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Cher
Cher, Feline Specialist
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 21422
Experience:  Feline Healthcare & Behavior Specialist 40+ years Experience
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MY 6 YR OLD FEMALE IS A SCARDEY CAT. SHE'S AFRAID OF EVERYONE

Customer Question

MY 6 YR OLD FEMALE IS A SCARDEY CAT. SHE'S AFRAID OF EVERYONE EXCEPT ME AND MY HUSBAND (MOST OF THE TIME). SHE WAS A RESCUE CAT WE ADOPTED 3 YRS AGO AND SHE MUST HAVE BEEN ABUSED AND STILL HASN'T GOTTEN COMFORTABLE ENOUGH WHEN PEOPLE VISIT. SHE HIDES UNDER THE BED AND WON'T COME OUT UNTIL THEY LEAVE. I'VE TRIED SNACKS, TOYS, COAXING BUT NOTHING BRINGS HER OUT. MY PROBLEM IS THAT I CAN'T GET HER TO THE VET OR HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO GET HER IN THE PET CARRIER SINCE I AM DISABLED WITH NO USE OF MY RIGHT ARM, EVEN IF I COULD PICK HER UP. PLUS, WE MAY BE MOVING TO ANOTHER STATE SHORTLY, THAT MAY REQUIRE ME TO SHIP HER OUT BY GROUND TRANSPORT. WHAT CAN I DO?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Cher replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome back to Just Answer!
My name is ***** ***** it will be my pleasure to be of help to you today.
My apologies that you did not receive an earlier answer; different experts are online at various times and I was offline when you first posted. I am one of the leading Cat Behavior experts on the site and will be glad to help you and your furry girl. Your patience is greatly appreciated!
Bless you for rescuing an adult cat!
I'm sorry to hear this about your girl being a scaredy cat; she is not alone. Many cats are only comfortable with their owners and will not take kindly to visitors and will hide until they feel it's safe to come out and resume 'normal' activities. Due to her background of suspected abuse, it would make sense that she is distrustful/afraid of humans she doesn't know. Some cats grow out of this behavior and others never do.
For the moment, I would not recommend encouraging her to come out from under the bed when you have visitors, because if she feels safe and comfortable there, let her remain there. It's not that important that the visitors see her, especially if she's so frightened she can only hide to feel safe.
You've done all the right things so far, like offering treats to try to lure her out. You can also try some interactive toys like a laser pointer and feather wand near the edge of the bed on the floor, to encourage her to play. You can use other toys, as well, that she might love to play with. Cat toys laced with catnip, might help lure her out to play, too. This is a nice selection of toys she can play with on her own and under your supervision:
http://www.catdvd.com/
http://www.frolicat.com/
http://www.batarat.com/
http://www.cattoys.com/kong-kickeroo-cat-toy.html
http://www.shopfatcat.com/cattoys.html
http://www.pawswhiskersandclaws.com/pwc%20foraging.pdf
Also, if she doesn't yet have one, get her a kitty condo with multiple levels, shelves and 'hidey' holes. These are great for scratching (they're covered with carpet), playing, and also sleeping. Being able to hide in one of those 'compartments' and also climbing to the top (cats love to be up high, as they feel safe) and sleeping or just 'surveying' her 'territory' may make her happy and get her to spend more time out from under the bed.
There is a cat appeasing pheromone called Feliway, which is great for calming stressed/anxious kitties and it comes in both a spray and plug in diffuser. This is definitely work a try. Here is more information:
http://www.feliway.com/us
If you feel you can't get her into the carrier to take to the vet, even with your husband's help, there are vets that can come to YOU; they are called housecall and mobile vets. You can find some in your area by checking this site:
http://www.vetlocator.com/housecallvets.php
If you do end up bringing her in to the vet in her carrier, I would recommend a top loading carrier, as it is easier to get the cat in there than the ones with the 'gate-like' closure on the side.
If you're planning on making a move to another state, this will stress her out more, because she will need to get used to a new environment; however, you do what you have to do. If there's any way you can either fly with her in the cabin if you can fly to your new home, that would be best. Shipping her out by ground transport, I think would make her extremely anxious, but you would need to discuss this with her vet, when the time comes.
Also, if nothing else works, ask your vet if she can be prescribed an anti-anxiety medication at a low-dose, for a short term. I don't like recommending medications unless they're a 'last resort', so see what suggestions your vet may have. There are many different medications and Clomicalm is well-recommended. Here is more information:
http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/prescription/clomipramine-clomicalm
I hope all will be well with your timid kitty!
Please be so kind as to rate with positive feedback, so I am recognized by the site for my assistance. Thank you very much!
If you have any additional questions or concerns, please click 'Reply' and I will always be here for you at no additional charge, even after rating.
Warmest regards,
Cher
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

EVERYTHING YOU SUGGESTED AS FAR AS TOYS, TREATS, CATNIP, CONDO, ETC. I HAVE ALREADY DONE. MOBILE VET INFO IS ALREADY ONLINE FOR FREE. THE ONLY THING I DID NOT KNOW ABOUT WAS CLOMICALM AND I DON'T FEEL THAT INFO IS WORTH $36.

Expert:  Cher replied 2 years ago.

Hi again and thanks for your reply.

You provided a lot of information in your question, which is appreciated, but you said your main problem was how to get her to the vet. If you already know about mobile vet services, why don't you call one in your area, and that will take care of the problem of getting her into the carrier, etc. If you can't lure her out from under the bed and you know the mobile or housecall vet is coming, block off all under and behind areas of furniture, so she has no place to hide. You can set up her cat bed in a quiet corner, so she feels more secure and put an old t-shirt with your familiar and comforting scent on it, in the bed, so that makes her feel better, too.

If you didn't know about Clomicalm, discuss this, and other medications in its class, with your vet, and see if she's a good candidate for that.

If there's anything more specific that you need information about, because I did my best to address all your concerns in my initial answer, please post back and let me know, so I can help you and your kitty further. Thank you very much!

Warmest regards,
Cher