Rupert Got Brave, then Psyched Himself Out

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and-if-you-look-closer-you-ll-see-there-s-a-cat_o_3536923Saturday night after dinner, I was exhausted from tiling the upstairs shower, so I decided to spend some low-key time with Rupert in his room. He got a brush down. Got a massage and a whole lot of chin scritches, and then I settled in on the floor to watch TV. I always lay down right next to him with my head very close to the cat bed. He also had not eaten his tinned food from dinner, so I set the plate down close to me to see if he would venture out to eat it with me in such close proximity.

He wouldn’t.

So I put the dish over at the feeding station and laid myself back down to watch one of my programs . . . until I heard movement behind my head.

Slowly but surely, Rupert was slinking his way out of the bed. He stretched and slid under the stool next to the wall and then inched his way around me to the other side of the room to eat that tinned food he knew was over there. He even poked his head out into the hallway because I had all the gates down in case Moon wanted to visit.

I stayed very still and patiently awaited his return to the cat bed, but he never came. So after about 20 minutes, I had to get up and find him. He was hiding behind the chair, right behind the cat bed.

I was able to coax him out and back into the bed with the wand-caterpillar toy. I don’t like him hiding because I don’t want to reinforce the anxiety.

Sunday, he pretty much did the same thing, only the plate of tinned food was next to me on the floor. He actually ventured out to eat right next to me. He didn’t rush either and spend a good deal of time licking the plate clean. Then he tip-toed around me again to get to the water dish.

20 minutes passed again, and he had not returned to the bed, only this time, he was hunkered down in the litter box, which he would only do early on if he were really frightened. I got the caterpillar toy out and was able to coax him out of the box and into some real cat play. Pouncing. Swatting. Leaping. All out in the open. After 10 minutes of that, he got bored and stopped, so I laid back down and waited for him to return to the cat bed for cuddles.

He didn’t.

He went back into the litterbox. So I decided to leave him be and left the room for the night.

I don’t know what is going on. It’s as if he gets brave enough to actually do the scary thing, but once he’s crossed the finish line, he freaks himself out with hindsight anxiety. “OMG. I just did that thing. I could have gotten myself killed. OMG. I’m so lucky I’m alive. That was sooooooo scary.” Then it seems like he spirals into a full-blown panic attack.

He recovers quickly, so I don’t know. I started both him and Moon on the l-Theanine chews again, or as I like to the call them: The “Calm the Fuck Down” Chews. Moon is stressed too and is over-grooming like he does when he gets anxious. To the point of bald spots and cystitis.

It’s a lot to deal with. I am happy to see Rupert asserting himself, but then to see the panicked aftermath makes me worry, as do the bald patches on Moon and his clinginess of late. As someone who has suffered with panic attacks, I know prolonged anxiety doesn’t feel good. I don’t want either of them to feel that way, so it makes me feel a little helpless even though I know I’m doing everything I can to mitigate the anxiety. Including my own.

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