cat is anxious around strangers

pegasus

New member
Joined
Feb 18, 2021
At home we live out in the country and we don't have very many strangers come around. Recently however we've had to go to a relatives house to help them with a garage sale, which is prior to a auction of almost everything that remains in the house, as they are moving to a retirement community in another state. When the auction was underway, the male relative was in the garage, monitoring the sale of the outside stuff, while I was helping my wife and the female relative inside the house. I didn't see the cat and assumed it was hidden somewhere snoozing, like he does 2/3rds of most days. When I went outside to take over for the male relative so he could go inside and take a break the dog and cat were both outside with him.

The dog was walking around getting attention from various people, but the cat was sitting down next to the change box next to the chair where the male relative was sitting, just looking at people walking around. It took the cat a few visits over time for the male relative to be able to pet the cat and the cat still isn't real friendly with him, more like tolerating him. Like he'll allow the guy to pet him a little bit without walking off, but not getting up on his lap like he does with us or his favorite granddaughter. Usually when strangers try to approach the cat and if he is not standing next to my wife or I, he backs away from them or walks off, usually in our direction. No big deal, but when I got up from the chair to answer a question from one shopper, some guy was walking over to where the change box was. He reached his hand out, either to open the change box or pet the cat, not sure, but instead of running away, the cat arched his back, showed his teeth and hissed. The guy quickly backed away, and the cat sat back down. This is new behavior for him. At first I thought no big deal no harm done, and if the guy was going for the change box the cat quickly changed the guys mind, :) but I might get concerned if he does end up biting or scratching someone.
 

TTouch

Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2021
Cats generally don't like changes...and it sounds like you have taken your cat to another house, so new home/new environment, new people, lots of sorting out and lots of new people coming to view goods to buy
Recently however we've had to go to a relatives house to help them with a garage sale,
If that is correct then EVERYTHING in your cats world has changed when you know the cat doesn't normally see strangers on a daily basis...so I am surprised it is even sitting outside with strangers milling around... and perfectly normal for the cat to need time to settle into the massive changes it is facing...... sounds like she is just managing her stress but still being 'involved' just warning new people she doesn't want attention

Now my cat thinks ANY human is ONLY there for her, regardless of if they like cats or not, EVERY lap is 'her lap' and NO ONE can sit down without her climbing on and EVERYONE is bound to want to talk to her, fuss her or pick her up and she would meow until someone/anyone talks to her, next door can't hang out their washing or do their gardening unless they talk to her, no trades man, binman. postman can do their job without speaking to her and she is the same anywhere she is taken, just her personality but she is unusual as she thinks she is a dog!
 

linda2147

Active member
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Location
New Hampshire
cats don't like change, this new stuff is stressing her out, she is afraid and is letting strangers know to leave her alone. Give her time, she'll be fine.
 

pegasus

New member
Joined
Feb 18, 2021
Original Poster
Cats generally don't like changes...and it sounds like you have taken your cat to another house, so new home/new environment, new people, lots of sorting out and lots of new people coming to view goods to buy


If that is correct then EVERYTHING in your cats world has changed when you know the cat doesn't normally see strangers on a daily basis...so I am surprised it is even sitting outside with strangers milling around... and perfectly normal for the cat to need time to settle into the massive changes it is facing...... sounds like she is just managing her stress but still being 'involved' just warning new people she doesn't want attention
I thought that also. As far as the part I underlined, I should explain that he loves to go outside whenever he is close by to someone he is familiar with, like my wife or I or my father in law, the one sitting in the chair with the change box, even if there are lots of other people around. That it true at our home as well. I guess he likes the feeling of protection from a human he knows possibly. If he is near one of us he is tolerable of people being around him or even petting him gently, so it's not surprising that he was outside even with a bunch of new people. What happened with that one guy was I had to get up from the chair to help someone, and the cat didn't get up to follow me. When the guy approached him he wasn't near one of us, so he reacted. If he had reacted the way he normally does when we aren't nearby, (walk away) I wouldn't have been surprised, but what was odd was him standing his ground and going into possible attack mode. That was what I was concerned about, someone reaching their hand out, getting bit, and filing a lawsuit or something. He's never done it before though, maybe he was just protecting the money, who knows.

Actually I'm okay with him being a little shy around strangers if we're not close by as long as he doesn't bite someone, as there might be less chance of him being abducted or harmed, particularly at Halloween time. I wonder sometimes if he can pick up on subconscious actions of people (vibes ?) who hate or fear him because he is all black. When I was sitting there with him and a woman tried to come up to me to pay for an item, she hesitated and looked very scared. (this was before he bared his fangs at the guy, he was just sitting there looking at people) I asked her if she had a cat allergy and if she did I'd put him inside. She said "no, I like cats, it's just that," and stopped. I thought maybe she was superstitious and said, "He's not all black, he's got white on his underside." She literally let out a huge sigh of relief and came over and paid me the money. She even petted him. :rolleyes: That's not even the worst of it. At home we were talking with one of our neighbors down the road and mentioned that we had a black cat. She was okay with it but said her husband (who wasn't there at the time) was very superstitious about black cats and if one ever got on their property he would probably kill it. It's amazing to me that even in 2021 there are still some pretty ignorant people out there. :(
 

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TTouch

Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2021
maybe he was just protecting the money, who knows.
There you are you have a security guard who is fully 'armed' and you didn't know it :D

I wonder sometimes if he can pick up on subconscious actions of people (vibes ?) who hate or fear him because he is all black.
Cats ( and dogs) are experts in reading human body langauge espeically our micro body language, so they know about us humans our intentions and 'feelings' often better and before we catch on.......

Depends on where in the world you live with regards to superstition, black cats where I live are considered very lucky, so people like to stroke black cats, one passes in front of them, lots of people will say " its a lucky day for me today", a bride/groom will be given a black cat momento on their wedding day, lots of wedding cards will show a black cat ........and you would be hard pressed to find a black cat in rescue and if it was it would be first to find a home.
I have had 5 black cats in my life I called one Lucky but not really into 'luck' my thought is " the harder you work the luckier you get"
 

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