How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Rebecca Your Own Question
Rebecca, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 17054
Experience:  Veterinarian for more than 30 years
Type Your Cat Question Here...
Rebecca is online now

Uncharacteristic behaviour

This answer was rated:

Something has spooked our two cats - they won't go near the stairs (they normally sleep upstairs) and are sleeping in the conservatory. They purr when stroked, go out as normal and are eating OK. We think a neighbour's male cat, whom they don't like, may have got into the house at some point and got as far as the bottom of the stairs. We don't know how to get them back to their normal behaviour. For several days, one of the cats wouldn't eat unless we put the food outside the house; she is now eating food put in the conservatory but frequently runs away and hides under a table in the conservatory if either of us goes into that room.
I am sorry to hear you are worried about your cats.
My name is***** am a veterinarian, and will do my best to help.
It does sound like something really frightened them, having to do with the stairs.
If the Feliway did not help, you might try Zylkene, a new product that has a calming effect, and is not a drug.
Do they like catnip? Giving them catnip may help distract them from fearful feelings. If they respond to it, I would try putting on the first stair, then the second, and gradually lure them back up the stairs.
You could try the same thing with treats: put them on the bottom stair, and if they eat them, gradually move the treats up one stair at a time.
Be patient, keep the rest of their routine as much the same as always. Time alone should help, but luring with catnip or treats may help. Just don't be in too much of a hurry; don't move to the next step until the seem calm and comfortable with the step they are on.
Please let me know if this helps, and what else I can answer.
Rebecca and other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you for the great rating, and the bonus! Good luck with the cats.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi Rebecca, our vet has just returned from holiday and we have booked a telephone discussion with him this afternoon, in case we need to rule out any physical causes. Our cats are both rescue cats so we don 't know their previous history and whether something has reminded one or both of them of a past trauma. These things take time and, unfortunately, the cats haven't read the same textbooks as vets, so they just do as they please!
Let me know what you find out.