At wits end with our cat - need advice - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-20-2011, 01:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Our kitty Calliope is 8.5 years old and we're having major issues. My girlfriend Kristie found her abandoned as a kitten in a box in a dumpster with 3 of her brothers and sisters. We gladly accepted her into our home and tried to be the best kitty parents we could be, but she unfortunately has not had an easy life, even living with two people that love her very much. Our roommates boyfriend accidentally spilled boiling water on himself and on Calliope when she was a couple months old. He didn't tell us until a couple of days later when we found scabs on her back. We took her to the vet but they said there was nothing that we could do at that point because she had scabbed up already. She's mainly been an indoor cat her entire life, but we would let her out in our front yard, supervised for 20-30 minutes at a time....until....one night she ate too much grass and started to vomit. But the vomit was too thick because of the undigested grass, so she started to choke. I was in bed and Kristie was in the bathroom and heard a noise - she started screaming. Calliope ripped off a part of her tongue using her claw to pull the grass vomit out of her mouth. We rushed her to the emerency vet and they removed the flap that she created. This happened when she was about 4 years old.

 

Since that point in time, she's been horribly nasty to any human or animal other than me. She'll jump up on my belly and want to be petted, and purr. But if Kristie even talks to her, she hisses at her and runs away. Same for any other guest the comes over - she's constantly growling, hissing, trying to bite and swatting at everybody. She's also overweight, even though we've been feeding her 1/4 cup of weight management food since she was 3. Recently, she had a bout with diarrhea, and she can't clean herself because of her weight. We took her to the vet, who recommended an all protein food and a 1 week course of oral liquid antibiotics for collitis. It was a nightmare trying to give her the medicine, but we managed to do it wearing fireplace gloves. The all protein food has been causing her to have anal leakage and we've been constantly having to clean her rear, our couches, our bed, etc. We decided to move her back to the weight management food - which seems to have stopped the anal leakage, but her regular BMs still get stuck to her rear and we have to clean her with a wash cloth. She can't stand it, but we can't have cat poop all over the house. 

 

Overall, she just seems like such an unhappy cat. We don't want to let her outside - not only for her safety, but so she won't attack our neighbor's outdoor pets. She has aggresively attacked my friends very docile pit bull when he had brought him over for a visit. That taught us that we really can't have anybody visit with a dog or cat. (There were a couple of other occasions where she attacked, but this was the third time and the last straw) We're at our wits end and we don't know what to do. We've tried Rescue Remedy, Plug-ins the vet gave us, tranquilizers the vet gave us. They seem to suggest that we might want to consider putting her to sleep since she's so hostile towards people - they have to give her anasthetia for a routine visit. I've tried to see if there is a place that might rescue problem cats, but I'm not having much luck. I would love some ideas - I really don't want to put her down at such an early age, but at the same time, I don't think it would be right to try to find another home for her when she is so mean and vicious. Any advice is appreciated.

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Old 08-20-2011, 10:46 AM
 
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have you thought about medications? You could also try feliway, which is a plug in that helps to relax them.

I would probably try doing some clicker training with her. Use her kibble as a reward, here are some articles:

http://www.clickertraining.com/taxonomy/term/2

 

you can get a treat dispenser ball so she has to work for her food as well. How active is she? I would cut back her food and try to get her some more exercise to help with the weight.


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Old 08-20-2011, 02:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the ideas Starrlamia! We're going to try the clicker training now. We've tried Rescue Remedy and the vet gave us some meds to try - Acepromazine. The vet said it's kind of like kitty Prozac, but it might have the opposite of the desired effect - which it did. Instead of relaxing her, it made her even more paranoid and skidish. We'll try the treat dispenser too. We already give her what the vet said is the minimum amount of food she should be given each day - 1/4 cup in the morning and 1/4 cup in the evening. I'm not sure if it's OK to give her less than that. She's 19 lbs and we try to up her activity level, but any kind of stimulation results in her growling, hissing and running away to hide under the bed. We try to approach her in the most gentle and loving way possible, but she acts as if we've abused her her whole life.

 

I asked the vet if there is any easy medicine that might help with her weight and she gave us a tuna flavored liquid medicine. Unfortunately, the cat didn't eat it and the vet told us we would have to administer it with a syringe. She hated that and I can't see continuing that method because she thinks she's being punished every time we try to administer it.

 

I'm really hoping the clicker training might have some results. Kristie just brought her a treat with the clicker and when she put the first piece down, she started growling at her. So I gave it a try and she let me give her a whole greenie that we broke up into 5 pieces. So I got 5 clicks in. Hopefully that's a start. I'll keep posting with her progress. Thanks again.

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Old 08-20-2011, 03:01 PM
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I understand you're trying new things with her diet. You don't mention what brand of food you're feeding the cat, but the vast majority of commercial foods are crap. Even the ones with good ingredients are still highly processed.

 

If a food product is low in usable nutrients, the animal gets hungrier because the body is craving nutrition (this goes for humans, too).

 

If you aren't already feeding a quality food, I suggest doing so. I don't mean Science Diet or Iams. I mean something like Wellness. Cats are carnivores. The first ingredient in their food should be meat....not meat by-products, corn, rice, or any other sort of filler. Grain-free or very-low-grain food is best. There should be no artificial colors or flavorings.

 

A raw diet of biologically appropriate food would be best, although that can be very time-consuming and messy for a cat owner. I do not believe that an all-protein diet is what's causing your cat's bowel problems. Cats are meat eaters. I'm not calling you a liar; I just think you might be misunderstanding the situation. I think it's more likely to be an additive that is upsetting her insides.

 

Actually, poor diet and/or allergies can cause behavioral problems, too. Something to think about.

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Old 08-21-2011, 11:40 AM
 
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type of food is definately important!

 

glad you are liking the clicker training! It is really satisfying once you see the animal go, aha! i get a treat when they click! lol it does take some getting used to, make sure that she is not getting any treats when growling. If you have to, throw the treats at her! karen pryor does have a cat clicker training book too.

 

My cat had the same issue with those meds! He isnt aggressive but is very anxious when kept indoors.

 

 


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Old 08-22-2011, 07:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We've been feeding her vet recommended foods. We started with Nutro Max Cat Indoor Weight Control food, and when she showed no signs of losing weight at the prescribed amounts, that's when the vet suggested we try Blue Buffalo all protein foods. She told us to start transitioning slowly by mixing the two foods over the course of a month, which we did. By the time she was eating strictly Blue Buffalo, she was having constant leakage issues. We tried it for two months and no change. She also threw it up three times. So we slowly transitioned her back to the Nutro Max Cat, which she seems to like a lot more. Since we moved her back to that, she stopped having major bowel issues, but she's not losing any weight.

 

That's the only part of the clicker training that I'm concerned with. Even though we're breaking the treats (Feline Greenies) into small pieces, we're giving her more treats than she would normally have. But so far, she's been less agressive with Kristie, which is really encouraging. We're going to pick up that book you recommend. Thanks again for the advice - I'm really hoping we can give her a happier life.

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Old 08-26-2011, 09:47 AM
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It's been my experience with medical professionals that they know next to nothing about nutrition. Think about it....their job is to cure illness. There's no money in healthy animals/people.

 

The food you are currently feeding your cat is mostly grain. It contains rice, wheat, corn and oats. In fact, those things are in the first six ingredients. Grain is a fattening food. That's why Americans are always fighting the bulge. We eat far too many grains. It's what we feed cattle to fatten them for the slaughterhouse.

 

Blue Buffalo wet foods are loaded with vegetable starches and berries, which could be just too much in the way of sugar for a cat with a delicate system. You know how little kids get the runs from too much apple juice? Same thing.

 

Those Greenies you're feeding are also full of grain.

 

Any good pet store will sell meat-based food for your cat. Your cat will not get thin by eating grains. Your cat needs meat. If you continue to feed your cat grain, your cat will eat MORE in order to get the nutrition it needs. When was the last time you saw a cat grazing in a corn field? wink1.gif

 

 

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Old 08-26-2011, 10:06 AM
 
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vets have limited nutritional experience. Nutro is pretty crappy, look for something grain free (cats are obligate carnivores), orijen, acana, wellness core, evo, taste of the wild. they are more expensive but they will eat less because it is a better food so it evens out in the end.

 

For your training, dont use treats, use her kibble. Set aside a handful of her daily kibble serving and use that for training.

 

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Originally Posted by DamianDisc View Post

We've been feeding her vet recommended foods. We started with Nutro Max Cat Indoor Weight Control food, and when she showed no signs of losing weight at the prescribed amounts, that's when the vet suggested we try Blue Buffalo all protein foods. She told us to start transitioning slowly by mixing the two foods over the course of a month, which we did. By the time she was eating strictly Blue Buffalo, she was having constant leakage issues. We tried it for two months and no change. She also threw it up three times. So we slowly transitioned her back to the Nutro Max Cat, which she seems to like a lot more. Since we moved her back to that, she stopped having major bowel issues, but she's not losing any weight.

 

That's the only part of the clicker training that I'm concerned with. Even though we're breaking the treats (Feline Greenies) into small pieces, we're giving her more treats than she would normally have. But so far, she's been less agressive with Kristie, which is really encouraging. We're going to pick up that book you recommend. Thanks again for the advice - I'm really hoping we can give her a happier life.



 


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