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Hi everyone,

I recently joined the forum seeking out advice from others who have a little one who has endured the same kind of stress my baby Duke has endured to see if anyone would give me some advice on helping him. I gave a brief background on him in the introduction forum, but I'll offer one up again here. Duke is 11 years old and he's been with me for most of his life. When he was initially given to his previous owner he was so young that his eyes hadn't even changed color (and when he came to me they still hadn't changed until a couple of weeks later). However, before I rescued him his previous owner used to heavily abuse him physically. He was a very small kitten and the previous owner used to kick him around the room, hit him and throw him around the house. He also lived in a home where there were about 15 non-stop weed smokers around him and I do believe that had effected him as well. When I adopted him he was still very small and although I've taken good care of him, he's always remained a smaller cat. He's very long, but only weighs about 8lbs as an adult. He's very healthy and active and we have a wonderful life together although there are times when stress and fear trigger an aggressive response where he's on the defensive and will attack. It's only happened about three or four times in all the time that I've had him through the years, but when it happens he's not himself at all.

Recently we had to take a vacation out of state for about ten days and due to Duke's special needs I wasn't comfortable leaving him with a sitter. He did alright through the drive down to where we were going and everything seemed to be going well until almost a day later he attacked my uncle's foot unprovoked and when it was happening I picked him up to separate him from the situation and he turned on me. He wound up biting me pretty hard and clawing up my arm, but again I understood that it was redirected rage based on his fears of being out of his environment at the time. It was a bit frightening though as he's had a few outbursts in the past where he's nipped and clawed, but never to that extreme. Granted I realize that he was out of his home, out of his safety zone and after driving all that time he was undoubtedly frightened. I also suspect there may have been a trigger in being around my uncle given that my uncle is male and Duke's previous owner who abused him was male. After that happened because there were multiple people around, I put him into the safe area of the master bathroom off of my bedroom for the duration of the trip. Because I had a roommate for the trip that he wasn't used to I felt that was the safest place for him to be so he wouldn't be afraid. It was a very large room where he had his toys, litter, food/water, etc. Each day I would go in throughout the day multiple times to spend a few minutes with him to tell him I loved him, give him kisses, etc. However, it was truly heartbreaking for me to have to do that given that at home he's with me each day and likes to sleep in my arms at night.

We came home last night and after the long ride I have him back in his area in the house, I placed him in his area to get adjusted to being home again. Currently I'm giving him a little space to unwind after the ride home given I know that was a stressful event. I've gone in to see him about a dozen times today in holding him, petting him, giving him hugs and kisses, etc., but at the same time I am concerned about the outburst he had on vacation. I realize that it wasn't his fault due to the situation being unfamiliar and scary, but at the same time he really bit me much deeper than he ever has. As I said since then I've been more worried about him than anything else. I tell him I love him all the time, pick him up and pet him to assure him that everything is okay, but I'd also like to return to the routine we had before we left on vacation. My sister lives with us as well and Duke adores her as well. I just want to make sure that he's feeling alright and adjusted to being back home in getting back to his routine before we get back to being around like we always were before. I guess my question on the matter is should I keep doing what I've been doing by going in the area he's in to visit with him multiple times for a few minutes here and to help him adjust to being back home again over the next couple of days while still maintaining some space for him or should we just go back in the area with him like we did before the trip and get him used to being back in that routine? Also, another reason why I found this forum was I was looking up holistic treatments that people were giving to their cats to help them with fear induced aggression and I wasn't sure if that was a good idea or not. As I said before I love Duke so very much and just hate the idea of him being that afraid that he can't help, but feel that attacking is his only option. I try to keep him away from as many stresses as possible, but I understand that can't always be the case given that life can sometimes just bring about unforseen stresses.He's such a loving, wonderful cat and I hate the idea of him having to live with that kind of fear years later because a cruel person had mistreated him as a kitten. So I guess I'm just looking for tips/advice on how to work through what's troubling him to help him still feel safe and loved if that makes any sense. Does anyone have any advice? It would be much appreciated.
 

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Jackson Galaxy, My Cat from H3LL. Season 3 episode 2. I just got done watching it. Deals with a cat with PTSD that was attacking family member!

Netflix has it.
 

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I would put a feliway plug in for his room. Give him safe places to retreat and hide in. Cats seem to have long memories. They dont live in the moment as Ive heard about dogs. Can you do play time with him to help destress him. Does he have a favorite toy like a lazor light or Da Bird? Thanks for hanging in there with him. I can tell you have a deep love for him and a wonderful heart to come looking for answers for him.

Jackson Galaxy uses Spirit Essence holistic drops you can put directly on their skin. It wouldnt hurt to order one or two of the special Spirit Essence drops too. Trauma Free one is for PTSD in cats. Spirit Essences Trauma Free 2oz. - Abe's Market
 
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