Trouble in Paradise

Hi everyone! I thought I would give you a Brody ( aka Daryl the Feral) update and ask for advice, tips or whatever you have to offer.

We were doing so well—–when he was caged because of his stitches. I was able to pet him and everything. He did meow a lot at night, but that was bearable. After he got his stitches removed, I moved him to the upstairs bathroom so he would have a safe zone. I left the door open when I was around to supervise and he did come downstairs—to meow and meow. At night, I shut him in and the next morning I opened the door to find that he moved a board out of the way to hide in a cubby hole in the bathroom.

DSCF0934  And this is where he always is. He comes out to eat/drink  and use the litter box which are in the bathroom. He had been  sneaking down late at night and one night he even settled on the kitty bunk bed for a while. Then I ruined everything because I am impatient and wanted to be able to pet him again. When he was downstairs, I snuck upstairs and blocked off his hidey hole. I followed him up to the bathroom with the hope of petting him and he freaked out, he didn’t try to hurt me, but he sure can scurry.

The rest of the night, he wouldn’t go toward the bathroom and I felt awful for ruining his safe place. Finally after a few hours , he decided to try it again and got back in his cubby hole. Now he won’t venture downstairs. He likes to stand at the top of the steps all evening and meow and meow. Snowball and Phoebe have gone up to investigate, but he runs back to the hole.

He is such a sweet boy and doesn’t slash out or bite. He is just so afraid of humans and other kitties. I have given him several toys and he has no interest in them. I don’t know what else to do to make him feel safe  Has anyone else dealt with a cat like this?

On Petfinder, I have seen many cats listed as “spirit” cats. I have a feeling that is what Brody is going to be- a noisy spirit. I wonder if there is a kitty anxiety medicine that would help? My kitties are very friendly and would be good to him if he would give them a chance. I welcome any ideas to help him.

No matter what, I am not giving up on him. I am just looking for ideas. Thank you.

76 thoughts on “Trouble in Paradise

  1. Sorry, I can’t offer any advice (don’t have experience with this). It sounds like you’re doing all you can for him, though. I hope others are able to chime and and have some good suggestions! I do hope he comes out of his shell and interacts with your other kitties.

  2. Tuna? Would he be secure enough to eat something he loves with you close by, and gradually you could hand feed him? That’s what I did for Scouty. He still doesn’t allow actual TOUCHING, but at least he’s comfy enough to not run every time we walk in a room.

    You could try getting your crew to play where he could watch in safety. Above all, it sounds like you are gonna have to GO SLOW…this guy has some baggage!

    • He won’t eat in front of me at all. I will try to get some of my other kitties to play near him, but it is going to be tough with him in his cubby hole.

  3. I don’t have experience with a kitty that scared of humans, but to try to calm anxious kitties, I’ve done these things–he might not like toys, but perhaps a soft blanket that could be his? Or a soft stuffed animal he might be comforted by? Soft music–I’ve used that a lot. And there is even music available online that is supposed to be made specifically to calm cats. Google to find some on YouTube. And when we have adopted cats and they’ve been wary of everything, I’ve spent time just sitting nearby, sometimes talking, sometimes not. It sounds like you are doing all the right things. You have the commitment to him, which is so lovely to see.

    • Thank you for the tips, I will try the music and I did give him a blankie, but he seems to just like being on the wood.

  4. Oh Ellen..ok..all i can suggest is A.patience..hard but it is a medicine that cannot be bought..also maybe an Adaptil collar if you have them there..they are pheremone based and made for kitties and dogs..spend time just being nearby and reading to yourself..allow him to feel you and watch you..he may need to scope you out..apart from that i cannot help..it is hard but these little quirky ones often end up being the loves of our lives..slow and steady wins the race and the heart xxx

    • I have never heard of the adaptil collar, that sounds like a good idea- not that I could ever get near him to put it on. I do think he is going to be one of my great loves. XO

  5. My human has nothing – Brody is even more of a scaredy cat than Boodie was when she first brought her home. I hope someone else’s suggestion works for you.

  6. We too, don’t have anything else to add…but ages ago, meowmy would sit with ferals in the backyard while she fed them…and each day she shortened the distance…so soon they accepted her presence..but..they were kittens who are alot more adaptable.

    We hope over time he may get more mellow, and be a furendly fellow!

    • I wish I could get closer every day, but I can’t fit in that stinkin cubby hole, I can’t even get my arm all the way in to him.

  7. Patience, patience, patience – it really is the only thing that works. You have to go about your daily life so he gets used to noises and smells. I like the idea of reading aloud – to yourself or to Brody. Say his name often; take a t-shirt or old shirt you’ve worn – don’t wash it – no perfumes or anything – you want him to get used to your scent – and place it in his cubby. He’ll eventually sleep on it. Put some treats near by – not right away, but slowly – let him associate your scent with treats. The biggest tip is GO SLOWLY – you can’t rush him. He will eventually return your trust and your love. You have been blessed with a seriously injured soul that needs healing and this kind of healing takes time. I’ll be praying for him and you!

    • I gave him a blankie and one of my shirts so I hope he decides to use them. Thank you for the tips. I plan to try everyone’s ideas. I do wonder what the poor guy went through. He is such a sweetie, but so scared.

    • I will tyry the spray, I am afraid of the plug-ins because they get hot, but I do think Feliway is a great product. Thank you.

  8. Pingback: Gearing up A to Z | Doggie & Kitty Caperz

  9. So many people recommend Feliway and say it works that I have a feeling it really, truly does. Everyone is giving some great suggestions though – I like the idea of a piece of your clothing that he might have in his hidey hole (which I think is important for him to have until he’s adjusted)……maybe he’s howling and meowing because he wants you to come visit him upstairs. I expect it’s a super BIG adjustment for him being inside and while he’s making some “baby steps” it’s never fast enough for us (!) who wish he would just fit right in. I’m sure he will but he’s not quite sure he’s able to trust yet. I know you and I know that he will come around – in his own time!

    Love, Pam

    • I did give him a shirt today so hopefully he will use it. He does seem to want me to go see him and then he panics and hides. He is such a cutie. I do think Feliway works and I will try it. XO

  10. I will first of all second the use of Feliway. Although it’s no miracle option and works better for some cats than others, it is a synthetic pheromone that can help calm cats. For Brody, I would probably suggest getting at least one Feliway diffuser and putting it near his favorite spot.

    Other than that, although I know it’s hard to hear, the best thing for Brody might be to just give him some more time. That’s not to say to stop trying to interact with him. Of course still take him his usual food, talk to him, let him see the other cats, let him see you interact with the other cats, let him hear and see the normal daily goings-on at your house, etc. Leave his door open if all the cats are getting along, or separate them with only a baby gate rather than a door.

    Is there one particular cat in your house who is very calm, who is very good at slowly and calmly introducing himself or herself to other cats? If so, perhaps try taking that cat into the room where Brody is and let him watch you interact with it, and perhaps let that cat slowly and safely introduce itself to Brody. Maybe Brody could do well with making one such friend first, and then letting that cat show him how to interact with all of the others after they have formed a bond.

    Honestly, it sounds like you’re doing great. I know we want to see all the animals in our homes interact as quickly as possible. But, sometimes a certain kitty comes along who needs a little extra time. My girl Eddy was a little that way. She was afraid of our cat-friendly pup Astrid for months and wouldn’t come out into the house if she could hear or see her. Now, though, after getting used to her and seeing the other cats interact with Astrid, Eddy is comfortable with the dog. She’s not the dog’s best friend, but I’m okay with that, because she no longer avoids her, and she’ll sit next to her and interact with her.

    Brody sounds like such a sweet and gentle cat who still just needs to come out of his shell. Give it time, because slowly yet surely that shell will probably start to thin and break away. Again, you’re doing great with him, and he’s lucky to have you! Purrs!

    • Thank you for all the tips and words of encouragement. He is a very sweet kitty which I am thankful for. He is not harming anyone the way he is, I just want him to be happy and enjoy all the fun stuff like the cat trees , the bed, etc. I am glad Eddy coexists with Astrid now. XO

  11. We have to agree with the hardest solution of all – patience. We know you want to show him how much you love him and how safe he is, but we kittehs definitely do things in our own time and way. Use the Feliway, give him space, we truly believe you will see improvement. Eventually. PS: you could always try tempting him with fried chick-hen. We LUFF fried chick-hen.

    • I know he likes chicken, but he won;t eat in front of me. Thanks for the tips- I wish patience was a virtue I had- perhaps he is here to teach me.

  12. Have you looked into Jackson Galaxy’s Spirit Essences? We tried one years ago on Tucker (for something else) and it did help. We send good thoughts.

  13. it took boomer 6 months to accept my mom; I know 6 months seems like an eternity; but that was 18 years ago, and now he will actually come and stand between her and a house guest when they come over, as if he’s protecting her …..allow brody his time; the trouble is you dont know how he was treated in the past and any little thing could set him off…let him do his “own thing” while watching him to see what he shies from…but don’t let him know you are “watching him” if that makes sense…{ tuna will stop drinking water if he knows
    I’m…. “watching him ” } ♥♥♥

    • That is great that Boomer came around. My Snowball is great with the other cats, but runs from my hubby and I after 3 years so I hope Brody does come around. Either way, he will have a home here- I just want him to enjoy all the fun stuff.Brody won’t eat or drink in front of me so I understand Tuna not wanting to be watched. XO Thank you.

  14. I don’t have any personal experience with a cat like this, but I’ve heard that Rescue Remedy and Feliway diffusers are helpful! They helped us when my two boys randomly decided to start fighting each other a few months ago. I think they are both popular solutions in situations like yours as well. Hope Brody comes around!!!

    • Thank you, I am going to try Feliway spray, I am afraid of those diffusers overheating. I am glad they worked for your boys.

  15. They say Feliway helps, and I’ve just started using it for Athena because we are due to move house soon.

    It’s important also for you to remain calm as cats are very sensitive and pick up on your anxieties.

    Sending healing vibes and purrs xx
    Athena and Marie

  16. Brody seems like such a sweetheart! It is so tough to transition into living in a home with other cats. My Cinco is a high anxiety cat and we’ve found that Composure from VetriScience works well for him. I will keep Brody in my prayers!

  17. First off, I’d like to say there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to do anything, Ellen! If there is a way to simply spend time in the same room as Brody, without reaching for him or anything…just sitting and reading, or yoga stretches…whatever. Maybe throw a treat or two his way, just so he’ll relax with you around, and he gets noms! Then, when you feel you can, maybe putting your hand or foot nearer to him than before, then working your way closer, using a quiet voice. Keep us posted, and we all know that you’ll figure it out!

    • Thank you, I will try to sit on the floor and read. I can’t reach him in his cubby hole so he should feel safe. I will definitely keep everyone posted.

  18. Oh awnty Ellen we are so sad fur all of you. Furst and most impurrtantly, just be patient. You can try da bachs rescue remedy or da plug ins. Also sometimes play with a noisy toy (with bells or tweets) close by and hopeflly within viewing distance can be a help. Ifin one of da kitties doesn’t mind eatin’ at da door of da pawdee box room a couple of times so he kuld see and smell them might also help. Look, talk, luv but don’t touch till he looks fur you to. Befur you block off his hidey hole make sure there aren’t others he can find where you can’t find or get to him, and then block off his hidey hole. Leave da pawdee box room door open so he can escape in there ifin need be. just not into da wall. Maybe give him a comfy carrier instead. So he still feels like he’s in a hole. Do da scent swappin’ a lot. And in dat carrier, give him one of your shirts (right off your back, not freshly washed). And purray. We’s will fur sure be purrayin’ fur all of ya’.

    Luv ya’

    Dezi

    • Thank you for the tips and the prayers. I am not going to block his hidey hole again, I felt too bad when I thought I ruined it for him, I want him to have a safe zone for now at least until he can find one down on the first floor. XO

  19. Ohhhhhhhhhhhh we are sorry we cannot help. There has only been one cat in this house at a time. We do send lots of purrs that you find a solution
    Hugs madi and mom

  20. I can offer no further advice than already given. Some cats naturally take much longer to become accustomed to human company. It will take patience, maybe for quite some time, but hopefully he will accept you are his friend in his own time. He has to accept the realisation that his life is very different before he can go forward.

  21. Just be patient and give him time. I know how hard that is. I have a Grey Ghost outside who let me touch him – once – just lightly, He is obviously an intact tom,but he shows no aggression to me or my 3 outside (neutered/spayed) cats. He comes to eat and I have even seen him going into the garage and up the ladder into the attic for shelter, so he may be around when I don’t see him. Years ago I took in an indoor cat whose person had developed allergies. She hid in the basement (where she had food, water, litterbox,etc) and in a year,I saw her exactly TWICE as she ran across the basement as I came downstairs.Then one morning as I was upstairs feeding the other cats, she began to meow, and after that started coming out to be fed, and eventually joined the family. So hard to be patient when you want to show them they are loved and have no way to communicate that other than by doing what you are doing !

    • I am glad she finally came around, I sure hope I don’t have to wait that long for Brody. Too bad that poor Tom can’t get trapped and fixed. He sounds like a nice boy to be intact and non aggressive- that was how Brody was- he is fixed now.

  22. I should also add – leave his hidey hole. If you block it he may find another one where you don’t know where he is !

    • Yes, I am going to let him keep it. I felt awful the night I ruined it for him and I was thrilled that he went back in.

  23. Oh precious Brody. I hope all goes well and yes, you already know he needs his hide hole, his safe place Bless you BOTH and I so hope he will feel the care and love. XXOO

  24. Zoey is still quite the scaredy cat even after all this time here. I agree, try some Feliway. You can also get some rescue remedy and add a few drops to his food and water. And most of all, be patient…give it time…let him have his “safe spot.” Zoey has her hidey hole and a couple of other spots to hide. He should come around. ~Island Cat Mom

    • I hope he does come around, but I guess some kitties will always be more scared than others. Thank you for the tips. XO

  25. Along with patience and letting Brody become adjusted to your home, you might look into Bach Rescue Remedy for Pets. You can rub a few drops on him and put some in his water. A lady I used to volunteer with at the local shelter would rub some on the cats when we were at adoption events. here’s a link just to show the product. http://www.onlynaturalpet.com/products/Bach-Rescue-Remedy-Flower-Essences/238000.aspx (I’ve never shopped here and it is available from several online stores)

    Hopefully it won’t take long for him to learn that only good things come from you (affection, good food, great hidey spots, toys, blankets, etc) .

  26. He doesn’t sound feral to me, only scared. I like what Eastside Cats said, hanging out in the space with him, letting him get to know you on his time. The other option I think of is to put him in a smaller cage where he can’t get away and then stop in often and reach in and love on him. Thanks for working with him and giving him a shot at the good life! Some kitties take longer to work through their fears than others.

    • I played some relaxing music for him today and sat in the very small bathroom, I will do that a little every day. I hope he can get through his fears so he can enjoy life.

  27. Just live your normal life let him where he feels safe, it will take a long time until he gets used to his surroundings and gains trust ! Some cats never trust humans, my Kim I know her since she was a baby and came from a friend’s litter, she lives with us since the beginning and had always been very shy. She loves all animals even birds and mousies, but with humans it’s more difficult. She behaves like an autistic but has a good life since 16 years. I don’t have the impression that this is the case of Brody, he just needs your patience.

  28. Patience is the key. If and when Daryl decides he is safe will be on *his* schedule. Is it possible for you to just sit on in the bathroom floor with him (on the floor will be less threatening, since you will be on his level)? Maybe grab a cushion and hang out for a little bit of quiet time together every day. You can read, talk softly to him, etc. Don’t try to pet him for now. That will come in time, hopefully. Maybe a few snacks, if he is food-motivated, will also help him associate you with good and safe things.

    • I did hang out on the very small bathroom floor with him today and i played calming music. I will try to do that every day. He won’t eat in front of me.Thank you for the tips.

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