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I went out of town on the day of my roommate's birthday. I had gotten her a balloon. Unfortunately, I didn’t know balloons scared cats so much and I feel terrible. The balloon was out from Friday to Monday.

I removed the balloon as soon as I realized that was the issue. My cat is now absolutely terrified to leave my room. He hasn’t eaten, had water, or gone to the bathroom in DAYS. He did go to the bathroom one day, but unfortunately not in his litter box. I moved everything to my room to ease his anxieties, but that hasn’t helped. I put treats in front of his litter box to entice him and gave him tuna to try and get him interested. It did not help. My cat is two years old and is very social, lovable, and active.

Suddenly he’s terrified, aggressive, hissing, growling, and overall not himself. I took him to a vet and they couldn’t find anything wrong with him. He was shaking violently the whole time. I am so scared I forever messed him up and I worry every time I’m away from him.

Please, I need help on how to get him back to normal and trust that the balloon is gone. I don’t know what to do and I’m so sad. More facts: he is not big into treats or catnip.

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  • I also experienced something with balloons and my cat not realizing it was the balloons that caused the behavior. At 1st I thought it was because there were so many people in my house celebrating. My cat was very social but with the Corona virus has become more skittish. When I remove the balloons she continued to look at the area where they had been for 2 to 3 days. However this did not impact her appetite or litter Box usage. I was astounded at how profound her terror was – Susan Jun 16 '20 at 14:33
  • Dude all i can say is IT WAS THE BALLOONS!! I have a cat whos not afraid of anything or anyone! My mom brought me a birthday balloon and i didnt know that it scared cats and my little brave kitty is judt not the same. Its been days and she wont stop running and hiding in dark places. I feel so bad. Idk if you figure anything out please update this post. – Alex Jun 20 at 6:02
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First of all, if your cat is still not drinking, eating, or going to the litterbox, take it back to the vet. Not doing these things for so long is very serious.

Unless your cat is normally very skittish, nervous, or easily spooked, I don't think the problem is that it's scared of the balloon. For one thing, some cats might be scared of balloons, but it's definitely not like, say, the vacuum, which is just about universally terrifying for cats. But even with the vacuum, the normal reaction is to hide as long as the vacuum is out, and then calm down quickly once the vacuum is put away. A very nervous cat, like a feral cat, might hide for longer, but you describe your cat as being social. Socialized cats don't typically hide like that unless the thing that's bothering them is still a problem.

Such a radical change of behavior, sudden aggression, not taking care of its normal bodily functions, sounds like a medical problem to me. At the least, I would try to think on if there have been any other changes, or any other unusual things you've observed with your cat that might tell you what the problem is.

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i dont really have an answer for you, but more of a shared experience. My cat is absolutely terrified of balloons. He likes to stay in the bathroom most of the time, but my daughter just had her second birthday and I blew up many balloons and made a balloon tower. he wasn't scared until he popped a balloon. after that, he literally ran for his life. I've never seen such terror. and my boyfriend didn't help, he thought it was funny that the cat was so afraid, so he started tormenting him with the balloon tower. my cat confined himself to the bathroom and wouldn't move or eat or anything. its been a week now and he's mostly back to normal, but the terror that I saw in him made me so sad. He scratched the crap out of me when I tried to bring him to the living room. i don't know what it is, but I saw something on Quora saying that they might be able to see minute vibrations in the balloons with no apparent cause and that might be what scares them.

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    Hi emily, Thanks for sharing your experience. This section is reserved to answering the question, but unfortunately your post doesn't contain an answer. If you find the Quora again (or any other source), please edit your post to actually answer the question. Otherwise I must delete it. – Elmy May 8 at 5:13

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