Drastic Change in Cats Personality after Being Lost
The Lovely SWAT in happier days
My two-year old female spayed cat, SWAT, disappeared recently and was away from us for 20 days. She was finally located thanks to a microchip we had installed when she was spayed. She had been moved over 200 miles away from where we live by a friend of a neighbor who thought she was a stray. We are elated to have her home, but are worried about her behavior. She looks healthy and has no apparant weight loss, fur loss, or coat changes. However, she was previously a very social and friendly cat who loved to be petted even by people she didn't know well. She loved to cuddle and would seek out people and, especially warm laps. Since she has returned home, she is very skittish and growls or spits whenever anyone comes close or tries to touch her. She doesn't seem to remember us at all. Nor does she seem to know her 11-month old son who is also part of our household. They were previously very close, playing together, sleeping together, and grooming one another. While he seems to remember her, she wants nothing to do with him and will also spit, growl and strike out at him if he tries to get close.
Is this normal behavior for a cat who has gone missing for some time? While SWAT was born to a feral mama, she was handled by people very early and has always been a social and friendly
cat. Should we be worried? Is there anything we can do to help her return to her old self? We are keeping her indoors exclusively, because we're afraid she'll bolt if we let her outside at all in her current mood. Any suggestions you can provide will be helpful.
Answer by KAte
hi yes this is not unusual behavior. She has probably spent some time being very afraid and having to be on guard all the time. these feelings will take some time to subside.
I would do two things. firstly take her to the vets for a through checkup, just in case there is something which is causing her some discomfort and anxiety.
Secondly i would give her a period of confinement training where by you would also re introduce her son to her in a safe environment. this way she will have less territory to worry about and be able to calm down and she can get to know her son and you again in short bursts.
Please see this page about the introduction process
Also may I suggest that the family try to bond with your cat again using the techniques described on this page
It puts your cat in the driving seat and gives her time to find her confidence again in her own time.
Don't worry I'm sure that given a little time and lots of tlc she will return to her former character.
best wishes KAte