How do I get my cat to stop hiding?

  • My 17 year old cat, whom I have had since she was 8 weeks old, has always been afraid of people, including me. We were told she was born under a porch when we adopted her and her sister. She hides under our couch almost all day. When she does come out, she keeps her distance. She won't come near me, and runs away if I get too close to her. I love cats and have never hurt her. Her sister is a little skittish around people she doesn't know, but let's me kiss her and pet her. She doesn't run from me. She has matts on her back but if I try to catch her to comb them out she runs back under the couch. I call her my ghost cat. I don't know what to do to help her. My vet said to keep her in a cage to try to get her used to me. That didn't work. She also hisses at me if I get close to her to put her food down. 

  • I'm so sorry to hear about this.

    A cat's key socialistion window is in the first few months of life and if she had negative experiences during this time, she will likely be distrustful of peolpe forever.

    As now 17, this is not going to change.

    All I'd be advising at this point would be to try and make her life as calm and easy as possible; not expecting interaction from her. We should ensure the home is calm and predictable and she has her own places she can go to to be alone when needed.

    I would not put her in a cage, which would likely be very stressful for her.

    Matted oir clumped fur is a very common issue in older cats, so you are not alone.

    One of the best things we can do is to get a 'hygiene clip'. The fur is cut very short all around the back end. This can be done at a groomers or vets and sometimes sedation is needed.

    At the same time, any clumped fur and faeces would be removed.

    She likely would be sedated for this, at the vet clinic.

    At the same time her vet can check for any causes of reduced grroming like sore teeth or joints, as she may need treating for these.

    Once we have a 'clean slate' it is best to try and groom and clean the area regularly if she tolerates this.

    This may mean having one person hold her gently in a towel and another being quick.

    We'd then reward her with high value treats like bits of chicken.

    If she won't tolerate the above, a grooming mit may work.

    If not, however, it may be a case of grooming at the vet clinic when needed.

    If she is tricky to transport to the clinic, ask for Gabapentin which you can give to calm her before putting her in her carrier.

Please login to reply this topic!