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Depressed Kitty?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

I posted a thread last week about an abandoned kitty we found on the highway. We named him Stubby and had him neutered last week.

The first nights he was with us, he would go out and stay all evening and night and come home in the morning to eat and sleep. He was practically starved judging by his eating and ate everything at first.
Now he is eating ok but not like at first (understandable).

Well Friday night he came in about 10:00 p.m. and now he won't go out at all. He hisses at my 2 girl kitties when they see each other but doesn't make any move toward them.

He is very loving but hardly moves. He sleeps under a bed in a spare bedroom or on a chair in the living room. He loves to be petted but I'm concerned because he is getting absolutely no exercise whatsoever.

He was obviously a very loved kitty at one time and we are trying to give him all the love we can. My females hiss and hide from him but seem to be getting a little less frightened.

Could this be the result of neutering? He still went out the next night after he was neutered and the next.

It seems likely (just guessing) that maybe he went looking for his home and finally decided he couldn't find it.

My heart is breaking for him. I didn't see the vet after he was neutered and the girl said she forgot to have him guesstimate his age so I don't know how old he is and can't even guess. He has no trouble jumping or eating dry food. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
post #2 of 14
I would call the vet! A cat who doesn't move is usually very sick. I wonder if he has developed an infection from the surgery.
post #3 of 14
I agree with lotsocats- call the vet to make sure. He might have gotten an infection or got hurt somehow.

Also, he might be afraid that if he goes outside that he'll lose his home again. That's what happened to one cat I found while growing up. I found him hurt on a street abandoned and ever since I brought him home, he doesn't like to go outside now and will only stay out for a few minutes before coming back in and when he does, he becomes VERY VERY affectionate with my mom so I think Sammy is always afraid that he'd lose his home again. Maybe that's what ur cat is going through?

Have him be checked out by his vet just to be sure and if he has a clean bill of health t hen give him plenty of attention.

Good luck!
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for responding.

I called the vet and they said as long as he is eating and drinking he is probably alright. He is, however, going in the a.m. for a check and a bath. He is so sweet and affectionate. I hope he is ok but I am very concerned. Since this morning he hasn't wanted to come out from under the bed. I think he is afraid of my two girl kitties.
Whatever is wrong it seems to be worsening.

I wasn't very happy that the vet didn't check him over when he neutered him. I had been using a vet a mile further away and decided to try this one. Will see what happens tomorrow.

I'll let you know what the vet says. Thanks again.
post #5 of 14
So any word on your kitten?

post #6 of 14
It is true that most cats take their neutering/spaying with hardly a blink, but don't let anyone deny to you that some cats go to pieces for a while, and others never quite recover their kittenish bounce. I don't know if research has advanced very much in what happens to women who have full hysterectomies and to men after they have a vasectomy. I know that with humans, social and cultural factors can make things worse or better. Much depends on attitude toward the event. With cats, perhaps it is more a case of when it is done (a day or two after they are taken into a new home? at a very young or a much older age?) and what the emotional and stress conditions are like at the time.

But neutering in any animal causes hormonal changes, and we all know about hormones. Perhaps some animals/people have more intense hormonal changes than others. They could then become depressed and aggressive by turns. I have observed this kind of behavior in my cats, and any of you who, like me, had a hysterectomy have a lot to say about the (mostly temporary up to 5 years) emotional and physical effects.

I have observed a range of character changes; for example, going from more or less aggressive to shy and vice versa, from jolly to more sober, from confident to depression. Most of my animals have recovered their balance within a month or so. But not all.

If you eliminate all possibility of illness or over-tight stitches or the accidental nicking of a nerve that is causing pain or unfamiliar numbing, then look to the psychological (as brought on by the new hormonal changes). And then say, what if this cat were my father/mother/brother/sister and was exhibiting analogous human reactions? How would I handle it? How could I treat it? Apply the same logical approach to the animal in question, only, of course, you have to find activities that will appeal to a cat, or set up a system of rewards and attention that would appeal to the character of your particular cat. A lot of trial and error unless you can afford a first-class pet behaviorist. We have nothing like that in Israel, where most people are still looking at animals as objects rather than personalities, so it has to be trial and error and lots of patience.

It is extremely rewarding when you can break through an animal's depression. It is the height of healing to be able to give back an animal's joy of life.

I hope this has been a little help. The truth is that many of our cats come to us from a history of abuse and trauma. Perhaps one day people will be enlightened enough to control the numbers of cats born so that all can be adopted at the right time in their lives by responsible caretakers, and that animal abuse laws will be enforced with serious vigor. And that someday we will have vets who are also trained in the psychology of our pets. But until this utopian vision comes to pass, we are pretty much on our own.
post #7 of 14
We rescue cats who have been abandoned, lost or abused all the time. The ones who once had a loving home and a special person often come to us depressed. Other cats stress them out - and they don't understand what happened to them and where their special person went to. Cats don't know when they have been thrown away - they just feel lost. Can you give him his own room without your kitties around? This kitty needs to feel cared for again and secure in himself before he can begin to adjust to your cats. Let him first adjust to you - in two weeks or so you can begin to introduce him into the home. This kitty has baggage and needs your patience and understanding in order to learn how to become a pet again. Don't give up on him - this is a true rescue!
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for your wonderful encouragement.

Catspride and Rene, everything you said was right. Stubby finally came out from under the bed and both my husband and I held and petted him as much as he would permit. He is like a different kitty now. The first time he batted at a toy we all applauded (literally). It was so funny because he played for about a minute and we were ecstatic! My grandchildren (6 & 13 yrs.) stayed with us 3 nights and soon Stubby was playing and almost romping with them. He has quit hissing at the other two kitties (they have almost quit hissing at him also) and life is good for him.

He even goes on our porch now and seems content. I really didn't think the 3 kitties would adjust to each other and was almost getting sick myself over making so many kitties unhappy. I needed to learn patience and this has been a wonderful lesson for me. I knew so little about furbabies but am a true convert now and will rescue any animal I am able to.

Thank you all again so much.

By the way, the vet said he was about 4 years old. Imagine, having this precious baby 4 years and then dropping him off in the wild to fend for himself!! Unbelievable!!!

We will never know what happened to him before, but he will be loved from now on.
post #9 of 14
Dear MsPatricia -- so you are a grandmother too!

I am more than six weeks into integrating a new very recently ex-tomcat into my family of 13 others plus the 5 (a new one also came about 6 weeks ago) dogs. Most days now he and my three most aggressive males ignore each other, but today again I had to put one in the bathroom and another into the computer room with me until they agreed to stop hissing. I think they are past actually fighting (although a bit of clawing is always fair even among good friends!), but I need to be on the safe side. A little sparring is normal, but once they have a real fight, it is always hard for cats to forgive and forget.

Dogs usually settle down pretty quickly to newcomers their owners sanction -- unless there is instant hatred, in which case you are better off giving the newcomer away to someone else. But cats take a while, and they may go on having the occasional spat or growling match for the rest of their lives. I have some going-on-4 year-olds that still take the opportunity to launch sudden attacks on each other, and they are not being jolly. There is also the constant teasing among them to block the half-opened window they come in and go out of. One of the cats will sit on the window sill, and the rival cat will sit inside on the table under the window. There they stay, pretending they don't notice each other. Meanwhile, the other cats get fed up and come and ask me to let them out the front door, which I do at intervals, until I get tired of it and clear the window myself. Today I actually growled at the new cat and my beloved Lucky, and bared my teeth at them (well, that's what THEY were doing, so I thought I would try it). It startled both of them, and Lucky jumped off the window sill as if he intended to do that anyway, and the newcat came to sit by the computer with me, all attention and friendliness.

Cats are always trying it on. But perhaps it is just this mixture of savagry and playfulness, indifference and displays of dependence, total egocentrism and extra sensitivity to mood that makes us take on the challenge as well as the tremendous reward of living with cats.

The main thing is patience, patience, patience. In learning it for cat-handling, it sort of rubs off onto all kinds of unexpected situations. If you observe and listen to your cats, you will learn a great deal about your own nature and how to handle yourself in a difficult and sometimes dangerous world.

I'm glad things are working out. It sounds like you are getting on top of things. On the other hand, don't get complaisant. Cats always have a joker up their sleeves...figuratively speaking.
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

Did I get your numbers right? Thirteen kitties, 5 dogs...

How funny that you've resorted to growling and baring teeth. I shall try it first thing, lol.

You seem so knowledgeable, have you learned it all from the best teacher, 'experience'?

I have 3 kitties, Patches (girl), Buttons (girl), both spayed and our new boy, Stubby. There are 2 strays (possibly 3) who come to eat at night.

I caught the gray one (we've named Smoky) and had him neutered so he doesn't trust me anymore but I'm working on it. He is beautiful and sweet and I don't blame him for being leary of me.

I agree that much patience is needed and I am having to learn that. I knew there would be a period of adjustment for kitties to get along, but I had read somewhere that sometimes they never do, so after a few days I felt very discouraged. Thankfully, I got back online and read your reply and it really helped me. I tend to not be very patient, but I'm learning.

I had always had dogs when I was growing up and until recently had never owned a cat. I found dogs to be much less complicated. Where we live now, I do not have a fenced yard so a dog would have to stay inside or tied up and I have chosen not to do that. I would, however, love to have a dog also, so who knows.

Are you a grandmother also? I have 6, 2 live nearby and 4 out of state. My 3 grandsons from Calif. are visiting now so I'm not spending much time on the net.

Love reading your posts.
post #11 of 14
Actually, at this point it is 16 cats (not all of them always around) and 5 dogs. Only one granddaughter, so far, be unlikely that there will be more. Both my son and daughter live in the States, and since we do not have much money to travel, I rarely see them. But isn't the e-mail a god-send? I can no longer imagine life without a computer and the internet.

Yes, experience, and whatever reading I can do. This forum is another wonderful invention. I am filling in all sorts of gaps, reconfirming much of what I have learned, and discarding things that are myths from my mother's generation. I also was a dog person all my life. We often had an occasional stray cat who adopted us as food-givers, and we would give them pats from time to time, yell at them when they stole food from the kitchen, and established no relationship with them at all except the most casual link. They were pretty, and if they didn't bother us, we were please to let them eat at our house. It was a given that cats were untrainable and rather stupid, that being scratched by a cat could give you catscratch fever, and it was worse than being bitten by a dog. I never gave a cat a bath, never trusted them enough to deflea or deworm them. They drifted in and out of my life like ciphers. The dogs were our pets, and at one time I even had small breeding and showing kennel for Basenji and German Shepherds.

I am not sure what happened. I got to be a little old lady and suddenly I was wise enough to adopt cats. a very strange occurance. In fact I had a young dog who was learning to chase cats from my sister's dog (a Doberman, and one who was known to kill cats), and it occured to me that if I got my dog a kitten, he wouldn't chase cats anymore. Someone gave me a tiny kitten with a broken hip -- it was about the size of my palm -- and I had to find out what to do for it. Then I had to get the dog to accept the kitten and vice versa, and since no one here could help me -- we didn't have a forum then -- I tried behavioral psychology on them. One thing led to another -- a very long story of mistakes, stupidities, and even ignorant cruelties -- and I am where I am today, with a large family of mixed species (human, cat, dog), and still learning how to handle myself and them. I have been a meditator over 30 years and now teach meditation when asked, and I am observing very closely how the animals react to that as well.

If you can build a fence -- at least to give your cats protection against outside dogs -- it would help avoid some of the disastersI have had. My first cat (actually I always considered him the dog's cat) was killed by a pair of dogs on my own back porch, and that was when I decided to find the money to build a fence (I have around half an acre of property to fence). With the increase of population in my village, I now realize that I must refence it so the cats are kept inside, and that is another thing entirely. There are seveal threads on these forums discussing how to do that, and I must try to find the money for that this fall. It will be a big job, but I take it badly when one of my family gets killed by dogs or hit by a car.

I think perhaps cats should be for one's maturity. They are so very much like people in many ways -- emotionally, certainly -- and we cannot communicate with language except at the lowest monosyllabic levels. Therapy or teaching/learning can only be given using behavioral techniques. Just knowing all about cat physiology and illnesses is not enough if you are to bond with cats in a mutually satisfying way. But in this 3-species interaction, I am finding that dogs are also more complicated than I had been reared to believe. They are restricted more by their terrible longing for human companionship, and so they will tailor themselves to human expectations. The cats have shown me that nothing I took for granted about human/animal and human/human interactions can be considered valid without careful examination.

And so I have turned into a little old lady with cats to put the final punctuation on the cliche.

Smoky will probably forgive you if he comes for food, but it will take some -- can't you guess? -- patience. I have found that feral cats often become indoor cats in the winter months if they have a way to "sneak" into the house to see if the indoor cats are getting better food. I always leave a window half open, but cat doors might work (the ferals watch what the house cats do, and they can learn from them how to deal with a cat door I am sure). You have to be careful to avoid brushing too close to them, and pretend that they aren't there for a long time, but when they observe firsthand the relationship you have with your house cats, they gradually feel more confident about letting you touch them. Almost all of my cats, with the exceptions of the ones brought to me as real babies (needing to be nursed on catmilk formula and carried around all day in an improvised baby sling) were ferel at one point, and at this point I have no really feral cats -- they have all opted to come in and sleep under the airconditioner with the dogs.

Weather is the great facilitator!

PS--I am constantly learning that there is a lot of nonsense written and spoken about the behavior of cats. Best throw away preconception and feel your way along. I have a cat who decided to hate me and the world when I started to adopt strays. After three years of bloody (mostly my blood) history with her, she has finally begun to let me pet her a little, and does not attack me every chance she gets. She also does not attack the other cats now unless they come within reach of her. I adopted the behavior of the cats -- they gave her plenty of room and didn't try to coax her into better humor. I did the same, except I offered her conversation from a safe distance. Three years, and finally I can not only touch her when it is needful, but I can pet her carefully without getting scratched. What the experts mean is, within the time frame dictated by our human impatience and need to see daily progress, cats sometimes never learn to get along together. Gypsy is a very hard case, but it gives you some idea of the patience required. She simply went psychotic for a while, and now she is struggling back from her depression.
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 

What would we do without the internet?? I've only been online for about 3 months and I'm sooo hooked. Prior to the net, I had been going to the library and checking out books about cats. They helped a little but nothing like the net.

The support is amazing to and for me!! For example, friends and family laugh at hubby and me for 'spoiling' our kitties saying that we treat them like people instead of pets. While admitting it, we didn't change and now I see there is a whole world of cat lovers who feel just like we do. Also got some flack over spending money on strays that don't even like us. Well, they don't have to understand because we have our cat site family who know all too well how we feel. It's wonderful to have this site.

Your life sounds so very interesting. Are you from the U.S.? I enjoy reading about your village. I'm going to sign off now and try to find where you live on the map. Will comment later on fences, etc.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

Is Negev in Israel?
post #14 of 14
Absolutely in Israel. You probably will not find us on the map -- we only recently acquired several hundred families -- until 5 years or so ago, we were only 35 to 40 households. Yes I am from the States, but because of a second divorce, I decided to do what the Aborigines do in Australia -- I went walkabout with several suitcases and 3 big cardboard boxes, and lived all over Europe for 7 years, ~I can to Israel in 1986 to help my sister take care of our father, who was dying from Alzheimers. He lived a few months more and then died, but I stayed on. By that time I was working , and I felt like staying put for a while.

Mabuim is just a little (10 min. drive) East-north-east from a town called Netivot and another 20 minutes due west from the Gaza Strip. So yesterday and today I heard various morter and bomb blasts from that direction. I am thoroughly disgusted with everybody...

Meanwhile, if you want to know about the terrain or climate, you can check out Beer-Sheva, which is a rapidly growing city 35 minutes drive to the south-south-east of me.

Running just now...I hve a man coming to put in several new windows and screening (can't afford to do them all!), and I have to be up early to guide him past the dogs.
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