Sad story, please offer advice - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-08-2009, 06:54 PM Thread Starter
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Sad story, please offer advice

Hello Everyone, I know this is a bit long and confusing, but I would really appreciate it if you could help me as I haven't really been able to sleep recently.

*Note- I go to college about 5 hours away from my house, so for the past year, my Mom has been the sole caretaker.

I have had my cat for about 8-9 years. He is a snowshoe mix and is usually very gentle.
He goes indoors and outdoors usually, and we have automatic food/water placed on our porch for him.
We also have a litter box placed in our garage because he's gotten trapped in there before for a few hours, but he usually does his business outside.

We have been remodeling our house (extensively), and my Mother decided to take a month trip to Uruguay in the midst of all of this.
Since we have all the automatic systems, she figured that he would be fine to stay outside and since the construction workers are there everyday, someone would notice if something went wrong.

She had her contractor take her to the airport, and she asked him to make sure Maui (my cat) was outside and to check on him periodically.
Meanwhile on October 2nd (my Mom left on Sept. 24, so 8 days later) my sister came to stay at the house (she lives out of town).
Immediately when she walked in, she knew something was wrong. He had been locked in a bedroom the entire time with no food, water, or litter box. She called a vet and he said to feed him and give him plenty of water, which she did. She then threw out all the bedding and steam cleaned the carpets due to the amount of urine/feces buildup for those 8 days.

After that, she let him go outside and continued to look after him for the next 3 days she was there. I haven't been able to get anyone to check on him since the 5th, but today my friend was in town, so I asked him to see if he could check in on him. He was in the neighbor's yard, but was acting aggressively (hissing, clawing - he's declawed in the front though). Since my friend was planning on coming here to visit, I asked him to catch Maui and bring him and all his stuff to my place (he's trying to catch him now).

I have a 4 bedroom townhouse, with 3 other roommates but they all said they wouldn't mind having him stay here. I'm very concerned that his whole demeanor will be changed due to the incident. Since I can't let him outside of my townhouse, I'm afraid that he might feel trapped again, or will just fear humans entirely. Is there anything I should do when he arrives to make him feel more comfortable? I don't know much about animal psychology, but I pray that he can return to his old self.

I'll update this thread as things progress, but hopefully he should be on his way up here within a few hours.
Thanks for all your help.

Here's a picture of him:
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-08-2009, 07:19 PM
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Location: Monroe, GA
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Re: Sad story, please offer advice

He looks like a sweet kitty and it shouldn't be too hard for you to work with him and help him to remember
how he loved and trusted his people. Also, plenty of cats are taken indoors and must make the switch to
indoor only. As long as Roomie's understand he can *never* go outside AND they adjure their guests to
also be door-careful, things should be fine. A vet visit will tell you if he has/had suffered any lasting
effects of his entrapment in the room with no sustenance and careful, positive handling should help him to
calm down and come around to being a sweet cat again. I feel the amount of 'strangeness' going on in his
world has probably upset him the most and once his world becomes steady, stable and constant, he'll
revert back to the sweet kitty he was.
I would work slowly with him, working him through some of the steps I do when I tame and socialized kitties
for adoption. Be consistent, persistent and always try to create positive experiences. You need to become
'trustworthy' to him and he needs to see you as The Bringer Of Good Things and learn to trust all people and
become a relaxed and confident housecat who is secure in the fact that his people love him.
It can be done, and I'm sure you and your Roomies can do it.
Good luck!
heidi =^..^=



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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-08-2009, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Sad story, please offer advice

Thanks so much for your encouragement. My friend has him and all of his belongings (along with his favourite toy!)
and is on his way up here now. I plan on spending a lot of time with him in the next week or so to make him feel more comfortable
with everything that has happened. How should I acclimate him with his new surroundings? Should I place him into my room and
gradually introduce him to the rest of the house, or should I just let him run wild?

I know you have to separate the food/water and litter box, so I'm putting his food/water in my bathroom and his litter box in the laundry room.
We have some treats that will be given very generously to try to perk him back up.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-08-2009, 11:53 PM
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Re: Sad story, please offer advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pistolen08
How should I acclimate him with his new surroundings? Should I place him into my
room and
gradually introduce him to the rest of the house, or should I just let him run wild?
When first intro-ing animals to new things, it is too easy to overwhelm them with too much, so in this
case, the-smaller-the-better. You can even keep the food/water/litterbox in the same room at first. It
is not so critical to keep it all very far apart when you are helping a kitty (any animal) to get used to new
surroundings. As the kitty becomes confident in the smaller area and indicates that he is ready to explore
more things, then you can allow him out to check-things-out. I think it works best if you accompany him,
walk with him, petting him, talking to him and reassuring him that everything is okay. If he walks around
with his tail up and looking curious, that is GREAT. If he is sort of slinking and looking very cautious, he
may not be quite ready enough to explore and you should stick close with him and try to help him get back
to his "safe room" if anything startles him and/or if you think he is getting too frightened. If he is very un-
comfortable, he will slink with belly low to the floor, dart his eyes/ears around, maybe bob his head up/down
as he checks things out and he will carry is tail very low to the floor. If he tucks his tail, that is a sign he is
feeling very insecure and I'd help him get back to the safe room right away. Be very careful of picking him
up if he is this frightened because he could hurt you out of fear and/or a fear of being restrained while he is
feeling frightened.
After the kitty has become accustomed to the home and people you can put another litterbox in the laundry
room and when he is using that box well, remove the one in the bathroom. Or, you could leave it there or in
your bedroom for nights he is closed in to sleep with you or when company comes over and you need him to
remain safely contained.
Your idea of the treats is a fabulous one and I even use that trick when taming/socializing. I have great
success with it and I am sure you will, too. Please keep us updated about how he does. I would love to
hear how things are going for you both.
heidi =^..^=



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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-16-2009, 09:52 PM
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Re: Sad story, please offer advice

My cat Pud-Pud is an indoor cat and was once let outside for 4 days......so I went outside to look for him......he must have heard me cause he darted at me and launched himself into my arms, shaking like a leaf. I took him inside, gave him food and comforted him, and soon he was back to normal.....except he dosnt like the outside anymore xD
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