Scared Feral Cat

My super friendly feral cat is freaked out by something. Everything was hunky dory Friday morning. Friday afternoon I got her heated doormat & put it outside the door with dinner on it, and went out. Got back from dinner and no Norman.

Left food out over night it was there in the morning. Very odd. Finally around 730 (cats usually eat b/w 0600 and 0630), Norm shows up, but wouldn’t come to the door. She sat in the yard and meowed at me. This morning she came on the step to eat, but was constantly looking for something that was going to get her. Usually I get the evil eye if a meal doesn’t include a back rub. She was so freaked out, she leapt over the steps to the sidewalk about 5’ away.

Norm came back for dinner this afternoon. I put her bowl away from the house, which helped. She didn’t come back for snacks tonight.

This is just bizarre. This cat usually is waiting for me when I get home. She’s been known to follow me across the street if I go to the mailbox. She shows up so much, my inside cats know what “Norm!” means (snacks). Last week, she was eating just inside the front door. Today, I can’t touch her. She doesn’t look hurt or sick.

We’ve got a bit of a critter problem. MIss Norman left a rat on my front doormat on my birthday. The neighbors have seen a few other assorted ‘presents.’ It’s a townhouse development with a creek and an overflowing dumpster; we are going to have friends. It’s fall so everything is looking for a warm winter. Folks have complained to the HOA, but I haven’t seen any new traps or baits.

Any ideas what could be hiding under my shrub that would freak out this cat? I raked up the leaves around the bush and nothing darted out. A lady further down the street has had a little snake come by frequently in the last couple weeks. I can’t believe a garter snake would scare the cat this badly. Would a copperhead do it? I haven’t seen any, but they are in the region.

could Norm have gotten astatic shock from something, or a little more of a jolt?


Or maybe a dog?

I “lost” one of my outside cats and could not find him for about 4 days. I remember I came home one day and my garage door was closed up tight. Now I normally left it a bit open for the cats to come and go but here it was closed. Can’t find Tuffy anywhere, looked and called - nothing. But I do notice that the guy who walks his two stupid dogs (off leash) by the back of my house is avoiding the place and when I see him is looking like a sneak. Tuffy appeared 4 days later out of the garage where he had been holed up all that time and I guessed immediately what had happened. The dogs had chased him into the garage, I think at one point of them had him as he was a a bit scuffed up. I was smoking hot mad. I confronted the dog owner and let him know in no uncertain terms that I better never catch those dogs near my place again or he was going to be minus a dog.

Be patient with Norm. If she sees that all is secure, she will return to her old habits.


This is a possibility. Inspect the mat and particularly the cord for any small nicks or damage.


The mat wasn’t plugged in. It’s been in the house since the other day.

She came by for breakfast & an early dinner, picnic style, under the tree about 20-30’ from the door. She was happy as a clam to have a good massage. She’s still freaked out by the front of the house. I hosed down the front of the house.

I’m not looking forward to traipsing outside to deliver breakfast tomorrow when it’s 25F.

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My first thought was a short and an electric shock. I’d remove the mat completely…see if it not being visible changes her behavior.

ooop…just say Post #5. good the mat is gone. Keep it gone…

My feral kitties thrive on routine. It could be a wild animal, but it could be as simple as something changed in the neighbourhood routine. Could also be an a-hole neighbour. Consider a trail camera?

Just an update

Normie is back. She comes in now for breakfast & dinner. We had a nasty, wet, rainy Saturday and Norm decided that inside sounded like a good idea. She spent the better part of the afternoon in the house. She finally discovered the heated doormat and loves it. It can’t be under any sort of cover though.

She now comes in for breakfast & dinner. Usually the front door gets propped open so she’s not trapped inside. Funny thing, my younger cat who is generally more easy going, at least with Mom’s cats, Does. Not. Like. Norman. She has hiss whenever she sees her. The big cat, who is generally a grump, is less bothered, but still bothered.


Update 2.
I figured out what was scaring the cat. My neighbor threw their cat out of the house last winter because it pee’d all over everything. It’s a territorial (fixed) tomcat. Poor Norm is scared to death to come to my door. The other day, I had to provide her an escort; she wouldn’t come within 30 of the front door & was looking for the son of a b*tch. She comes by about once a week right now, when she’s really hungry.

This tom is so obnoxious, he’s picked fights with my indoor cats as they sat at the front door. He’s stalked my one indoor cat when she’s on a leash with me 3’ away.

Come September, my barn is moving. The plan is to relocate Tom to the old barn & leave him there. The current barn cats are being moved and would not take kindly to this cat; they’ve been known to run the housecat up a tree when it ventured over. Conveniently, there’s a coyote in the area who can take the blame for the disappearance.

If this cat belongs to your neighbor I don’t see how you can move him to another place? I would tell the neighbor that their cat is terrorizing yours since they threw him out full time.

Who would be feeding him at this barn? Not fair to make him fend for himself, if that is the plan.

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Take him to the shelter.

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My neighbor knows the cat is in his words “an asshole.” He told me to feel free to spray him with a hose. That might work for the inside cats, but doesn’t help the outside cat. The current situation works great for him. His wife is happy the cat isn’t peeing all over her house and he sees the cat outside.

My trainer is leaving the barn, but it will not be empty. The property owners are crazy vegans and will still be there with their menagerie. I have no worries about the cat not being fed.