I’m So Scared, I’m Hiding All the Time. Help!

Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:

My name is Evita, and I am a beautiful tortoiseshell kitty. My human recently moved me and my brother/father, Bruce, from Georgia to Utah. According to mom, we had to move; we were about to be homeless (whatever that means). Our new place is, according to my mother, is a studio apartment. There are two other humans and one other kitty. There are also *hiss* two dogs. I have been so frightened that I will not come out from under the bed except to use the bathroom (sometimes not even then). My human has been good about keeping water and food for me under the bed, but until recently the dogs kept eating it. My human thinks she has fixed the problem, but I’m so scared. I’ll come out in the middle of the night sometimes if I hear her voice and she’s in the bathroom. Is it okay for me to stay under the bed (I’ve been doing this for 3 weeks), or should me and my mother arrange something else? Mother is losing hair over this and I’m scratching myself very hard. Please help!

Many sniffs and catnip treats,

Cat peeking out from couch, (CC-BY) by Kevin Dooley

Cat peeking out from couch, (CC-BY) by Kevin Dooley

Siouxsie: Wow, Evita, you and your family have been through a lot of trauma and transitions lately, so it’s no wonder you’re freaking out! Even if you didn’t have to live in a studio apartment with three people, two dogs and another cat, the move alone would be stressful enough!

Thomas: But you have to understand that it’s not your human’s fault. Sometimes bad things happen to people that make them unable to get the green papers they need to pay for housing and food and stuff, and your human’s lucky your family had a place to land.

Kissy: That said, we really do think it would be a good idea for the people in your life to help you to overcome your fear of your new surroundings. Some of the things we’re going to recommend will cost money, but most of them can be done without much effort or expense.

Siouxsie: So we hope your human family will do what they can and not feel guilty if they can’t do everything we recommend.

Thomas: That said, we think that if your people can manage it, they should get a Feliway diffuser. It’s a synthetic feline pheromone that helps stress-related behavior. I’ll probably help both you and the the resident cat deal with the stress of a new feline roommate.

Kissy: Then the humans should get together and try to arrange time for the dogs to be out for a while and let you get used to the apartment. If your person can lure you out from under the bed with an interactive toy and give you some opportunity to play while the dogs are away, you’ll start feeling more confident.

Siouxsie: If the humans can arrange for you to have some high places to hang out, where you can be safe from the dogs without hiding under the bed, that would be great too. They can do this by getting you a large cat tree or by clearing off spaces on bureaus or bookshelves.

Thomas: Of course, they’ll probably have to coax you out from under the bed to show you those places, and I hope you’ll come out for a visit.

Kissy: If your people are handy, they could install shelves on the walls in a stair-like way so that you can have places to walk around, out of reach of the dogs. Here’s some information about DIY cat shelf projects.

Siouxsie: You should also keep in mind that everybody in your new place is stressed right now. Mama says people get stressed when there are too many humans in small places too, and studio apartments are pretty small. But it’s not just the space thing, either: finances are probably causing tension, and maybe your human is looking for a job — and so on and so on. And people can’t even purr themselves into relaxation!

Thomas: Naturally, as a cat you’re picking up on all the humans’ emotions as well as experiencing your own stress. It’ll help you a lot of the people in your home can find ways to relax and create some kind of “sphere of mellowness” around them.

Kissy: We’re sure this situation is temporary, Evita. Once your people are on their feet again, you’ll have your own home and your own space. Until then, we hope your people can lure you out and help you get the confidence to explore your environment.

Siouxsie: And that they can give you high-up places to enjoy the view.

Thomas: And that they can find healthy ways to relieve their own stress, because that’ll help you too.

Kissy: Purrs and love to all of you, and we hope you’re all blessed with a new and wonderful situation that works for everybody.


  • http://www.sparklecat.com Sparkle

    This is such great advice! I hope Evita’s human is able to do a lot of these suggestions to help her!

  • http://catlover.levy@gmail.com Denise

    I completely agree with Thomas. My cat Sammy was so scared when we got him. He looked like a deer caught in the headlights and so unfriendly. Our Vet (bless her) suggested a Feliway Diffuser but said it might and might not work. We bought one for him and boy did it make a difference. He still isn’t the friendlies cat–I think that’s his personality but he isn’t stressed out or full of anxiety. It is a bit expensive but worth every dollar. I’m on a fixed income but as far as I’m concerned it’s as important as his food. Hope this helps.

  • http://www.petsweekly.com Pack Leader

    Great suggestions for this little kitty. I am Cheiss, the mozt noble of all dogs, and i reside with two cats and two young dogs in a house with our two humans. May i also suggest that you pick up some DAP to help the dogs stay calm? It works well with FEliway. Also, if you restart the introduction process between everyone, it may help everyone adjust easier. We dogs are mostly the curious type and we really dont hate cats. We just like to play. That is all.

  • InterestedPerson

    Hello, may I suggest Dr. Victor Tso’s “calming formula” as well as the Felaway. It was
    really helpful for my cats in a stressful time. It is available on line, so whereeveryou are
    you can get it. And my cat liked it.
    But also think that making the underthebed area a sanctuary for the time being is not
    bad…put the food on a tray or something so that it can be slide far enough in that the
    dogs dont get it, and yet can be retrieved to wash, etc. A nice blanket, etc. And let everyone have time to transition into a pack or a herd, or whatever.

  • vagabond

    Great advice from all the kittehs! Methinks your momma is a VERY empathic human!

  • Phyllis

    Hello poor scared Kitty: We had a kitty just like you and we hardly saw her for about 3 weeks. She at long last appeared but she never liked our other cat that we had and would hiss every chance she could. We found out about 6 months later that she had developed liver cancer and I have often wondered if she felt okay. We had to have her put to sleep, I still miss her, she was a pretty multi colored cat named Casey. Good luck to you and I hope things go better for you soon.

  • Catherine Murdoch

    Dear Evita,
    I am so very sorry to hear about your situation and I don’t blame you one bit for being stressed and scared under the circumstances. My kitty Cindy was very stressed when she first came to live with me and wouldn’t eat. I was tearing my hair out with worry too. My vet said if necesssary they would put her on valium for a little while to help her calm down and de-stress. Perhaps that might help you, although I think the FEliway sounds like a better idea. As human mummy is also stressed (which won’t be helping you as you will pick up on it), perhaps she could try a herbal remedy known as Rescue Remedy. It is strongly recommended for stress. Here in Australi it can be purchased from a herbalist or a Health Food store. Perhaps human mummy could find somewhere where you are living that sells it. It isn’t very expensive.

  • http://www.hairlesscat.org Hairless Cat

    Hi Paws and Effect Gang,

    Sounds like an unfortunate, overcrowded, scary situation for poor Evita.

    If I were a cat and in her situation, I’d be freaked way out and I’d hide under the bed too. The move, the new cramped place, strange dogs, strange cats, and so many people would upset any cat to the absolute max.

    The Feliway diffuser, tall cat trees, stair step bookshelves, and getting the dogs out for a while is supreme advice. That will help kitty a lot though she may never get used to the situation. So much change for the worse at once!

    Another thing that helps is familiar objects – toys, cat beds, furniture, etc…It would also help if Evita’s favorite person or people would spend as much time with her as possible even if it’s just sitting on the floor next to the bed.

    I realize that due to job loss, a crowded situation like this can easily happen. However, I hope this crowded situation changes quickly. It’s up to the humans to get aggressive about improving the finances quickly so this can happen.

    In the short term, it would help if some people and the dogs could find a different place to live as soon as possible.

    Tough situation but these things can happen. Best of luck to Evita and all parties involved.

    =^-^= Hairless Cat Girl =^-^=

  • Brenda Ventosilla

    Hello, greetings from Peru. I’m Brenda Ventosila, I’m 17 . I’m desperate.
    I have a nice cat named Eva, she’s really sweet and playful. In a couple of weeks she’s turning two years old. It all was fine until I got two new kittens (2 months and a half old). She’s acting like their mommy, playing with them and they get along really well. She’s almost only playing with them. She doesn’t want to play with us (humans), not as much as it used to be.

    I have two important questions:

    -How can I get them not to suck Eva’s titties?
    They’re harming her and she is letting them. Me and my sister are trying to separate them every time we see this is happening, but Eva’s looks us with a really sad face every time we do this.

    – Why is she not playing with us as much as usual? We give her lots of love, but since the kittens are here, she’s acting weird. She usually played with us all around the flat, running all around, hunting us. Even if we threw a ball to her, she’ll turned it back to play once again. Now she won’t do that, even if we put all our efforts into it. I try to play with her in my room, that is where she sleeps, her main territory. But she only plays a couple of minutes and then loses interest. Its breaking my heart, I don’t know what to do. She’s healthy, I took her to the vet.

    Please, I would appreciate some advice, me and my siblings are really concerned about this, and in Peru there is not a single cat behaviorist.
    Thanks for your time.