locked up by himself in a room so someone could just put bowls of food in and he would be the only one to eat it. He'd hate it, but at least he'd get food. For now, my friends have been able to come over, and we haven't gone away long.

This morning Sir Did seems a little better. He came up to me for pets, and sat in the window to watch the birds, and tried to get one of the other cats to lick his head. We had him locked in my office (moaning pitifully) all night, and now we've got all the bedroom doors shut and the cat door to the basement locked so he's confined, basically, to the first floor (he can go upstairs but can't go in any rooms). Hopefully we'll patch up the basement ceiling this weekend so he can't go in there anymore!!

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 Post subject: Re: Extreme cat anxiety
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 11:10 am 
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Awww, poor guy.

He sounds so much like my one kitty, Gershwin. He has very strong anxiety and will absolutely lose his shiitake around strange men or groups of people, and it takes him forever to calm back down. I don't really know what to do other than console him after the fact (he will not let my husband near him when he's upset either), because I can't see putting him on medication for something that is a rare occurence.

I hope Sir Did feels much better soon.

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