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Depressed Cat

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
My husband used to beat my cat several times, he confesed to me yesterday and he feels very sorry and guilty. The cat is not injured or hurt, but she's depressed (I think so). He promised he will never do that again, and he will treat her right from now on (we resolved his issue). Now, it's the cat issue, I think she's depressed, she always hide when we have gusets (I think she thinks that they will beat her up or something).... What should I do to cheer her up ??? Please help... Thanks
post #2 of 14
This is a really tough one, but I'll try to help if I can w/ my $.02 worth.

First, do you absolutely trust that your husband will never harm your cat? If not, it may be better to find her another home. It might not be worth the risk to her physical and mental health if he has a temper and there is any chance he might relapse.

Second, even if you are absolutely certain he will never be cruel in voice or manner to her again, it will probably take awhile for her to become more outgoing, and she might never trust him again. I left an abusive relationship 5+ years ago where he was mean to my cats (and to me, too). He worked on cars for a living. Last week my husband (my cats adore him) came inside after working on the car, and my cats FREAKED OUT when they smelled the auto-repair odor on him - they hid and wouldn't come out all day. They still associated the smell with bad things, even after more than 5 years.

You may be able to regain her trust in you by speaking very softly to her, handling her very gently, and allowing her to hide when she wishes, providing her with a comfortable safe place where no one is allowed to disturb her. It may help to provide her with a litterbox and fresh food and water near her favorite hiding place. Soft classical music may help to calm her. Go near (but not too close) to her hiding place & speak soothingly to her. I'ts important to allow her to come out and regain trust at her own pace; don't try to rush it by bringing her out if she is afraid. Do not allow your husband to force attention on her; he should behave in a quiet & calm manner around her & let her come to him if she ever will.

I hope this will help.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your reply,
My husband is very nice, and I trust that he'll never treat her bad again, we truely resolved this issue (I don't want to go into much details). We love the cat a lot and we hate to see her go, I told him that the next time he abuses her, she will move to another home.
ok, now I have a question, what about when she hides whenever we have guests, she comes out after few hours though.....
post #4 of 14
Has she always been that way?

It's normal for some cats to be shy of strangers - Macumba used to be my "Alarm Cat" - I could tell if someone was coming up to the door because she would go and vanish. If you know guests will be coming just make sure she has a comfy place to hide, and let her come out at her own pace (hope I don't sound like a broken record, sorry )
post #5 of 14
Use caution. Men who abuse animals will move on to women and children. I don't know of any issue that would make it OK to strike any animal. Both of you should seek counciling to see what the real problem is and if it can be resolved. Your cats life may depend on it.

I am sorry to be so depressing, I've been in abusive relationships and they are very hard to live with. They ALWAYS promise never to do it again, but it just gets worse.

When you have guests it may be frightening to her and she should be left alone. Never forse a cat to do something it does not wish to do.

I don't mean any offense just speaking from experience.
post #6 of 14
Abusers don't just mend their ways with words, it takes time and skilled counciling to get them to understand where the frustration comes from. I know, I lived with a abuser for 10 years. The abusers are always "sorry" afterwards, that is the pattern. I would keep this cat far away from your husband.

About your cat, you need to just let her hide. Give her a cardboard box flipped over with holes cut in the side where she can be in a dark, secure place and feel confident. It is going to take a long time before she trusts either one of you again, and yes, you are included in that, if you were there when the beatings took place, because she will wonder why you allowed it. Let her hide, don't chase after her, or try to pull her out of her hidey hole. Classical music will calm her down, but what she needs now is to trust him and she won't. Not right away, not until he proves to her he will never hurt her again. I pray to God his beatings don't ever transfer over to anyone or anything else again.
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
mmhhh, I like the counceling idea... I also pray to GOD that he will never do this again, and I don't think he'll transfere this to anybody else, we've been married for 3 years and never abused me or anybody (other than the kid).. I hope Canceling will work.....
post #8 of 14
Does your cat hide from your husband also or only guests? I have a number of cats who will hide whenever there is a stranger in the house, and I assume it is their shy personality. Some come out after a few hours and some will hide for days. I think this is normal for a lot of cats.

If you cat is hiding from your husband, they will have to mend their relationship. He will need to give that extra love and assurance (and treats) to regain the trust....you can't do it alone. My husband has been known to "put the fear of dad in them" when they do something terrible wrong, but always followed with love when the behavior is corrected.

And I hate to say this, but.....If your husband continues abusing your cat, you do have a choice between your cat and your husband! If he has promised he wouldn't do it again and does it, can you really trust him to be honest with you in other matters?
post #9 of 14
How could anyone beat a small innocent animal? What are the reasons for the beatings? I think that he will do it again.
post #10 of 14
I'm sure you think he's a nice guy, he's your husband after all.. but personally, I would never let a man that beats cats anywhere near my cat. Or in my life at all for that matter. I think DragonLady and hissy made some good points.
post #11 of 14
I think you have to consider the reason why your husband "beat" your cat... Did your cat did something bad? Or your husband was just bored and wanted to play rough with your cat? And how did he "beat" your cat? did he really beat it, or just slapped it?

I have to confess that I slapped my cat (for the first time) few weeks ago.... I came home and found that my cat peed and pooped on the couch (where she also sleeps on)... I lost my mind, grabbed her and slapped her on her rear... she run away and hid under my bed.... She came out after hidding for 10 minutes or so to watch me clean the couch (I guess she knows that she did wrong also).... I was really mad and ignored her for a while... but after I calmed down, I realized that her action was triggered by some changes on the apartment... I fixed everything as it was before, and now she is happy again..... She still sleeps with her belly up, and allows me to pet her belly all the time.

Anyway, try to find the root of the problem, and find a solution for it first.

Good luck
post #12 of 14
I am sorry that I have not been here to respond. I think you have heard some excellent advice and opinions from the other members. However, I want to take a moment to reinforce what they have said.

I am a doctor of psychology. I work with perpetrators and victims of violence and I teach workshops around the country about the link between animal maltreatment and family violence. I tell you this so that you will realize that I know what I am saying.

DragonLady is absolutely correct. Men who hurt animals also hurt the humans in their lives. If he hasn't physically harmed you or your children chances are good that he has been emotionally abusive or coersive. As Hissy said, this kind of behavior (whether it involves abusing you or "just" abusing the cat) does not go away after a conversation or two. Once a person has learned to release his anger and frustration on a helpless animal (or human), it quickly becomes ingrained in their personality....they come to automatically strike out against the animal because it releases the tension so quickly AND because there isn't a negative outcome when they hurt the animal.

Also, what often happens is that the abuser will threaten the safety of the cat in order to control the spouse. For example, he might say something like, "If you don't do XXX, then I'll kill your cat." Or, you might just know that if you don't cooperate, he will hurt the cat. It is a terrible situation to be in.

My recommendation for you has several parts:
1. Your husband needs to be in therapy (counseling) immediately, with a trained counselor who specializes in treating anger problems.

2. You might consider going into couples therapy with him so that you can work together on improving the family situation so that there is less tension in both of your lives.

3. I would seriously consider finding a new home or a temporary foster home for your cat so that the cat is guaranteed to have a safe life. No animal deserves to live a life of fear and pain. I think it is healthy for your cat to fear your husband and you should not teach the cat to feel safe with him until he completes treatment.

4. Turn to your friends and family members (if they are supportive) for help. Many times in situations like this, the woman isolates herself. This just makes it worse....rely on your loved ones, that is what they are there for!

5. Never ever believe it when a batterer says they will not do it again. They may wish they could stop, but the abuse they have already committed proves that they have no control. They may want to stop, but until they have effective treatment, if they have hurt a human or other animal once, they WILL do it again.

My sympathies and support are with you.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
I think based on what you've all have said, I will start with counceling specializing in anger control, I think that's his problem... And I might move the car to my sister's house for a while untill he cures, which I hope he does it fast.. Thank you all for your support..
post #14 of 14
That sounds like the safest bet. It isn't a fast cure, but done over time it can be managed, if he is willing to try and work with the therapist to get it under control. There are a few of us who have lived this nightmare, as I am one of those few, I wish you the best!
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