I have an older cat (no idea how old, I inherited her from a friend and have had her for at least 6-7 years), Smokey. She's a good cat... really sweet, but getting old and nowhere near as "feisty" as she used to be.

Anyway... the first and more worrisome question is this: Smokey began showing signs of possible hip problems? I noticed that she was having problems jumping up on the furniture. She has never liked heights (which is weird because the previous owner swears she used to love to play in the rafters!) and doesn't even like to be held if you are standing. She gets extremely nervous but even more so since I noticed that she doesn't get around like she used to. After seeing her "miss" on various attempts at jumping on the bed or up on the couch and really contemplate her jumps off furniture, I also started to notice that she will be walking and suddenly "lose control" of her back half. Her hind legs will just start drifting to one side or the other. She doesn't appear to be in any pain, however. She doesn't yowl at me or jerk away when I pet her toward the tail on her back or her hind legs, although I try to be very careful just in case. It was around the time I noticed her "walking funny" that she began urinating outside of the litter box.

I had a rather tall litter box (that she shares with another cat, they've shared a household for several years, both indoor cats) and replaced it with a shorter box, thinking that it hurt her "hips" to jump in and out of the taller box. Still she urinates outside of the box. She very rarely will poop outside of the box.

Any ideas what this could be? Urinary infection? Would that make her walk funny?

And my second question...

Ever since I "inherited" Smokey, she's been anti-social as anything with anyone other than me. She hears a knock at the door and she is a blur of fur heading under the bed! (Even now in her present condition, she can move fast when she wants to!) The sad thing is that she has taught my other cat, Tasia (pronounced tay-zha), who I bought into the home as a kitten (now THAT was interesting!) to also hide from anyone who comes to the door or in the house. EVENTUALLY, Tasia will venture out and remember that this IS HER house after all, but Smokey will make sure no one else is in the house before showing her hide again. For longer guest stays, she will eventually pop out to eat or relieve herself but then it's right back under the bed!

Smokey will NOT go outside but will sit in the doorway and look out. Tasia will camp in front of any window she can get to and does enjoy the occasional trip outside with me.

My sister kids me that I have imaginary cats because she swears she's never seen them. That is until she house sat for me one week, unless she still thinks imaginary cats leave real life poop!

When no one is around, they are normal "free range" cats... plopping down in their favorite spots and occasionally making demands (... you know what I'm talking about).

I'm good to them, they are affectionate toward me... and Tasia will eventually let others pet her if she's around them long enough, but at the next visit, it starts all over again. Is it possible that Smokey taught this behavior (knock, knock... RUN!) to Tasia? Why would Smokey be this way and be afraid (I mean she starts shaking!) by heights since I've gotten her, she wasn't this way at my friend's home? (The friend also had a small child at the time, if THAT didn't scare Smokey, I don't know what would!)

I'm just wondering why they'd be so skittish for apparently no reason...

It may be good to note that when I first got both cats, I was living in a small apartment and did have loud neighbors, so I can see them being "shell shocked" so-to-speak... but I've been in a house for about 5 years now, much quieter environment...

Any thoughts?