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Some Advice Please

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hello all

I'm new here, thanks for having me. I'm looking for advice from people who know cats, who are also completely impartial. I don't know many who are as well versed as I like to think I am, anyway... thank you for your patience in advance, as this will be a bit of an essay.

Okay, so I am concerned about a cat that was adopted by my boyfriend's flatmate late last year. The reason she needed a new home was due to her previous owner, an old lady, passing away. This old lady was obviously at home all the time so the cat was accustomed to lots of company. The flat she moved to is completely different in that she is on her own during the working day and some evenings, and has been left on her own for a whole weekend at least once that I know of. Not the ideal new home for what is an old cat at ten-years-old who is used to much more company. I'm very concerned about this cat's boredom levels due to this lack of company. She does look unhappy to me and tends to stride aimlessly up and down, when she is awake. The curtains tend to be left shut all day so she hasn't got a window to look out of and there is not much for a cat to look at in the flat. She has just one toy (there's another I donated she needs supervision for in case she chokes) she can play with but it is left hanging on a lamp so is not accessible. Really, there is no entertainment for this poor cat who is used to someone always being there whatsoever.

Aside from this, the cat is in quite poor condition. She arrived overweight - probably to the point of obese - and nothing has been done to help her lose weight, no diet food, nothing. This cat is so porky that she cannot sit down and lean forward the way others do to eat; she shifts her back legs to the side so she's half lying down. I've never seen this before so to me it's abnormal - if anyone has any cats that are a normal weight that do this, I'd like to hear about it. Other than her weight issues that the vet has said nothing about (unbelievable considering one of my own reached only 4.7kg after not going out so much and I was told to cut food back a bit!), her skin isn't great. Her fur is dull but more worrying is the dandruff and little scabs her body seems to be covered with. She hasn't got fleas and doesn't go out to get into fights, so they're a bit of a mystery. Obviously the skin condition is a good indication of general health. I think it's partly just because she's too big to be able to clean herself and so her skin is suffering. Not good.

So these are the physical issues that are not being addressed. Something else that concerns me is the provision of water. On most occasions I have stayed over, the owner has left for work in the morning without changing the water bowl. It's very obvious, we all know what water left overnight in a cat bowl looks like - and I don't believe that's fresh enough for a cat that's going to be left alone for at least a whole working day. Other times I have visited and she has been left with a TINY bowl of water that clearly was not enough. This was on warm days when she was more likely to be thirsty so even more unforgivable.

I also believe the owner handles her too roughly, particularly for an older cat. She tends to sweep her up making her wail in the process and plonks her down as if she were a bag of shopping, which also makes her complain. It's like watching the way a young child would handle an animal before you ask them to be more careful. I know it's too rough as when I have picked her up, she has rarely minded. Another thing about the owner is that she gets annoyed with the cat for meowing. I've observed this and been shocked by her telling her to shut up. This isn't a care issue but it's silly and not indicative of someone who should love and understand their cat as much as they should.

Hmm, I think that's it. A more minor quibble is the amount of litter left in her tray. It doesn't even cover the bottom. Cats like to bury their business so while I doubt this is making the cat unhappy, I'm sure she'd appreciate a bit more.

Some time ago the owner was considering giving this cat away as she realised for herself that she is not happy. At the time I was thankful for this and tried to gently nudge her towards making the decision by telling her not to feel bad, it was best for the cat, and gave her some advice for what was appropriate in the meantime. She finally made the decision and I thought this was fantastic news. Unfortunately, she has since appeared to change her mind for what I can only think are selfish reasons - it is nice to have a cat around. I decided to ask her if the cat is still leaving and admitted that calling the RSPCA had come to mind. It had, but I more said it to illustrate how strongly I felt that this cat needs a better home.

The owner's reaction was then cause for further concern. She took immediate offence and believed it was a personal attack. Okay, I wouldn't like it if someone told me my cats were better off elsewhere. However, I believe a truly responsible owner who genuinely cares about their cat would do, is ask what the issues are that would cause someone to be so concerned. I had offered to explain exactly what these issues were as before I had skirted around them, but she is simply not interested. Rather, I've been banned from visiting the flat so I can't now see if there are any improvements.

Other than continuing to ask around my friends if they can adopt I don't know what to do. Everybody who likes and can have a cat already has one though. I do want to call the RSPCA as it seems to be the last option but my boyfriend thinks it's going too far (annoying as he always agreed the cat wasn't being looked after properly before). I don't think they'll take the cat away but they would hopefully give her some advice she'd actually listen to and that can only be a good thing, right?

I'll call them anyway in a couple of weeks but I wanted to see if people not involved in any way would do the same thing. Then I can at least do without being made to feel as if I'm a bad person for it - I couldn't care less about the politics, I just care about the cat!

Thanks very much for reading, and looking forward to some perspective.
post #2 of 7
It's a very sorry tale, I feel for the poor cat. But the RSPCA can't do anything - the cat has its basic needs for survival (food, shelter, and water - even if it is a bit stale) met, it is not being beaten or kicked, and legally that is all that is required. The RSPCA don't have power to do anything unless a law is being broken - and although it sounds to me as if the cat deserves much better, the way it is treated is well within the law.

I do hope the owner sees sense, and lets the cat go to a home where it will be happier.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hello Epona, thanks for your reply.

Yes, I see what you're saying. I never once thought the RSPCA would actually take her away. It's more about showing the owner that I feel that strongly so she can see for herself somewhere else is better. Or so they give her advice she'll take on board.

Sigh. It's easier when you don't care about animals as much!
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Come on folks, you look a talkative bunch. What can I do to try and persuade this owner to find a better home?
post #5 of 7
Check with the RSPCA to see if they have any pamphlets or literature on caring for senior cats. Or if they can recommend a book. Then drop the info in your friend's mailbox.
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
That's a pretty good idea.

Does anybody else have a cat of normal weight that half lies down to eat instead of sitting and leaning forward like most do? If I can show her that's not normal, she might do something to get the weight down...
post #7 of 7
I did try to respond one night but my connection was sooo sloooowww that it never posted.

You are in a bind here. People become very defensive when told they are not caring for their pet properly. I do think that her transgressions are irresponsible and she probably is not a person who should have a pet. She doesn't seem overly interested in its well being. She may be one of those people who thinks cats just take care of themselves with minimum fuss.

I think you should approach her in an understanding way and give her some info on senior cats and illnesses that overweight cats can get. You do not want to come off like a busy body or a know it all. You don't want to seem controlling or else you won't be able to help this cat. I had a friend who wants one of my kittens and she is like the person you are referring to in your post. No way on earth would I give her one. I saw the way she treated her last one and it was not up to my personal standard. But every time I tried to tell her she got very very defensive. Her cat ended up dying. She refused to spend over 200 dollars to save his life and he died.

I would not just leave pamphlets because she will know it was you and that could really irritate her further. Again with my "friend" another friend gave her info and she resented it tremendously.
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