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Pet Ease/Feliway Diffuser for a scaredy cat?

This is a place to gain some understanding of cat behavior and to assist people in training their cats and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other cat owners and lovers...not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

  
Judas

King Jude
 
 
Purred: Fri Dec 21, '12 6:05pm PST 
Hi everyone,

I'm looking for a bit of advice or suggestions to help my scaredy cat. I'll start off by giving the quickest rundown on him as I can (though I'm sure it will probably be a little long regardless)...

I adopted Jude just a bit over a year ago in November 2011. He was a week shy of turning four months old at the time. His mother, who was an indoor/outdoor cat and who was not spayed, got pregnant by the neighbourhood feral cat. When the kittens were born, they were brought into the house to be looked after. His previous family were not exactly what you'd call cat or animal people. And even as a very small kitten he was mishandled and I'm pretty sure over time was most likely abused in some way, as that was their way of teaching the cats to stay off certain things, etc. His previous family never actually outwardly admitted to any physical abuse, but just from talking with them and hearing the way they talked, it was easy to put two and two together. Also, they had two little girls in their household who really loved to play (torture) the kittens.

Anyhow, when we adopted him and first brought him home, he was very nervous and scared. He hid under my bed for the longest time, and he wanted nothing to do with my dad or stepmom. Slowly, he opened up to me, and now we've become literally the best of friends. He follows me everywhere and always wants to be near me. In fact, a lot of times when I go out and come back again, I can hear him meowing at door waiting for me.

Today, my Jude is nearly a year and a half. He is the sweetest, gentlest kitty-boy I've ever known. I am completely and utterly smitten by him, and can't even remember what life was life before he was around. He is extremely well-behaved (though because of the way he was treated with his previous family, I'm not sure if that's just how he is naturally or if it was set into him through fear). He is a very sensitive cat and I happen to think we are a great match for each other.

Now, the problem is, as much as he accepts me, Jude is still very weary of my dad and stepmom. He's come a long way in the past year and will now actually let them pet him, especially my dad. However, he gets skittish with them easily still. For example, he will get up and run away if they try to walk past him. And if anyone should ever knock on our door, he bolts to my bedroom and actually hides in my dresser.

Don't get me wrong though! I am not the type of person who is upset because she doesn't have the most sociable cat in the world and wants to change his personality. Believe me, I know what it's like to be shy too. I'm completely fine with Jude being a little less social with those he doesn't know too well, and if he needs some space and doesn't want to be on our laps all day every day that's perfectly okay. It's not me and my family I'm worried about - my only concern is Jude and his peace of mind and well-being. I want to make sure that our household -his home- is comfortable for him completely. I want him to feel 100% safe and comfortable with us, because we all absolutely adore him.

Sooo, I was wondering now, if any of you think perhaps if I got a Pet Ease (similar to the Feliway) diffuser, if it may help with his nervousness and everything else I just described? It's something I've just heard of recently, and if it's something that could potentially ease Jude's skittishness and fears I'd be more than willing to get one (or two?) for him. We've tried just about everything else I can think of to help show and prove to him that my parents and the people who come over for visits are trustworthy and will never hurt or mistreat him; that he is safe and loved entirely and there is nothing to be scared of here

If any of you have had a similar experience as this and have some words of wisdom or some suggestions I may not have thought of yet, I'd be extremely grateful to hear what you have to say. As well, anyone with experience using a Feliway or Pet Ease diffuser, if you think getting one in my situation would be a good or bad idea, I'd love to know!

Thank you so much for reading my post, and again any advice/recommendations for me to continue guiding Jude in the right direction are much appreciated.

-Amanda.
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Simon

I'm awesome? I- know! ^w^
 
 
Purred: Sun Dec 30, '12 4:56pm PST 
I just finished reading a book on cat behavior and the author uses Feliway a lot in her book. She recommends that you get the spray and put some on the shoes/feet and cuffs of pants of new people (or your parents lol) and have them just ignore the cat completely. It can be kind of scary for a cat to have people trying to pet him/her if they arent comfortable with that level of contact yet. Cats absolutely LOVE my dad, who isnt a cat fan in the least, because he doesn't try to force interactions with them.
I don't understand why people have animals if they aren't willing to do the work, let alone mistreat them. I think Jude knows that you took him from that place and provide him with great care and love. Try getting your parents to do the feeding and watering so he can build a bond with them without them handling him directly. Food goes a long way when it comes to trust.
As for everyday noises like doors banging closed or chairs scraping against the floor I would start exposing him to the noises, I'm new to cats but there are some techniques that work wonderfully with very shy dogs that may be helpful. Audio recordings can get the cat (or dog) used to the sounds that startle him but can be monitored and controlled according to how fast your kitty is comfortable with being exposed to things. Record (or download) noises that he is sensitive to and leave a CD playing for him when he's in a calm and relaxed state. Start out with the CD playing very quietly and slowly increase the volume as he gets more comfortable. As he gets less and less fearful try actually making some of these noises.
You can also try getting your parents to move at a slower pace without looking at him and make sure not to coddle him when he's in a fearful state. If he's nervous or shy and you pet and praise him it just enforces the behavior of hiding as the right thing to do.
My cat Simon used to run and hide when I got up every time and just with me ignoring him he became more comfortable because he wasn't worried I was going to try and touch him. As he got more and more comfortable we would have 'cat chats' to get him used to being addressed directly. I would tell him about the weather or what I needed for groceries that week. Feliway (or any calming diffuser) placed in high traffic areas would be very beneficial I think. As soon as I get a day off I'm planning to pick some up for Simon (I just found where they sell it after a few phone calls!) so I'll keep you posted on how it's working out with him!

Hope you and Jude work things out! Keep us updated on your progress and good luck smile

~Tara
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Felix

mon petit chat- noir
 
 
Purred: Wed Jan 2, '13 2:31pm PST 
Felix is a scaredy cat too. He was just starting to do better, and then someone broke into our home & the alarm went off - so between that & police here, well he retreated to the basement & would only come up to eat & right back down again. He found a tiny corner to hide in or he would stay in his carrier that I keep open down stairs. I had to wait about a week before he would stay up for any length of time. Loud noises - my hubby's work boots - scared him. I just kept doing the normal things. When I would see him, I talked to him & would offer a treat when he was sitting out in the "open" It took a while. He is still scared if someone moves really fast, or if anyone comes in the door. He is under my bed quick as a flash. I do not chase him - I just let him go so that he feels in control. I use Feliway, and am going to try a calming collar too. Oh something else that I found worked too. PetCalm treats from Only Natural Pet. Made in the US - they have a B vitamin found in kitty mother's milk that calms the kittens. I give him one a day - 2 if he is really skittish. But honestly it takes time & patience, and routine. I even play soft classical music as much as I can. Anything to help him. If you need the treat info, just pawmail me & I can give it to you. It does get better! cat on moon
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