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Question
Posted by: Zee | 2004/11/18

CAT BEHAVIOUR

I have 2 cats a male and female. The problem comes in when I have visitors (normally male). Storm (the male) gets upset when any man comes near me. He wouldn't even allow the person too sit next to me on the couch. This causes the person to feel uncomfortable and they would normally end up leaving. Cloud (The Female) hates people, whenever there are other people in the house she hides for hours without eating etc. However once we are alone, she is the most loveable cat, she sleeps next to me, even sits in the bathroom when I'm having a shower. Why are they behaving like this?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberVet

Hi Zee
Obviously your cats are not used to visitors and it may be too late to teach them easily if they are already adults. However you can try to make it pleasant for them when visitors arrive by having some special treats (food or catnip) which you give them in the presence of the visitors. Don't let Storm dominate, but either take move him away if he is unpleasant or put him in another room with the treat. With Cloud you can put her in a cage or crate just before visitors arrive and give her treats while she is in the room with them in the crate for 10 minutes. Then let her out into another room with a treat. The cats need to learn that visitors are not going to hurt them and that they represent something pleasant, but you also need to be in control of the cats and not allow them to take over and demand all the attention. Remember that hiding away may be Cloud's way of getting attention, so ignore it and wait until she comes out on her own.
Karen Gray-Kilfoil
ANIMAL BEHAVIOURIST

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

2
Our users say:
Posted by: Lee | 2004/11/18

When cats feel threatened, they usually respond in three ways to the object, person or situation they perceive as a threat: fight, flee or freeze. Some cats become so frightened they lose control of their bladder or bowels and eliminate right where they are. Each cat has his/her preferred way of dealing with a crisis. You'll notice that your cat probably tends to try one option first, and if that doesn't work, she's forced to try a different option. For instance, if your cat is afraid of dogs and a friend brings his dog to your home to visit, you might notice the following: first, your cat puffs out her fur to make herself look big, then hisses and spits at the dog. If the dog doesn't retreat, your cat may flee the situation, find a hiding spot, and freeze until she deems the situation safe.

Your cat may show the following behaviors when she is fearful:

Hiding
Aggression (spitting, hissing, growling, piloerection, swatting, biting, scratching)
Loss of control over bladder and/or bowels
Freezing in place


It's normal for you to want to help and comfort your cat when she's frightened. However, this isn't necessarily the best thing to do from your cat's point of view. It's normal for a cat to feel insecure or frightened in a new environment. Often, your new cat will hide for a day or two when you first bring her home. Sometimes a traumatic experience like a visit to the veterinarian, or introducing a new animal into the household, can disrupt her routine and send her under the bed for a few days.

Reply to Lee
Posted by: Lucia | 2004/11/18

Hi Zee

Have you ever heard of the saying that people don't own cats, but cat's own people ? This is a typical example of what good owners they are. If it is becoming a problem, then maybe you should consider taking them to an Animal Behaviourist so that they can be analyzed properly so that corrective action can be implemented.

Reply to Lucia

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