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Nervous and anxious cat

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Okay, I wasn't sure where to ask, but I thought here would be a good place. Many of you are taking cats to shows, wich are big and stressful event for them, so I'm sure you have experience regarding my question. I'm now volonteering at a shelter where all the cats are in foster family, but every two weeks we bring them all at the same place and people visit them all day. Some of the cats are very nervous and have a horrible temper during these adoption days even if they are great cats in their foster homes. It makes it difficult to find people willing to adopt them. So, my question is, are there any ways/tricks to make a cat less nervous and feel better during stressfull events like these?

Thank you for your responses,

Marilou
post #2 of 12
Cats are not like dogs. Very few of them instantly accept new places, people, other cats, etc.

And most cats are not used to 50 other cats being around. A few is fine, but more then that they get upset and nervous and "act up". If the foster familys don't have alot of other pets around that may be why some are acting up.

Maybe schedule more adoption days at the shelter and bring in less cats at a time. If you can section off another room for the more upset kitties where it would be even less activity at a time, that may work.

Most people who show cats start them as kittens (4 months) and they get used to things. Older cats are tricky. Some take to the shows right away, some need a few shows to settle, and some NEVER want to be in the show ring and around a lot of other cats.
post #3 of 12
Try some Rescue Remedy or Feliway to help them relax.
post #4 of 12
Can the cats see one another? The pet store near me does adoption events where the cats are just placed in dog kennels for the day. However, at cat shows, there is always something that will prevent one cat from seeing another.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks all for the tips and info.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FerrisCat View Post
Can the cats see one another? The pet store near me does adoption events where the cats are just placed in dog kennels for the day. However, at cat shows, there is always something that will prevent one cat from seeing another.
They can see each others but they are in cages and they can't get close to each other. Those that are really nervous, we put blankets to cover the sides of the crate so that they don't see the other cats, but they still see all the visitors and I think that's what makes them nervous. They don't have anywhere to hide. I understand cats don't like to be carried away from their home and being in a new environment is hard for them, but it's our only chance at giving them a real life by finding new adoptive parents... We usually have 20 cats at a time and it would be hard to bring less...Some of them are really fine and don't seem to bother, I'm just scared for those that are older and nervous and are not going to get used to it.

Marilou
post #6 of 12
Can you put a bed or a blanket in the cages so the cats can burrow under them when they feel insecure?
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FerrisCat View Post
Can you put a bed or a blanket in the cages so the cats can burrow under them when they feel insecure?
I will try that...their cages are not veru big and most of them hide and lay in their litter box...It would be nice if I could bring each of them a little blanket, good idea!
post #8 of 12
IMO I don't think it will really hurt their chances. Most people kinda look for color (at least I do) when "shopping" for a pet. That's how I found Reds (and Mitten helped too). He was not an outgoing kitten. He stayed in the back of the cage but was easy to handle. Just on the shy side.

Mitten told me to take him home (he's the one that died years before). I love red tabby cats and this guy was not the typical kitten. He was healthy, but just shy.

Is it really a big problem with these cats who are shy and hide in the cage to be adopted?
post #9 of 12
At the shelter where I volunteer cats are only kept in cages when they first come into the shelter; they are vet-checked and kept at the vet for at least 10 days before coming to the shelter. After a week or so the cage is then taken into one of the 2 cat rooms. After a few more days in there, the door of the cage is opened to allow the cat to come out if they care to. The staff encourage the cat to come out and mix with the others. Within a few days or a week the cat is integrated into the room population. The rooms have cat trees and shelves at different levels throughout the rooms for the cats to "hang out" on. There are numerous cat beds and lovely places to have a nap. Sometimes there's a bit of a hissy fit happening, but no serious fights. When someone comes in that wants to adopt they go into these cat rooms and spend time there. I often just go in and sit down on the floor and am instantly surrounded by cats looking for some loving.

Is there any way your shelter could dedicate a room to the cats and allow them cage-free living? It works beautifully at our shelter. Naturally cats that have aggression issues are usually kept in a cage (in the cat room or the overflow room) but are still around the other cats. I believe they use a feliway plugin in the cat rooms as well. The couple that started this shelter insisted that there be cat rooms where the cats could live freely and not be caged. It's wonderful really.
post #10 of 12
That's cool and I have only seen one shelter here that had a "cat room" with the treehouses. They enclosed it with plexiglass so you could watch them
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
At the shelter where I volunteer cats are only kept in cages when they first come into the shelter; they are vet-checked and kept at the vet for at least 10 days before coming to the shelter. After a week or so the cage is then taken into one of the 2 cat rooms. After a few more days in there, the door of the cage is opened to allow the cat to come out if they care to. The staff encourage the cat to come out and mix with the others. Within a few days or a week the cat is integrated into the room population. The rooms have cat trees and shelves at different levels throughout the rooms for the cats to "hang out" on. There are numerous cat beds and lovely places to have a nap. Sometimes there's a bit of a hissy fit happening, but no serious fights. When someone comes in that wants to adopt they go into these cat rooms and spend time there. I often just go in and sit down on the floor and am instantly surrounded by cats looking for some loving.

Is there any way your shelter could dedicate a room to the cats and allow them cage-free living? It works beautifully at our shelter. Naturally cats that have aggression issues are usually kept in a cage (in the cat room or the overflow room) but are still around the other cats. I believe they use a feliway plugin in the cat rooms as well. The couple that started this shelter insisted that there be cat rooms where the cats could live freely and not be caged. It's wonderful really.
Hi Yosemite,

Unfortunatly, our shelter is not rich enough to afford to rent a place. All the cats are placed in foster families (where they are free in the homes and are socialized) and people can browse the available cats on internet and decide to visit them in these different homes if they want to adopt one. To increase their chances of being adopted, though, every two weeks we rent a space for one day and we bring all the cats in so that people can come visit more than a cat at the time. We don,t have enough time to make the cats comfortable enough to just let them free in the room, so during this particular day, they have to stay in cages.

GoldenKitty45: You are right, some people come and they already have an idea of what they want their future cat to look like. However, and this is especially true with older cat, if the cat is really nervous, there's really less chances for him/her to be adopted. The reason is simple: people want to "connect" with the cat. If the cat wants to play or to be pet, even if he/she isn't the color they wanted him/her to be, they are most likely to fall in love with him/her. If we have to tell the visitors: "no, you can't pet him and we can't take him out of his cage because he might be agressive", people will just keep going and look at the other cats. That's why some of our cats have been in the system for so long while others are being adopted all the time...

Marilou
post #12 of 12
We don't have small cages at the local shelter either, the cats all live outside in enclosures with 6-8 cats in each one. Plenty of spots for them to hide or run and play
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