Neurotic Cat Won't Come Downstairs

by Kevin


We have always been dedicated cat people - we currently have five cats in our household, four of whom seem to get along quite nicely. However, one of our cats is absolutely insistent on not coming downstairs (where the other cats socialize with us and basically "live").

She is a 7-year-old calico, and she has always been rather skittish. However, around three months ago, we recently brought in a feral/semi-feral cat (we've been feeding him outside for at least eight months). We don't know his origins, but he has adapted to life inside quite nicely. The other cats are fine with the new one. I understand there can be some be some hissing but they seem to accept that he's a member of the family. The calico ("Callie"), however, hisses and snorts whenever she sees him. She's taken to living underneath one of the beds, and will not come downstairs for food, water, or to use the bathroom. We've brought up everything she needs, and we've tried repeatedly to lure her downstairs (with toys, treats, and food) but she will not come downstairs at all. We all love her dearly and give her affection regularly, but she will not budge. She always looks around nervously, and she is rapidly becoming an outcast with the other cats (who she has known for years). She has even started hissing at everyone - even though she purrs whenever we pet her. She has only been downstairs once in the past three months, and that was a fleeting instant - as soon as she saw the new cat, she bolted upstairs and ran under the bed. We figured it would be fairly normal for her to feel safe living upstairs for a few weeks, but after three months we're not sure if she'll ever adapt to life with the other cats.

Please help, we miss having our cat downstairs. :( We would appreciate any advice or tips!

Answer by Kate
well there are no guarantees that your cat will ever want to be around the new cat. I once had a cat that just wouldn't go out into the garden (her favourite place) when a new cat moved to the area. Nothing could entice her.

Anyway the only thing you can try is a period of introduction between the new cat and your calico. the process should be taken slowly and can take several weeks but if done persistently in a calm way then hopefully at least a bond of recognition and perhaps a little trust can be built up between the two cats. i have written a web page about the process here

best wishes kate

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