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ALL TCS MEMBERS - Please give me advice

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Calling all Fosters, Rescuers, Newbies - ANY AND ALL suggestions desperately needed!!!
This is long (sorry):
My DH's ex-girlfriend, her current husband & their teen son (my DH considers the boy to be like a step-son) have moved from the state & left their cat behind. We are renting the house till it sells, just to help them out (his idea, certainly not mine, except for the cat, I'd really buck about it)...
OK, I'll take in the cat, but here are the problems:
The cat is an abused cat!! The ex has mental & alcoholic problems & the son, who is often very nice, also has some issues (most of his pets, including inguanas, mice, hamsters, etc. always get broken legs and seem to have a high mortality rate..hmmm). The cat was adopted to them when her first owner died; the ex has told me how her boy & his friends terrorized the cat & hit her with baseballs and spray her with water guns as she tried to hide from them. The cat became mean (or should I say tried to defend herself) and was declawed all the way around. In almost 6 years, I've been visiting that home & have never seen the cat, but have been asking to have her all these years. The cat just hides all day, in the mom's closet & comes out only when the father is in bed at night (he does discipline the son, although the mom won't).
The cat has been hiding in some small cupboards under the bedroom closet, and comes out only at night to eat & drink & use the box (i might add that they did leave food, water & the box, which was about 70% turds & 30% urine soaked litter, although the box was adjacent to the food dish).
Now, the cat hisses at me when I open the cupboard door to peek in at her. Poor baby - she has absolutely no reason to trust humans.
And to make matters worse, the house has been shown by realtors 4 times in less than a week.
Should I just seize her by force & rehome her to the trailer where I'm staying? Or should I try living there for a while, and bring my other 5 kits to the new place, & see if things resolve (with the house being shown, I'd be worried about my kits escaping) and see if the new cat learns to trust me. Also, if the house sells, the sellers are willing to shorten time on the escrow, so I may at any time get less than 30 days notice to remove the cat permanently.
To me, this is so sad, and I want to help her, but I'm just not making the "connection" with her. Please give this some thought & send suggestions - I feel in my heart that some of you out there in TCS will have the answers that I pray for nightly. Thank you sosoo much! Susan
post #2 of 10
You are about to embark on a long journey with this girl. With the abuse she has suffered in her life, she is responding to you the same as any feral cat would. You can turn feral cats around but it will take a lot of time and patience. There are a lot of threads on socializing ferals - I won't repeat all the advice that is in there - there are volumes of good information on this site.

But I do suggest that after you read thru some of those threads, bring the girl into your home. You cannot fully bond with her while she is living at another location. The best you can do while she is there is go over there at the same time(s) each day, feed her, talk to her, give her blinky eyes to acknowledge her as a friend and leave. Build up a firm routine until you are ready to move her.

Once she is at your home, you can start using a lot of the techniques you will find here. She will be terrified of you at first, and the worst thing you can do is force yourself on her. Ignore her, take care of her physical needs on a regular schedule, and she will come around when she discovers that she can trust you. She has no trust in humans right now and everything you do needs to be geared towards earning that trust. She will trust you, but only when she is good and ready.

If you can't find threads, PM me and I'll do some searches for you.
post #3 of 10
Oh the poor darling. I can't even begin to imagine what she's been through. It's almost a blessing that they left her behind so that maybe you can help her find some peace. It will be a slow process i'm sure, but any little bit of kindness, warmth etc you can give this cat would be a miracle. Thank you for taking on this task, i'm sure you will be rewarded by her in time. Six years of abuse is going to take some time to start to fix. Be patient, read the advice posted early by other.

Please keep us informed of your decisions and progress. I am anxious to hear about the new start for this darling girl.
post #4 of 10
Ok here is my advice. I deal with abused cats and have for a long time. I would capture this poor cat and get her to your home. The quicker she is away from the place where she was abused and terrorized the faster the triggers will be at rest. When you get her home, put her in a small dark room all by herself. Do not introduce her to any other family member animal or human. Her anxiety will only increase. Put a large cardboard box in the room before she gets there. Cut large holes (yes several holes) in this box's sides and flip it over. Weight the top with several books. Give her alternative places to hide, if there is a bed in the room, stuff pillows under the bed toward the center depending on the placement of the bed itself. You want her to go under the bed, but not into far corners-so you create a soft blockade.

Do you have nightlights? Use them, take out all harsh lighting- put in the night lights.

Do you have a CD player? Invest in classical music CD's (harp music is the best to soothe an anxious cat) Play the music on endless play with the volume so low you can't hear it very well- but she will hear it.

Take off your shoes when you are in the room. Talk to her all the time whether she is visible or not. Tell her about the day, tell her she is a safe place, keep up the verbage, keep the tone low, don't stress out if you can't see her. She can see you and with your shoes off, you are less of a threat.

Never use a broom, or a mop in her presence. I had one cat here that had been terrorized by a broom, everytime I swept the floor, she screeched and peed all over herself. It took months for her to accept the broom. Later I will tell you the technique I used to overcome her fear.

Invest in feliway comfort zone room diffusers and feliway spray. Spray the heck out of the room before she arrives- plug in several diffusers in the room.

Set up a routine and stick to it. Food at certains times every day, litter boxes (give her three) changed same times every day, fresh water on schedule, read to her everyday while you are sitting directly on the floor, afterwards, place a meaty treat on the spot in the carpet where your imprint is and leave the room. Contact Plain Brown Tabby for good meaty treats-

Never make eye contact. If she comes out you must ignore her. You can talk to her, take care of her needs, but ignore her. Expect her to have litter pan accidents, be hostile, especially being declawed all four paws Her only recourse will be to become so much a hissing monster that she scares everyone away. Otherwise, all she will do is bite. if you make eye contact accidently slowly blink your eyes several times and back away.

Get a tetenus shot now if yours isn't current.

Move softly around her, show her that you are not the bad guy by acting completely the opposite of what she expects you will. Never go after her, drag her out of hiding, unless you know for a fact she is ill.

Buy a pet fountain- Drinkwell is good- contact Spirit Essence.com you can find them on Meowhoo under Behavior and ask Jackson to develop a special remedy for her. Start putting the remedy into the water- cats especially abused cats are drawn to running water more than they are stagnant-

Good luck if you would like more help please contact me privately via email any moderator here has my email addy. I get enough spam now, I don't want to put it in this post-
post #5 of 10
Susan listen to Mary Anne and the others and please start by getting this poor cat out of that house

Just the thought of this poor cat being so terrified really upsets me as it obviously is you as well
post #6 of 10
Mary Anne has given the best advice possible, please do follow her instruction and get this poor kitty out of that house as soon as possible!

It will be a long journey for you both, but with lots of time and patience, it will be worth it in the end!
post #7 of 10
Poor kitty! Thats just awful to torment an innocent creature like that
MA gave some awesome advise- I believe with her advise, time and patience this little doll will come around nicely. Sorry I don't have any further advise to offer, just love, prayers and support {{{HUGS}}} to you and miss kitty
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Amy & Ma, thank you so much for the wisdom!! And thank you all for your prayers and support! I want so much for this kitty to have peace and comfort! Actually, one of the biggest obstacles in my marriage has been my husband's having these people in his life. And the worst was knowing what the pets had gone through - I've even talked to animal control but getting animals some help when there's no Humane Society is very difficult.
I will go online to find a supplier of Feliway diffusers (nothing available locally).
Now, does anyone have any recommendations on capturing her? Should I rent a trap? I'd hate to just snatch her up - that would be such an act of aggression and she might hate me forever. But a trap seems so scary, too!! Sorry to be a whiner, but I just feel so unconfident!! I've done well with feral cats, but this abused cat--- the terror in her eyes is so, so tragic....
post #9 of 10
I would trap her if it were me. She only has one recourse if you grabbed her and that would be to bite you. If you trap her (she is inside right?) then you can get her room ready while she is in the trap and release her straight into the room. She will understand something is up. I would confine her into one room where she is now, and put the trap and food in there, leave the door closed so the only way she can get food is to go into the trap. She is not going to go in right away- she has been pushed to limits cats shouldn't go to

You might even talk to a vet about tranquilizing her if she doesn't trap in two days. Make the trap the only access to food for her-
post #10 of 10
Any news? I keep checking back to see how things are going. Still sending good luck vibes to you
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