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  • FIRST POST
    • CarbonImage
    • By CarbonImage 10th Jul 18, 12:08 PM
    • 27Posts
    • 23Thanks
    CarbonImage
    Unhappy rescue cat? Advice
    • #1
    • 10th Jul 18, 12:08 PM
    Unhappy rescue cat? Advice 10th Jul 18 at 12:08 PM
    Hi Guys,

    Just posting here for a bit of discussion really, not sure if I'll be able to come to a conclusion based on your responses but I'd like some people to discuss this with as none of my friends have pets!

    To give some back story, my partner has always had cats. I was never allowed pets growing up as my dad was a grumpy sod who wouldn't allow it and my mum wasn't hugely bothered either way. I've lived with my partner for 4 years and we bought our first house a year ago. She's wanted a cat since we moved in together and I always said 'when we buy our own place', then when we moved in 'once we're settled'. A couple of months ago I finally had to bite the bullet, so we started looking around resuce centres as we agreed it was nice to give a cat a new lease of life rather than buy a kitten.

    Now I should probably say that I'm not against the idea of pets, I love animals and always wanted a pet, but was very wary of the impact it would have on our life. This meant I had quite clear guidelines: must be well trained, have no existing health problems, and be fine with staying indoors or being let out via back door, windows etc. (it would be really awkward to put in a cat flap at our place).

    About 6 weeks ago after a couple of months of looking, we saw an advert on one of the cat rescue centre websites for a cat that urgently needed to be rehomed as he didn't get on with the 4 other cats and 4 dogs(!) in the house he was in. He was indoor only (perfect for us, we thought), and only 2 years old so no health problems. However he had originally been rescued from Egypt where he was abused by his owners. We went and met him and the foster family seemed lovely. She cried at the thought of letting him go, but said she knew it was the right thing to do. They then asked if we could take him right then. We said we wanted to think about it, but they insisted that if we wanted him we had to take him that day. This is when alarm bells should have sounded!


    We got him back to our place and he seemed to settle in well, relaxing on the sofa with us etc. However he meowed constantly the first night outside our door. We thought letting him in would help as he might want company, however this only quieted him for a few hours before starting up again.

    Since that day, he has been developing more and more behaviour problems, namely:

    - Peeing everywhere but the litter tray (he used it perfectly for the first week so we know he knows how to)
    - Meowing constantly for attention. Particularly when it gets light in the morning as he knows it's breakfast time soon.
    - Waiting outside the bathroom and randomly attacking my partner's legs and ankles
    - Letting us stroke/scratch him and then suddenly biting us.

    He also won't come near us on the sofa anymore, and certainly has never sat on a lap!

    We have taken him to a vet who checked for UTIs and other common problems and has confirmed he is perfectly healthy.

    We have tried disciplining him with water spray, however he gets very aggressive and seems to hold a grudge, attacking us with claws and teeth for about 24 hours afterwards, so we have stopped doing this.

    I have bought feliways, toys, scratching posts, different foods, all sorts.

    He seemed to be sitting (and peeing) by the windowsill a lot, so we let him out into the garden which he seemed to enjoy. However he ended up chasing a neighbour's cat into their house and biting the neighbour who is now on antibiotics, so we can't let him out again on his own in good conscience. We have taken him out on a harness since and he seems to enjoy it but it's obviously not the same as being able to wander freely.

    The rescue centre have said they are willing to rehome him again and we have asked to be put on their waiting list as it is starting to ruin our relationship, which was not the desired effect!

    Has anyone ever had to deal with something like this before, and how did you cope? Do you think he can be 'saved' as it were? We are heartbroken as we wanted to give him a good home and it is just causing us so much stress, at the moment we are having to close all the doors in the house when we go out apart from the kitchen as it's got wipe clean surfaces!

    Thanks so much for reading!
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Page 1
    • marliepanda
    • By marliepanda 10th Jul 18, 12:12 PM
    • 6,085 Posts
    • 12,931 Thanks
    marliepanda
    • #2
    • 10th Jul 18, 12:12 PM
    • #2
    • 10th Jul 18, 12:12 PM
    You sprayed an abused rescue cat with water??

    Let him be rehomed, and do a LOT more research before you gt another, if at all.
    • CarbonImage
    • By CarbonImage 10th Jul 18, 12:18 PM
    • 27 Posts
    • 23 Thanks
    CarbonImage
    • #3
    • 10th Jul 18, 12:18 PM
    • #3
    • 10th Jul 18, 12:18 PM
    I understand this isn't a good thing to do. My partner did it out of frustration as he kept attacking her when she was trying to sleep. We've agreed we will try really hard not to react to things like this in future.
    Mortgage
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    • Spider In The Bath
    • By Spider In The Bath 10th Jul 18, 12:32 PM
    • 1,278 Posts
    • 4,526 Thanks
    Spider In The Bath
    • #4
    • 10th Jul 18, 12:32 PM
    • #4
    • 10th Jul 18, 12:32 PM
    The attacking is 'playing'. You think the cat is attacking he thinks he is playing. So the cat is trying to interact with you, but he is doing it inappropriately.

    We rescued a similar cat. One year old living in a horse stable. Very friendly, but with no manners. I was bitten (drawing blood) three times in the first week. With training and perseverance you can end up with a great, happy cat.

    You need to train the cat. First do not play with him using you fingers, or feet. Buy a toy on a long stick and ONLY use this. Also, when he bites do not touch him (he will think you are playing). So NO loudly and then walk away. If he is on your lap stand up so he 'falls' off (do not push or lift him off), so NO and then walk away. Keep doing this. Biting means no interaction, or attention.

    At other times when he is calm then play and brush him and give him lots of attention.

    Go on YouTube. Look for 'My Cat from Hell'. Watch a few of the episodes and you can see where you are going wrong. He will show how to stop biting, weeing etc and what makes a cat happy.
    • donnac2558
    • By donnac2558 10th Jul 18, 12:48 PM
    • 2,510 Posts
    • 2,131 Thanks
    donnac2558
    • #5
    • 10th Jul 18, 12:48 PM
    • #5
    • 10th Jul 18, 12:48 PM
    Peeing outside the litter tray could be stress or perhaps he just does not like the litter you are using.


    A cat will go back and pee in the same place because they can smell they peed there. Washing with most cleaners does not actually get rid of the smell. Hot water and vinegar or spray lemon juice in the area(not on the cat!).


    Agree with Spider In The Bath, he is seeing your hands and fingers as toys and attacking. As for the crying, well try living with a Burmese they are very very vocal, some cats are.
    • borkid
    • By borkid 10th Jul 18, 12:50 PM
    • 1,822 Posts
    • 3,676 Thanks
    borkid
    • #6
    • 10th Jul 18, 12:50 PM
    • #6
    • 10th Jul 18, 12:50 PM
    Re waking you up in the morning Lots of cats do this when it's light early. Mine don't, 4 of them, but they always have dried food down so they are not hungry and they have access to the outdoors so they can go hunting to work of their excess energy.


    Try a sharp No when the cat does something you don't like. Cats do not like loud noises. Personally I reward good behaviour so if a cat comes in when called I'll give them a dreamy and an ear tickle.
    Re peeing how do you clean up the mess? You need to get rid of the smell otherwise he will keep going on the same spot. Try biological washing powder/ liquid or wash and then rinse with vinegar or bicarbonate solution. Cats have a very good sense of smell. As you are new owners are you sure he is urinating and not spraying, even neutered males spray some times. In which case he might be unsettled.


    Chasing the neighbours cat, he is defending his territory. You can buy cat proof fencing https://protectapet.com/cat-fence/ but you could possibly devise your own if you're good at DIY.


    Re scratching you after you been stroking him. They do get tired of being stroked you need to learn some cat body language. I tend to let my cats ask to be stroked. They come up and push their head under my hand. One of my cats will only settle on my lap after he has spent several minutes pummelling me with his claws out. It's what kittens do to get the mother cat to feed them. Now I always put a lightweight quilt between m and his claws when he jumps up. A bit if a nusiance at times but we knew he was the runt of the litter when we got him and could have problems. Ten years on and he is the most affectionate cat.



    I'd be very wary of a rescue centre which insists you take a cat without giving you time to think. My local rescue centre needs to see how you interact with the cat and then does a house check and if you don't pass you don't get the cat.
    • SensibleSarah
    • By SensibleSarah 10th Jul 18, 1:16 PM
    • 203 Posts
    • 263 Thanks
    SensibleSarah
    • #7
    • 10th Jul 18, 1:16 PM
    • #7
    • 10th Jul 18, 1:16 PM
    Agree with those who have questioned the rescue's attitude - "take him now or not at all" - no reputable rescue would say that as they'd know it would result in bounce-backs. Makes sense for all parties to make sure before matching a cat and new home.

    In terms of the litter tray, have you just got the one tray or several? One of my cats has always peed outside of his tray occasionally when he's a bit stressed - annoying but not a dealbreaker for me. Having additional trays for a while (with a couple of different types of litter in) may help.

    Feliway works well for some cats for a settling in period but usually takes a couple of weeks at least to take effect.

    Definitely agree with the long stick fishing rod type toys only. He sounds like he's bored, and attacking feet etc is just rough play to him rather than aggression I think.

    In terms of affection, let him come to you - never approach him to stroke or pick up. Once he has realised that he can just walk away when he'd had enough the biting/scratching etc should stop.
    • pinkteapot
    • By pinkteapot 10th Jul 18, 1:23 PM
    • 6,192 Posts
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    pinkteapot
    • #8
    • 10th Jul 18, 1:23 PM
    • #8
    • 10th Jul 18, 1:23 PM
    It sounds like you're set on rehoming kitty again, so not sure if advice will help, but...

    Indoor cats (especially if they're only pets) need a lot of attention to avoid boredom, and some of his behaviours sound attention-seeking. Attacking ankles is often play aggression - if he was full-on attacking there'd be hissing and you'd struggle to get him off your leg! Scratches/nips are him playing, believe it or not.

    We have a cat who is sadly indoor-only (long story), and we have to have a couple of 20 minute play sessions a day or he starts to go a bit nuts. Like yours, ours won't tolerate other cats so we don't have the option of getting him a cell-mate to keep him entertained.

    A lot of cats like to be stroked but for a limited time only. The main thing to look out for is their tail starting to flick/twitch - if that happens it means "I'm getting over-stimulated now, time to stop".

    Again, thanks to our slightly moody cat, I've learnt about the "fist of friendship" (not as filthy as it sounds ) - if your cat is in the habit of swiping at outstretched fingers, move your hand towards him as a fist, slowly and where they can clearly see it, then let them sniff. If they rub against your hand, that's permission to extend fingers and stroke.
    • sheramber
    • By sheramber 10th Jul 18, 1:41 PM
    • 4,840 Posts
    • 3,625 Thanks
    sheramber
    • #9
    • 10th Jul 18, 1:41 PM
    • #9
    • 10th Jul 18, 1:41 PM
    My son's cat woke him every morning by sitting on him and batting him in the face.

    He allowed you to stroke him exactly three times - try a fourth stroke and he gripped your hand with his teeth. He did not bite , just gripped.

    A sign of affection was to head but you as he stood on your lap.


    He may not like where the litter tray is. Is it somewhere secluded so he he can have privacy? Maybe put two or three in different places and see if he prefers one.

    He has had a stressful time, from initial abuse to travelling to this country, then living in a household he didn't like. He will be totally stressed out and confused. All the behaviours you list are signs of stress

    Don't rush him. Let him settle in. It will take time. Calming products do not give instant results

    Keep calm so that your anxiety does not affect him.

    Search online for advice on how to help him but ignore ant recommendation to use aggressive techniques

    Some cats do not want cuddled and stroked. They are independent creatures.



    Remember , cats don't have owners , they have staff.
    • FreeBear
    • By FreeBear 10th Jul 18, 2:12 PM
    • 1,734 Posts
    • 2,509 Thanks
    FreeBear
    He allowed you to stroke him exactly three times - try a fourth stroke and he gripped your hand with his teeth. He did not bite , just gripped.
    Originally posted by sheramber
    My cat will sometimes go in to bite & scratch mode when giving her belly rubs - As long as I don't pull my hand away, she is very gentle and doesn't draw blood. Pulling the hand away triggers full on attack mode as the hand becomes prey.

    By the sounds of it, the OPs cat is lacking stimulation and needs quite a few more toys to play with - Catnip filled mice can provide hours of fun and are not too expensive.
    Her courage will change the world.

    Treasure the moments that you have. Savour them for as long as you can for they will never come back again.
    • bmthmark
    • By bmthmark 10th Jul 18, 2:58 PM
    • 245 Posts
    • 232 Thanks
    bmthmark
    My cat is now 10 years old, we have had him since a kitten.
    He has been a complete pain, he started off by attacking my young daughter whenever she walked past. At the time my daughter was only 1 year old and wasn't doing anything. We resolved this by saying 'NO' in a loud voice. He didn't like it but soon realised I wasn't happy.
    He then went through a stage of peeing in random places. We changed his litter tray and made sure it was always clean, we also cleaned up the mess. He soon started to use the litter tray again.
    He also likes to defend his terrortary, so he is in regular fights. This is something I cannot control as he is outside. If I see them fighting I will go over to them and split them up. But in a way this is what some cats do.
    If I keep him in all the time he will get bored and make lots of noise so its better for him to go and play outside.

    Has the cat been neutered? saying that mine has but he still fights and sprays. But it may still help.

    The thing is you have to give the cat plenty of time to settle. It will take months for it to get use to its new surroundings. Don't spray him with water as it will just cause more issues.
    I would also let the cat outside. You will probably find he stops peeing inside and he won't make as much noise as he will hopefully make himself tired. He probably will fight the neighbours cat, but he is just defending his area. They will soon stop.

    I wouldn't give up on this little chap just yet. Even though he sounds like a pain (like mine) he deserves a chance.
    • CarbonImage
    • By CarbonImage 10th Jul 18, 3:09 PM
    • 27 Posts
    • 23 Thanks
    CarbonImage
    Thanks to you all for your excellent and non-judgemental advice. I'd like to respond to a few points directly but will definitely be taking it all on board!

    RE pressure from the rehoming centre - this was a 'home-from-home' adoption, meaning the centre merely put us in contact with his existing owners. They never took him in themselves and all the pressure came from the owners directly, who I suspect were desperate to get rid of him because of how he was being around their existing 'babies'. I don't blame the centre in the slightest and they have been trying to offer advice, although none as good as has been offered here.

    I agree most of the attacking sounds like it is probably misplaced playing. I have had some good results with the 'fist' and he has started purring occasionally when I stroke him. I think we felt that attacking the neighbour was a major setback and were worried that keeping him in was not a healthy option but maybe if we can stimulate him some more he will be happier. We also had a visit from the neighbour saying that if they see him in their garden again they would protect themselves with the hose if necessary which I didn't like the sound of but can totally understand.

    He does only have one litter tray currently but it is in a secluded spot and he doesn't seem to have any trouble with number two's.

    I think I would be able to cope if we could control the peeing. My other half has borne a lot more of the brunt of the aggression/playing so she is currently terrified of him which I think is influencing her to want to rehome him more.

    I will get him some more toys and see if he begins to improve at all.
    Last edited by CarbonImage; 10-07-2018 at 3:11 PM.
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    • bmthmark
    • By bmthmark 10th Jul 18, 3:32 PM
    • 245 Posts
    • 232 Thanks
    bmthmark
    With all due respect I find it a bit wrong that your neighbour has said they would use the hose on him.
    I doubt very much that he goes randomly up to the neighbour and attacks them (correct me if I am wrong). So if your neighbours cat comes in your garden do they give you permission to use the hose on it? - no they wouldn't because its not a nice thing to do. So they shouldn't do it!
    Cats fighting each other is normal and will hopefully phase away. Its probably both of them anyway.
    Last edited by bmthmark; 10-07-2018 at 3:41 PM.
    • borkid
    • By borkid 10th Jul 18, 3:38 PM
    • 1,822 Posts
    • 3,676 Thanks
    borkid
    Thanks to you all for your excellent and non-judgemental advice. I'd like to respond to a few points directly but will definitely be taking it all on board!

    RE pressure from the rehoming centre - this was a 'home-from-home' adoption, meaning the centre merely put us in contact with his existing owners. They never took him in themselves and all the pressure came from the owners directly, who I suspect were desperate to get rid of him because of how he was being around their existing 'babies'. I don't blame the centre in the slightest and they have been trying to offer advice, although none as good as has been offered here.

    I agree most of the attacking sounds like it is probably misplaced playing. I have had some good results with the 'fist' and he has started purring occasionally when I stroke him. I think we felt that attacking the neighbour was a major setback and were worried that keeping him in was not a healthy option but maybe if we can stimulate him some more he will be happier. We also had a visit from the neighbour saying that if they see him in their garden again they would protect themselves with the hose if necessary which I didn't like the sound of but can totally understand.

    He does only have one litter tray currently but it is in a secluded spot and he doesn't seem to have any trouble with number two's.

    I think I would be able to cope if we could control the peeing.
    My other half has borne a lot more of the brunt of the aggression/playing so she is currently terrified of him which I think is influencing her to want to rehome him more.

    I will get him some more toys and see if he begins to improve at all.
    Originally posted by CarbonImage

    They might succeed in getting him but cats are quick and by the time they've turned the hose on he'll be gone. The best way I've found of getting rid of strange cats is to go out and clap loudly until they are out of the garden.


    I've heard of some cats who need (demand) 2 trays one for urination and one for defecation. Also some are very fussy and require the tray cleaning instantly! Luckily mine go in the garden and we keep an area clear and dug over for them but they still prefer the newly planted seed beds which we have to kee
    • Rubik
    • By Rubik 10th Jul 18, 4:13 PM
    • 114 Posts
    • 235 Thanks
    Rubik
    We have had our rescue cat for over two years (she was actually a kitten when she came home with us, despite the centre saying she was 2 years old). She was described as "aggressive" by the rescue centre - no, she was terrified! While she likes to play "kill the hand", and can sometimes get a bit overexcited, she is playing, not being aggressive. She is also not a lap-cat, and in two years has only recently started jumping up on the sofa for cuddles on her terms, but definitely no sitting on laps. Some cats just don't. If you want something passive to sit on your lap, I would suggest a stuffed toy animal.

    You really need to learn to know your cat, and understand his behaviours, likes, dislikes and body language. I am shocked that your partner sprayed water on a cat that has had a terrible start in life, it sounds as though the cat simply wanted some attention and to play.

    Explain to your neighbour that your cat is adjusting to his new life and surroundings, and that the "aggression" is most likely self-defence - turning the hose on him WILL NOT help in any way.

    As for the meowing at first light, does he have access to dry food during the night? How often do you feed him, and are you feeding him enough? Our cat starts making a noise as soon as our alarm goes off at 6am as she's keen to get outside and inspect her territory!

    Your cat has been through a hell of a time, and he will needs reassurance, kindness and time to settle into his new home. It won't happen within a few weeks, it may take many months before he is settled and feels safe. It does sound to me as though you expected the "perfect" cat and one who would take 3 seconds to settle into your home and routine. Perhaps he would be better off with someone who understands cats, and has the time and patience for him.
    • CarbonImage
    • By CarbonImage 10th Jul 18, 4:58 PM
    • 27 Posts
    • 23 Thanks
    CarbonImage
    Rubik, thanks for your comments.

    I think I am just finding this difficult as my partner professed herself to be an 'expert' in dealing with cats but obviously is not handling this very well at all, whilst I myself am doing the best I can with knowledge gleaned from the internet and no experience whatsoever.

    I do agree that he probably needs time to settle and become comfortable with his surroundings. I just feel like there are so many things to try and lots of different suggestions it's difficult to know which ones to stick with!

    This thread has definitely made me think that perhaps I should sit down with my partner and discuss if we want to really commit to helping this poor creature that we've brought into our lives and what the best way forward is.

    With regards to the food, he seems to be constantly hungry. We have been feeding him a pouch and a half of wet food a day with a handful of dry food - half a pouch with about 10g dry food in the morning, and a whole pouch with about 5-10g in the evening. He's a small cat so we feel like this should be enough, and at first he was polishing it all off and meowing for more, but the past couple of days he has been leaving a little bit in the bowl which we took as a good sign.
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    • Rubik
    • By Rubik 10th Jul 18, 5:15 PM
    • 114 Posts
    • 235 Thanks
    Rubik
    A pouch and a half is probably not enough - I would suggest a whole pouch in the morning, and one again in the evening. Leave a bowl with dry food out at all times so your cat can graze when he feels peckish.

    There are lots of excellent suggestions, definitely try playing with him with a toy on a long handle - cats generally love these. Also, a small light pointer like this one (others are available) are good fun for both cats and humans - https://fetch.co.uk/kong-cat-toy-laser-toy-388993011?gclid=CjwKCAjwspHaBRBFEiwA0eM3kTA5_8Br14 n7xu8TuIIFT9I2lg9e5BJV0251QnkVEJLBz8mPSMgNnhoCaiEQ AvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds][ light pointer toy] Cat nip toys are also worth looking at. Visit your local pet shop and ask for suggestions to help your cat learn to play with something other than your ankles. It's a case of trial and error with toys and boredom busters for cats.

    If he's not neutered, then he's likely spraying, neutering a personal thing, but it may make him a bit calmer and less likely to wander. And spray.

    Check to see if the litter you are using is sharp - some cats avoid standing on sharp, jaggy litter as it's painful - wooden pellets that break up into sawdust are a good swap.

    And finally - a cat is a huge responsibility, you do need to be totally committed to giving this little guy the best life possible with you, and put in the time that he needs, not just now, but for the rest of his life. Perhaps once you've learned a bit more about your cat's personality, and you've all grown a bit more used to each other, he will settle down. Don't forget he's been abused then passed from pillar to post in a short space of time, it will take him time to trust you, and to feel at home.

    r
    • CarbonImage
    • By CarbonImage 10th Jul 18, 5:23 PM
    • 27 Posts
    • 23 Thanks
    CarbonImage
    Thanks again for weighing in.

    He is neutered, and it's definitely full pee, not just spraying. He's looked me in the eye whilst doing it on the windowsill before, and it's probably about 250ml each time!

    The litter we use is what was recommended to us by his previous owners, but it may be worth us trying different stuff. We did have a 'roof' on his tray but took it off to see if that would help as I read that some cats don't like it.
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    • Rubik
    • By Rubik 10th Jul 18, 5:27 PM
    • 114 Posts
    • 235 Thanks
    Rubik
    try a Feliway diffuser to help calm him, and stop the urinating outside his litter tray.
    • Slinky
    • By Slinky 10th Jul 18, 5:37 PM
    • 5,293 Posts
    • 24,616 Thanks
    Slinky
    Re the biting the neighbour, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if your neighbour tried to break up the fight between the two cats by picking one up. My Dad tried this a couple of times when our old cat got in a fight. Cat was so wound up he bit my Dad, probably not knowing who or what it was that was touching him. Cat adored my Dad so it wasn't that he didn't like him. Dad ended up having tetanus jabs on both occasions which were several years apart.


    Never try picking up a fighting cat. I had one coming round regularly trying to beat up my cat, yowling going on below our bathroom window one night. A cupful of water splashing on the ground nearby was enough to shock and split them up and the other cat has stayed well clear since.
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