Author Topic: Desperately unhappy cat :(  (Read 5104 times)

Offline Sue P (Paddysmum)

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Re: Desperately unhappy cat :(
« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2017, 06:42:43 AM »
That sounds like you're making real progress.   ;D

It's fantastic too that you've noticed a pattern of Nora "guarding" certain parts of the home (ie where traffic flows the most) as hers.  What's also worth noting is the fact the "bad behaviour" gets worse when she's shut downstairs.  That to me is signalling stress, that she feels the need to protect her home, but by being denied access to certain parts of it, she can't, which ramps up the stress response.

I wonder if you could keep the teaser toy, or a delicious cat treat to hand when you know you need to cross those areas of which Nora's protective - maybe you could have a wand toy each? 

Try using them when you go to let the dog out, too.  I don't think it's aggression from jealousy, but more territorial. 

And it's really starting to pay dividends for you because Nora's responding so well to the diversion play and the treats before bedtime, which must be leaving you feeling very pleased.   ;D

Offline Dawn F

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Re: Desperately unhappy cat :(
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2017, 06:12:17 AM »
I buy the calm food from zooplus or amazon

Offline Gill (sneakiefeline)

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Re: Desperately unhappy cat :(
« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2017, 03:50:44 AM »
 THIS IS AN EXCELLENT PROGRESSION BUT A LITTLE WAY TO GO STILL.

SOUNDS LIKE YOU ARE ON THE RIGHT TRACK. WELL DONE  ;D ;D

WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR UPDATES AND HOPE NORA GETS EVENTUALLY FREE OF WHAT EVER IS  HAUNTING HER.

Offline EmandNora

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Re: Desperately unhappy cat :(
« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2017, 01:08:07 AM »
Hi everyone. Thanks again so much for the advice and support. Its absolutely been a godsend.

Sorry for the late reply. Nora's been a lot better. We can definitely see that there has been a pattern of bad behaviour at bed time when she is shut downstairs (despite this being her usual routine) and if we walk past her in a small space like a door way or hall/stairs. I definitely noticed how the house layout stresses her because although the house is not tiny the hallway, stairs, landing and doorways really set her off if we walk too close past her.

I've started calling her into a room if she's in the hall/doorway that we want to walk through to avoid her feeling trapped when we walk past which seems to have helped loads. I've also bought her favourite tinned food and give her some just before we go up to bed so instead of attacking me when she sees us getting ready for bed she now gets excited and rubs against my legs.

We've also had regular days where Nora has cuddled up in my lap on the sofa which she had completely stopped doing before ;D we have a good routine of playing and the minute she looks 'swipey' I get her favourite teaser toy out and she goes crazy on it and gets her frustration out. We do still have some periods of swiping but its a lot less and isn't a daily occurance.  :Luv:

I also introduced a new litter tray. We had two, one Albus tended to use and one Nora tended to use but thought an extra one can only help matters and Nora has been using the new one more than her old one so maybe that's helped too. We will try the calm food as it sounds excellent but need to get it through the vets and have had another of the pets ill so have been focussing on them and keep forgetting the food! :doh:

The only thing we do still have consistent issues with is the dog. She seems to go for him when we let him outside and I think its jealousy. She does seem to miss being out despite living with us for years and only being let out in the garden with supervision due to the busy roads to the rear and front of the property. Not sure quite what to do about that because the poor dog doesn't help things by getting nervous and hovering near Nora which makes her more grumpy. I'm hoping the kitty play garage idea will give her a new place that can be her outside substitute but its nowhere near ready yet - Twins take up so much time! When the garage is done I'll put a cat flap in and she can just pop in and out as much as she wants.

Offline Sue P (Paddysmum)

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Re: Desperately unhappy cat :(
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2017, 14:53:05 PM »
Hello Em.  How is Nora doing? 

Offline Dawn F

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Re: Desperately unhappy cat :(
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2017, 15:09:17 PM »
please do give the royal canin food a try - one of ours came to us after being passed around to several family members, she was horrible to put it bluntly and I was all for getting her rehomed but my oh said no because frankly who would want her - he was right  and since feeding her royal canin she is wonderful, you can pick up her and cuddle her (you could touch her without welders gloves before) she sits on our laps, sleeps on our bed and is a general delight, I've been truly amazed by the change in her

Offline Gill (sneakiefeline)

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Re: Desperately unhappy cat :(
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2017, 15:04:22 PM »
sUE HAS PUT INTO WORDS...........SHE IS SO GOOD WITH WORDS...............WHAT I WAS THINKING ABOUT THE GARAGE AND AGREE THAT IT GIVEN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, COULD PROVIDE AN OPTION BUT ON NORAS TERMS ONLY BUT IT WOULD BE TERRIBLE I THINK IF SHE TOTALLY RETREATED THERE.

WE SOUND SO VERY NOSEY AND ITS NOT INTENDED BUT HOW BIG IS YOUR PROPERTY AND WHAT IS THE LAYOUT?

TRYING TO UNDERSTAND WHAT ROUTES NORA HAS TO TAKE TO GET TO FOOD, WATER, LITTER TRAY AND WHERE DOES SHE SLEEP.

IT WOULD BE WONDERFUL IF SHE AND ALBUS COULD GET ON BUT THIS WILL TAKE TIME, MAYBE A VERY LONG TIME.

DO NOT BE DISHEARTENED BY ALL OF THIS, I KNOW ITS HARD BUT WE WILL TRY AND HELP YOU GET THERE.

JUST TO SAY SUE HAS 2 LITTLE EX FERAL I THINK, GIRLS AND I HAVE A SEMI FERAL GIRL NOW 18 WHO HAS TAKEN 11 YEARS TO BECOME ALMOST DOMESTICATED AND THAT HAS ONLY COME ON LEAPS AND BOUNDS IN THE LAST YEAR!! I ALSO HAVE A 6 YEAR OLD HOOLIGAN WHO RACES AROUND BEING NON-STOP NORTY!! MY OTHER CAT IS 15 AND A GENTLE GIANT WHO GETS VERY UPSET IF LOOPY POUNCES ON HIM AND SHOUTS HULPPPPPPPP TO BE SAVED!

Offline Sue P (Paddysmum)

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Re: Desperately unhappy cat :(
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2017, 07:29:55 AM »
A couple of other thoughts occur to me.  You mentioned that Nora (and presumably Albus) are indoor only cats.  This means that in terms of their environment, the pressure is really on, because they have no "escape."  In that respect, the adaptation of the garage as an adjunct to their territory, and given it will continue to keep them relatively safe in an indoor environment could be a useful thing, especially if the twins cant access the garage as they get older and begin toddling (I typed Tiddling initially - can you tell I'm always dashing in the morning?!)

I still do believe however that their ability to go in and out of the garage should be their choice, and not somewhere they're relegated to.  I'm also speculating whether it's helping, keeping Nora and Albus separated at certain times of the day (if they're not going at each other hammer and tongs that is!).

Also, how many litter trays do you have for the furkids, and where are they located?  Have you noticed any competition for the trays?  When Albus "ambushes" Nora, where does this action take place? 

I also think, if she's swiping when you walk past her, you can consider re-directing the aggression by using a wand toy, or a feather toy on a stick,so you can distract her with play.  Do you have any set time put aside for playing with Nora and Albus, and is this something your partner could incorporate into the day?

It's easy to forget sometimes that even adult toys enjoy playtime.  If the garage was converted, you could think about getting some battery operated toys that the cats could play with on an interactive basis.  Our girls love to dash across the carpet in their little nylon play tents.   

I've gotta dash as I need to be doing something else right now (work deadlines!) but wanted to post this in case I forgot later. 

Offline Sue P (Paddysmum)

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Re: Desperately unhappy cat :(
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2017, 06:52:34 AM »
Albus - what a fantastic name for a kitten.  Much better than Young Farmer Kit.   :evillaugh:

Please - as Gill says - don't apologise for a lengthy post.  The devil really is in the detail with these sorts of things, and as much information as possible is the way to go, which is one reason I think a journal helps to pinpoint what sometimes seems to us as "random" behavior, but to your cat couldn't be spelled out much more clearly, hence the frustration when neither gets the point being made.

So, having said that, could you give us more detail?  What is your average daily routine?  What time do you get up?  What used to happen at that time of day and how has that changed?  What happens in the average day?  You'll need to ask your OH for his input here, and it will have to be committed - so he'll have to think hard about what happens now, and what happened then.

It's really really useful to take it absolutely from:

"I get up.  I slip my dressing gown on, I go to the bathroom.  I have a shower and brush my teeth, I pop in to check the twins (didnt used to do that, used to do.......?"

Step by step, talk yourself through the average  day, and the average weekend.  Every single thing of your normal routine,  before the twins came along, and after the twins.  Write it down, because otherwise you forget.  (Babies delete things from your hard-drive sometimes without meaning to  :hug:)

Doing it that way will help to highlight "minor" differences, some or all of which may be conspiring together to make Nora unhappy.  What seems negligible to us, can assume huge significance to our feline companions.   By looking back over those things, we may be able to make some suggestions.

With Zylkene, if Nora won't take it sprinkled on top, trying mixing it in with the meat completely.  It usually disappears within a minute or so of adding it to the meal.  Does Nora have an absolute favourite food or treat that she just adores?  (Our oldest, Moray, isn't food motivated, which makes it difficult if you need to medicate, whereas one of our Gurlies, Barley, will eat anything and everything.)

It's interesting that Nora likes her food treat toy, as that clearly absorbs her and diverts her attention from the things that make her unsettled.

Sometimes, it's a fact that cats prefer being single cats in a quiet household with no children, but again, I take my hat off to you for looking for solutions, because it would be lovely if we could help you get to the bottom of Nora's unhappiness and restore the balance.  :hug:

Offline Gill (sneakiefeline)

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Re: Desperately unhappy cat :(
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2017, 00:09:57 AM »
DONT WORRY ABOUT THE LENGTH OF POST COS I THINKIT HELPS TO WRITE IT DOWN.

I NEED TO THINKABOUT THIS BUT IT SOUNDS LIKE SHE IS MORE HAPPY WITH YOU THAN ANYONE ELSE........IS THAT FAIR COMMENT?


I WOULD LIKE TO SEE WHAT SUE THINKS ABOUT THIS AS A BIT TIRED RIGHT NOW.

I HAVENT DESERTED YOU  :hug: :hug:

Offline EmandNora

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Re: Desperately unhappy cat :(
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2017, 22:53:31 PM »
Thanks for the replies everyone. I really had no idea what to try next and if I'm honest I really felt like my situation was hopeless so the ideas are really positive.

The aggression is usually when she is sat in one of her favourite places like the arm of a chair or top of the stairs and we walk past. She will swipe with both paws and yowl at us. She then runs off with her back arched and turns arround and attacks again if we are anywhere near her. If she gets upset at us she also goes after our old jack russle who is pretty scared of her now. He's very submissive and calm but gets swiped on the head and body if he walks past her.

Her swipes draw blood sometimes and she has tried to bite also if she gets upset when I'm holding her.

In terms of the garage we have a garage attached to the house and wanted to install a cat flap so she has a choice to get away from it all if she wants, not cut her off from us. Do you guys still think this would upset her more? She's an indoor cat due to us living between two busy roads so I was hoping the garage could be a safe substitute for that.

Albus, our kitten has a room he stays in if we think Nora needs space. Nora sleeps downstairs and Albus sleeps upstairs during the night so they have half the house each. Albus is really easygoing and friendly but does sneak attacks of anything that moves when he gets in kitten mode and that can upset her too, although she usually just moves away from him or hisses occasionally.

We do play with her regularly and go through her tricks and give her treats which she seems to love and she never swipes at us when were playing with her. Its only seems to be when we (or the dog) is walking past her when she's resting.

She has lots of places to sit. We have a giant cat tree and she has  food station in the dining room. We did see a decrease in aggression when we bought her a food dispenser so she has dry food in tap. Thankfully she hasn't become fat!

In terms of our routine my partner has the babies at home all day and I work pretty chaotic hours. Sometimes I can work from home which the cat loves as she can sit in my lap whilst I type. Other days I'm out from 8.30am to 9pm. One thing I will try is working more play sessions in with her as its tough on the days when I'm out all day. Plus more time with her can only be good... One of the babies had cat as a first word so were doing something right! They don't grab or shout at her directly (we don't let them close enough to grab just in case) and we'll teach them about being gentle as they grow but just act like babies which tends to include loud noises.

Its been helpful typing this out cos its really showing me how much it seems to be centered around us walking in the house.

I definitely will try a calm cat food. I didn't know they existed tbh and I know Nora's been picking out the zylkene cos she doesnt like it.

Sorry for another essay! Just trying to get everything out...

Offline alisonandarchie

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Re: Desperately unhappy cat :(
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2017, 21:22:45 PM »
SOME GREAT ADVICE AND NOTHING TO ADD ACCEPT TO WISH YOU ALL THE BEST :hug:

Offline Mymblesdaughter

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Re: Desperately unhappy cat :(
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2017, 15:19:16 PM »
Does she have plenty of places she can get away from the children. I know Jackson Galaxy is very keen on platforms and areas where cats can sit and look, feel safe but the children can't get to them. So cat trees, walkways and shelves are idea.

Offline Dawn F

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Re: Desperately unhappy cat :(
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2017, 08:45:41 AM »
Royal canin calm food has done wonders for my stressed out cat

Offline Sue P (Paddysmum)

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Re: Desperately unhappy cat :(
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2017, 08:24:07 AM »
I know you probably have your hands full right now, what with one thing and another, but if you could keep a journal of a few days, writing down all of your cats (plural) interactions with you in the course of a day from waking up and going to bed (and all the bits in between) it might throw up something which could give us other avenues to explore with you. 

(One of the reasons I love Purrs is that Purrs members often use it like a diary, and it can be so helpful to look back at.  Each member will perhaps discover something different or find a new approach which helps others and so on)

Offline Sue P (Paddysmum)

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Re: Desperately unhappy cat :(
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2017, 07:04:57 AM »
Morning Em and morning to Nora and young Farmer Kit. 

This is always upsetting when we know our cat is unhappy.

I agree with Gill though.  Isolating Nora further will only reinforce to her that she's been well and truly relegated to bottom division.  Cats really don't think "inside the box" so we have to try and work with them.

Having one baby in a household can be distressing for a cat (and a new Mum!) so having two can be sensory overload to a cat who hasn't been used to it.

To be honest, it doesn't sound like she's treating young Farmer Kit with too much suspicion or dislike, and it may be that she considers him an ally - part of a solution, rather than part of the problem.  I think that's a real positive, and as Gill has already mentioned, it means she has some feline company to moan to in this household which was her haven, but has now become her living hell.

It might help us if you could give us a breakdown of your daily routine for the whole family.  How is your home configured? Who gets to go where (people and cats)?  Where do Nora and young Farmer Kit hang out most, given the choice?   What forms do the aggressive acts take - can you describe a couple for  us?  When these occur, what normally happens?  How does the targeted person react?  How is young Farmer Kit around the house and with you/her?

Please don't think we're being nosey or Judgmental in asking the questions, but cats are so subtle in their body language that it's monitoring the little things that often give us a clue to the whole.  When cats become aggressive, or begin toileting inappropriately, they're literally screaming for our attention.  It's much to your credit that you're aware of the depth of her unhappiness, and are looking to help her.   

The Feliway and Zylkene are great steps to take, and can do no harm.  Do you have the plug ins in every room?

Offline Gill (sneakiefeline)

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Re: Desperately unhappy cat :(
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2017, 02:43:02 AM »
A VERY HARD SITUATION AND AGREE ALL THE CHANGES HAVE AFFECTED HER BADLY.

I DONT KNOW WHAT THE OTHERS THINK BUT MY THOUGHTS ARE THAT THE NOISE THE TWINS ARE MAKING IS AFFECTING HER MOST AND AS SHE PREVIOUSLY WAS HAPPY WITH THEM SHE THINKS THEY HATE HER.

PROBABLY THE OTHER CAT AND BIL WERE THE LAST STRAWS IN HER LITTLE LIFE AND SHE FEELS UNLOVED AND LONELY.

YOUSAY THAT WHEN ONE OF YOU IS ALONE WITHOUT THE TWINS SHE COMES AND SITS AND PURRS, SO I THINK THATIS THE WAY FORWARD, NOT THE GARAGE WHICH WILL MAKE HER FEEL EVEN MORE ISOLATED AND UNHAPPY.

I THINK ONE OF YOU NEEDS TO MAKE SOME TIME TO BE WITHJUST HER AND STROKE AND CUDDLEAND PLAY WITH HER, AS MANY TIMES A DAY AS POSSIBLE.

ONCE THETWINS STOP THE NOISE AND IF YOU TEACHTHEM TO BE GOOD AROUND CATS THIS MAY RECTIFY ITSELF EVENTUALLY.

EVEN BETTERWOUD BE IF HER AND THE OTHER CAT GET ON AND BECOME FRIENDS COS THEN SHE WOUD HAVE A PLAYMATE AND A BUDDY BUT THATHAS TO BE DONE IN SLOW TIME.

I THINK SHE JUST DOESNT KNOW WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO HER LITTLE WORLD WITH ALL THE NEWBIES, SHE IS LOST, FEELING UNLOVED, NOT WANTED, THE NOISE IS UPSETTING HER, SHE HAS NO/LITTLE TIME WITH THOSE SHE FEELS CLOSEST WITH AND WHO HAVE SHARED HER LIFE.

ITS A VERY DIFFICULT SITUATION ANDYOU NEED TO TAKE IT SLOWLY WITH HER AND TRY NOT TO ISOLATE HER MORE WHICH NITHINK THE GARAGEW ILL.

CATS ARE COMPLICATED AND DONT THINK LIKE US, SHE THOUGHT SHE HAD TRAINED YOU AND THEN BANG AND YOU WERE DIFFERENT.

OTHERS MAY HAVE MORE IDEAS BUT I THINK YOU NEED TO SPEND MORE TIME WITH JUST HER TO MAKE HER FEEEL LOVED AGAIN.


Offline EmandNora

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Desperately unhappy cat :(
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2017, 22:35:07 PM »
Hi everyone

Sorry for the long message. I'm desparate for advice.

I'm becoming increasingly worried about my 7/8 year old cat Nora. She has always been laid back, cuddley and a real 'people cat'. She turned me into a cat lover and we've always had a great bond. She knows tricks like sit and beg and always seemed so happy.

BUT we've had some massive changes this past year and I think its really damaged her to the point where I think she is really sad and depressed.

Firstly we had twins. She used to love them, purring and sitting with them but now that they are older and scream a lot i think they just upset her. We did all the things advised, letting her sniff their blankets and treating her when she was with them and she was great at the start but slowly has become stressed around them.

Secondly my brother in law moved in. He's quiet and good with the pets but the extra change seemed to trigger aggression. Since he moved in anyone walks past her and she started attacking our legs yowling and clawing/swiping.

We also came across a farm kitten who had no home and took him in also I know taking in anither cat can increase stress but it was that or death for the little man so I chose to save him. She hissed at him at first but is OK with him now. We tend to keep them separate unless were around as I'm trying to limit the stress she's under as he is a bit more playful than she is used to.

We have tried so many things to calm her down. We use Feliway, pet remedy plug in and zylkene but there is still aggression. I do feel awfully guilty because if me abd my partner spend time alone, e.g. one has the babies downstairs and the other sits alone upstairs, she will come and sit next to the ine without the babies and purr and its almost like she's back.

My next plan is doing up the garage as a cat hideaway so she has somewhere that is just for her. But if that doesn't work I'm terrified that she'll be depressed and aggressive for the rest of her life. I'm so upset that life events have turned my cuddle monster into a claw monster and am at a loss for ideas.

If anyone has any ideas for what to do tobhelp her I'd really appreciate it. I realy don't know what to do and feel pretty heartbroken!  :(

 


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