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Trying to re-home 2 troubled kitties

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, but since these particular cats have a lot of behavioral issues, I suppose it will do.

I have been considering this option for some time now and while it pains me that I can no longer keep them and many of you will probably try to convince me that it isn't necessary to re-home them, the decision has been made. Keep reading and hopefully you will understand and maybe be able to give me some sound advice on finding them a new family.

I am talking about the newest additions to my furry family, Missy and Callie (who are mother and daughter). I aquired them from a friend's grandmother, who had finally realized that she could no longer care for them properly. Problem is, she hadn't been able to for a very long time and had already put those poor cats through a lot of distress before coming to that conclusion. Some time ago she confined them to one small room of her house to keep them out of trouble and make it easier to maintain them. Their litter boxes were seldom cleaned and at some point they stopped using them. Their food and water dishes were rarely filled and they starved for days at a time. They are both long haired cats and their fur hadn't been cleaned or brushed in so long that most of it had matted so badly that it was painful for them. And other than the elderly lady coming into the room once in a great while to feed them or clean their litter pans they had no human contact whatsoever. They became like ferals living indoors.

They came to me filthy, under-nourished, and aggressive. I gave them a few days to calm down and get used to their new environment, then I started with what I knew would be one heck of a project. They hid most of the time so I took them out often and held and petted them, suffering many painful bites and scratches in the process, but I kept with it. When they were a bit more comfortable with being handled, I bathed them and cut all the clumps from their hair, which caused them to withdraw again, so there were several more days of "forced bonding" following that to get them back to where they had been prior. They started eating normally again and they began to fill out and appear healthy. It has been 2 months now and they have come a very long way. Neither hides anymore, and both will let me pet them now without a battle, and sometimes even come to me seeking attention. They still don't like to be picked up or held and I am the only person who can pet them without getting nipped at, but I am very proud of the progress they have made; it took alot of hard work to get to this point. Now, as far as them using the litter box, that's something that hasn't improved much. Missy only uses it half the time and Callie almost never does. Callie also has a severe hairball problem and Missy chews on just about anything she can get her teeth on.

So there is still work to be done here, but I no longer have the time and energy to devote to them. I have been working alot more lately and between that, my 5 other cats, a dog, a fiance, AND trying to plan a wedding, I am finding that I simply don't have enough time for such a difficult task. While I know that they are healthier and happier than they have been in years, I also know there is more that can be done for them and I feel that it isn't fair to not provide them with that.

So with that being said, I am trying to find another home for them, which is proving to be quite a task in and of itself. They need somebody who can rehabilitate them further, as opposed someone just looking for a pet. I would not be surprised if they reverted back to being aggressive once put in someone else's care, since I am the only human they seem to have bonded with. So many people in my area will just throw a cat outside or drop it off on the side of the road for much less than what I have dealt with from these cats, so I want whoever takes them in to know what they are getting themselves into and be willing to see it through. They are not bad cats, they have just been through a lot. Also I would prefer not to seperate them since I don't know what effect that will have on them. But I haven't had any luck yet. I've even talked to my local humane society but they are not taking new cats right now because they are already at their max, and I was also told that given the circumstances and behavioral issues of these particular cats, they probably wouldn't take them anyway because they would be "difficult to home"!!! Can you believe that?! But regardless, I am still at square one and would really, really like some advice on how to find someone knowledgeable, caring, and patient enough to take this on.

I've decided to add pics to this post so everyone can see these poor beautiful girls.

Missy


Callie
post #2 of 17
You are in a very difficult situation with these 2. You have 2 cats that have not been properly socialized and are not litterbox trained. You have to find that one person in a million that is willing and able to take on their problems. If you don't disclose their backgrounds to an adopter, they will most likely be given to a shelter and euthanized. If you disclose their needs, people will walk away. And with the economy the way it is, most rescue groups are going to be full and may not be able to take them.

I would start by contacting every rescue organization in your area. They won't be in the phone book. The best way to find them is to go to petfinder.com, and do a search for adoptable cats in your area (do a search on your zip code). You can scroll thru the list and you will see the associated rescue organization. Click on the rescue organization and it will bring up information on how to contact them.

If you choose to advertise yourself (thru Craigslist, newspaper, etc), do NOT list them as free to a good home. They will most likely land in a laboratory for medical experiments.

This is not going to happen overnight. You might want to start considering what you need to do if you cannot get them placed.
post #3 of 17
You have already received some good advice. And I commend you for the time you have already devoted to these cats. My heart is breaking for them.

The only thing I will add is please, don't even use craigslist at all. It's a terrible place. Not only laboratories cull for "free to good home" cats. Sick torturers and abusers do too. Cats are a popular target.

The safest way to do it is through a rescue that uses a screening method, and charges an adoption fee.

How old are Missy and Callie? I will pray a loving home for them, together, is found.
post #4 of 17
If I didn't already have 13 I'd take them. I have a way with unsocialized cats, don't mind losing a bit if blood, and love a challenge.
Surely there is another person out there who meets these qualifications and doesn't have an overfull house already?
If you can keep them a little longer you'll have a better chance of getting them in a rescue this fall when kitten season is over.
With the progress you've made the next person wouldn't have near so much work to gain their trust, but it would still be a challenge.
I think you did great in taking them in the first place, getting them out of where they were was the foundation for anything that is ever accomplished with them.
Sad story, and the reason I've decided that at age 52 I'm on my last family of permanent cats. If they live a full life I'll be getting on up there, and would hate to find myself unable to care for another bunch their entire lives. After these it'll be fosters and socializing only.
post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by bookworm View Post
If I didn't already have 13 I'd take them. I have a way with unsocialized cats, don't mind losing a bit if blood, and love a challenge.
Surely there is another person out there who meets these qualifications and doesn't have an overfull house already?
If you can keep them a little longer you'll have a better chance of getting them in a rescue this fall when kitten season is over.
With the progress you've made the next person wouldn't have near so much work to gain their trust, but it would still be a challenge.
I think you did great in taking them in the first place, getting them out of where they were was the foundation for anything that is ever accomplished with them.
Sad story, and the reason I've decided that at age 52 I'm on my last family of permanent cats. If they live a full life I'll be getting on up there, and would hate to find myself unable to care for another bunch their entire lives. After these it'll be fosters and socializing only.
i'm in the same situation. i'm 51 and my husband is 61. we have 9 cats, of which 2 are 12 years, one 6 year, two 4 year and four 2.5 years. after these, if we're still able, it's going to be the oldest kitties the shelter has
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by otto View Post
You have already received some good advice. And I commend you for the time you have already devoted to these cats. My heart is breaking for them.

The only thing I will add is please, don't even use craigslist at all. It's a terrible place. Not only laboratories cull for "free to good home" cats. Sick torturers and abusers do too. Cats are a popular target.

The safest way to do it is through a rescue that uses a screening method, and charges an adoption fee.

How old are Missy and Callie? I will pray a loving home for them, together, is found.
The previous owner had Missy for 11 years so she's at least that old and I'm not sure of Callie's age, but if I had to guess I'd say she isn't more than 2 or 3 years old.
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by otto View Post
I will pray a loving home for them, together, is found.
I second the above prayer for Missy and Callie
post #8 of 17
And praying for you too of course. you've got a lot going on right now
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
No luck finding a new home for them yet. I've had a couple of people offer to take them in, but I am being very picky and keep finding reasons not to give them up. I've realized that I am more attached to these two than I had originally thought and I don't think I will ever find a new home that's "good enough" for them. Selfish, but true. So I have decided to keep them and MAKE time for their special needs.

I am treating Callie's hairball problem with just a simple paste I found at Wal-Mart. I wasn't sure it would help much, given how severe her problem seems to be, but she hasn't hacked anything up since the first dose.

I also got a no-chew spray called Bitter Barrier and sprayed all the cords in my house with it. Not one of the animals, not even the avid chewer Missy, has gone near them since.

My fiance and I have made a ritual of sticking Missy and Callie into the litter boxes as often as we can to familiarize them with it again, and it seems to be working. I've only found 1 accident today and that's very good compared to before. I bought a bunch of fancy new litter boxes too. They are all the same, extra-large covered boxes with the little swinging door and air filters on top, and the matching mats that go on the floor in front of it to prevent litter tracking. Very nice. I don't know if they are really for the cats' benefit, but I certainly like them!

I've also been working on socializing them more. They both come when called now, not all the way from another room or anything like that yet, but if I'm about 5 feet away and I snap my fingers and call to them, they come running. I held Callie on the couch last night; at first I had to force it, but after about 5 minutes she relaxed and just laid in my lap purring for about 20 minutes. Then I woke up this morning with a cat laying on my feet and I looked down expecting to see Mira or Kipper but found Missy! They are both warming up so much! I am very, very, very happy with the amount of improvement I've seen in such a short time. There is hope yet!

Wish me even more luck!
post #10 of 17
Congratulations! Now you know for sure thta they are going to a good home.

It might be some help with the litter box problem to put their accidents in the box when you find them.
post #11 of 17
I just want to say God bless you for what you are doing for these lovely cats. You are a very special person to commit to this.
post #12 of 17
YAY! I agree, you are a real hero! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking them on permanently. I'm all tears.

Please keep us updated on Missy and Callie's progress!
post #13 of 17
Wow - I'm just overwhelmed with THANKS for the work you're doing with these two!

I'm so glad you're going to keep them.

One quick idea I haven't seen mentioned given the change in course of the thread. PLEASE try Cat Attract additive! This is a good price for it: http://www.entirelypets.com/catattract.html There is Cat Attract litter that has truly worked miracles for people - but it doesn't clump well. We went with the additive instead of the litter, and our out-of-the-box stress-pee-er hasn't had a problem since.

post #14 of 17
You are an absolute angel....perhaps you were questioning your own devotion to Missy and Callie.....and your question was answered....you belong together!! How wonderful to see such great progress in the last little bit....they truly do admire and love you!!

As others said too....I'm at an age where I'm not going to consider any more kittens...I have a 13-yr old and two 1-yr olds.....and am retiring soon. I would love to foster starting next year (the rest of this year is going to be busy)....so reading these stories is giving me courage and inspiration to do what I think I want to do.

Best of luck to you all....you are wonderful!!
post #15 of 17
That is great news, and great progress!

You don't say, and I'm curious, are they spayed? If not, that may help them socialize and be easier to litterbox train.
post #16 of 17
What great news that you are keeping them! I have been thinking of them and praying they would find a good home and they have!!
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dusty's Mom View Post
That is great news, and great progress!

You don't say, and I'm curious, are they spayed? If not, that may help them socialize and be easier to litterbox train.
Honestly, I don't know. I do have an appointment with a low-cost program in my area to get them spayed and update their shots but I told them the same thing, that I don't know for sure. Guess we'll find out when we get to that point.
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