Fight Or Flight: When Our CH Cats Feel The Need To Flee
Ellie’s a bit of an anomaly.
She can be very brave at times: I can’t tell you how often she’ll go up to something that’s new to her and hesitantly smack it to see what it is.
But other times, she’s a major fraidy cat. This happens most often if we have several of our tall, male friends over or if there’s significant commotion in our home, which has been happening often with preparing to move.
At times like that, Ellie’s fight or flight sense goes into flight overdrive. She’ll wobble off the best and fastest she can to a safe hiding spot. I try to help her sometimes by placing her in the safety of our bedroom, but other times when I can’t anticipate her flight response, she’ll wobble off on her own.
To be honest, I don’t blame her. I’ve often wondered if CH cats tend to be more nervous than “normal” cats. Perhaps they know that their CH will inhibit their ability to either protect themselves or get to a hiding place quickly, which may make them even more anxious.
And sometimes she’ll surprise us where she ends up.
The first time she seriously hid, she really had us puzzled. We had a few of our tall, male friends over (who must seem like scary giants to a 7-lb. female cat, even though they all have a major soft spot in their hearts for her), and suddenly I noticed that Ellie was nowhere to be found.
I started systematically searching our apartment in all of the obvious spaces, including CG’s favorite spots. I didn’t find her in my first sweep, so I searched the apartment again, trying to get more creative in my search, while simultaneously starting to freak out.
When I couldn’t find her after the second search, I started to wonder if she could have somehow ran out the front door. As unlikely as that was, in moments like that we’re sure that even the impossible could have happened!
Eventually, my husband and I realized that Ellie had somehow climbed *into* the couch – she was sitting in between the bottom wooden supports of the couch and the bottom fabric covering underneath the couch (like in the photo). We realized she was in there when we looked under the couch and noticed that part of the couch’s bottom was hanging low. I tapped it (it was warm and squishy), called her name, and she meowed to me.
We soon discovered that there was a tear in the back of the couch’s bottom covering that she had crawled into. I immediately wondered if she’d know how to crawl out.
So in a true CH-cat-parent moment, we decided that we needed to cut open the bottom of the couch to get her out. I knew she was scared, but I wanted to transfer her to a safer hiding spot.
A few minutes later, we had her out and I was hanging out with her in the safety our bedroom. I was absolutely stunned that she had found that hiding spot, and it made me realize that not all hiding spots are necessarily safe for her. For example, when she had come out, she had splinters in her fur from the wooden couch beams. I certainly didn’t want her to have a splinter pierce her skin or get into an eye or ear.
But she felt safe there – completely hidden, even though she was still in the middle of it all. I wondered if she resorted to that location simply because it was closest and offered the best protection, even if it wasn’t the nicest place to hide.
Now that we’re moving, my husband and I will not only take some time to fix up the bottom of the couch (I tried once with duct tape, but it didn’t solve the problem permanently), but also search for new Ellie hiding places in our new home. I certainly don’t want to move in and lose her right away!
Have you ever had a similar experience the first time you discovered a hiding spot? Please share in the comments!