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Hi Everyone! - i just read this.... im sorry its so long....only the whole story is fair though.

I finally got up the courage to post my story on here, im really looking for some help for my cat family as a whole, but in particular, my 2 1/2 year old sophie. The story is too long to post at once (which includes her interactions with the other cats) .... so i figure that i will just start at the beginning of sophies life and try and explain her the best i can.

general overview - 2 humans, 5 cats (13, 12, 10, 2 1/2 and 5 months.)

My first cats 4 cats, including sophie, have all been abonded rescues, so until recently, i thought i was a pro at this. HAHA. not even close.

We found sophie in the running engine of a car. You could hear her screaming as the car pulled into the Subway resturant parking lot. She had managed to survive a terrifying ride down the expressway for who knows how many miles. She was very tiny, chin was burned, and covered in fleas. I had 3 old kitties at home, but i figured she needed me and i atleast had to try and save her. I hid her in my office until i could get out of work and headed straight to the vet. She ended up being about 8 weeks old, very malnourished and tiny, but otherwise healthy. She licked my face that day, as i held her at the vet...... that is the only day she has ever licked me.

So, i brought my little sophie home (all white, one yellow eye, one blue eye - who could resist!!!) She settled in with the older guys fairly normal.... we kept her in a puppy pen for a couple days, then built an elobrate kitty condo for her to stay in while we were at work. My old kitties were all interested....they liked to watch her and see what she was doing. at 9 weeks, we just let her run around when we were home.....the big kitties didnt attack her, and she didnt attack them. She never really hid..... but she never really played either. i assumed she couldnt be totally ferral.... i could pick her up a little and walk around, she always wanted to be able to keep me or my husband in eyesight....but she REFUSED to sit on us (my other cats sleep on my chest) .

Then i took her to the vet to get her shots, and got the news about her blue eye - that it might go blind and she might lose some or all of her hearing. She was social at the vet that day.... never hissed. i took the news as is, understanding that she might have a harder time finding things or hearing things later on..... still was determined to save my little sophie.

I should have noticed something was wrong at 9 weeks, but i didnt. it had been 10 years since i had a kitten......i forgot what they were supposed to be like (now i remember, since our newest edition, mr monkey) At 10 weeks, she would only play with toys for maybe 10 -15 minutes at night, that was it. She would try and socialize with my 12 year old cat a little, but that usually only lasted 5 minutes. then she would sit....and watch and sit and watch and sit and watch. no running, no climbing up the furniture, no jumping and exploring, no getting into trouble and playing with things she shouldnt. she just had to be in the room with a human - and be able to see them.....and sit and watch, and she "seemed" happy. I was sooooo very dumb.

Then we moved to a big big new house, sophie LOVED it... the four of them could all have their own rooms now if they wanted, and there are 13 windows!!! She was spayed (and front declaw only, they all are indoor only, please please dont yell at me because of this). She seemed to get even more docile....she would walk around with one fluffly mouse and hunt it once in a while.... but even at 5 months old...she wouldnt play with toys on a string, never really zoomed around the house. I gave up on trying to get her to sleep with us, or lay on us. and she didnt like to be picked up and held either.... she was her own little personality, sweet as pie when she wanted to be, but preferred her own space most of the time. and slowly decided she LOVED human feet.

1 year - petting her with your hands was mostly impossible (i have NEVER hit her). when you reach to pet her , she looks at us like we are strangers and runs away. if she is up around chest level with you (like on the countertop) then you can pet her with your hands....otherwise, she will just hiss and run away. She also stops eating treats - but continues to gain weight (free fed grain free gluten free food).... we start lovingly calling her chubby. she has stopped interacting with the other 3 cats almost totally - yet she is for sure the dominate one. a single glare or bat of the paw from her send the other 3 running..... but she doesnt attack them so i dismiss it. She claims the front parlor room of the house.... we buy her at 2nd LARGE cat tower, which she fell in love with and claimed as her own. she wont let anyone else on it....which is fine, it was just for her.

1.5 years..... still declining. She only likes to be pet with feet now....reaching up and petting her on the cat perch sends her running, so i stop trying . I say hi when i come home from work and just talk to her.... she refuses to play with any toys. One hot day, i discovered her most loved obsession... ICE CUBES..... to this day, all i have to do is yell ice cubes, and she comes charging into the kitchen. its her favorite treat, and she has he own dish for them, which she likes to send flying across the room (i guess they are her only toy). then the hair starts coming out... im finding puffs of white fur everywhere. Finally, i sit and watch her do it.....she licks a part until its in a perfect mohawk point.... then rips it out. She mananged to do this enough until she was bald on both sides (i changed all the laundry soap and washed everything and checked for fleas, ....her skin wasnt even red..... just bald. )

thats when i started to think she was stressed out becasue she couldnt see or hear.... it was happening much sooner than i thought it would. my husband and i ran "tests" on her..... LOL seeing if she could see things on the blue eye side, and yelling tests..... we were so desperate to make her feel better. Finally... i found read online about brushing your cats....(sophie has slightly longer hair than the rest.... but not much, im REALLY niave, and thought you only brushed long hair cats....... i know, i laugh at my own thinking now). So with her bald sides, i started brushing her.... slowly.... she HATED it.... but mounds of hair came out. i used to chase her one time around the house every day (maybe contact with the brush 5-8 times) and it would be full. Even though she hated it, and hisses and growls.... it seemed to work. she stopped pulling most of her hair out, and it all grew back on her sides. i still dont know what the cause was ... maybe an undercoat that was causing skin irritation?...... no clue. she still pulls her hair out..... only 1-2 tuffs every couple of days..... it seems to sooth her as she does it.

2 years - she mainly remains on the first floor of the house, only goes upstairs to go to the bathroom. she hasnt been in our bedroom (the door is always open) in over 3 months.... she seems content with her two perches and two windows, her ice cubes.... and the only toy i can get her to play with.... the little circle rings that are left on gallon water jugs after you take the cap off. we pry them all off with a screw driver now.(this is whats REALLY odd.... it HAS to be a perfect circle....egg shaped, she will not play.... perfect circle...she will carry it around). only will be pet with feet.... and now she seems to think we are "following or chasing" her. she can be in the hall.... you walk up behind her.....INSTANT hissing .... then running down the stairs... if you follow two fast (like when you are in a hurry trying to go to work) it makes her more angry. she thinks we are out to "get" her or something..... i let her run, she finds her favorite spots and hunkers down.... (front parlor only) .... the happens every day almost.

it is only in hindsight and through another vet visit that i can begin to comprehend what my poor sophie is seeing....

in the between of 2 years and this post - we added Mr. Monkey to the family ( a 6 week old kitten) - now... PLEASE DONT SAY THE KITTEN IS THE ONLY PROBLEM IN MY HOUSEHOLd.... please.

i will leave out the most recent decline symptoms of sophie for now.... i should have realized something was wrong at 9 weeks... or at a year... but i didnt. i thought she was "just sophie".

We ended up having to bring her back to the vet (the kitten ended up having tape worm, and im parinoid and wanted all 5 treated just to be safe.) That when they discovered what they said was "rare"..... rare to cats or just rare to them, i dont know. im hoping this is where this community helps.

She isnt going blind.....she going BRIGHT. her blue eye wont dialate down. (i know, we are so dumb....its in all the recent pictures you can see it, or she is always sqinting,i never put two and two together).

This is why she is always in the parlor.... we never turn on that over head light, and the windows are always shaded by a tree.... she never ever lays in the sun. its such an extream difference .... im assuming she almost always see glaring white light now, if the lights are on..... im at a loss. No cat whispering tricks are working..... the 4 cats moving in a room now cause her distress. she is constanting hissing at me and my husband..... she is even biting us..... sometimes as we walk by.

I really dont want to rehome her (even though i think she would be the happiest without ANY cats around her.... and someone that moves slower, like a house with no kids) I hate to add, the breaking point has been that she is peeing outside the litter box now (she never did this before mr.monkey so i blame this symptom on the added stress and smell of him). She doesnt pee in her parlor...... just everywhere else. (i have 12 food dishes out now... all on her pee spots, its working sometimes)

the final straw.... this morning. my husband had to leave for work at 2am, she was aggitated by him preparing his bag so fast (the other 4 were running around too) ...... he placed mr monkey in the bedroom (to give everyone a break from his constant playing).... and she immediatly started hissing and growling and went and peed right in front of the main door.

i have closed the blinds, limited the kitten exposure, turned off the lights , bought all the litter boxes, have all the feliway plug ins, bought all the feather toys and moving toys, and cat nip toys, i have even tried to put socks on my hands.... thinking maybe she will think its feet, lol she isnt fooled.

please... i saw another member with a cat with the same eyes...but she has her own horrible problems, so i dont want to contact her directly for help.

what do i do with my poor sophie....( i cant pill her or give her liquid anything.... i can barely pick her up and move her if i need to, so medication is NOT an option on a daily basis.... i know... the vet tried.)

her actions in the past 3 months appear bi polar - others call it over stimulated.... i dont know. she must be over stimulated anytime its daylight then. she can go from rubbing her gums on my toe....purring....sometimes out of the blue or sometimes when she sees another cat (or a blurr of motion) and attacks! (keep in mind all the negative behavoir (hissing, biting, peeing) has also happen without mr monkey the kitten present... i would love to blame him, but i cant.)

i have failed as a cat owner. the other 4 including the kitten all seek human comfort when tired or upset or sick.... they just love us. sophie hates us... and all the cats. im at a loss..... i want her to be happy, she is young....she deserves a full and happy life. please help with your suggestions.... this forum is my last resort.
 

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Oh goodness, you sound incredibly stressed out yourself!

First things first. Deep breaths.

Ok, this is what I would do...have done.

Sophie needs her own room for a while, if she's picked your parlor then that'll work. If it doesn't have a door you'll need to give her a room that does have a door. Put all her things in there; food, litter, scratch posts, ect. Close the blinds and make it comfortable for her. Get a feliway plug in.
Keep her isolated in there for as long as it takes, but I'd start with a month. When you go in to see her don't focus on her, sit on the floor and read or do something that keeps your hands and eyes occupied. If she comes to you pet her once, then stop. I wouldn't approach her at all since that seems to be a trigger.

This isolation will have two effects, reducing her stress level by giving her a private safe territory, and hopefully retraining her to use the litter box. (I'm assuming your vet tested her for a urinary infection and it came up clean. If not then that's step one)

After a month or two you should see some differences in her behavior and you'll have had time to learn more about her medical condition and what can be done to make her life easier or treat her condition. Don't make any decisions until you've given her some time to relax and feel safe.

Our middle cat, Torri, got sick when she was a year old. Between that and Jitzu not letting her eat she was a very unhappy kitty. We kept her in one room and worked on building her confidence. Its taken a long time, but every year things get better between her and the others. Now she'll eat treats with them, she's starting to play with them, and she's out of her room anytime we're home.

I'm not saying you'll see huge changes immediately, and maybe she'll always be more comfortable alone, but you could see some big improvements (at the least in her own room).

There's no point blaming yourself for not noticing her eye issue; besides the fact that it can't be that common if she wasn't ever terribly social it would be hard to notice a difference.
 

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I guess this will be our last resort....
She just wont stop peeing everywhere now.... both floors of the house, all rooms. I really don't even want to go home anymore, that's how depressed I am about it.

I made a vet appointment - for a uti and blood work, im sure they will have to tranquilize her, but I don't know what else to do.

Yesterday she was having me rub her gums, being all lovey, and within an instant she just looked up and hissed at me.... her eyes fully dilated, I thought she might bite me. its scary... like two different cats in one body.

then when she comes home from the vet, I can try and keep her in the spare bedroom for a month.... I understand needing to reduce stress, I just really hate shutting her away. I don't want her to feel lonely...

shes also pulling out a ton of her hair again... along both sides of her back. I keep trying to softly brush her but that makes her more angry.

our appointment is today at 3:30.... im hoping I can get some answers.
 

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Oh that sounds so awful for all of you, and poor, poor Sophie.

Wait, am I missing something? That picture you posted of Sophie is dated 2004- that would make her a lot older than 2 1/2. Or is it a software/camera thing? I'm confused. :???:
 

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I know it doesn't seem like the best idea, but I'd suggest giving Sophie a room permanently.

One of our 4 cats is quite shy and skittish, I've worked with her a lot, but she still prefers to have her own space. 4 years of having a dedicated room just for her she's changed a LOT. She's braver with the other cats, completely comfortable and safe in her own room, and she's started playing with our two boy-cats this year!

I really feel that anxious kitties, especially ones who are uncomfortable with the other cats in the home, need a space where they can just de-stress and feel completely safe. Keeping her there for a month may make a huge difference, but then if you went right back to the way things are now likely so would she. That's not what you're trying to accomplish.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
that is what is odd about her... it isn't that she is skittish really and her preemptive behavior doesn't match an action sometimes.

She walks around the rooms with her tail straight up in the air, stick straight with a little twitch on the end..... she gum rubs every piece of furniture she get he mouth on. from what I have read, this isn't the actions of an insecure and skittish cat. I thought this meant they were excited and happy and felt like they owned their territory?

Our house will be very difficult to separate - the only room I can give her is "the kitty room" - its the only spare room we have with a door on it. in there they have their perches and a full size bed and window perches - my other cats love the room, and sleep in their quiet often. they will be very bent out of shape.

I just don't believe isolating her for the rest of her life is any quality of life to provide for her. so utterly horrible. I totally feel like I have failed at this.....

yesterday afternoon I had all 5 of them eating and playing in the same room (its typical for the other 4 to gang around with each other, it looks like they are using their quantities in numbers as a protection incase she attacks) - visually everyone looked content..... I keep hoping for it to work out, like the cat whisper tv shows. despite all the feliaway plug ins, feather toys, open litter boxes, and plastic ring toys - its only getting worse :(

I will post tomorrow what the vet says....and put her in the room alone tonight.

this will be the first night since she was spayed that she wont be in the livingroom with us....horribly sad.
 

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that is what is odd about her... it isn't that she is skittish really and her preemptive behavior doesn't match an action sometimes.

She walks around the rooms with her tail straight up in the air, stick straight with a little twitch on the end..... she gum rubs every piece of furniture she get he mouth on. from what I have read, this isn't the actions of an insecure and skittish cat. I thought this meant they were excited and happy and felt like they owned their territory?
These behaviors, especially the face-rubbing, can also be a cat who is fearful and feels the need to constantly re-claim their territory. Also, just because she's sometimes confident doesn't mean she always is.

I just don't believe isolating her for the rest of her life is any quality of life to provide for her. so utterly horrible. I totally feel like I have failed at this.....
I'm not talking about keeping her locked up all the time forever! What we did was kept Torri completely separated until she was confident and CALM in her room. That took about 4 months. After that we started reintegrating her, but always putting her back in her room as a safe haven.

Now she's out whenever we're home, she is interacting with the other cats, but still has the alone time she clearly needs. If she's out for too long in one day the change is obvious. She looks more anxious, she runs and hisses when the other cats approach, she hides and generally is grumpy. A night back in her room and she's face-sniffing or playing a little game of chase.

To me it's the difference between an introvert and an extrovert. My two boys need to company of each other, and Jitzu generally enjoys having the boys around too. They would be extroverts - happiest when in the company of others.

Torri is an introvert, she feels safest alone. As she gets to know the other cats in ways she feels safe she comes out of her shell, but when she wants to sleep or play, or relax she needs to be alone to recharge her batteries.

IMO giving them this sort of break time isn't just a good idea, in some cases it's crucial! I don't even know what we'd do with Torri if she didn't have her own space, she'd be miserable!

yesterday afternoon I had all 5 of them eating and playing in the same room (its typical for the other 4 to gang around with each other, it looks like they are using their quantities in numbers as a protection incase she attacks) - visually everyone looked content..... I keep hoping for it to work out, like the cat whisper tv shows. despite all the feliaway plug ins, feather toys, open litter boxes, and plastic ring toys - its only getting worse :(
Her peeing is her way of communicating that she's extremely uncomfortable. Cats, while predators, are also prey animals. That means they are superstars at hiding any sort of discomfort. She's peeing to try and desperately claim an area where she can feel safe, the less it works (aka the other cats aren't leaving) the worse she feels. The only way to fix it is to make her feel safe and secure again.

I will post tomorrow what the vet says....and put her in the room alone tonight.

this will be the first night since she was spayed that she wont be in the livingroom with us....horribly sad.
She doesn't need to stay locked up in 'kitty jail'! If she enjoys the time alone it isn't cruel at all. Torri LOVES her room and will cry at the door if she's had enough family time and needs alone time. We've used our room as her room for the past 4 years (since she got her own space) and it works great. She gets to have night-time cuddles, eat her dinner in peace (since meal-time is one of her most anxious times), and then have a nice sleep.

We originally chose this because the boys were too rambunctious to sleep with us at the time (they were about 1 year old) and were being put to bed in their own room. Jitzu was left out in the main part of the house as her time away from the boys, and since she was terrorizing Torri.

The room you choose depends on your cat-family dynamics, and preference. But there's no rule saying you can't spend time in Sophie's room with her, or that you couldn't do a nightly switch after the first month or two and let Sophie have the run of the house for a while as the rest of the cats enjoy her space.

How you manage things is up to you, but the changes I saw in Torri once she was given her own safe space were amazing. Her confidence level is much higher (to the point where she's a bit on the bossy side when we let one of the boys visit her room), and she's starting to interact with the other cats rather than run and be terrified if they so much as walk past her. It's made a huge difference for her.
 

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She doesn't need to stay locked up in 'kitty jail'! If she enjoys the time alone it isn't cruel at all. Torri LOVES her room and will cry at the door if she's had enough family time and needs alone time. We've used our room as her room for the past 4 years (since she got her own space) and it works great. She gets to have night-time cuddles, eat her dinner in peace (since meal-time is one of her most anxious times), and then have a nice sleep.
I totally agree with this and the comment regarding introvert vs. extrovert personalities. Scout loves everyone and craves attention (from both people and cats). Jem was the complete opposite. He was very territorial and very much needed his own space and would get very anxious/aggressive if he went a while without that. He and Scout would cuddle and play together most of the time, but if Jem was anxious or needed his alone time, he would start fights with Scout. He also hated it when Scout used his litter box, and any time he did, Jem would fling Scout's pee/poop out of his box, then go pee right in front of Scout's litter box. This was the only time he ever peed outside of the litter box, and I witnessed it several times, so I knew it was behavioral and not a urinary issue. So, I put Jem's litter box in my bathroom, and Scout's downstairs and put a baby gate upstairs (which Scout was too fat to climb, but Jem could easily jump it). So anytime Jem was feeling anxious, he could retreat to his space upstairs, then come back down after he'd had enough. I would frequently go up and play with him, pet him, etc. to make sure he was getting interaction, and he was fine with this. Scout would sometimes go up and meow at the gate when he wanted Jem's attention, but he never tried to jump it. The strange thing is that since Jem died, Scout NEVER sets foot upstairs. He learned long ago that was Jem's domain and doesn't even attempt to go up there anymore.

It sounds like your kitty really needs her own space (away from other kitties, not necessary away from you). You shouldn't look at it as punishment. All cats are different and have unique needs. I would try confining her to a room, and spend some quality play time with her one-on-one, and give her some time to herself and see if that calms her down. Does she have her own litter box? You might try putting it in "her" room too.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
new phase one .... destress.

thank you both so much for your comments and stories. I read them before going to the vets last night and it made me feel better about the situation. Im not looking at it as "putting her in kitty jail" anymore.... now im looking at it as giving her a room to protect her from the other cats.

Im really hoping that it works out in a couple of months, where I can let her out for a couple hours at night or something, and her having her own space will decrease her anxiety.

We went to the vets last night - and it didn't go too well. We ended up having to leave her overnight to see if they could get some urine out of her for a urinalysis. They did manage to draw blood without putting her out, which was good. We will have to wait and see what the tests say. we discussed kitty meds....but even the vet said at this point it atlmost wasn't an option (shes not food motivated, I cant pill her, and even the compound you smear on the inside of the ear would be very very difficult)

The most disturbing was that once we were there, she pretty much resembled a feral cat..... neither my husband or I could even touch her. she didn't seek us out for any comfort .... it was painful to watch.
The last vet visit - a month ago, she was anxious and terrified....but she at least pressed against me and was trying to climb up me to get away and seek comfort. last night we were strangers in a room, we both tried to let her sniff our hands... but nothing worked.

I attached a picture....poor sophie doesn't look well at all.

So the plan today, when she is released from the vets she will come home to the single bedroom with no other cats allowed in. we left "her" litter box in there....its a very large one with no lid on it now. I'm going to relocate her comforter that she sleeps on (I haven't washed it in a year cause im too worried it will upset her, haha) then this weekend I will drag her huge perch up there.

I was hoping to get some advice about what to do when she cries - I have a horrible feeling she isn't going to like this one bit (atleast in the beginning). we are going to go in and have regular play time, and feed her tuna and stuff in the room..... but if she sits by the door for hours and wails..... (this is what happened when we put her in the bathroom yesterday, im hoping she was crying because it was just the bathroom, but I doubt it)

what should I expect for the first week?
thank you for helping to save sophie :)
 

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Sophie is such a beautiful kitty, this is such a shame. You can almost see the exhausting frustrated look in her face. :(

I wish I had something helpful to add. I don't.

She is just such a beautiful cat. I spent my teen years growing up with a cat that could have passed as Sophie's twin.

I hope things begin to work out for her, she needs a break
 

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This is the part that's no fun; if she cries you have to just ignore her. If you go running to answer her, or give her attention, then she'll just cry for longer and longer. You have to wait to go see her until she DOESN'T cry, and then you can go in. But while she's crying just remind yourself that there's a reason she needs to be confined and it's not hurting her. Despite what she'll think.

It should only take a day or two before she gives up, she might cry a little after that, but if you go in and give her treats and play with her she'll get used to it and start relaxing quickly.

It's not at all uncommon for anxious cats to become over-stressed at the vet. My oldest kitty goes completely nuts and has to be sedated for any sort of procedure. to give her shots in the past we've had to have a vet tech and myself hold her, under a towel, and the tech with the cat gloves. Then the vet gives the shot. The last time I took her in she scratched the vet up pretty badly (thank goodness she's not a biter and my vet is wonderful!) and then when she was coming out of sedation she gave herself a bloody nose. *sigh* I only take her to the vet if it's absolutely needed, and my vet is really understanding and will let me restrain Jitzu for most things...it helps a teeny little bit, not that's you'd notice though, lol.

The thing to keep firmly in your mind throughout all of this is that it's for her own good and to help her feel safe and more comfortable. She's not going to be used to being confined, but I'm sure she'll start to enjoy it soon enough. An added benefit for Sophie will be that everything in that room will stay very static. There's no other beings to move stuff around most of the time, so with her vision issues that may be an added bonus to her level of comfort.
 

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ok! I will stick with what you suggest :wolfie its going to be hard, but I will keep reminding myself this is all for her own well being.

I know she will be very happy to come home.... they called and said she still hasn't went to the bathroom. So Stubborn!!!

Here is a photo of her about 9 months ago. she was happy, until I interrupted her bird watching session, haha.
 

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3 Days in the bedroom.

So this is Sophies 3rd day in a room of her own, and things seem to be going very well. She actually meows and chirps when you walk in the door (I have never had her talk to me like that before), and she actually licked my hand 5 times yesterday! She has been using the litter box regularly and hasn't shown any aggression towards me or my husband. She just wants to be pet, and head butts us over an over while purring. she hasn't been crying at all, and actually seems happy, she hasn't even tried to leave the room.

The only thing that did make her hiss and growl was the kitty paws that find their way under the door crack.... the other cats know we are in there and would really like to come in too. As soon as she sees a paw under the door she runs to whack it. Last night she seemed to recover from it a little though.... she saw the paws, and eventually ignored them, and came back to be pet and laid down.

There has also been huge improvements in the other cats moods.... my 10 year old female was actually spinning circles and chasing her tail around. They arnt quiet sure what to do with themselves....since they don't need to look around the corners all the time to see if shes stalking them.

I know keeping her by herself for a while will be the best thing for her, but I am eventually hoping to reintroduce her to the rest of the house. I feel like keeping her separate for he next 10 years of her life just isn't humane. she has always wanted to be around humans....when everyone else would be sleeping, she would follow me around like a puppy.
What are the first small steps I should take? maybe just put blankets in there with her that has the other cats smell on them? or would that be forcing the other cats on her space?

im still waiting for vet visit results too....
heres another picture of her, she looks much better than she did at the vets!
 

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That's amazing news!

The first step is to keep thing the way they are for at LEAST 3 months. She's had a lot of stress the past little while and it takes cats longer than we think to completely get over it. She's starting to feel safe now, but I'd be willing to bet that 3 months of safety will give you a completely different cat.

Once you've reached the 3 month point assess her again, see if she's still hissing at paws under the door (if she is wait another month, then reassess again). If she's playing with paws under the door then look at bringing her out for short periods, but be DOING something with them.

Don't just open the door and let them figure it out, that will never work! Sprinkle treats around the rooms, as a treasure hunt, and have a wand toy out so there's toys to focus on. If they do well like that then play with them quite a bit, until they're tired. If that still goes well start feeding them their meals together. Sophie should be out of her room for about an hour, then go back in. You don't want to wait until something bad happens you want to put her away when everyone is still happy!

Make a point of playing with all the cats to drain their excess energy, it's always a good idea anyways, and then keep Sophie out while you watch a movie, or just do whatever you do in the evening. Always put her away when you aren't home.

We've been working with Torri for the past 5 years (she's 6) and just this year she's been confident enough to start playing with the other cats and eating right near them, so it's a long road. That being said, she's so much happier now than the other times we tried to reintegrate her because we always moved too quickly for her. Now she knows she's safe, and the boys won't chase her. No hissy fits for the past few months, and she's standing up for herself.

I know if you are patient it'll work out with Sophie, her settling down so quick is a great sign!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
the paws under the door

sounds like a plan! I can tell now she needs to be alone for a while, so we will keep things the way they are for the next couple of months.

some small additional notes -- just cause I don't think I explained it correctly before.
the hissing and growling at the paws under the door actually isn't directed at the other cats.... its only directed at me. she was whacking them, and pouncing on them. then she turns around, sees me sitting behind her, and hisses as growls at me. (maybe she is yelling at me "make them stop"??) it actually appears to me to be playing, she has always loved to stick her paws through the door cracks. she is sticking hers out too when she see their shadow go by. I must be wrong about it being playing.... which is unfortunate, its actually how we introduced her to the kitten..... she would sit at that crack in the door for HOURS...they would reach their paws through to each other over and over.

and oddly enough, they have always had their meals together, with no problems, even her and the kitten..... eat one foot apart from each other, no hissing...no fighting.

torri sounds sweet, like my 10 year old girl named trinity. she doesn't like being chased either, and she usually hides under the bed . I hope Sophie makes as much progress as torri!

here are "the paws under the door" haha.
Romeo - boy- 13- all grey (full polydactyl)
Latee -boy - 12 - cream and white
Trinity - girl - 10 - calicao
Mr. Monkey - boy - 6 months - tiger (full polydactyl)
 

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