The cat discovers a fear of thunder, and nearly gives us a heart attack.

Lou is not the smartest cat, or the bravest cat, but Lou is definitely loved and doted upon by the hubby and me. And last night, Lou disappeared.

It’s been hot and humid around here lately, but last night we were being treated to some nice intermittent thunderstorms which alternately had us opening all the windows to welcome in the cool air, and rushing around and shutting them when the horizontal rainfall started up again.

So, I noticed that Lou wasn’t downstairs. I was wandering upstairs to reopen the windows, and had half a hankerin’ for some kitty lurv. I checked the cushion in the hallway. Hmm. Nope. Must be on the bed. Nope! Must be downstairs after all. So I went back down. Lou wasn’t in any of the usual spots. I asked the hubby, “Where the hell is Lou?” The hubby shrugged.

I started calling for Lou, who, beleive it or not, usually comes when you holler, “Where is Lou? Where is Lou?” (To get the inflection right, imagine saying “you” instead of “Lou.”) I checked the usual spots again. No sign of Lou. I started getting nervous. I checked the kitchen cabinets, where Lou likes to go 'sploring. No cat.

I checked in the Room Whereof We Do Not Speak Its Name (the second bedroom that we use for storage.) I checked under the bed. I checked in the shower. The hubby was outside, calling for Lou, although Lou is an indoor cat, and scared of the Outside.

I checked under the couch. I checked the hall closet and the upstairs closet, calling all the time. No sign of the cat. The hubby and I started shouting to each other. “Did you check the _____?” “Why would Lou go outside?” “Have we even opened the door after dinner?”

I was edging up into true panic. This was getting weird. Lou is a creature of habit, and has a small number of favorite napping spots, and, as I said, usually comes when called. We’ve never had to go hunting like this. Even better, I’d taken Lou to the V-E-T for a blood draw this afternoon, and my mind was filled with visions of complications. I was starting to seriously fear that finding Lou would entail discovering a lifeless little black-and-white body.

Finally, I went downstairs to regroup with the hubby to plan a systematic grid search. As I stood in the living room, I saw something sticking out from under the couch. From under the other end of the couch. I’d only breifly glanced under the south end of the couch in my early search, as Lou doesn’t usually hide there. But at the north end of the couch I spied the curl of the end of Lou’s tail.

I dropped immediately to the floor and lifted the couch flap, and there was Lou staring out at me, as if to say, “Why the hell do you thtupid monkeyth keep yelling? I’m right here.” I dragged the cat out and checked for signs of illness, injury, or anxiety. The blood draw site wasn’t tender, no trembling, heart rate seemed normal, and in general Lou seemed fine, with the usual amount of squirming to protest close physical contact when it’s so damn warm and sticky. The hubby commented that Lou had always flinched at thunder, and the designated feline storm shelter, the cushion in the windowless hallway at the top of the stairs, was a about the hottest place in the house right now, whereas under the couch it was pretty cool. Sure enough, at the next crack of thunder, Lou scooted right back under the couch.

Stupid cat. Nearly gave us a heart attack!

The cat who owns me isn’t afraid of thunder, but she hates it. And she complains to ME about it. I am supposed to prevent all thunder from happening. I am particularly supposed to prevent thunder from booming when she’s asleep in the bedroom window, because when it rolls, she jumps up, startled, and gets into a fight with the blinds. She generally loses this fight, and then stalks off to find me. When she does find me (and nobody else will do), she gives me a royal chewing out. Then she wants me to comfort her.

What can I say? She’s Siamese. And I am her person.

Mine hide in the bathroom cabinets when they’re scared.

I think you have misunderstood your kitty, she is trying to warn you and get you to seek shelter. Mine always comes and tells me about storms. Not any storms, mind you, only severe ones. If the weather is ripe for a thunderstorm, and my cat is sitting in my lap looking all serious and meowing, the National Weather Service will issue a severe thunderstorm warning or a tornado warning for my area within 3 minutes. This is when the cat decides I am too dumb to save and leaves me for tornado fodder and hides in the bathtub. Now, I don’t know how my cat knows the severety of an impending storm, but I assume that has to do with instinct. What baffles me is how the hell my cat knows that in a building without a basement, a bathtub is about the safest place to be. If I lived in a mobile home, would the cat get in the car and drive to a shelter? Go outside and lay in a ditch? How did my cat learn this?

Also, she comes out for reassurance about 15 minutes after the NWS warning expires.

I am a loyal human to a dog (my brother and father are allergic to all kinds of cats, although I’m still lobbying for one). She doesn’t like thunder either. She gets all clingy and follows me or my mother around, whining, demanding comforting.

What do you suppose animals do in the wild, where there are no couches to hide under, or humans to go running to for comfort?

No, she’s definitely chewing me out. She’s Siamese, and has definite tones of voice for different emotions. She’s mad that I’ve allowed thunder to happen. Her worried tone is something quite different.

One of my farming uncles was partial to Collies and I was around for two of them. They both went to the fields with the men when they went to plow, or cultivater corn, or plant hay or whatever. Every now and then we would see a brown streak coming in from the field. The streak would head for the barn and hide in the hay mow. In half hour or so we would hear thunder off in the distance.

mine has a meow for concern…and teeth and claws for angry. I get to go to a job interview tomorrow with a set of teethprints above my right eyebrow.

I think in the wild my cat would’ve been toast. Life is way to hard and being cute and cuddly to make humans take care of you is the only way for most of our pets to make it.

One of my cats like to hide under the ottoman (not the turks; the thing you put your feet on) when it thunders. Either that, or she sits right here in between me and my keyboard, but this only happens when I’m doping.

Oh, Podkayne, I have a Lou, too! You mentioned small black and white, mine would be a black tuxedo but more along the lines of Baby Huey in formal wear. He tries to climb into paper bags and usually thinks he’s invisible even if his giant furry hinder is sticking out. He’s not afraid of thunder, he’s only scared of the dreaded Out of Treats.

My Buffy (the orange tabby) is terrified of storms. Sometimes she’ll hide under one of the beds, but her favorite place seems to be under the living room sofa. If she doesn’t hide, she’ll sort of crawl around, hunching very close to the floor, as if the flatter she makes herself, the safer she’ll be.

And it takes at least an hour after the storm is over for her to come out.

As for the other five, it doesn’t faze them, except when an occasional clap is too loud and hurts their ears. Even Piper Grace, the most timid of cats, doesn’t seem bothered.

Our old dog, was a real birddog: A Brittany. He was the definition of macho dog, and got into fights with other male dogs, and tried to show he was always protecting us from strangers. He was also a marshmallow with people. Climbing onto people’s laps for attentions and luvins. Except for my mother’s lap. She did not approve of 60 lb lap dogs, nor did she approve of dog hairs in her chair. And he knew this.

When I mentioned he was a real birddog, we even knew which bird he represented - Chicken. When it was thundering, he would tremble all over, then run to the safest place in the house - my mother’s chair. :wink: