Oliver My cat is scared to go out

by Andrea
(Regina, Saskatchewan)

Oliver being lazy

Oliver being lazy

My cat Oliver has recently become terrified of going outside. He has also taken to hiding occasionally in odd places (ie. under the futon, in the bathroom). Oliver normally spends a great deal of time outside, sometimes he's so eager to go out in the morning or evening and will spend anywhere from a couple hours to 6 or 8 hours outside. He'll head out and come home with mice that he hunts during his epic adventures. We live in a condo, in a quiet neighborhood beside a park and plenty of open space. Usually I can hardly keep him inside! He's an amiable cat, very social with both people as well as other animals. I've only witnessed him become a typical 'hair-raised and hissing' cat once or twice around a couple animals. In fact, he has many dog friends and is, from my observation, mostly curious about other cats. There are a couple cats nearby, one which is very timid of people across from us, and another a few doors down that I've watched Oliver 'hang out' with. He's not the type to get easily spooked, and looooves any attention he gets. Other then my catching him hiding a couple times in funny spots inside (for instance, I put him out on my patio just now - thinking this would be a relatively contained and safe place for him to remember how much he likes being outside - but he sat next to the door looking in and when I let him in he disappeared for awhile, and a few minutes later his head poked out from under the futon), his behavior is otherwise pretty normal, appetite still good, and driving me nuts with all his pent up energy at night! Oliver is about 4 human-years old and is neutered. Can you offer any suggestions as to this sudden change of behavior, and perhaps any advice towards getting Oliver back outside? It has been about 4 days now, the last he was out was for a very long day, he was gone for a long time and didn't respond to my calls until quite late.

Thanks for your help!

Sounds to me like a kitty who has wandered further than usual and either came across something which scared him ( a loud noise, a sudden appearance of another animal, someone throwing something at him etc who knows what it could be. And then realizing that he wasn't close to home causing him further distress.

This can happen from time to time. My own cats love to go outside but a recent nasty bully cat episode turned my happy go lucky cats into miserable indoor cats.

Basically your cat just needs some time. Do check him over in case their is a bite mark or even possible ticks or fleas. Sometimes these too can cause unusual and skittish behaviors.

There are cat calming sprays and medications which can be used temporarily to help your cat relax again and regain their confidence. See this page for more on these


Also try some distraction games with him or give him a new toy to take his mind off of whatever it was that frightened him.

But don't try to make him go outside as this will only increase his fear. let him decide when he wants to go out again. It will happen.

best wishes Kate

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