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Is your cat nervous of soft toys?

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Fubsy | 17:21 Tue 20th Dec 2005 | Animals & Nature
5 Answers

We have 2 rescue cats, Tingha and Tucker and they have been with us for 10 months. For all that time a Steiff soft toy snow leopard has been sitting high up on a chest of drawers in our bedroom.

A few days ago I walked into the bedroom and Tucker was on the bed doing that belly to the ground slow stalking type behaviour. I wondered what he was staring at and saw it was my snow leopard.

I very, very slowly lifted the soft toy off the drawers hoping to let him have a sniff and a closer inspection so he could see it wasn't real but Tucker fled down the stairs and shot out the cat flap. He stayed outside for an hour. I then took the toy downstairs and left it on the floor in the sitting room to see what Tingha would make of it. He approached very apprehensively with huge round eyes but once he'd had a good sniff he wasn't interested any more. But he wasn't nervous of it after that, just ignored it.

Tucker came in, saw the toy and after looking terrified, shot out of the cat flap again and stayed out for another hour. I hid the toy away then as it was obvious he was scared. When he returned he was a bit agitated and had a thorough search everywhere downstairs. He wouldn't even go upstairs at all. He finally did a few hours later. He's not normally a nervous cat and will stand his ground and give as good as he gets in spats with the neighbourhood mogs.

I just wondered if anyone else had encountered this situation with a cat? I was hoping if he got near enough to sniff he would realise it posed no threat and I really did try to introduce the toy very, very slowly but he was having none of it! Quite odd!



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Maybe he had a run in with a cat that looked similar or is scared of other cats.

I have a budgie and a cockatiel and I had a toy cat which I showed them once and they was frightened to deaf nearly. I didn't realise how scared they would be. We know its not real but they don't.

I have seen dogs believing the battery operated toy barking dogs are real and trying to attack them.

I just remembered going to the car boot sale not long ago when I saw a dog fall in love with a cuddly toy on someones stall. He saw it, started wagging his tail and refused to move when he owner tried to pull him away. I thought it was so sweet.

The toy I assume has eyes and doesn't move on it's own. You'll need to make sure it's rear end is pointed towards the scared cat, Tucker. You can probably put a towel over it so it looks like a lump, let him sniff it and while you sit by the thing, when he starts to feel comfortable around it, then slowly, from the rear to the head expose it, you can offer some tastey treats he may like while you do this, go slow. and eventually he will figure it's just a toy and not real. Most of my cats that were rescued, were not socialized at a young age, socializing around lots of stuff helps them be more confident and assure of themselves, so when a strange thing presents itself most are nervous but they get over it fairly quickly, it sounds like you did a pretty fair job, but Tucker may have had a bad experience with a white/black cat or dog while out and about, then he finds one in his home...

I have a cat door stop my Grandmother gave me, when I first brought it home, my cat would flair up, puff out, go towards it, real menacingly, but sniffed and walked away and licked his back, like he was embarrassed he even thought it was a cat...He did this with any stuffed animal I brought. If I turned it away from him not the eyes forward he didn't do this he just sniffed and was over it, but if eyes were forward, he puffed out.

Good Luck..~/:\~

I have a stuffed Huskie (er a stuffed toy in the shape of a huskie that is lol) and my son was playing with it one day and left it on the floor right in front one of my cats face, who was sleeping on the floor. Well when Talynn (my cat) woke up, you would think he had been electrocuted! lol His eyes opened and he went straight up in the air hissing! Poor wee thing took ages to come back in to the living room. I just keep the toy away from him now.
Years ago I inherited one of those old fashioned Fox Fur capes with the foxes' head still on it.from a deceased aunt.. Not knowing quite what to do with it I threw it on the bed in the spare room. In the middle of the night (and I was alone at the time) I was woken by terrible crashings and bangings from that room and thought an intruder had climbed through the open window. When I eventually summoned up enough courage to switch the light on and venture into that room I found my cat attacking the "fox fur". He had thrown it onto the floor, was tearing the hair out and growling. Then he kept leaping back onto the bed, jumping down on it and ambushing it. I was just thankful I hadn't activated the burglar alarm and woken all the neighbours for nothing but hearing the noise coming from the next room was pretty scary. Every time my cat got near this fur stole he attacked it and in the end I gave it away to a charity shop.
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Thank you all for posting. Some interesting stories there, I dread to think what Tucker would be like with one of those fox head fur stoles! I don't particularly want to give my Steiff snow leopard to a charity shop though - lol - but I may consider selling it on eBay!

Particular thanks to drgnrdr - that is good sound advice re the rear end, I hadn't thought of that but will give it a go.

Before we had Tingha and Tucker we had Branston a male mog we got when he was a kitten. Sadly, he died earlier this year, hence the 2 rescue cats. He used to curl up with my soft toy animals. I have a lovely picture of him asleep with my soft toy menagerie!

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