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New to the site & having major issues w/ my cat, help!

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
First, I'd like to say thank god I found this site

So I have a 3 year old black cat named Halloweeni... I'd like to apologize in advance for this very lengthy post, but i want to give as much detail in order to help my cat.

Since he was a baby he played rough leaving my roomates and I full of temporary scars on our arms. He would also randomly come up behind us and bite us on the legs or get our arms. However, he was still a sweet cat! He would come and lay with us, sit on our laps, fall asleep on his back our stomaches, but at the same time it was always on his terms and if you petted him for too long or when he didn't want you too your hand and arms were gonna pay! He wasn't really scared of strangers b/c he was always around when we would have parties and he was really good about being near people and he had no problem just walking away and finding a spot where no one would bother him... Then after almost a year I moved back home. He seemed to have adapted rather well but he HATED my brother...Apparently my brother caught him drinking milk from his bowl and hit him ( don't worry I almost killed my brother for laying a hand on my cat). Since then my cat could not see my brother or he'd lunge to attack him. The cat was only a week in my house when I had to leave on a trip for 6 weeks.

This is the rough part!!! While I was away my brother and cat were not able to get along. My brother was an evil person back then and would have my mom lock him in a tiny closet for hours at times while he was home. My mom reluctantly did it b/c she wanted to avoid the confrontation b/w them since my brother had threatened to kill my cat or throw him out onto the streets. I did not know what was going on since I was over seas and my mom kept it from me. I swear I would have taken the next flight home had I known what was happening to my little guy!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE him and i'm crying just remembering what he had to go through

When I got home I immediately went to him first because I had missed him most, more than my parents! And he hissed then went to attack my legs. My mom had to take him out of my room and he was hissing through the door and going crazy if I opened it even a crack.... I'm sure he was pretty angry at me for leaving him Anyway, I took him to the vet and he was nice as pie... he was my old Halloweeni all over again. he came up to me purred, let me pet him. He was psychically healthy. I had the vet neuter him and keep him over night so I could clean my entire house w/ water and vinegar and spray it with the feline spray (i forget what its called but it calms them). The vet said Halloweeni had separation anxiety and was angry at me for leaving him in hell. He was on anti-aggression pills but they didn't do anything but make him sleep all the time.

When he came back home he was sniffing everything but not at all being aggressive towards me or my parents but as soon as my brother came in he would hiss. I went through many fights with my brother b/c of him spraying my cat with air freshener and basically anything that sprayed so the cat wouldn't attack him. My Halloweeni went through a lot and I guess you can say witness a sort of violence b/w my brother and I (lots of loud screaming which he was never exposed to). I even went to the cops to see if they could help me and I think he got a lil scared when I told him I had done a police report and if anything ever happened to my cat he would be arrested and i'd call the Humane Society on him so they could eat him alive.

My brother was a different person then and had a lot of emotional issued that he has worked out for the most part.

Fast forwards to now.... Halloweeni still hates my brother but doesn't lunge at him if someone else is in the room (for the most part) my brother can actually walk by him very carefully and not get attacked. However, he does on occasion stare my brother down and lets him know he's ready to get him. He lets me pet him BUT ONLY on his head. If i touch any other part of his body he'll give me a warning look. If I do it again he'll motion like he's gonna bite me if I put my hand near him again. I stop there and blow him kissies and let him smell my hand so he knows its ok. We get along really well. He follows my mom and I all over the house and lets me get close enough to his face where I can kiss his lips and nose. He has never tried to bite or scratch my face.
I want to be able to pick him up like I did 3 years ago and walk around with him on my shoulder...I want to be able to hug him, and pet him all over. I want him to lay on my belly and lap again and I want him to be able to be in the same room as my brother w/o trying to attack him (my brother has been nice to him for 1.5 years now and only sprays the air if Halloweeni is aggressive towards him). Halloweeni is free to walk all over the house and hallway expect for the livingroom when my brother is home.

Halloweeni is ok around strangers but they cant just touch him. I always have to be there and have them put there hand to his nose so he can smell them. Then he will let them pet him but every once in awhile he becomes very suspicous and i know not to let people near him esp. not children.

I know Halloweeni has been through A LOT but is there anything I can do to make him feel 100% safe again? Safe enough that he'll let me carry him, pet him everywhere, and sleep on my lap? My brother wants to pet and play with him...what can I do to help halloweeni understand my brother won't hurt him again? Should I put him on meds? He still gets very angry if he hears loud noises or if anyone moves his bed even just to clean the floor he'll growl and stick his claws into it and bite it...? I feel heavy in my heart for not being there for him when he needed me and I just want to make it up to him....any suggestions?

SORRY FOR THE LONG POST and please don't hate me for not being able to protect him when I was away
post #2 of 13
Hi and welcome to TCS! Hope we can help!
Sounds suspicious to me, not blaming you....but obvious extreme aggression towards your brother. When you say he only sprays him when he is mean, there should be no reason for your brother to spray him. Honestly it sounds like your brother has tormented and abused this cat excessively, and possibly still. 3 years old is still young and for such a disturbing reaction to one specific person, your cat is telling you something!
post #3 of 13
This is such a sad sad story for you, your brother and the cat. Sounds like that cat was pretty tramatized by your brother while you were gone. Some cats will never recover and always hate the person (or someone that looks like that person) and never trust them again.

And you didn't say where you got him as a kitten. If a stray, he could have been teased, chased, etc. then while his personality was forming. It might take years more before he'll come around. But then again, he may always be somewhat anti-social and hard to handle.

You can't make him nice, you just have to be patient and kind and hopefully he will become more friendly. You can't make him understand your brother will not be mean again - he remembers all that and anytime your brother is around, it will trigger the response of what he did to the cat.

I do hope your brother realizes what he's done,. I would have a hard time trusting him to be around my animals under the circumstances.

I do pray that things will work out, but be prepared for a long long time in adjusting.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your responses.

I just feel terrible for my little guy. I got him from a co-worker when he was 5 weeks old. Halloweeni is terribly smart (he opens doors, lightly taps my mom so she can wakeup when she over sleeps, knows his name...) so i'm sure he remembers the hell he went through when I was gone.

My brothers changed but he expects the cat to just love him and there's no way that's gonna happen. And when I said he sprays I meant he sprays into the air so it makes the sound but not at the actual cat.

I think he might get flashbacks b/c one minute he can be really sweet when my brother is around and the next aggressive where I have to intervene and have my back smell my hand and tell my brother to go away.

Does anybody maybe recommend medicine so he can feel a little more relaxed and not so scared all the time. I love my little guy soooo much and just want him to be the happiest kitty he can be.
post #5 of 13
There's something called Bach's Rescue Remedy, and you could either ask your vet about it, try a local pet store, or maybe someone here will know where to find it.
post #6 of 13
I agree, either Rescue Remedy or a Feliway plug in to help calm the poor kitty down.
post #7 of 13
You need to completely stop all the possibly negative behavior that your brother has toward the cat. No spraying the air, no yelling or anything at all toward the cat. He needs to be nothing but nice to the cat. He can do something like bring the cat treats often to show something positive to the cat. But if the cat is at all aggressive toward him, I don't care if the cat full out attacks your brother, he cannot do anything but ignore the cat and walk away. No negativity from your brother to the cat whatsoever.
post #8 of 13
Originally Posted by Jen View Post
You need to completely stop all the possibly negative behavior that your brother has toward the cat. No spraying the air, no yelling or anything at all toward the cat. He needs to be nothing but nice to the cat. He can do something like bring the cat treats often to show something positive to the cat. But if the cat is at all aggressive toward him, I don't care if the cat full out attacks your brother, he cannot do anything but ignore the cat and walk away. No negativity from your brother to the cat whatsoever.
I completely agree, your brother needs to stop any attempts of communicating with Halloweeni. Especially spray bottles or any other outside correction methods, trying to pet or catch, teasing, making noises or physical gestures.......just completely ignore the poor guy and let him feel that he can live around your brother without torment. For a person to walk into a room and set an animal off at sight into aggressive defense mode, there was some serious torment and abuse behind it. If your brother is truly sorry and wants to have Halloweeni trust him in any way, he will stop pushing it and let him be.
post #9 of 13
You need to explain to your brother that just because he wants all to be forgiven now, doesn't mean that Halloweeni has to accommodate him.

If he sincerely wants to be forgiven, he needs to recognize that Halloweeni is judge and jury, and Halloweeni alone will decide when and if he is ready to forgive.

Your brother is essentially on probation at this point. If there's any hope of repairing the damage anytime soon, Halloweeni cannot experience any behavior from your brother that is even remotely negative. None, as Jen and cheylink said. He can give Halloweeni treats without incident for 99 days in a row, but if he does something stupid on Day 100, the relationship will be back to square one. At best.

As for you, I'm sure that nobody hates you for not being able to protect him. You were miles away from the situation and information was being withheld from you. You obviously care about Halloweeni or you wouldn't have joined TCS and made a thorough post about the circumstances. Like others have said, try the Feliway diffusers and/or Resuce Remedy and have LOTS of patience. Your cat has been emotionally damaged by your brother's abusive behavior and even though you had nothing to do with it, it might take quite a bit of time before he is back to the way he was. Hopefully in the end everything will turn out the way you want it to.
post #10 of 13
I think your brother should take over the care of the cat. Well, all the good stuff at least. Especially feedings-brother should always put down the food. If you can, get some cat treats if he likes it and everytime your brother passes the cat, have him hand out or drop a treat on the ground. Maybe even encouraging the cat to sleep in your brother's room will help. What about using a brush or comb on him? Will he let you do that? I think it is going to take a while of conditioning to get him to let you pet him and such. Start out just petting his head, and move down his neck, then back up to his head. Then reach out further down his back just for a second-slowly conditioning him to letting you pet him all over. It will probably take several months. Let us know how he progresses.
post #11 of 13
All of the above are good recommendations. I'm just here to add that the main ingredient is going to be time, plain and simple (along with your brother showing no negativity at all to kitty).

Before we knew better, we adopted two feral kittens we'd rescued out to people that said they were going to do certain things and didn't. They did not actively try to abuse the cats, but the result was the same. We re-rescued them from the situation. I think they were there a total of TWO WEEKS. The people must have actively tried to capture the kitties by throwing blankets or coats or something over them - because it took ONE YEAR for baby Spooky to no be afraid whenever we got out a coat of some kind to go outside - and years before she freaked if she was in the bedroom and we made the bed (tossing the sheets on the bed).

So while this went on for longer than two weeks, I'm going to have to assume that this may take years to undo. Cats have long memories.

I am so sorry for you and your kitty.

post #12 of 13
Oh - the Rescue Remedy flower essences can be purchased at http://www.catfaeries.com

If they don't help after a few weeks, you may want to talk to your vet about anti-anxiety medication options.

post #13 of 13
I agree that the only possible healer here is time. And that's in Halloweeni's time, not anyone else's. Things that scare us - and injuries - go into our muscle memories, and animals even more than us are very reliant on those.
Halloweeni reacts to your brother the way your brother programmed him to react -- he may never want to play with your brother and your brother needs to just deal with that and accept it.

Over the years, if everyone is very kind and gentle and loving and non-demanding of him, H may learn to trust again - he may even far down the road like your brother when your brother earns it back - but again it's in his time, nobody else's. Meanwhile, your brother shouldn't expect anything from that little cat - he has no right to expect anything from him.

It may be, too, that with his old tormentor in the house, H can never really relax. Someday, when you move into an apartment or something where his former bully isn't around all the time, H may relax enough to let you love him more.
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