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Rescued Cat - Very Abused - need some advice - Page 2

post #31 of 38
I think soft claws is a great idea! Also, given you're a multi-cat / animal household, I'd worry if Snowy might be vulnerable and unable to defend herself if she didn't have front claws? Might make her even more insecure.

I thought it might help if i shared my recent breakthrough. Almost a year to the date I took in my rescued cat, she ventured onto my lap for the first time. It was so gradual, first sitting on the other side of the sofa, then a bit nearer, then next to my leg - so slow but, now we're there! She won't get off my lap!

I travel quite a bit with work and always found a step up in affection from her when I returned from a trip (typically 3 or 4 days away) - she'd missed me and had time to herself and always seemed ready to then do something a bit braver...

It might be a silly idea, but it inadvertently brought on big step ups with my cat, so thought I'd throw it out there!
post #32 of 38
I'll chime in with the rest to say that I think that declawing would not solve any of your problems with her. Declawed cats sometimes become shy and skittish and afraid after the prodecure because they know their claws don't work anymore and they're in physical pain and confused. This doesn't happen to all cats but it's a risk and I would definately not risk it with a cat that's having trust issues already.

Declawing involves cutting off the first knuckle of the "fingers" on a cat paw and since cats walk on their toes they can get arthritis and also develop litterbox problems because their paws get so tender when they scratch in the box that they can associate that pain with the box and refuse to use it.

In addition to that some turn to biting when they've lost their first line of defense.

..and yeah it's a criminal offence to declaw a cat where I live.

anyway having said that I think that your cat just needs lots of time. Scaredy cats often come around but it can take months rather than days or weeks. Learn to pay attention to her bodyl anguage. Cats are often said to be unpredictable but usually I find it's more that humans are often very bad at speaking "cat". I.e cats often say: Right, that's it stop petting me now! just by a tiny flicker of an ear or a changed facial expression and then if you don't stop they'll claw at you, with their claws in though if they're being nice. My cat doesn't act that way but I've known cats that did.

Watch for her ears, how tense her overall body is, how the tail moves, eyes (and don't look her direct in the eyes that's bad manners when you're looking at a cat) it can be a lot of fun to learn the peculiarities with each cat and come to understand exactly how they communicate and how they're feeling.
post #33 of 38
Karen, I have a kitty who was exhibiting similar behaviors. Aggression towards people, other cats, the dogs. She was difficult to live with. I spoke with my vet.....& after much thought put her on Buspar, an anti-anxiety medicine. She is now "normal".

However, it is my opinion that in a kitty who is "mentally unstable"(for lack of a better way of putting it) you should never declaw. I volunteer at the local shelter & have seen many many owner surrender cats who had behavioral problems that the owners declawed & things only got worse. Declawing also causes behavioral problems in itself.

I would very much so like to see things work out for you & Snowy. However, I do not think declawing is the route to go.....IMO, it will only worsen things in your home.

If you've got any questions about my behaviorally challenged kitty, you can PM me. I'm more than willing to help....especially since this is a white kitty! :
post #34 of 38
Soft Paws sounds like the best solution for this issue. That way you won't get scratched and the cat won't start biting instead. If you have difficulty putting the Soft Paws on yourself because of the cat's behavioral issues, I'm sure a sympathetic vet would do it for you at first.
post #35 of 38
An abused cat is much like a dog and will need a lot of time to learn how to re-trust humans. Unlike dogs though, cats are much less forgiving. It doesn't matter if you were the one who hurt her or not, you're still a human. I would say that it has been a very short time, almost too short to see any real progress. Just keep up what you are doing and she will learn to trust you. Although, one sad thing about abused cats is that they may never fully recover. I helped my aunt with her abused cat and it still to this day, three years later, won't come out of hidding if their is anyone other than the family in the house. It's really sad to know how hurt their souls are when a human abuses them.
post #36 of 38
Originally Posted by EnzoLeya View Post
I helped my aunt with her abused cat and it still to this day, three years later, won't come out of hidding if their is anyone other than the family in the house. It's really sad to know how hurt their souls are when a human abuses them.
Not all cats will hide because they were abused. Some are shy by nature. I have a former feral boy that I found at birth, interacted with him until weaned at 5 weeks and then took him from his mother (I was trying to trap her to get her spayed). At 10 years old he still hides from strangers and he's been spoiled his entire life. Every cat is different.
post #37 of 38
Thread Starter 
Hi Everyone.

This is a little long, so by way of introduction, please forgive that!

Snowy is a really special cat. She is hard to understand, but I am taking it one day at a time and listening to everyone's advice. I spend a lot of time with her because I am in the study a lot. I talk to her and I sing to her.

As an answer to one question, she did want to come out of the study. In fact, one evening I hadn't latched the door totally and she (I think with the dogs' help) opened the door and made her way into the jungle of my home.

I have three dogs and another cat (who was also rescued named Singer) and a bird. Anyway, needless to say it was traumatizing for Snowy because she tried to hide somewhere because the dogs were merely curious - but they are dogs, afterall. It was too much for Snowy then...so she ran and hid and I tried to get her out from underneath an end table (equipped with oven mitts) and then my other cat, Singer (all 5 lbs and 15 yrs. old of her) came to my 'rescue' because, of course, Snowy was hissing and clawing and biting because she was so scared. Singer thought she was saving me.

Well, Singer tried to help but of course then I was just afraid for both of them. It was just awful.

I finally persuaded Snowy out from under the table and she found her way back to my study. That incident set us back some in the trust department.

During the daring escape, I was mainly concerned about Singer. I could not believe that our poor old cat (and she is much smaller than Snowy) became such a fearless cat! When I got her, she was already clawless and she is older and very small and has a thyroid condition. So, this situation is very concerning! Singer has been just the best cat ever in the whole wide world and I do not want to do anything at all that might shorten her time with me.

Looking back on it I will never not shut the door totally again. However, in answer to some of the other questions on here, I have been bringing in the dogs and the birds on a one by one basis to get Snowy used to them. She isn't warming up very well. She really is scared of the dogs and she wants to eat my conure. That is only a little exaggeration.

So, I am continuing to work with Snowy in the hope that she may come around, but I can only give it till the end of July. My Vet says to take iSnowy to one of those Vets where they will do a low cost spay and then let them go (but she isn't feral) and that would kill me.

The other option is to advertise but since you can't touch her, it isn't a good option for Snowy I don't think. It would be great if perhaps a farm around here (Tampa) might take her, but again....I am torn.

Somehow, Snowy came into my life for a reason. I was most certainly not looking for a kitty (as my Singer doesn't like it) but I couldn't let Snowy go to a kill shelter either.

The people who had her before us lied to me about her being spayed. They drugged her badly before giving her to me and they have not e-mailed even once back after I have tried to get info. Apparently she has never been to the Vet at all.

Anyway, that is where I am right now. I am going to get her spayed and hope that does some good. I have also made a determined decision that you all are right and that declawing is the wrong choice. If we can keep her, I will use the soft claws.

Thanks everyone sooooooooooo much for your concen and the advice and just everything. I am inspired by this site.

Karen & Snowy and the "Crew"
post #38 of 38
Karen, I really must applaud your efforts with Snowy, and I believe you're right--she came into your life for a reason. I honestly don't know if I could have been as patient as you've been.
We've had cats and dogs (and like you a conure) live together; some cats never became friends with the dog, and they ended up just staying out of each other's way. We've had cats that didn't like each other, but apart from an occasional swatting match, they didn't hurt each other, basically ignoring each other most of the time. The conure was a constant source of wonder for the cats; unfortunately, we were never able to tame him and he lived his life in his cage, so the cats weren't a problem.
I think introducing the other pets in your household on a slow and steady basis is a good idea, but don't be surprised if Snowy never warms up to the dogs. Some cats just don't like dogs...period. Snowy and Singer may never make up to each other; is that really a terrible thing? I do have a problem with your vet's idea to have her spayed then release her. As you said, she isn't (and wasn't) a feral cat. Sounds like a very bad idea to me. She's already so frightened of everything, how in the world could she live on her own out in the big, bad world?
I wish I had some words of wisdom for you. May I ask, why do you only have until the end of July before deciding Snowy's fate? Please don't give up on her; she needs someone to help her thru her fear and distrust.
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