DESPERATE! Cats' behavior out of control after recent move - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-03-2007, 01:19 AM Thread Starter
 
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DESPERATE! Cats' behavior out of control after recent move

I'm sorry, but I'm afraid this will be a long explanation. I truly appreciate anyone who takes the time to read this and give any advice they have.

I have had both of my inside-only cats for approx. 7 years, and have moved twice before with no such issues. I always use Feliway plug-ins in the space before I bring the kitties over, and I do believe that helps. There didn't seem to be any problems until about 2 months ago when my male started peeing.

It was right in front of the window where the neighborhood cats hang out and preen for Oscar and Cleo. That evening on my back porch I smelled it...one of the outside cats had sprayed my deck or my flower bed or something. So, Oscar must have reacted to that. Great. I have tile floors so I just threw the rug away and well, that solved that b/c we all know cats prefer to pee (and puke) on carpet...why is that?

Then I went away on business for a week and left them in great hands w/ a fellow cat owner. But I've never been away that long before. And with everything in turmoil already, apparently they did not like that. I returned to find that in spite of having the cleanest litter box I've ever seen (thank you, Jenifer) Oscar repayed me by peeing on my rug in my kitchen. So, I threw that one away too. I now have no rugs and am down to just tile. I also shut my bedroom door when I leave so he will not defile the only carpeted room in the condo. (did I mention this condo is my 1st home purchase, so it is extra important for me to take care of it...you feel me?)

Now onto Cleo, who has always had a reputation as "the evil cat" and I'm afraid I cannot come to her defense on that one. Frankly, she is not polite to company; it's just plain embarassing. But she is as sweet as can be to me. But ever since the move she has really kicked her attitued up 10 notches...to a point where I'm starting to worry that she will really hurt someone and I will not be able to control the situation like I have been able to do in the past. Even though I clip her claws regularly, they are still weapons.

The last straw was last weekend when I had my 3-year-old nephew spend the night with me. He went into the other room to get one of his toys and Cleo must have been sitting next to them and she took a swipe at him. Luckily she didn't really get him, but I spent the rest of the evening promising him that he would never have to see the "mean kitty" (his words) again. It broke my heart. And I realized that I cannot trust her around him and that she very well could hurt him.

Also, Cleo has always been the dominant cat. Oscar is a Maine Coon so he is very mild-mannered, docile and would never hurt a fly. But lately I've noticed that she is just attacking him for no reason. As if she doesn't want her buddy around anymore. And I don't think he gets it, which just pisses her off even more. It gets VERY loud. Cleo is quite vocal when she's mad. I think her behavior is also spurring on some of Oscar's marking b/c maybe that's his way of asserting his authority in the new place??

Basically, after all of this (and I'm leaving some stuff out for a stab at brevity), I came to a difficult and unthinkable conclusion...that this is no longer the right home for Cleo. I truly believe she would be better off as an only cat, with a single person or couple with no children, and a lot more room (this move was a downsize to 850 sq ft). But how would I find someone patient enough to get past her tough exterior until she opened up to them...which I KNOW she would. She's a lover, but only I know that.

So, this post is my last ditch effort. I never thought I'd be considering giving up one of my cats, even if it meant she might be euthenized. But if she is a threat to others perhaps that is the right thing? On the other hand, I feel a responsibility to her b/c I have had her since she was 6 weeks old, she was my first cat, and I have such a bond with her that she doesn't have with other humans...or animals for that matter. I mean, she is 7 and still sucks on my t-shirts b/c she was weaned to early! It's a great feeling to be loved and needed like that. I'm her momma.

I'm so confused and in desperate need of advice. Again, if anyone actually read all that, thank you. I really did try to keep it short.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-03-2007, 01:42 AM
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Hello and welcome!

Well, I'm definitely not an expert but maybe I can give you some advice and I believe we may have some professionals on this board that can chime in as well.

First of all, have you talked to your vet? It sounds like it is stress that is making Cleo act this way but until you get her checked, you can't rule out a medical cause. Being in pain or being ill could be causing her to lash out. After you've ruled out a medical reason, it's time to talk to your vet about her behavior. Chances are, the vet has given out advice on this same situation many, many times and may think of something to help you.

Perhaps just giving her a few weeks to settle down...she's getting older and it might not be so easy for her to adjust to new things. She may just need more time. She may also be afraid of people and need a place to feel safe when you have company-a bedroom, or even a closet or cupboard that she likes to hide in. I can definitely understand why you're upset that she scratched your little nephew but she may need to be in another room that he doesn't go into while he's over. There are so many things you can do before you look at giving her up. The cold, hard fact is, if you give Cleo to a shelter, she won't have a good chance at being adopted. Being an older cat is a strike against her right there and not being able to go to a home with other cats-I hate to tell you, but her chances of being placed elsewhere are very slim. She's bonded to you and loves you and could have an extremely hard time adjusting even if she was moved to another home. It sounds like both cats could be having transition issues. It's a tough time for all of you but I really do believe you can get through it. Keep us posted and I'm sure we can continue to give you support and advice.


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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-03-2007, 02:32 AM
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Also, giving Cleo away may not help Oscar's peeing. In fact, if it's due to stress, he may start doing it more.

I second taking her to the vet. Maybe she needs some anti-depressants\anti-anxiety meds for a while, until she fully adjusts to the new place.

I second the solution of just locking her away somewhere while company is over.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-03-2007, 03:57 AM
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Vet visit for both. Oscar should be checked for a UTI.

Even though the move took place some time ago (months?), the week long trip you took was a major stressor for the cats too. It takes time to recover from one stressful event (the move), let alone a second one.

You've got to clean the back porch/flowerbed area. Those odors are still coming into your place and stressing them too. What about putting some of your cats poop in the flowerbed, sort of a this my territory marking for your cats. Maybe it would keep the other away?

Right now, your are stressed. You've got to calm down as the cats are reacting to this too.
Personally, I could never give one of my kids away for any reason. And this includes my furkids. I couldn't trust that someone else would take good care of them.

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-03-2007, 01:59 PM Thread Starter
 
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I'm definately glad I joined this forum before making any rash and permanent decisions that I would regret. I haven't taken into account my own stress stemming from the situation and how I'm reacting to it. Also, I'm not getting the best advice from some people around me because of Cleo's bad rep. But she is just as loving as they come to me.

My first step will be to bring them both to the vet ASAP. And I will begin putting Cleo in my walk-in closet whenever I have company over...before the situation gets out of hand. I think that is a huge stress factor for her AND my guests.

Next, I'm going to take a deep breath and hope I can see this wave through. I love, love, love my babies and have never imagined my life without them ever since they've been a part of it. I'll keep you posted. Thanks again for the good advice and support!
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-03-2007, 06:51 PM
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You didn't mention if the neighborhood cats are still out there. If they are, I'd say they're the major cause of all your bahvioral problems (both cats) and so long as they're still there, anything you do will be likely to fail.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-05-2007, 11:48 AM Thread Starter
 
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Yes, I'm afraid the neighborhood cats are there to stay. My condo assoc. allows owners to pay a one-time fee to license/tag their cats and allow them to roam the property.

There are only a couple that I think are feral, so the rest are actually people's pets. I did some research for ways to try to keep the cats away from my patio, flower beds and windows, but I wasn't sure that any of the suggestions weren't going to harm the other cats. And like I said, these are people's pets too.

I have made a vet appt tomorrow, so hopefully I can at least get some things ruled out and maybe get some helpful advice. **fingers crossed**
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-05-2007, 12:14 PM
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Somebody posted in another thread about a noisemaker that keeps cats away from yards? I'm not familiar with it-can anyone give more info?

Be sure to let us know what the vet says! So glad you are doing all you can to work through this.


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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-06-2007, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
 
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Just got back from the vet w/ both kitties. She sat for nearly an hour diagnosing the behavior probs w/ me. She thinks Cleo appears to have fear-related aggression with redirected aggression towards Oscar. Some of the things that may be envoking the fear could be the other cats outside, when I have guests over, and the new environment in general. She couldn't be sure if the rug urination was a related or separate issue, but what she did tell me that I did not know was that my last visit to the vet for Cleo (about 3 months ago) was b/c she had cystitis (bladder irritation) which can be due to stress. So, Cleo could have been showing signs of her stress 3 months ago and I did not notice b/c of how she was internalizing it. Now she is externalizing it, and I notice much more.

Some management tips we talked about were:
1. try to keep the cats from the windows so they cannot see the outside cats
2. keep Cleo in a separate are of condo where she is comfortable when guests visit. provide w/ perch, food, water, litter & maybe feliway diffuser or spray feliway on some bedding
3. keep Cleo & Oscar seperate for now & seperate their resources. feed them @ the same time in the same room but at separate ends, sensitizing Cleo to Oscar while affiliating her w/ something positive (food). After time, slowly move closer together.
4. make special time to play w/ cleo for 10 min. 2x a day or more to help decrease her stress

So, there's just some of the stuff the vet & I talked about. I'm feeling positive, and a positive outlook will help because I know this will be an uphill battle. But, I'm glad that I did not give in to my stress and I will still be here to provide the best possible home for my tunas!
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-06-2007, 12:41 PM
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I'm so glad! I understand the stress thing, everything just starts to add up and it seems overwhelming. All of these sound like great ideas to try. Good luck!

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