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Advice about traumatized cat

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  • Advice about traumatized cat

    Our family is 2 humans and 3 cats. Very early Friday morning, a big tree fell on our house (amazingly, as it hit our house, it split and fell to each side - thus our house has some external damage, but we are able to stay in it).

    Obviously this was very scary for all of us - sudden massive noise and the house shaking like crazy as we all fled the bedroom where the tree hit. A few hours later, the two humans and two of the three cats had recovered enough to act somewhat normally. But the third cat has taken this really hard. As of Sunday morning, she is still spending nearly all of her time tucked up inside the framework of our couch. I can coax her out for meals, but I have to sit with her and guard her while she eats. We've tried playing with her some to get her more comfortable, but it's not accomplished much.

    Any thoughts or suggestions for how to get her to come around? (I know that it may just require time).

    If this continues, I may take her to the vet to rule out any other causes. I don't think she's ill - she eats well when I can make her feel safe, and she is not acting dull or unresponsive. Just very tense and fearful. And she's a cat that tends to scare easily and finds the vet terrifying (shivers the whole time she's there), so I'd prefer not to take her to the vet unnecessarily because I don't want to add more stress.

    [edited to add: I would prefer not to do Feliway except as a last resort - I have bad allergies and Feliway makes me feel awful]
    Last edited by Darkwave; Nov. 3, 2019, 06:39 AM.

  • #2
    You guys were lucky. I’d try giving her treats and her favorite foods in small amounts so she will come out of her hiding place


    • #3
      How scary!

      CBD might be worth a shot. Really interesting that feliway affects you!


      • #4
        Physically pick her up and sit on the couch with her for hugs and cuddles repetatively. She may try to get away and hide at first but if your consistent the comfort of your lap, arms and voice should start to rule out the scary memory. Even when she is coming back out she may jump and startle at loud noises for awhile.

        Keep having extra playtime with her while she's out and include the other cats, maybe a new toy to get her attention more?

        Glad nobody was hurt.
        Mean Girls grow up to be Mean Women


        • #5
          Potent catnip...not the old dried out kind.


          • #6
            Awww, poor girl! Glad everyone is ok! I would try sitting on the ground by the couch, maybe playing with a toy, sitting quietly or just talking to her. Just spend some time with her in her current safe spot, being comforting.


            • #7
              What helped my tiny scaredy cat after some horrendous thunder storms: Whenever she acts scared or petrified due to
              an impending storm, I pick her up and swaddle her in my long sleeved shirt that I'm wearing. Hold her tight and talk to her.
              She loves it and calms down. If I'm not available she snuggles up tight to my german shepherd who's only a tiny bit less
              frightened than kitty is.

              So start providing her with extra tight snuggles and talk softly to her. They usually come around. I would NOT take her
              to the vet and scare her even more.

              I'm so sorry about your house, but boy you were lucky.
              "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." - Charles Darwin


              • Original Poster

                Thanks all. As it turned out, about an hour after I posted this, she decided things were finally safe and came out, and is now parked next to me. She's even started chatting again (usually a very talkative cat that won't shut up, but she's been silent the last two days). But I still really appreciate all the help.

                We have a company coming out tomorrow morning to complete the tree removal, so that may set her off again - if so, I'll use these tactics. I considered boarding her for the day tomorrow, but I think that will be just as hard on her as the tree removal.

                And yes, we're very aware of how lucky we are. The really scary thing is - bad storms were forecast for that evening, and so when the weatherman suggested that people sleep in a lower level, we relocated the cats and ourselves to the basement. About 10:30 that night, all the warnings were lifted, so we moved back upstairs. But, from what we can tell, the earlier storms blew over another tree, which then loosened the roots of this tree, resulting in this one sagging and then falling a few hours later, in light winds.

                When we heard it coming down, we fled our bedroom, basically somersaulting down the stairs. Took us about 3 seconds to get out of there. The scary thing is, I'm sure that wouldn't have been enough time if it had actually come through the house. It happened so much faster than I would have imagined.