Guest Star: Squeaky the Stressed-Out cat

Hi everyone,

Today’s guest post comes from our good friend Ben Herman and his cat Squeaky:

Squeaky the Stressed-Out cat

Our cat Squeaky is definitely one of a kind.  I’ve blogged about Squeaky before.  Michele and I took her in when her previous human abruptly decided that he had too many cats.  Since Squeaky wasn’t getting along with the others he wanted to drop her off at a shelter.  That probably would have literally been the death of her.  Squeaky is extremely shy and sensitive, plus she had health problems at the time, so she would probably have been put to sleep.

Michele told me that in her former home all the other cats beat Squeaky up whenever she tried to come out to eat, and so she was often hiding behind a radiator.  She was even too scared to use the litter box, and so she scratched out a hole in the back of a sofa and used that instead.  In the five and a half years since we adopted Squeaky she has definitely come out of her shell, though. She was incredibly frightened when we took her in, but now she is more at ease.  She was incredibly skinny and unhealthy, but now she is round and healthy.  Squeaky seems happy.

Squeaky photographed by Michele Witchipoo

Squeaky photographed by Michele Witchipoo

That said, she is a quirky cat.  Even after being with us for all this time she is still very jittery.  Loud noises cause her to run & hide, her tail completely fluffed up.  Squeaky still doesn’t like tall men standing near her.  I am 6 feet 2 inches, and when she sees me walking towards her she runs away.  She has no problem with me when I am sitting down or lying in bed.  Actually she is very affectionate at these times, and she loves for me to pet her or brush her fur.  But the instant I stand up she bolts.  Michele believes that Squeaky is still traumatized from whatever craziness went on where she used to live.  I think that there must have been a lot of noise & chaos there.

Squeaky sometimes reminds me of the cat Mooch from the comic strip Mutts by Patrick McDonnell.  Like Mooch, Squeaky is a rather idiosyncratic cat who loves to eat.  Reading the strip in the newspaper often brings to mind our own black & white kitty cat.  That’s especially the case when McDonnell does a strip about Mooch’s love of food.

Mutts September 3 2014 by Patrick McDonnell

Mutts comic strip September 3, 2014 by Patrick McDonnell

It must have been because she was starving for all of those years before we adopted her, but Squeaky is obsessed with food.  We normally feed her at 7:00 in the morning.  Well, starting around 5:00 AM she starts meowing incessantly.  She’ll jump on the bed and scratch up the furniture.  She wants food immediately, and she doesn’t want to wait.  When we finally open a can of wet food and feed her, she dives right in.  Nettie also eats at this time, but she likes to pace herself.  She’s a small cat, and has a tiny tummy.  So she’ll have several bites and walk away for a while.  Unfortunately Squeaky will then try to eat out of Nettie’s bowl, and we have to put it on top of the refrigerator until Nettie is ready to eat again.

Around 10:00 AM Squeaky starts meowing for dry food.  We’ll usually give her and Nettie some an hour later.  She’ll devour that right away.  Dinner time for the cats, when they get the rest of the canned food, is at 3:00 PM.  Well, come 1:00 in the afternoon Squeaky will start meowing sadly, pretty much non-stop, circling about in a worried manner.  She really seems to be convinced she isn’t going to get fed.

Of course, every time Michele and I have something to eat, Squeaky must inspect it to see if it’s something she would like.  If it is, she’ll either give us a wide-eyed pleading expression, or she’ll simply try to snatch some of our food with her paw or mouth.  She is incredibly persistent.

This all inspired Michele to draw a cute, funny illustration entitled “Squeaky Loves To Eat.”

Squeaky Loves To Eat by Michele Witchipoo

“Squeaky Loves To Eat” by Michele Witchipoo

Poor Squeaky.  She can get very stressed out sometimes.  This just goes to show that animals can be very much like people.  If an animal experiences trauma when it is young, that can affect them for the rest of their life.  I definitely think that happened to Squeaky.  She still appears to be coping with some of the stuff she went though before we adopted her.  She seems like a very sensitive soul.

Sometimes I will explain Squeaky’s story to people as a cautionary tale, to demonstrate that it is very important for us humans to treat our four-legged friends with kindness.

Having said all this, I do believe Squeaky is now much happier.  She has food and two humans who love her.  She eventually got used to Nettie trying to play with her, and the two cats are now close.  Squeaky also gets to play, something she never could in the past.  Occasionally she will play-fight with her toy mousies.  But much more often she will grab one of Michele’s pencils, pens or markers in her teeth, carry it off while yowling, and then wrestle with it, chasing it about the apartment as it rolls all over the place.  A good chunk of Michele’s art supplies go missing in this manner.  We often find pens under the bed, or buried in the blankets, or hidden under the rug, or in the laundry pile.

I am glad that Michele and I were able to give Squeaky a much better home than she once had.  She is a very affectionate cat.  Despite her sometimes-unconventional behavior, she really does brighten up our lives.

We hope you enjoyed their story and you’ll check out their own Blog.

And don’t forget if you fancy sending in a story do drop us an email! 🙂



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19 thoughts on “Guest Star: Squeaky the Stressed-Out cat

  1. Léa says:

    Squeaky has much in common with madame Colette. She hates for someone other than her human to enter her house and, unfortunately, she doesn’t like cats. This human is so grateful for the day she rescued me at the Port-la-Nouvelle refuge. Perhaps for her birthday, next month, we shall write up our adoption story? Madame is very possessive of her human and so very affectionate, but under the surface, her fight or flight responses linger.

  2. helentastic67 says:

    Mika is settled in now after about 3 months but she still gets startled by the tiniest sounds and scrambles on the timber floor because she can’t get a grip. But she has managed to find all the patches where the sunlight is. Cheers,H

  3. alwayscleia says:

    aww that’s so sad that she wasn’t treated very well in her first home, or at least that she was stressed out all the time. I’m glad Squeaky has found her furrever home!
    Our youngest cat, Quantum loves food but he gets fat if we feed him the same amount that we feed our older, bigger cat. So the little one would gobble his food and then try to steal our other cat’s food xD Now we feed Quantum with a food ball so that it takes him longer to eat and Ion can eat his meal in peace. Cats have such personalities!

  4. Lifeoncardboard says:

    Often cats that have experienced hunger are obsessed with food. This is normal with so many of cats that I foster and that we have in our shelter. It warms
    my heart that you adopted her.

  5. Carole says:

    That’s brilliant that Squeaky now has a good home with people that love her. I get so sad when cats (or any animals) are neglected or mistreated.
    It’s odd the things that freak them out though. One of mine is scared of the laundry basket. When I’m carrying it to and from the washer, I have to check that she’s not on my route, to avoid panicking her.

  6. Rohvannyn says:

    This 15 year old Siamese who I adopted last year has the same problem. He is very timid at times and overly bold at others. He’s obsessed with his food because the bigger cats and the multitude of dogs used to constantly ace him out of it. Poor little guy! He’ll probably never unlearn these behaviors but at least he never has to go hungry again.

  7. simon7banks says:

    Like humans, cats can fear experiences that brought bad things in the past. Suzy won’t react at all if, stepping over her, I accidentally knock her, but she’s scared of clattering noises unless, for example, she can see I’m putting the washing-up away. In unlocking the back door to let her out, twice I dropped the keys and she scooted. Since then, long experience of me unlocking the door (when it was locked because I’d been out) without dropping the keys has made her gradually less nervous. I wonder if she had a bad experience associated with a clattering noise in her previous home.

    Cats that experienced several-cat households often bolt their food for obvious reasons. Suzy, on the other hand, is happy to eat small amounts, sometimes leaving food and coming back to it. She’s confident it will still be there and if she wants more, she can ask.

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