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Taking my parents' cat

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
My parents, who are both 93, are coming to visit me at the end of the month. This may be the precursor to their coming here to live for a while, renting out their house in Cambridge. They have a cat, Cinders, now around 8years old, with great behavioural problems, who pees everywhere, despite vet visits and a behaviourist who came to the house.

Part of it, I think, is that my mother, who is a darling in every way, just cannot cope any more with keeping everything clean enough. It is all just too much for her and the house always smells of cat pee. She is also having to deal with my father who has senile dementia. Anyway, I have finally succeeded in an argument I have been having with her for months - they are going to bring Cinders, and leave her with me so that I can try and retrain her. My mother will actually be relieved not to have her, as she is a great burden and she cannot now even manage the shopping etc that is needed. She relies on neighbours and my sister to bring her supplies of food and litter.

It will be a real challenge as she is not a very social cat but adores my father and follows him around. I hope that he will not break down and miss her too much, but I think it is the only solution. This cat has stopped my parents going on holiday for years, as her problems have prevented cat sitting or boarding. So I will do what I can, following all of the advice here, and see how we go. I have already spoken to my vet here about it, and will arrange a full checkup as soon as she arrives, to start us off properly.
post #2 of 17
This is a hard one, I think the cat is better off with you, but is it possible to retrain a cat?
post #3 of 17
Well, I tihnk that between you & all of us, we can get her re-trained!!
post #4 of 17
I've never dealt with an issue like this, Jenny, but you'll certainly have my support as your working with Cinders. With your patience and understanding, I have no doubt you'll be able to work through this with her. Good luck!
post #5 of 17
I'm impressed that your mom is coping as well as she is! She's 11 years older than my mom, whose situation is similar (except that she's got me here in the house). Even she is starting to admit that she's going to have to let go of some of her resonsibilities soon. Your mom must be an absolute powerhouse!

And I think it's great that you're going to take their cat, especially if they're going to be staying with you awhile anyway. But y'know... if they have to go back home without the kitty, your mom may find she misses having a little companion. I know my mom draws tremendous joy and comfort from our cats, especially her little St. John.

So if their kitty can't change his behavior and has to stay with you permanently... maybe your mom should think about adopting another kitty when they get home. A mature, mellow kitty with no behavior problems, to keep her company and make her feel appreciated. Because if your dad's condition is similar to my father's, then your mom needs all the emotional support she can get.

Bless both their hearts -- I hope everything goes well!
post #6 of 17
Thank you so much for taking Cinders. After her check up, I would confine her to one smallish room if possible. Can you get Cat Attract litter? This stuff works wonders with cats who aren't litter box oriented. Food and water should, naturally, be given in her small room as well. When she is consistent about using the box, she can come out for supervised visits. No other cat around. Show her where the other litter boxes are. Maybe you can use Cat Attract all over for a while.

Loads of luck. Our Peaches takes prozac for this very reason. Which is another solution.
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyranson View Post
My parents, who are both 93, are coming to visit me at the end of the month. This may be the precursor to their coming here to live for a while, renting out their house in Cambridge. They have a cat, Cinders, now around 8years old, with great behavioural problems, who pees everywhere, despite vet visits and a behaviourist who came to the house.

Part of it, I think, is that my mother, who is a darling in every way, just cannot cope any more with keeping everything clean enough. It is all just too much for her and the house always smells of cat pee. She is also having to deal with my father who has senile dementia. Anyway, I have finally succeeded in an argument I have been having with her for months - they are going to bring Cinders, and leave her with me so that I can try and retrain her. My mother will actually be relieved not to have her, as she is a great burden and she cannot now even manage the shopping etc that is needed. She relies on neighbours and my sister to bring her supplies of food and litter.

It will be a real challenge as she is not a very social cat but adores my father and follows him around. I hope that he will not break down and miss her too much, but I think it is the only solution. This cat has stopped my parents going on holiday for years, as her problems have prevented cat sitting or boarding. So I will do what I can, following all of the advice here, and see how we go. I have already spoken to my vet here about it, and will arrange a full checkup as soon as she arrives, to start us off properly.
Welcoming Cinders and hoping and praying all will be well with her! Hope she adjusts to her new environment and that everyone welcomes her after the initial period, of course...!
post #8 of 17
I think that's a very nice thing you're doing. Hopefully she transitions well and her issues improve with you. I hope your parents don't miss her too much.
post #9 of 17
Oh I hope you can get things straightend out for Cinders! Good luck!!! My prayers are with you for her!
post #10 of 17
You are a good person for helping out. Some things to consider with the cat.

1. She will HAVE to be confined to a very large cage/kennel or one room that can be cleaned easily.

2. Don't let her have freedom in the house till she is reliable with the litter pan.


Seems weird if she's the only cat and still will not use the pan - not like there is competition. Good luck in re-training - it will take time and patience.
post #11 of 17
Good luck with the relocation of Cinders-perhaps the new environment will be benefical to everyone.
Its pretty good that at their age they are still living in their own home!!
I have a 90 yr old client who lives by herself with some outside assistance and she seems to be doing well.
post #12 of 17
Hope it goes well Jenny.
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for your comments and support. This will be hard, as Cinders is an inside cat who has been an only cat ever since she was rescued at about a year old in 2000. She will be very disorientated here at first, though she does know me, and for the first two weeks my parents will be here on a visit, which will help.
She has always been random about the litter box - sometimes she uses it, sometimes not and we have wondered if this is why she was abandoned. And she has had every check and test possible. But lately she has got worse and is now peeing on cushions and the bed.
Fortunately I have a downstairs bathroom, quite large and all tiled, which is not used as I am waiting to transform it and the adjoining corridor into another bedroom. It has a large window and sill, and several nice dark hiding places for her. So she can be separate and it is is easy to clean. And then we will see what we can do for her.
post #14 of 17
Many and good thoughts for this new challenge, Jenny. I hope it goes well.
post #15 of 17
I hope it works out Jenny I'm sure it will be tough but maybe she will like being around some other cats at some point. Also maybe she not getting enough attention with your folks not being well. Here's hoping you can make it work
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by halfpint View Post
I hope it works out Jenny I'm sure it will be tough but maybe she will like being around some other cats at some point. Also maybe she not getting enough attention with your folks not being well. Here's hoping you can make it work
I was thinking it might be the attention thing too.

I'm sure you'll be able to show her enough love and hopefully she will get better with the peeing problem.
post #17 of 17
I hope your dad doesn`t miss her too much. Such a sad story but I`m hoping you will be able to work out what her problem is. Who knows, she might be doing it because she likes feline company and is lonely.
Cant wait to see her picture and good luck!
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