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Mean Mommy!

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
Help! Sasha has been terrorizing her 6 week kittens! now, they're scared of everything! when we go to pet them, they shy away, and when we pick them up, they wiggle and squirm to get down NOW! we've tried separating Sasha from them, but she sits at their door and yowls to get back in, and drives us all crazy! she also has taken to attacking us- lunging at our legs, biting and clawing our arms...it hurts! I hate that I have this cat that I love so much, and she's putting us all through so much physical and emotional pain. I don't know what happened to her before she was brought ot us, but I don't think she exactly had a loving, caring home! What can I do?
post #2 of 33
U mean u recently adopted this cat and now she's terrorizing her babies? Could u clarify this more for me so I can see how we can help u.. Hang in there!
post #3 of 33
Thread Starter 
we adopted Sasha on my 15th birthday, in late March, with no idea that she was pregnant. we took her to the vet, and he found an abcess by her tail (but missed the fact that she had kittens growing inside of her). he operated on it, and she seemed fine. About a month later, she gave birth to a premature kitten, which died shortly. Two days later, she had another which was dead when we found it. In another week, she gave birth to two healthy, living kittens. They are now 6 weeks old. When they were just a few weeks old, she began being a little rough with them, pinning them down and biting their necks (not very hard). we were told that this is normal behavior; she does it to teach them survival skills. but now she will all-out pounce on one, pin it under one paw, and bite it's throat, neck, or whatever she can get ahold of. Too many times, we've had to come running into the living room at the sound of little squeals to pull her off her babies. now they have become very shy. they will cuddle with us when they're asleep, but when they're awake and alert, they shy away. Sasha began biting about a week or two before she delivered, and she has just gotten worse. she also likes to keep us up all night with her yowling, which she didn't do before the kittens.
ps~ she was spayed when they were about 4 weeks old, because of a uterine infection
post #4 of 33
Hmm. U have a good reason to be concerned. I would be very concerned myself. Have u checked again with the vet about the continuing biting/attacking behavior of Sasha?

Here's some ideas for u to explore..

?? Sasha is jealous of the attention given to the kittens? Usually people would give more attention to the kittens than the older cats. Have u made sure to give Sasha more attention than the kittens? Try that. That is what I am currently doing with my cats. I have a 8 year old cat I adopted over a week ago and I also recently adopted a 8 month old cat and Sunni (older) is not taking to Zebra (younger) at all so after consulting with some wise people through this forum, I gave more attention to Sunni while Zebra explored her new home and it seemst o be working. Sunni has been hissing and growling less. I think Sunni needed to know that Zebra wouldn't take my attention away from her. Maybe u need to do that with Sasha??

Also, maybe what u need to do is treat them as "cats unknown to each other" meaning u put them in separate rooms and gradually introduce them to each other..I know u said Sasha'd yowl but ignoring her for a couple days and she'll stop yowling.. Get a damp towel, rub the kittens first then rub the towel on Sasha's to get her used to the smell..

another idea is every time Sasha do this, u squirt Sasha with water as punishment. (I use a water spray or a water gun) Most cats HATE water and I prefer this over hitting. (I do not believe in hitting animals). Hopefully, Sasha will stop doing this after being squirted a few times.

Another idea-
are u planning on keeping the kittens? It might be a good idea to find them other homes because Sasha might be jealous of the attention given.

Keep me posted on this! If u need to get in touch with me during the day, im me at Pamelagally or at night using utahgal8 (I am not online much at nites but during the day, I am almost always on. )
Good luck and enjoy having cats!
They are the BEST pets EVER (MOST of the time!)
post #5 of 33
Thread Starter 
I wonder why we never tried this, but I think I'll give the water gun a try. we give them all lots of attention and love, so I don't think she's deprived of those. I think she's just crazy.
post #6 of 33
Thread Starter 
well, we've tried reintroducing them, and it isn't working very well. Sasha keeps us up all night if she can't get into that room, and someone will ususally cave in around 4am just to get her shut up. Sasha still bites and scratches, but I'm starting to learn to hold her so she won't. although, I always make sure I'm wearing my "armor" (a heavy sweatshirt and jeans) when I do this so she can't get to my skin. but she still tries much too often. I'm getting worried about the kittens. they only come downstairs when someone brings them down, and they usually shoot right back up as soon as you put them down. they are still very shy; to pet one, you have to grab it, and force her to let you pet her. they do not like being held it seems. now what?
post #7 of 33
Hmmmm....That doesn't sound good. The water gun didn't help?

How old are the kittens? About 8 weeks old now? U might want to consider finding them homes because most kittens are friendly and wouldn't hide. HOWEVER some kittens/cats DO NOT like to be held. One of my cats FREAKS out when I try to hold her and I think it's because she had 2 bad experiences with being held. I had to learn to just pet her and not hold her.

I know this is hard for u.. Let me ask my friends who are "pros" with cats and see what they say. Give me the weekend to get some info then I'll get back to u on this..

Hang in there..

post #8 of 33
The first step, if not done yet is Sasha needs to be spayed. The kittens are old enough to be weaned. The next thing is more handeling of the kittens. They need to be in just one room until they are used to being handled. Once mom has been spayed her hormone levels will drop and she shouldn't be so bad.

Munchkin Cats

This is one response I have gotten from our "pros". Have u had Sasha spayed??

post #9 of 33

Good that your two have settled down. Re Michelle's cat, isn't she the one who had a hysterectomy when the kittens were 4 weeks old because of a uterine infection? If so, she would have been very sore immediately after the op and the kittens were probably still trying to suckle, plus one can only imagine the awful upheaval her hormones have undergone as a result. I'd say the explanation lies there - massive confusion caused by the discomfort of trying to keep nursing the kittens initially, then falling hormones levels sending mixed messages about exactly what she's supposed to be doing with these kittens.


“Even the most domesticated of companion animals have the right to exist for themselves, independent at times of human requirements and expectations of themâ€.

This is another response... Hope this helps! Pls keep us posted...

post #10 of 33
Regarding the frightened attitude you described in the kittens...

Kittens of that age are naturally curious but they are also very small as compared to the interior of your home. They can feel intimidated by the sheer size as it appears to them. They are upset easily by changes to their environment and do not socialize well if frightened and intimidated. They are creatures of habit and need to know they are safe in order to show confidence and an outgoing personality. Instead of catching them and bringing them downstairs to be free-range kittens, get a playpen or other suitable large enclosure and introduce them to their new digs slowly, a bit at a time - 10 minutes on day one, 15 on day two - and so forth. But first, you must bring up their trust level in humans...

Put yourself in the room upstairs where the kittens normally stay. Do not plan on doing anything other than just sitting there. Use a soothing, high-pitched but soft voice and words that end in a long eeee sound. (I call it the Cat Voice) Stay for as long as you can, but no less than 30 to 45 minutes each time you go in and increase the time daily. Don't try to catch a kitten, or hold one. Just sit there.

It won't be long before one or two of them decides you are interesting and will approach you for a sniff or two. Do not move when this happens. Stay completely still and let the kittens come to you. Eventually, they will begin to trust you and will allow you to touch them a little at a time. Once you can consistantly get all the kittens to respond favorably to the touch of your hand, then you can begin working on moving them downstairs. You might need to repeat this process some once you take them down to assure the kittens it will be OK and that you will let no harm come to them. Once they can climb out of the play pen, they are ready to investigate the house small bits at a time.

The socialization process is very important to the future well being of both the kittens and their prospective owners. If done successfully, both the kittens and their owners will be much happier.

Best of luck,

post #11 of 33
I was wondering how ur Sasha and the kittens are doing? Any improvements/??
post #12 of 33
Thread Starter 
Ever since I got home from camp, Sasha seems to have been much nicer. She doesn't attack as much (she still gets a little snippy sometimes, but we're working on that), and the kittens are getting braver. they come and play downstairs (right now Turtle is at my feet chasing her tail) and they seem a little more at ease. they still aren't crazy about being held for long periods of time, and trying to pick them up is something of an adventure, but they aren't as freaked as they used to be. things are improving, but they aren't perfect yet! (but then, they probably won't ever be perfect, huh?) thanks for caring!
post #13 of 33
NO cat likes to be held for long periods of time unless he or she decides that your lap is a good place to take the hourly nap. Every cat has their own preferences, and every cat (if you take in strays and ferels as I do) has had some traumatic experiences you will never know about. They can also be extremely jealous, and since they are closer to their instincts, changing hormonal balances in the middle of their nursing period can be really bad. Are you sure about the vet you go to? Surely most of the advice here could have been given to you by him/her at the onset and saved you all sorts of grief.

At 4 weeks you could easily take over all the feeding. Poor mother cat, with her belly hurting and her hormones going haywire and perhaps being a new mother to boot...!

You got a lot of good advice on this thread. Cats want to come to you in their own time. I have one cat I can never pet on my own time schedule. He just slips down under my hand and walks off without even acknowledging me. On the other hand, when HE wants to be petted, he jumps into my lap at the worst possible times and falls asleep. At night he is always the cat who sleeps on the bed, however many of the others (16 at the moment) decide to join us (usually the count is highest in cold weather). I have my old matriarch (1st cat) who wouldn't let me touch her for 2 years because I started to adopt foundlings off the street. She would deliberately get close enough to me to almost touch and then snarl and lash out with her claws and growl like a tiger. My legs, hands, and arms were bloody all the time no matter how quick I was at jumping out of the way. I had to learn to avoid her. All the time I spoke to her when I put down her feeding dish or when I saw her come into the house. I protected her special place on the dresser so she wouldn't tear into the various kittens, and also because it was clear that she was hurting psychologically from what she saw as my defection, and needed something she could be sure was HERS. Slowly she has come around, but she will never permit being petting further than a few soft touches on her head, she is touch-me-not to all the other cats and dogs (4), and she really means to maim the first of the household who wants to get friendly.

You mother cat seems to have carried some trauma with her from the past. She may also associate (at least in the short term) having kittens with the two traumatic miscarriages. Her hormones were power-forced back into normal cat from being loving mom, and she was in pain as well. Think of her as a human person coping with such a litany of miseries, physical and mental, and treat her like the walking wounded with lots of special loving. It has taken me now almost three years to be able to touch my old lady, but she is hurting emotional less these days and sometimes allows one of the younger cats to sit quietly on the dresser with her, as long as they sit at the opposite side and don't pay any attention to her. If they more than glance in her direction, she starts for them.

I try to respond to all the cats when they want to sit on me or cuddle, but I have learned to respect their aloofness when they don't feel like interacting. Hell, that's how people are, after all. We need our space. Friends are ready to help, but try not to intervene or intrude unless there is an emergency situation. Cats expect the same from their friends.

Sounds like things are finally settling down for you. But give the kittens away. Mom needs a rest from them to get her head together.

Peace, Catherine

PS. Year one of adopting strays and ferels, I was dripping blood all the time. By year two I had fewer scratches and most of them were accidental -- that is, I didn't do anything stupid to provoke the cat, but they just forgot they were sitting on my arm instead of the cloth of my blue jeans. Now going into my fourth year, I almost never get scratched, even with a new cat. I have observed and learned from past mistakes, and I never assume that all cats are going to like or dislike the same things. I know that one never wants his tummy touched, another will dig in and take flight if there is a suddenly loud noise, another doesn't want to be picked up (but will jump up on my lap of her own accord), some don't like to be waked up even with a gentle touch, while others love to be given a gentle petting when they are sleeping and will sigh, roll over and expose their bellies for petting (this is real trust and special intimacy). The dogs also have learned to avoid being scratched by observing the differencs and body language between cats. In a multi-species household, learning foreign body language and practicing care and tolerance are essential, and not talents confined to the so-called "higher" anmals like us. We (me, cats, dogs) have learned to live in a 3-room house and a fenced-in half-acre with very few culture-collisions. So I rarely bleed these days, the dogs rarely bleed, and the cats have slowly learned not to fight each other for alpha position (I have made it plain that that is my place in the chain). Your mother cat will probably scratch less if the kittens are gone (they should be given away by 8 weeks if you can so they will bond well with their new families), but she may never accept other cats in the household. Good luck. Even on sale, bandaides in quantity cost money! -- By the way, I never bother with fancy medicines. Whatever people say, good strong soap and water applied immediately are the best protection against disease unless the cat sinks a long fang into you and hits deep into the flesh. Even then, I never bother with anti-bacterial things, and so far I have never had a scratch or fang wound fester.
post #14 of 33
hmm, well i didnt read all of the other replies, so sorry if i missed something, but i doubt the kittens are getting hurt... when cats mean business they mean business, and your sasha could probably kill her 2 kittens in a second, and if thats what she wanted to do, she would do it
post #15 of 33
Thread Starter 
for Sasha and the kittens, a long period of time consists of about 15 seconds. and I really don't like to be sitting down and suddenly hear terrified squealing coming from one of the babies. I don't think she's trying to hurt them badly, but I don't think they like it.
post #16 of 33
Thread Starter 
My mom HATES my kitty! I came home from dance class last night to find her in tears because Sasha has been driving her crazy. She yowls when she's awake, on and off, and she bites and scratches still. she got my mom a few times yesterday, and the kittens aren't helping. they've been climbing up the curtains, up the couch, on the table, and driving my mom insane! Also, Sasha got my best friend, Emily, the other day. she was spending the night, and we went upstairs to the kitty room to put them all to bed (we keep them all in there at night), and for no reason, Sasha just jumped on Emily and attcked her legs. Emily helped me pick out Sasha at the shelter, so she's always liked her, but her fondness for her has somewhat lessened. I do NOT know what to do with these kitties! Last night my dad brought Sasha into my room with a litterbox around 11 because she was yowling again. she slept on my bed all night, and every now and then she would start to meow, but I'd tell her to hush and she'd go back to sleep. but that's been the only time she's been good unless she's been sleeping in a very long time. she still likes to pin her kittens down (they're about 10 or 11 weeks now) and bite their throats. this morning I woke up to Turtle squealing in the living room and had to pull Sasha off of her and she decided to go for me instead. we can't take much more of this. Mom wants to get rid of Sasha...and she is completly serious. that scares me, because as much as Sasha is a pain, I still love her. help!!!!!!!!!!
post #17 of 33
OH BOY! That's not good news at all when ur mom wants to get rid of Sasha. Have u taken her to the vet to see about her temper??

Also, have u tried the suggestions others have given such as using double stick tape on curtains, couches,etc to disencourage cats from climbing or using claws on these? Double Stick tape and/or "sticky paws" really works especially with kittens!

I hate to say this but maybe Sasha is better with no other cats around so maybe u need to find homes for the kittens OR find a home for Sasha where she'll be the only cat? If it was me, I'd find homes for the kittens then try to work with Sasha on her attacking, yowling, etc. It's easier to find homes for kittens than a full grown cat especially since she's not a "friendly" cat.

She might just need time alone and having kittens around wouldn't give her time alone and she might feel that they have taken "you and ur famiy" away from her so maybe that's why she's lashing out at everyone???

I really encourage u to consider finding other homes for the kittens or at least have someone take them for a week or so to see how Sasha is when she's alone. If her behavior improves (less attacking and biting) then u'll know it's because of the kittens. If she still attacks even with no other kittens/cats around then there must be another issue that needs to be resolved. Sure hope others can help u out on this. Keep me posted!

post #18 of 33
Look, abandonment affects cats (and dogs) in several different ways. Your Sasha was in a shelter, but she was clearly not feral, because you were able to handle her from the onset. Therefore, she was abandoned by people she had a right to think were going to give her at least a secure and friendly environment with regular meals and a safe place to run to.

But they dumped her, or she was driven too far from home by the males when she became pregnant and couldn't find her way back to her people. Then she ended up in a shelter with a lot of other cats -- like suddenly finding yourself in a detention center without any way of finding your real home.

Then a strange person, however nice, comes along. On top of the newness, she has the horror of miscarriages. Her hormones are telling her to nurture these little dead things, but her experience doesn't help her much. On top of that she has contracted a urinary infection that burns everytime she pisses, and she is still carrying two kittens. She is experiencing nothing but trauma upon trauma upon real physical pain. She is a lost pre-teen, pregnant with quads and physically ill. She has lost two and she doesn't speak her caretaker's language, so there is no way for her to understand what has happened. She has no experience to guide her -- only nature's instincts.

Four weeks after she finally has two lovely kittens, her urinary infection is really hurting, so she is suddenly taken to another detention center, poked, prodded, given several injections, and wakes up with a terrible belly ache. Reunited with her kittens, she hurts, and they want to nurse and be cuddled, and she is going off her head trying to reconcile and integrate all the strange and incomprehensible things that are happening to her. Since the kittens hurt her, she goes through moments of loving them and hating them. How many human mothers have you observed who have had the same reaction to their childen after such a litany of shocks and hurts?

What she needed was for her kittens to be given away at 6-8 weeks, for a completely quiet and isolated environment to give her time to think things out, and non-intrusive supervision and affection. She literally needed to get her head together, but she had two kittens and strange humans, and a strange territory, and the strangeness of new kinds of food, rules and noises, on top of abandonment, pain, and general trauma.

The kittens are now at their most active and curious and demanding to boot. Sasha, on the other hand, hasn't recovered from all the things that have happened to her, and she may still hurt in the belly area. If you've ever nursed babies, you know that there is a direct sensory link from the nipples to the genitals and womb. This is usually pleasurable, but consider how it would feel if you had had a caeserian section, or a hysterectomy soon after your baby was born? Most cats don't have the same pain threshold that humans have, but on top of all that trauma? It is well understood that psychological and physical trauma can increase the sense of pain.

So how do you really think she should feel? In a few short weeks, she has experienced the greatest series of cataclysmic events in her young life and she is saddled with two active and demanding babies and humans who keep trying to pet her. But since their language is incomprehensible -- even the make-nice sounds may be vastly different from her first owners -- she may feel that she is being constantly pushed or forced in some way. This can only add to her general emotional state, which in turn is adding to her physical state.

So how would you treat a human who had been through all this? How many years would you expect your human to carry the emotional scars of such a series of pain and fear? How many years does it take on a psychiatrist's couch to get over such nightmares?

GIVE THE KITTENS AWAY. Give Sasha a quiet, uneventful, unthreatening, and undemanding environment for six months. Don't try to pick her up, Don't even try to pet her. Sit on the floor with her, read a book, listen to the radio or watch TV, and let her watch you until SHE wants to touch. Don't assume that, if she curls up next to you, she wants YOU to touch HER. Talk to her from time to time in a normal and conversational way. Tell her stories and keep your voice soothing and warm. Patience, patience, patience. Let her come to her own moment for affection in her own time on her own terms.

Don't let anyone tell you that cats can't analyze or think things through. Try to arrange things so she doesn't interact with your mother. Give her plenty of space and talk to her -- don't touch. Give her time to get her head together. Living with a cat is not a master-slave situation. It is a learning experience for both sides. In your case, it is a person who wants to receive affection and a cat who needs psycho-therapy before it can reach out and accept or give affection.

Give the kittens away. Or do yourself and her a favor and give Sasha away to someone who will have the patience to help her get her balance again. Trying patience for a few short weeks is not enough. It could take years before she feels herself again. It could be never. Remember that I have an old lady who is three years into being mad at me for taking in strays, and I still can't pick her up without risking being clawed.

Don't feel badly if you have to find a different home for Sasha. Not everyone is cut out to deal with severely traumatized patients.

Good luck to you both.
post #19 of 33
I think catspride is absolutely correct - and what wn excellent way of explaining what is going on.

I agree that you need to find a new home for the kittens.

In the meantime, if you can find some liquid St. John's Wort to put in Sasha's food, it might help her become more at peace with the world. It is not easy to find, but a health food store is the first place I would look. Then follow all of catspride's advice - she knows what she is talking about!
post #20 of 33
Any updates? Have u been able to come to a decision regarding Sasha?? Just wondering. Hope everything works out!
post #21 of 33
I am embarrassed. I came down rather hard on this subject. Living so closely with so many cats, and observing them very closely, I guess I get pretty involved with their personal and private lives. Perhaps it is guilt for all the years I actually believed the research and the scientific interpretations of their behavior. Until very recently, a vet or animal researcher who ascribed analytical thinking or human-like emotions to so-called lower-animals was considered nuts. As a result, I totally mishandled all my pets. At the same time, it was popular to ascibe all human behavior to environmental influences rather than instincts or interitance (the extent of genetic influences, except when breeding for physical characteristics, was not yet suspected). All though my lifetime, these opinions have raged. It all seems a little silly now. Many behavioral patterns can now be identified in humans by a specific gene, and many neuroses and emotionally-linked physical and behavioral problems can be traced to environmental influences as well. But twin studies have, I hope, once and for all settled the stupid argument of EITHER evironment OR inheritance.

Perhaps we are finally entering the age of the golden mean, which recognizes the influence of BOTH environment and genetics -- at least in our handling of humans. There is still a lot of nonsense about "animals" being driven mainly by "instinct" -- which is another way of saying that they are hardwired along rigid patterns of behavior and can only be "modified" by various kinds of behavioral training incorporating rewards and punishments in appropriate doses.

-- conveniently forgetting that humans also belong to the animal kingdom, and are now being found to have a fair amount of hardwiring, as well, and there is an entire school of behavioral psychology to cure the emotionally deviant (autistics, among other misunderstood people) humans.

With such large numbers of animals actually in-house, I have finally learned a truth about them. They are as individual and prone to joy and sadness and both temporary and apparently permanent neuroses as any bunch of humans I have ever known. There are male cats who habitually rush around trying to murder newborn kittens, who pick vicious fights with other cats -- not just because they have an over-abundance of testosterone, but simply because they seem to hate all of their own kind. And then there are full tomcats who develop passions for one or several females and stick close to them both in and out of season, and who never pick fights with any other cat, only reluctantly (like the western cowboy heros of old) defend themselves and their particular females.

The emotional attachments, alienation, sensitivity, callousness, irrational hatreds and fears, timidity, love, loyalty, and self-centeredness often transcends what we might expect from the basic hardwiring of the typical cat.

In short, they are often disturbed or pleased by many of the same kinds of things the human animals are, and while some can manage a lot of trauma and come out pretty balanced, there are others who take their bad experiences and never quite recover from them.

Add to this that they live in an autistic world among humans, as we do when we enter into their world. We don't speak the same language. We learn very basic sounds and behaviors, learn to identify certain kinds of body language (often, sadly, misinterpreted by one or both sides). The interface between us is fraught with misunderstanding, misconcneptions, historical myths, flawed scientific research, and unrealistic expectations. The same bundle of problems that, to one degree or another, bedevil well-meaning people when they decide to foster children who have problems or who are certifiably emotionally disturbed. We essentially foster, and hope to adopt, animals that we can't really communicate with directly. This means lots and lots of effort and observation, if we are going to do a good job of it, and it means always approaching any situation as if it has been "given" that all parties have the best of intentions, instead of anticipating that some of our pets are somehow wicked, sly, stupid, or willful.

Most people don't recognize that any animal, human or other, responds to trauma and to its opposites -- love, security, certainty -- in much the same way, moderated only by their life-experience and to certain genetic imperatives. In psychology, the experts are always talking about the "self" and the "other." It is really the same thing And our inability to recognize the importance of the combination of genetics and personal history in any relationship is why the Irish and the English, the Israelis and Arabs, the Serbs and the Albanians, can't reconcile differences. And why cats and dogs, and humans and dogs, and humans and cats often just choose to live within a single household in an atmosphere where everyone agrees to ignore the other except during certain mutually accepted activities.

Sasha has had a great deal of trauma, and she reacts by alternately loving and rejecting her kititens and alternately submitting to love and petting and then suddenly clawing or fighting. She is therefore disfunctional -- one hopes temporarily. She requires careful therapeutic care. She requires more one-on-one care than a less emotionally damaged cat, but she is caught within a normal household, where family members have active and interactive lives, and don't really have the time or patience to spend with her -- especially when there are other dependent animals in need as well (-- the kittens). In my own household, I live alone, my work is at home, so I am rarely gone, and I can take off from my work whenever I am needed to resolve a dispute or soothe sudden bursts of fear or temper. Every day I manage to spend twenty or more minutes with each animal separately, or sometimes with several at a time -- quality time that they can depend upon. In normal households, this is impossible. It is like the mother who has a number of relatives of various ages living in her house, as well as her husband and 14 children from the newborn twins to the kids in high school. If the mother also has an outside job and her quality mothering time is reduced to one or two hours a day, if that, lots of things slip through the emotional slats.

My urging you to find a home for the kittens is based on this kind of scenario. You are probably still in school, the rest of your family doesn't seem all that keen to try to deal with a neurotic cat -- and let's face it, it isn't a picnic to be scratched -- and Sasha has to deal, in her state of mind and physical hurts, with two demanding kids that want to nurse. The situation requires some rearrangement so everyone can have their quality togetherness and also their quality repose. With Sasha in so fragile an emotional state, it would be best if her rapidly growing kids could be cared for elsewhere -- good for them as well as for her. If that is impossible, then you have to rethink how to reorganize the household and your own time to give Sasha the emotional security and care she needs and still give the quality of love and cuddling to the kittens. When you achieve a breakthrough with such a pet -- much as when you see someone regain their health because of your time and attention -- the emotional reward is huge. But sometimes it takes a while to get to the good part.

So all of that is at the root of my flying off the emotional precipice. Like I say, I reread what I wrote and I think perhaps I was so worried for your Sasha, that I forgot about the people involved. If I offended, Michelle, I apologize.

I really wish you and yours the patience to see this rough patch through to a happy conclusion.

And dear Lotsocats -- I have not heard of using St. John's Wort for cats, but I should think that a powder mixed with a nice, strong-smelling canned cat food would have the same effect as liquid. What kind of dosage were you thinking? Any healthfood store has the capsules...

Do cats respond to valerian drops? So many things (example -- aspirin) that people take are just plain bad for cats... Personally, when my cats are miserable, I put a basket near the bed and sing to them like I would a fretful child. Or, if they are agreeable, take them up on my lap (being careful not to restraint them or pester them with a lot of petting), and talk silly nonsence to them off an on in baby-talk tones. Unless they are being totally berzerk, this seems to be good. Mostly, when they fly off the handle or start crying for attention, they just need some tender-loving singling out in a quiet place. Several of my cats calm down if I am watching National Geographic -- they love to watch monkeys, in particular, and similar types of animals. Other cats get agitated and nervous -- especially if the animals on the TV suddenly charge the camera as if they are going to leap out into the room...

Each cat responds to different kinds of things when they need soothing...

If Michelle can find what Sasha responds to, then she will have a way of soothing her fear and uncertainty.
post #22 of 33
Michelle, any updates??? Hope everything's okay with Sascha, the kittens AND your family! Please keep us posted. We are anxious to hear from you.
post #23 of 33
Wow... I just read this thread. Michelle I too would love to hear an update. I truly do hope things are better.

Remember, with the water gun. It is to be used as a punishment. If you choose this method, use it to deter the kittens from clawing up the drapes not to repromend Sasha for biting her kittens.

Catspride... you write so educated and seem like a fantastic care giver to your animals. I enjoyed reading your posts, and the advice you gave. You sound quite remarkable.

Michelle, she has given you fantastic advice, I truly do hope it helps you. Good luck :flower:
post #24 of 33
While I haven't posted, I have been following this thread with interest. I am also very anxious to hear an update, and if anything has changed with this situation, Michelle. Please let us hear from you, dear.

Catspride, do not be embarrassed. Your post, even if strong, was well-intentioned and in the spirit of helping where you thought you could. Thank you for your contributions here.


post #25 of 33
Thread Starter 
you guys gave me some great advice...even if giving them away is the last thing I want to hear, I understand that that may be the only way. Meanwhile, Sasha is sleeping in my room every night, and is very calm during that time. she sleeps all night instead of yowling at midnight, 1, 2, 3, 3:15, 3:20, etc... she now wakes up around either 8 or 5, depending. but she has been nicer lately, and I'm waiting to see if she's finally calming down, or if it's just another one of her nice times, and she'll be back in attack mode soon. right now, she's doing well, but we'll see. thank you for caring; you guys are a blessing.
post #26 of 33
Dear Michelle, If Sasha is happy to sleep in your room at night and it has a calming effect, then you may have found the key. Put the kittens in another part of the house -- they can be company for each other -- and see how it reads for a week. but remember that the kittens are at an age where they are almost not adoptable.

Sasha seems to be responding to the security and quiet she needs for sleeping. It may be that she is a day cat rather than a night cat -- some cats need to prowl or be active at night, while others prefer the daytime. Once I know which ones are which, I arrange things so the night prowlers have easy access in and out of the house to eat or drink, while the day prowlers sleep. During the day, the situation is reversed. By making sure that each cat has available food, water, and easy access to safety, I can get most of the cats habituated to staying out of the area garbage cans -- which means much less risk of poisoning or crossing roadways. When they want devilment, they catch mice or small snakes, or even large cockroaches, which benefits everyone.

She will very likely relapse, but perhaps she is already on the mend. Encourage your mother not to go for her with a broom when she is being difficult. It seems to me that you are handling the situation a little more calmly....? Please keep us posted, and let us know details about how she responds to things you try.

As I write this, I have the newest of my foundlings sitting on a small cleared space on a table next to my computer. Being new and unsure of things, he is talking to me to get some extra attention. So ---

------- so I now took time out to tell him all about Sasha and to read to him what I wrote. He watched me very intently, settled down, and is now content. Of course, I don't expect him to understand what I told him, but I find that cats enjoy hearing stories -- even somewhat long ones -- and any emotional content that causes the voice to rise and fall fascinates them. He has now settled to grooming instead of crying for attention. He is also very unsure of his place here and is still working out his relationships with the other cats. But fortunately for me, his previous home must have been a wonderful one, and his traumas related to being lost, fighting with other toms, and starving for a while were things he could cope with. His injuries were nothing a tomcat would consider tramatic -- just part of his hardwiring. He is now in more famliar surroundings, with two communal litter boxes (in the computer room and the bathroom), plenty of water in several places, and a constant supply of dry cat food well out of reach of curious dogs. And he has never been a scratcher, so he doesn't court rejection. Slowly, slowly does it.

post #27 of 33
Thread Starter 
well, our kittens are almost 12 weeks now, so I assume they could be adopted out...but we really don't want to get rid of them. It seems to me that all our kitties are both night AND day cats. they alternate between sleeping and playing all day...Only when she sleeps with one of us does Sasha sleep through the night. the kittens just continue their pattern of sleep, play, sleep, play, all night. however, Sasha seems to think that 5:30 in the morning is actually morning. she does not realize that this is actually the middle of the night. so she goes and sits by my door and tells me (very loudly) that it is time to wake up and let her out. well, I can't do that, because she just cries until the whole house is up, and no matter where she is, she wants everyone to be awake when she is. so I will usually open my shades so she can see outside and she will sleep for another 2 hours or so. unfortunatly, 7 AM is still the middle of the night for me, and the very beginning of morning for my mom. so we usually just put her in the back room where her cries are muffled until someone is up to play with her. is there any way to keep her from crying so early?
post #28 of 33
Thread Starter 
I totally forgot about this. we decided that we are going to get Sasha a new collar that she can't pull off, have our address and phone # put on her liscense (right now it just has the shelter's info on it) and try letting her go outside. we'll start slow- taking her out but watching carefully. eventually we'll let her out more on her own. she will ALWAYS come in at night. I don't think she'll wander off. after all, who would feed her and who would supervise all activities in the house? without her, wouldn't this house just be in chaos? well...maybe not, but I think she'll stick around. what do you guys think? we're hoping maybe this will calm her down.
post #29 of 33
The cat decides when you should wake up. I thought everyone knew that! Until I decided to leave the bedroom window half open for mine to come in and out, 5 am was the latest they ever let me sleep. they would walk across my face, pull my hair sit on my chest and breathe in my face, or simply play tag over my body until I struggled up to let them out. Half and hour later, they would cry to come back in, and so on until around 7. By then I would agree with them that I should really be up.

As to putting out the cat at night, If you have a secure place for them to sleep (on the roof of the porch or an open window into the house, or best, a cat door, why not? the problem is that the world is more and more dangerous for cats, and you have to think about giving them a place to run to if they are in trouble.

Whether a cat will come home every day depends very much on how she has bonded with you. You can never really know how they will behave until you turn them loose. Lots of luck.
post #30 of 33
Thread Starter 
well, Sasha does seem like she may be calming down a little. she still wakes up very early, but I usually just take her and stick her upstairs until someone else lets her out. this works just fine for me, though I don't know how my parents feel about it. But, for the most part, she does sleep through the night now. She has fewer "Time to try and kill the kittens or the humans...whichever is nearest" episodes. but they do still happen. I had a theory (I have a lot of those) that she's not trying to hurt them- maybe she just wants to play, right? she usually only does it when the kittens are trying to jump on her or chase her tail, and when you watch her, she really does the same thing the kittens do when they are playing together. It's just that she is much bigger, and they are much smaller, and so she may inflict pain without actually meaning to. This whole thing is just a thought I had...please tell me what you think.
So, anyway, I was thinking that maybe she just needs a playmate her own age (and size) so she can play with them and not hurt the kittens. I mentioned it one day to my mom, and she said no. But, I think if I work on her, she may warm up to the idea. The cats don't really seem to like her a whole lot, and really, they're mostly mine. Daddy gets along well with them, but they just don't seem to care much about Mom. so, I was thinking that maybe we could go to the shelter, and she could pick out a cat that she likes, and that likes her. I wonder how Sasha would tolerate this though. when I picked her out at the shelter, I walked with her in my arms past a little divider in the room...not really a wall, just a place where the ceiling and walls come in about a foot. before that, she was fine, but when she got a look at some of the cats she couldn't see from her cage, she tensed in my arms, and hissed. I wasn't sure if it was because she doesn't get along with any other cats, or jsut becuase these cats were unfamiliar...or if it was just that one cat she didn't like. But I really like the idea of another cat in the house, and I figure that after three...what big difference could another one make? I would even take care of it myself! But, I would like your words of wisdom before I go bringing this up with my parents again. so...what do you think?
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