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Cats/Overnight behavior change and paranoia

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Question
Our 1 and a 1/2 year Siamese & tabby mix has been off his game for a week now.  He is normally affectionate and gregarious.  Normally he roams the house and enjoys very regular eating, sleeping and people time patterns.  He was a whole new cat suddenly.  He is scared to enter bedrooms, he is spooked by his reflection in the mirror and by a painting of a tiger on the wall.  He is still eating but not much dry, since he won't go in the bedroom.  He hides in the closet or sleeps in the open.  He is on guard 24/7. He was exposed to a star gazer lily.  We could not see that any part was eaten.  He was seen eating a house plant as well.  The fact that he is eating, sleeping and alert is good, but we think his senses are altered in some way.

Answer
Lauren,

Sudden behavior changes may be due to a health issue or that your cat may have seen a strange cat outside.

I would be suspicious of the house plants and get your kitty to your vet to see if he has gotten into something he should not have.

Plants from the Lily family are highly toxic to cats and may account for some of this.

You also may want to reference this list of house plants poisonous to cats:

http://www.aspca.org/Pet-care/poison-control/Plants?plant_toxicity=toxic-to-cats


The other possibility is that your cat saw a strange cat outside and went into fight/flight/fright mode which has many of the same symptoms.  When this happens, putting your cat in a room with no windows to the outside for a couple of hours usually does the trick, and the cat's behavior returns to normal.

First off I would see the vet with cuttings from the house plants your cat may have gotten into.

Please let me know what you find out.

Best regards... Norm.

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Norman Auspitz

Expertise

I can answer most non-veterinary questions about cats. My particular expertise is pedigree cats, breeding and showing. However, I am versed in feline behavior, cat breeds and their characteristics, general feline husbandry, and the like.

Experience

I judged for the Canadian Cat Association from 1975 until 1982. I am currently an approved allbreed judge for the Cat Fanciers'' Association (the world''s largets cat registry), and have been judging for them since 1991. I have been breeding pedigreed cats since 1971 and have been exhibiting pedigreed cats in shows since 1970. I obtained my first pedigreed cat in 1970 and have never looked back. In 1971, I obtained my first Abyssinian which has become my primary breed. In addition, I have bred Manx and Persians. Currently, besides the Abyssinians, I am also breeding Maine Coons.


Organizations
Cat Fanciers'' Association, inc. (CFA) and the Manx, Maine Coon, and Abyssinian breed councils. I am currently Abyssinian breed council secretary.

Publications
Cat Fancy Magazine, The Abyssinian Chapter in The Cat Fanciers'' Association Complete Cat Book, and Articles for various editions of The Cat Fanciers'' Association Yearbook

Education/Credentials
I received a B.S. from Drexel University in 1968, a M.Math from University of Waterloo, in 1970, a Ph.D. from University of Waterloo in 1975, and a MBA from McMaster University in 1980. I received my approved allbreed judging status in the Cat Fanciers'' Association in 1999.

Awards and Honors
We have produced a number of Cat Fanciers'' Association (CFA) National winning Abyssinian and Maine Coons. We have produced a number of Abyssinian and Maine Coon Distinguished Merit females (an award for a top producing cat), including the first Distinguished Merit Abyssinian in the red (sorrel) color. I am the CFA Abyssinian breed council secretary and belong and/or hold office in a number of cat clubs. I am also a member of the CFA Judges Association.

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