Do you have a cat that is scared of everything? Now there is hope to give your cat their live back and return your friend as part of the family. Stacey Frazier, employee at Guthrie Pet Hospital, tells the story of her cat, Mooney and Royal Canin Calm cat food.
By Stacey Frazier I’ve had a real-life scaredy cat living in my house for over four years. Mooney, a seven-year domestic long hair, has been terrified of everyone and everything since an unknown event approximately four years ago. Something spooked her so badly that she retreated under my bed and homesteaded. She refused to come out and interact with the other cats. She refused to come out when people came to the house. She barely would come out to eat. When she started to refuse to come out to use her litter box we hit a wall. I made the decision to move her into her own room and completely start over.
I read the books, listened to the lectures, did my homework as to how to reintroduce her to the household and general population. I recognized and understood it was going to take consistency and dedication. Her visit to the vet showed she was healthy with no physical issue that would cause her reclusiveness. And so we began.
I made her space comfortable, with both high perches and burrows. She had a window for external stimulation. She had a space she knew was safe and hers.
I did the sensory soak. I swapped out scratchers used by the other cats with hers so she would get used to their scent. I installed a screen door in her room so she could see the other cats, and they could see her. I fed her in sight of the door, and the other cats on the outside in sight of her. I did all the steps, slowly, steadily. And finally came to the realization that nothing was changing. She was still terrified. Still skittish. Still being the victim of any movement by the other cats to engage her. I had no idea what to do.
Royal Canin Calm to the rescue
In walks a Royal Canin representative. I have never been a huge proponent of what I call holistic treatments, so when she mentioned a food formulated to calm cats I wasn’t especially receptive. Over the course of my own attempts to reset Mooney’s behavior, however, desperation began to set in. Finally, I agreed to a free bag of Royal Canin Calm. The food seemed palatable; Mooney ate it readily enough. I figured even if nothing happened I got a free month of food for her, right?
The first week went by, then the second, then the third. At the start of the fourth week I was walking down the hallway to feed her the Royal Canin Calm food and she met me at the screen door. That is new. Hmm. She met me again for dinner. And breakfast and dinner every day that week. I began to realize that she was spending time at the door, watching what was going on in the rest of the house. She wasn’t hiding when I went in to fill her water fountain or clean her box. She seemed more interested in the activities in the house. Hmm. I bought a second bag of Royal Canin Calm food.
The next two months saw more and more interest. She didn’t bolt away when another cat came to sniff her through a door. She let me carry her to the living room and sit with me in my chair, as long as she got to hide under a blanket. I got the shock of my life one night when she suddenly appeared on the back of my chair- I had forgotten to latch the screen door. This began a flurry of interest by her in getting out of her room and to the living room when I was in there, even to the point of her busting through the screen. I began feeding her just inside her door and closing it, but not latching it, so she could push it open and came to find me in the living room when she was done. This led to leaving the door opened so she could come out and run back in at dinner time, which led to leaving it opened during the day when I was home so she could sit in the hallway.
And then it happened. I walked in to the kitchen to feed the herd and there she was. She had left her room and followed me to the kitchen. She still wanted to be fed in her doorway, but what a huge step. Many more followed.
At this point, Mooney is coming to the kitchen twice a day with the other cats to be fed. Sometimes she feels comfortable enough to eat in the kitchen, other times she would rather go to her room, but only in the doorway. She sits in the living room, either in my chair or on my ottoman, she has begun standing up to the playful aggressions of the one-year-old cat, and she doesn’t bolt every time she hears a loud noise. She has worked her way up from her bedroom to the big room.
She has her life back. And I have my friend back. There is no doubt in my mind that the food made the difference. There is no denying the huge change in her demeanor and sociability. There is no question that a dietary change altered her perception of the world around her. What there IS, is the question of how much I could affect a change in my own disposition and attitude with a healthier diet. While I won’t be running out and stocking up on kale and kelp and whatever else is popular at the moment, maybe I will add a few more salads to my week, choose a little less fried options with my meals. Who knows- maybe I, too, will find myself back in the big room!