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Feeling crushed (see "Help-my cat attacked me)

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
We took Festus to the vet today, and he basically said we'd have to make a decision about putting Festus down (since it's likely he'll attack again at some point) and that even meds aren't necessarily a "cure" for such aggressive behavior. He did refer us to a local animal behavioral specialist (I've already made an appointment for next week), but even that dr. said it's dangerous to live with unpredictably aggressive cats.

I just can't stop crying - I love my crazy cat so much. Other people who think Festus is mean and scary don't see the way he cuddles on my lap or sleeps/purrs by my head every night. Even though we're going to try everything we can, I feel like I've failed him somehow. I wish it was as simple as blaming the shredder or feral cats for his odd behavior, but the truth is that it's been going on/escalating for a long time. If only I could look into a crystal ball and see that he would never attack my daughter - if I could just know that, I would put up with anything he'd ever do to me.

Thanks for listening, and I sure would appreciate good thoughts sent our way . . . am hoping the behavioral specialist will have some answers.

post #2 of 21

So sorry to hear that you may have to make a very difficult decision. Poor Festus, and poor you! Understandibly you don't want to put your daughter in danger.

Lots of happy purring thoughts for the vet specialist visit next week. I really hope there are some answers there!
post #3 of 21
So sorry for you and Festus!!!
Hopefully it doesn't come to a decision like that. I had no idea that cats ever did anything like that (read your other post)... I don't know. I've been attacked by a few dogs. But never a cat. Zissou "attacks" by jumping up at your leg and bouncing off. Or biting your feet, but never to draw blood.

That's just so whacky that Festus just went nuts like that. With seemingly no explanation. I don't know what I would do!!

Cross my fingers for the Cat Whisperer to do MAGIC!
post #4 of 21
Maybe he would do better in another home with no cats or children. Surely that's better than putting him down.
post #5 of 21
Noelle where do you live? Just the city or state please?
post #6 of 21
Originally Posted by missymotus
Maybe he would do better in another home with no cats or children. Surely that's better than putting him down.
Thats a wonderful idea missy has, Is that a possibility? maybe alone he would mellow out and you could still visit him. I am so sad for you, this must be a horrible time.
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
I would consider finding another home for him, but only if the people really understood Festus the way we do and would never do him harm. A lot of Festus' quirks would have people seeing red, I think, and the thought of someone else punishing him or eventually putting him down just tears me up inside. We adopted Festus about 5 yrs ago after someone else had adopted him and returned him to the shelter for destroying her window coverings. God knows we've experienced some property damage too, but I consider him part of the family and am going to do everything within my power to see that he remains with us. The way I'm feeling right now, there's simply no way I can put Festus down - he is my responsibility and I love him way too much. Just taking him to the vet today was so horrible - he threw up, urinated, pooped in his carrier (he was so scared). The thought of him ending his life that way - no way.

Hissy, I live in Kansas City, MO - I'm going to go fill out my profile a bit more right now.

Thanks again for listening - everyone here has been so kind,
post #8 of 21
I just don't see putting a cat down for this. A dog...maybe. Dogs attacking people shows they are trying to overtake the master, and it wrong. But it is so different with cats.

I'm not saying your Festus is ok. I know there is a very serious problem. But although something is wrong, an animal behaviorist should be able to help.

I have 3 cats of my own and 3 kids in my home. If I lived near you, I would be 100% willing to take your Festus for a month to try to work with him. I am no behaviorist, or cat whisperer...but I just believe that a change of scenery and situation would help Festus calm down.

Please just shut him away from your daughter for now, and keep giving him lots of love. Be sure the animal behaviorist is experienced with cats, because dogs are so different.

And please get a second opinion from another vet. No, meds aren't always a cure for aggression...but give Fest a chance! Maybe meds WILL help him! Your posts reflect your love for this cat. As you say, you have already dealt with problems encountered in living with Festus...don't give up on him yet. Don't be overwhelmed by the vets recommendation. Listen to your heart. Over time, if it becomes necessary to put Festus down, you can do it later. For now, that should not even be a serious consideration until he gets a chance to calm down!
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thank you, Beckiboo - yes, I am doing all the things you mentioned. Part of my shock/upset, I think, has been the fact that I like our vet so much, and I am so surprised that he would give such a prognosis without really trying to know Festus the way I know him.

Anyway, I get good vibes from the animal specialist, and I'm looking forward to talking to him. I promise I'm nowhere near giving up on Festus.
post #10 of 21
contact the folks at email Jackson and tell him everything you can about this cat. These folks have helped me with several aggressive cats over the years with good results. If you were closer, I would take Festus and work with him and then return him to you. But you are a bit far away
post #11 of 21
I'm so sorry that your vet suggested this to you!

As I mentioned in the other thread, there are many options other than PTS! Sadly, rehoming may have to become an option, but at least you can know that he'd be happy and living away from the 'problem'!

I hope Jackson will be able to offer you the help you need!

Please do keep us informed!
post #12 of 21
Oh - the Festus situation is so sad! Thank you for not giving up on him.
It sounds like you are taking the right measures at this time. Please let us know how he and your family are doing.

Did your vet do a full exam/testing? If so, did the vet deem him totally healthy?

Best of luck and best wishes to you :heart2
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tip on Jackson - I will check that out and contact him. You know, today I'm feeling angry, b/c my vet didn't even take Festus out of his carrier to examine him yesterday. I asked him to, but he had already brought up the possibility of getting rid of Festus (which caught me off-guard) and I was a crying mess at that point - just wanted to take my cat and go home. And the vet thought the exam was pointless if the problem was "between Festus' ears." On the bright side, the animal specialist we're seeing on April 3rd is a respected vet, so I'll be a lot more assertive at that appointment and insist on a full exam.

In addition to the Feliway (which does seem to have a calming effect), I bought a product called "Good Cat" today and put it in their water. It's also supposed to calm/soothe. Anyone used this and what did you think?

Although I know there's still a problem, Festus has been all cuddles with me the past couple of days, and I'm just praying for things to get/stay better.

Once again, can't thank everyone enough for the support,
post #14 of 21
Originally Posted by njaroch
And the vet thought the exam was pointless if the problem was "between Festus' ears."
That right there would have me looking for another vet, Pronto!

Pet owners are the best indicators of an animal's health, you should never let one second guess you when you feel an exam is in order, after all, who knows your cat better than you?

I also do not feel the possibility of euthanasia should even be considered until all else has been exhausted, and only if rehoming is not possible.
If a behaviorist cannot help and there is in fact a chemical imbalance issue, drugs can help.
I know plenty of kitties living a fairly normal life while on drug therapy.
post #15 of 21
I really hope you find a better solution, then what i had to do...believe me i didn't want too, but this had been going on off and on for two years i took him to the vet she gave me feliway which seemed to work but then it would happen again...I wasn't sure about drugs, i didn't know how Charlie would respond....i just wanted him to be happy like he used to be...and for awhile now i really don't think he was, he just wasn't the same cat i had grown up with.
I wish you the best of luck with your kitty...he deserves the best! i will be sure to keep him in my thoughts.
post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Bunny24
I really hope you find a better solution, then what i had to do...
I'm so sorry about Charlie, and I can imagine your pain right now. In my heart I feel like Festus is suffering too, and I just wish I had the magic cure to turn him back into the cat he once was. Hugs to you for Charlie, and thanks for your message,
post #17 of 21
there must be more options than this.
have you spoken with a behaviorist? If not, it might be a good idea.
post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
Yes, we have an appointment early next month with a behaviorist, and I feel like the Feliway is helping right now. We're not considering putting him down at this point.
post #19 of 21

I don't really have any suggestions, but I just had to send my regards. My name is also Noelle, and growing up I had a beloved cat named Festus!

About 10 years ago we had a very, very special cat that we adopted from a shelter. She was very sweet, smart and loving. But would occasionally attack. The cause was always obvious though--you were not allowed to touch certain parts of her body (belly, back legs) and when she had had enough petting you needed to heed the warning and stop immediately or she'd attack. One time she really attacked me badly and it was all becuase a dog came into our back yard and I tried to pick her up to take her inside. I had a heavy coat on but she was biting so hard into my coat she actually caused a bruise on my arm. I can't imagine what my arm would have looked like without the coat! Anyway, needless to say we warned visitors and vets about her, and thankfully, we didn't have children.

I realize that your case is quite different becuase you don't always know the cause. But if it is at all possible to keep Festus away from your child (and vice versa) while trying the different methods your behaviorist suggests, it's worth it. It also seems like Festus really has a fear/aggression problem, so if you do decide to rehome him, find a no-kill shelter that will ensure he finds an adults only, quiet home with an experienced cat owner. I see those comments listed all the time for cats out for adoption.

Speaking to a Holistic vet might also help. We had a kitty that would get extremely upset when she saw other animals out side and then consequently attack our other cat, yet she would run and hide when I sneezed or made any kind of noise. He offered a remedy (phosphorus, I think?) and she became a completely different cat.

The best of luck to you and Festus, Noelle
post #20 of 21
Originally Posted by njaroch
Yes, we have an appointment early next month with a behaviorist, and I feel like the Feliway is helping right now. We're not considering putting him down at this point.

<3 good luck to you.

I'm sure you will be able to work things out. SO many owners will look for a quick solution and if they don't find it... bad news for the poor cat.
Its so good to see someone willing to go to all lengths to help their pet. I'll be sending good vibes in your direction!!
post #21 of 21
Any updates on Festus? How has he been doing?!?
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