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Need help with completely traumatized cat

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
About 12 years ago I got Ridley at the age of two from the local animal shelter. I was told he had been mistreated and would act a little shy.
Well, during those 12 years he was indeed the most timid of my 4 cats, running and hiding when strangers came to the house or when he heard a loud noise. But the evening hours, when the world around him quieted down, these were his special hours. He would come out for a big dose of love, playing with me and the other cats.
But this all changed when I had to take him to the vet recently. He had an infected paw and also needed dental work. I was afraid to even take him to the vet, because I anticipated it would only add to his condition, but I had no choice.

Well, the worst scenario happened. The day he got back from the vet,he started to hide under the bed and for 3 days refused to eat or even to drink. Not even the food he loved so much, fresh tuna, would coax him out.
After three days I noticed that he started to move around the house during the night hours, but as soon as he hears the slightest noise, he hides under the bed again and during the day he is nowhere to be seen.

I could cope with all off that and let him live this life, BUT and even bigger problem awaits him.

I live in Florida and need to move back to Europe in about 4 weeks. I had planned to take all my cats along with me, but now I am at a loss what to do with Ridley. If he is already so extremely paranoid from a vet visit, he will totally loose it after a 10 hour plane trip and might never recover.

So what are my options here? My heart hurts when I see how scared Ridley is and I have no clue what to do, how to ease his paranoia. Any suggestions please?
post #2 of 7
A friend of mine moved back to Holland years ago and they let her buy a (first class!) seat beside her and she kept the cat in the carrier with her! You can call around to the airlines and see if anyone allows it now, or else get your vet to give you light sedation pills of some kind to get Ridley through the worst of it.
post #3 of 7
Also (didn't want to edit the first note) it's not as if you can leave Ridley with the new tenants of your place and would have to relocate him anyway, wherever that is. At least if you take him (and his things and other friends) he'll have some familiar things around even if it does end up taking him months to readjust there. Make sure the people where you're going to understand that it's vital to have all doors and windows closed when you get there (you'll probably be very tired) to keep all your babies safely inside.
post #4 of 7
I completely feel for your worries! It is often extremely difficult for adult cats to handle change and new experiences. I would try to regain his trust, talk to him a lot, allow him to be a part of packing and aware that there is going to be a change. I am normally against this, but in this situation a low tranquilizer may be best during trip.
post #5 of 7
Some airlines let you take a small cat carrier into the cabin. My colleague just relocated and he said he had no problem - especially since he tolde the airlines the cat was very old and sick. He even was able to avoid the quarantaine for the cat here in Singapore - the cat only had to stay in their quarters for 2 days and then could be taken home. My colleague had to promise that the cat stays indoors anyways

I think taking him is the lesser of two evils. Since he is so used to you and the other cats I'm sure he will be even more insecure if you leave him behind!

Good luck!
post #6 of 7
If it's possible to set him up with his own space after the move, that will be reassuring, and give him a "fortress" to venture forth from. A small litter box, a blanket with your scent on it, and some toys will complete his little space. Stick it in a cardboard box so he's enclosed. Then let him venture out at his own pace.

The biggest issue in my rescues going to the vet is their uncertainty about returning home. I don't pick them up or disturb them for a while after their return, to get across the fact that they aren't going to be going anywhere.

I don't see anyway you can't move with him, since any other choice will be more traumatic.
post #7 of 7
Have you had any chance to look him over well and see if there are some complications from the problems that you took him to the vet for?
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