I wanted to ask the community about a cat's attitude I have yet never seen before. So a couple of months ago I got introduced to my boyfriend's family. I noticed they had two beautiful bengal cats. My boyfriend told me that they are mum and daughter and are 13 and 12 years old. I tried to approach the mum cat and as soon as she saw my feet she escaped. My boyfriend explained to me that she is a very skittish cat.and she doesn't let anyone approaching her. I asked how this was possible. He explained to me that when she was little, she witnessed her brother getting killed by a car and since then she is traumatised and doesn't let any human approaching her. The only time where they managed to catch her after the accident was when she needed to get sterilised.

Since then she has never interacted with a human. The cat never enters the house and stays in the garden. What is strange to me is that I have noticed that she doesn't interact with other cats either . She doesn't play at all, and mostly sit in a corner. I thought it was due to her age but my boyfriend told me that she has always been like that except when she got her babies and was acting normally with them. She feels that everything and everybody is a threat: I tried to play with her by throwing her a ball in a very gentle way and she got scared and hid under a car.

My boyfriend's family seems OK with the situation and gave up on trying to make her more sociable. Basically they just feed her and that is all. He did say that they asked for advice and solutions from vets but no-one seemed to know how to help this poor cat

Has anyone heard anything like that before? Is there a way to help this cat? I am looking forward for your answers

  • Hi, welcome to Pets.se Q&A. I've done a few small edits for readability (which is part of how we do things). I do note while the physical/phyiological needs of our companion animals are well known, their psychological needs are less so. The poor dear sounds almost like she has PTSD :(, but finding someone who knows the psychology of cats or dogs is difficult.
    – Journeyman Geek
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 1:01
  • 1
    Is the cat allowed in the house? You say there's another cat, her daughter, does she go into the house? Are they fed together?
    – user6796
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 2:56
  • Hi Yvette, the cats are allowed inside the house and the daughter does go inside the house. The daughter likes to play and sleeps in the bed of my sister's boyfriend. Both cats are fed together. The mum is however very scared even when she eats. She let pigeons steal her food so my sister's boyfriend needs to be around to make sure she finishes everything
    – Anna Mazik
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 11:55

1 Answer 1


I have seen this happen to a cat before. A neighbour of mine shot a cat while his other cat was watching (the cats were brothers). I do not know the reason why my neighbour had to shoot the cat but it was probably due to some illness in the cat.

The traumatised cat did never return to his previous owner but lived as a stray in my area, he was fed by me and my neighbours for many years.

All of this happened in the late 90s. And in 2004 the health of the cat was so poor it had to be taken to the vet and put down.

This cat did never enter anybody's home and he did not eat if people was close by. I live in an area where the winters are cold so the cat did live a hard life.

So I think if a cat have been seriously traumatised the cat will carry the trauma for the rest of its life, and there is very little we can do other than trying to give the cat support and care.

But after all of this being said, do not give up you might be able to connect to the cat if you sit down on the floor and let it come to you. Treats might be one way to get the cat interested but take it slow. Building trust will take time.

I really hope this will be successful and maybe you can change the life of the cat in a positive way.

You can take a look at the answer to this one My cat is terrified of me, can I repair the relationship? to see how to connect to cats.


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