Drastic Change in Cat Behavior

by Debbie
(Greenfield, Ohio)

My 4 year old female calico has always been a lap cat and very loving.

About 2 months ago everything changed. Now all she does is stay on the kitchen table all day except for eating and using her litter box. Her appetite and urination and bowel movements are fine and she purrs when I go to the table to pet her.

If I take her off the table into another room or couch or chair she immediately races back to the kitchen table.

She never walks,she more or less "gallops" back into the kitchen.

There have been no changes in anything in the household to give her stress.

I took her to the vet about a month ago and he could find nothing wrong but he did not take any blood tests so how could he really know just by looking at her and taking her temp??

I miss my old cat and it is so sad to see her laying or sitting on the table all the time 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Reply from Liz (Editor): I'm really sorry to hear you're having these problems, I know how horrible it is when a cat's behavior changes like this.

One of my cats did this a few years ago. She did the exact same thing - took to the kitchen table (so much so that I ended up moving her bed there!) She stopped grooming herself though she still ate and drank OK, and she continued to use her litter box. In my case I did know what the reason was - we'd got another cat. Strangely enough the new cat didn't really bother with this one at all, and we couldn't understand what was causing her to react in such an extreme way, but she did. It took her about 4 months before she came round.

There are a few reasons I can think of for your cat's behavior:

1. She's ill. The fact she's eating and drinking OK suggests this may not be the cause but if you think it could be then it may be worth getting a second opinion from a different vet.

2. Something has upset her / is frightening her. You say nothing has changed in the house - are you 100% sure? For example has anyone moved in / out? Are there different visitors coming in?

If nothing has changed inside your home, has anything changed in the immediate vicinity? Is there a lot of noise lately - e.g. through road works, construction etc? Has a new dog moved in next door? Or is there a new cat in the neighborhood that's hanging round outside a lot?

Sometimes even the smallest things that we would consider trivial can have a profound effect on a cat. This page gives more details:

Reasons for a Stressed Out Cat

3. Is she allowed outside and if so could something have upset her / frightened her there? Is it possible she's been chased by a big dog, had a near miss with a car, been shouted at by a person etc. and this is now causing her to take to the table where she feels safe?

I do think there must be a reason for her change in behavior and once you find out what it is, it will become easier to deal with and treat. You could try a Feliway diffuser to try to relax her, or even get some sedatives from the vet as a temporary measure for her. And if you're not happy with your vet's appraisal of her, you could consider taking her to a different vet - or you could use the Ask a Vet Online service as an initial cheaper alternative to get a second opinion.

Thank you for your question and best of luck - I really hope she's OK.

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