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why does our home made thunder shirt work on our rescue cat Dolly?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

springdollycoat2012 008 (640x480).jpg

 

We rescued Dolly as a kitten from a nearby barn and managed to get her siblings placed.  She is the one who has loose stools with any dry food but is ok with chicken/pumpkin/rice/can food mix...no solution for this I guess...see previous posts.

 

Anyway she is now about 10 months old and has been hyper to the max since we brought her home...can't sit still, jumps our other 4 cats, chews up paper, etc.

 

The story starts when we ordered a shirt for her thinking we could take her traveling with us...can't leave her "home alone" with our other 3 cats!  Low and behold we tried it on her and the transformation was unbelievable!!! She started purring, laid in our lap to be stroked, still eats and plays but no more running through the house crying, etc.  Remove the shirt and the "bad" Dolly returns!

 

I know that the Thunder Shirt (TM) concept works for dogs because we used one on our little yorkie who was terrified of storms...but calming an ADD cat...wow!

 

So my question: why/how does it work?

post #2 of 29

The shirt works by simulating a "Hug" from a human.  It is theorized that it calms ADD or hyperactivity or anxious animals that have separation anxiety or other anxiety issues.  They say it helps be able to take your pets off their meds which many believe, just as for humans, are not all that safe.  I think it's marketed toward dogs because dogs bring in more money?  If you notice, just about everything out there is marketed toward dogs but cats enjoy or can benefit from many of them, as well.

post #3 of 29

Dolly is the cutest thing I've ever seen. :)

 

I'm interested now in the jacket. I have a kitty that has been marking for what seems like forever. He is on medication. I thought is was starting to work and then "yesterday happened". I've never seen so many places marked by this cat in one 6 hour period. I came home to that horrid mess yesterday and thought "that's it". I'm just at my wits end with him and don't know what else to try.

 

I guess my concern with the jacket would be it being hot. Now that the weather is getting warm, I have to wonder if it would be too much. Also, how long do you leave that on her? 
 

post #4 of 29


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by P3 and The King View Post

The shirt works by simulating a "Hug" from a human.  It is theorized that it calms ADD or hyperactivity or anxious animals that have separation anxiety or other anxiety issues.  They say it helps be able to take your pets off their meds which many believe, just as for humans, are not all that safe.  I think it's marketed toward dogs because dogs bring in more money?  If you notice, just about everything out there is marketed toward dogs but cats enjoy or can benefit from many of them, as well.



I can see why that reasoning works for dogs, but cats are famous for getting over stimulated very easily and lashing out at someone who pets or hugs them for too long. It does surprise me a bit that a cat would enjoy that so much. I've only ever heard of putting a shirt on a cat to cover stitches after surgery, never to calm a cat.

post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 

It works...we had it made of light material locally for about $5....I could send you the shirt traced on paper

 

We use the shirt only when she is really wild..about 3 hours during the day and she sleeps in it all night so we sleep to....but it is light enough material that heat should not be a problem

 

I would get a uv light for your problem and check the marked places after you clean...cats have a good sense of smell....Is he neutered?

 

Anyway let me know if you want a trace...Dolly is thin and long but you could adapt it to you cat

 

GTO

post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by rad65 View Post


 



I can see why that reasoning works for dogs, but cats are famous for getting over stimulated very easily and lashing out at someone who pets or hugs them for too long. It does surprise me a bit that a cat would enjoy that so much. I've only ever heard of putting a shirt on a cat to cover stitches after surgery, never to calm a cat.


Not all cats hate being hugged!!  Mine rather enjoy it.. It calms them down if they have been spooked or upset.  They also enjoy a cuddle when they aren't feeling so great.hugs.gif  So theoretically, it would work for them, too, if they needed it.
 

 

post #7 of 29

Dolly is such a sweetheart!

 

Cotton rbheart.gif was my hug-a-cat. When he was nervous or afraid, he'd crawl into your arms if you didn't pick him up. The vet laughed himself silly once when Cotton sidled across the examining table I was leaning on to curl himself into my arms because he didn't like being outside his home. rolleyes.gif I agree with P3 - it depends on the cat.
 

post #8 of 29

I have a Thundershirt that fits all of my dogs and my cat, it's great. 

post #9 of 29

Could you please send me a tracing of your thundershirt? We have three cats, with various degrees of neurotic behavior :-) Thanks!

post #10 of 29

Giving this a bump because I recently discovered that Thunder Shirts are now made for cats.  We will be relocating in a few weeks (~4 hour travel time in the car) and I wondered about the effectiveness of such a product.

Our older cat (~12 y.o.) does not like strong winds, let alone storms, and usually hides under the bed.  He is typically a mellow lap cat.

The younger (~11 y.o.) is generally high anxiety, not a fan of being held/hugged/etc.  When we moved 4 years ago (same distance), she really had some difficulty readjusting/adapting to the new place.

They are both full-time house cats, never had collars, never had harnesses, etc.

They are wary of our soft carriers, and generally need "assisted" to get in them to go for vet trips (thankfully very infrequently).

I called our local vet office and one of the vets said they weren't aware these were now made for cats, and questioned whether or not cats would appreciate the long-term contact of the shirt.  One non-experienced opinion does not a decision make, I realize that.

So...all that to ask for any further reviews from experiences.  I tried to search the Reviews articles, but did not find one for this.  If there does happen to be one, could someone kindly point me to it?

 

Thanks a bunch!

 

BTW, our older cat looks very much like Dolly in the first photo, and the little one is the face in my profile pic...silly, useless info, I know, but...

post #11 of 29

As I understand it, it is the pressure of a thunder shirt that comforts the animals.  So, maybe you could use an old t-shirt or tight-fitting blouse and (wrestle) put it on your cats.  Chop off any sleeves to make the putting on easier.  I imagine clothing with a zipper or buttons would be easier to put on your cats that don't like to be hugged.

My friend had a dog (Rainbow Bridge now) who was frightened of thunderstorms.  So she put one of her old (smelly) t-shirts on "Flash" and it worked reasonably well.

I happened to be in a store that sells this product (for dogs).  A man came in with his dog and raved about the product--it was around the time we had torrential rains and storms for a tropical storm.

Ritz is prone to stress-induced UTIs.  When I know something scary is going to happen, I put a drop or two of Rescue Remedy in her food before, during and a day or two after the event (like repairmen in house).  Calms her down.  No UTI.  That might be something to consider.

post #12 of 29

If you are going to get the Thundershirt brand one, if there is one for cats now, get that one instead of the dog one. When I put the dog one on Leiki, it fit, but it was a bit restrictive around her armpit area. 

 

It does work by pressure, the velcro is handy because you can adjust the pressure, I'm not sure that you'd get the same effect with a tshirt or baby shirt, although it may help a little. You can get the same effect as the Thundershirt with a tensor bandage as well. 

post #13 of 29
Thread Starter 

we tried a baby shirt on Dolly at first but found it very hard to keep on her.  Cats seem to have a way to wiggle out of anything.  We finally found a woman who sews in the community and had her shirt made for about $5.

 

A matter of fact she is doing so well with it we are having another made as she is growing out of her kitten size.

 

I can post pics of the garment if anyone would like

post #14 of 29
Trudy1...I would be interested in a tracing of the thundershirt if you don't mind...I recently adopted a Bengal kitten who is very skittish...I have tried Comfort Calm but ut doesn't seem ti be helping...I judge read about this shift and would like to try this...not sure what size I would need...he is 14 weeks old...
thank you
vickie
post #15 of 29
Trudy

Could you let me have a trace copy of this coat please? We have a Selkirk Rex boy who is adorable but persists in marking indoors as he is bossed by the other Selkirk Boy. Having tried everything on the market ( and more) I would just love to have painted nails again and not spend hours hunting down and treating any odd smells. I might also try the coat on a rescued very timid Persian girl who wants to be brave but suffered a lot from birth so is very wary. She sits on my lap when I read but hates to be picked up which could be a problem if we need to visit the vet.
Thank you so much

Jane - Buntygirl
post #16 of 29
I only heard of thunder shirts for dogs a couple of months ago & never even thought of them for cats. But after a thunder storm last night which had my dog shaking & stumbling on this thread today I'm very interested.
I have just googled the Thunder shirt for cats & I've got to say your Dolly looks far more comfortable! I understand the theory of being like a hug but I've noticed your design wraps around the abdomen more than the rib cage. When I think of it I we do hold our cats around their middle rather than their chest when we pick them up!
I wouldn't be surprised if you get sick of people asking for tracings but....I've recently dug out my sewing machine & after how totally stressed out Jack got at our last vet visit I'm keen to give it a try. I'd love to see more photos!
post #17 of 29

I am a newbie here.

Have 2 cats that are very anxious...

Saw your post about shirt...

I could sure use a pattern for these. I  have 5 cats, 2 have some real anxiety issues.

Would rather make these then buy them....
 

post #18 of 29
Thread Starter 

To the many of you who have requested "tracings" I have included more pictures I hope will help.

 

As you will see the velcro strips are the same on either inside our outside...just reversed so you can wrap it around your cat.

 

We had it made of light weight material since Dolly goes out a lot.  I'm thinking of going back to the local "sewing girls" and have a winter weight made of some fiber-pile like material for more warmth.

 

The measurements are as follows:  width of larger leg 3", width of smaller leg 1 1/2 ", length from top to bottom in the center 7 1/2 ", width from tip to tip for larger legs is 20 " and width from tip to tip for smaller legs is 11"

 

Of course this is made for Dolly who is a small cat...you would have to do your own measurements of the cat of your choice.

 

Using light weight material seems to really help make it comfortable...she still doesn't run to have it put on (typical cat) but when I do put it on her she seems fine with it...even outside.

 

The only problem I could think of with using it outside for a "wanderer" like Dolly is getting it caught on briers, etc....that is why we don't use and "industrial strength" velcro...but then we have 2.3 acres fenced with 6ft horse fencing (yes, I know its' extreme but its' my baby, right?) and nothing gets in or out easily

 

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post #19 of 29

I'm new to this site. I have 3 indoor cats, 2 of which have no problems at all, and then there is the problem cat.  His name is Spooky. He gets his name naturally everything seems to spook him.  My biggest problem with him is going outside his litter box.  He always goes and does his business when doing the number 2, but wants to pee in one or two special places other than his box.  I have 3 indoor cats like I said, and 4 litter boxes that are kept clean and scooped 2 times a day or more if needed.  My Question is about the Thunder shirt.  How long do I leave it on him. Is it something he will have to wear all the time or so many hrs. a day or what?  It is mostly at night while we are sleeping that he will go and mess somewhere, but sometimes during the day if I'm not careful to watch him he will go outside his box as well.  I have done everything I know to do on this matter.  I have had him to the vet, and she says that she thinks his problem is behavioral.  Could someone please help me on this matter.   Thanks!

post #20 of 29

My name is Lynn and I am the manager at a cat shelter.  There are no cages so the cats roam free in all of the rooms. We just got Thunder Shirts for our really scared new cats and it is working really well.  I was wondering if they would work on some of our cats that are "bullies" (always hissing, growling and hitting other cats).  Maybe putting the Thunder Shirt on right after one of them shows aggression?  Has anyone heard of the shirts being used for this type of behavior.

post #21 of 29

It works because it touches sensitive areas that have a calming effect; look up Linda tellington T-Touch. She perfected this method on dogs!

post #22 of 29

To Ligwa..

Hi there.  We know the feeling of frustration that "marking" cats can cause.  One thing that we've found most helpful is a GREAT product with a stupid name, Anti-Icky Poo. We get the non-scented, because it is stronger.  First clean up the urine. Then, to loosen the urine molecules, wipe down the soiled area with white vinegar. After that, apply the Anti-Icky Poo. You can actually just let it dry on the surface.  Other products (and attempts to clean) leave a detectable amount of scent that draws the cat back to that area to mark it yet again.  We used a black light...you can get these at most pet supply stores....to find spots we didn't know about...the urine will glow in the black light!  Then we cleaned that area, and treated it with the white vinegar and AIP.  WOW, I'm a BIG skeptic, but I have to say that this stuff works.  Not that the cat will never mark again, but this sure helps keep that activity from destroying the house!!  Since we work with a local Trap Neuter Return (TNR) group, we've ended up trying all sorts of products, but this one...well, it has really done the best job! You can find it on Ebay.com and other places on the Internet.  We've never been able to find it anywhere else though. Hope that helps you out.

post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeyLynny View Post

My name is Lynn and I am the manager at a cat shelter.  There are no cages so the cats roam free in all of the rooms. We just got Thunder Shirts for our really scared new cats and it is working really well.  I was wondering if they would work on some of our cats that are "bullies" (always hissing, growling and hitting other cats).  Maybe putting the Thunder Shirt on right after one of them shows aggression?  Has anyone heard of the shirts being used for this type of behavior.

Lynn, I have a foster cat right now that is a bit of a bully as well. My two resident cats are fairly easy going and she was really tormenting them. I got a Thundershirt hoping it would help. It definitely has. She still acts interested in the other cats, and even approaches them as though she might do something. But then she sort of peters out and just sits there and looks at them. 

 

If there is food involved, she might actually raise a paw and give a bit of a swat to their face, but that’s about as bad as it gets. This is from a cat who used to lunge at them and corner them and let them have it, growling and with all claws and teeth in use.

 

I am recommending her for placement in a home where she will be the only cat. But in the meantime, the Thundershirt is allowing her to peacefully coexist with our brood.

 

 

Annette

post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by tashakitty View Post

Lynn, I have a foster cat right now that is a bit of a bully as well. My two resident cats are fairly easy going and she was really tormenting them. I got a Thundershirt hoping it would help. It definitely has. She still acts interested in the other cats, and even approaches them as though she might do something. But then she sort of peters out and just sits there and looks at them. 

 

If there is food involved, she might actually raise a paw and give a bit of a swat to their face, but that’s about as bad as it gets. This is from a cat who used to lunge at them and corner them and let them have it, growling and with all claws and teeth in use.

 

I am recommending her for placement in a home where she will be the only cat. But in the meantime, the Thundershirt is allowing her to peacefully coexist with our brood.

 

 

Annette

 

We're trying the thundershirt on a bully cat, too.  We have three resident cats, two males and a female--all lovers, not fighters! -- and then ended up unexpectedly taking in four older cats, two males and two females.  Everybody's doing pretty well except for the new 13 year old male, Jake.  He has picked some horrendous fights with one of our 3-year old males.  We were just keeping them separate but then decided to try a Thundershirt for Jake.  The first time we brought him out around our resident cats with it on, he did just as Annette's foster did--Jake walked toward Rico, the cat he'd picked on before, but then just sat down and watched him.  Yay!  We only left him out for 1/2 hour or so, didn't want to push our luck.  

 

Last night we tried it again but this time he attacked our boy.  Even so, the fight was much shorter and less ferocious than previously.  And once they separated, Jake just sat there, calmly.  He didn't try to re-start the fight or chase Rico and Jake even let me pick him up and take him back to his safe room!  Last time they fought before Jake had the shirt, he was so agitated after the fight I couldn't touch him for an hour.  

 

Maybe I didn't have the compression tight enough last night.  Or maybe I'm expecting too much from it!  Guess it's not a MIRACLE shirt.  LOL  But I am convinced it at least lessened the severity of the attack.  I'm going to be keeping Jake in it more, hoping that as time goes on (he's only been here four months) he'll settle down.

post #25 of 29

I would love to have that pattern! I have a cat with PMS perpetual motion syndrome....LG

post #26 of 29

I would love to see your pattern for this. I have one of those spazzy cats too. ALSO for your loose stools kitten, I recommend ADVITA probiotics. You can get them at vet's or online. works like a charm. Have you fecal tested? Thanks

post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by @betsygee View Post
 

 

We're trying the thundershirt on a bully cat, too.  We have three resident cats, two males and a female--all lovers, not fighters! -- and then ended up unexpectedly taking in four older cats, two males and two females.  Everybody's doing pretty well except for the new 13 year old male, Jake.  He has picked some horrendous fights with one of our 3-year old males.  We were just keeping them separate but then decided to try a Thundershirt for Jake.  The first time we brought him out around our resident cats with it on, he did just as Annette's foster did--Jake walked toward Rico, the cat he'd picked on before, but then just sat down and watched him.  Yay!  We only left him out for 1/2 hour or so, didn't want to push our luck.  

 

Last night we tried it again but this time he attacked our boy.  Even so, the fight was much shorter and less ferocious than previously.  And once they separated, Jake just sat there, calmly.  He didn't try to re-start the fight or chase Rico and Jake even let me pick him up and take him back to his safe room!  Last time they fought before Jake had the shirt, he was so agitated after the fight I couldn't touch him for an hour.  

 

Maybe I didn't have the compression tight enough last night.  Or maybe I'm expecting too much from it!  Guess it's not a MIRACLE shirt.  LOL  But I am convinced it at least lessened the severity of the attack.  I'm going to be keeping Jake in it more, hoping that as time goes on (he's only been here four months) he'll settle down.

I was wondering if you are still using the thundershirt on Jake and if it is working? If so any tips on the best way to use it.  I have been thinking of trying it on my bully cat.

post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mishicats View Post
 

I was wondering if you are still using the thundershirt on Jake and if it is working? If so any tips on the best way to use it.  I have been thinking of trying it on my bully cat.

 

We're not--we discovered that Jake's other issues, like IBD and deafness, were exacerbating his aggression that we needed to deal with.  I still think they are a good idea even though it didn't really work in our situation.

post #29 of 29

I'd really like to know how to make the shirt to please Milo is driving me crazy with the hyperness thank you so much

    Caitlin

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