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#1 of 10 Old 11-12-2006, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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A gal from my AP playgroup was helping her Mother get rid of several cats - she has had a Ragdoll cattery for years and her small town was recently annexed and they shut her down

Anyway, Wednesday evening we went to her house to see the kitties and came home with two of them. They are both full grown females of the Ragdoll breed.

We brought them home in a large dog crate. We brought the crate into our master bathroom where we had set up food/water dish and a litter box. We figured a small space would be better until they became curious and more acclimated. The first night was fine, no issues, the cats really didn't make much noise - they did eat and use the litter box but they spent most of their time in the crate. We have slowly been opening up more of the house to help them adjust and the children only have supervised visits.

The last three nights one of the cats starts crying/meowing around 2:00 am and this lasts for hours! She has her furry friend, food, water, box etc. and we can't figure out what her problem is. Yesterday morning after the meowing lasted a couple of hours I put them both back in the master bathroom with the door closed and she got quieter.

One of the cats is great, she is spending more and more time with us and less time under the bed and is quiet. However, my DH is already losing patients with the other cat since she is waking us up every morning between 2-3 and it is hard to get back to sleep. She is also warming up to us but is less social.

Any suggestions to help this cat be more comfortable? Any idea why she starts crying in the wee hours? Anything we can do to get through this? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Keri

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#2 of 10 Old 11-12-2006, 10:19 PM
 
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How old are they?

It can take weeks for cats to acclimate to new places and new people. I would not make ANY judgments about the temperament of either cat until they've been with you a month or two--you may just have to last through the weirdness for a while until they settle down. Their socialness will also continue to improve.

If the meowing is driving you nuts, just put her in a different room for the night (with the other cat and a litterbox) until it goes away.
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#3 of 10 Old 11-13-2006, 12:35 AM
 
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I agree with the previous poster. Assume that it is going to take them several weeks to start to get a new normal. I used to show altered cats a long time ago, and typically got them as older cats. Sometimes the most outgoing and affectionate cats in the world are just so scared in the beginning and it sometimes takes a week or two for them to slowly adapt to their new surroundings. Just do your best to be patient and let them go at their own pace. They just take a while longer to adjust...but don't worry they WILL adjust, just give them some time and patience and they will get used to things.

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#4 of 10 Old 11-13-2006, 11:22 AM
 
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I have a cat that yowls at night like that. I usually shut him in the basement for the night, because he makes DH nuts. He has a nice big couch to sleep on, and he does fine.

I agree, though, that it may be just that this cat is taking longer than the other to settle in and feel at home. She may be afraid or lonely at night. I would guess that some extra effort at affection during the day might help, and a little time. She may also want to roam and prowl the house at night; maybe being confined is upsetting. But you can't make judgements about her until she's had plenty of time to settle down.

Can you open a window for them at night, so they can sit and look and smell the outside? That seems to settle mine down when he gets antsy and prowly.

And if, in the end, she does turn out to be noisy at night, just make her a nice place in a room FAR from you, and it'll be okay!

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#5 of 10 Old 11-13-2006, 12:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your replies. I understand this may take weeks but I don't think DH will have that kind of patients. It has been 4 nights in a row now of each of us getting about 3 hours of sleep.

We would love to give her more affection during the day but she won't come out from under the bed for the most part

She is no longer confined and has not been the last two nights. We gave them the run of the house thinking she would be happier or at lest pick another part of the house to howl in. Unfortunately, last night she kept up myself, DH and our two sons There are times in the evening when she will come to us a nuzzle or allow us to pet her but not in the middle of the night when she is howling/crying. We would be happy to have her in bed with us or wherever she wanted if it just meant she would stop crying.
She seems more interested in/attached to our 11 year old son which is no surprise because he is a HUGE animal lover so he left his door open last night and said he woke up with her in his room howling but she wouldn't let him pick her up.

DH and I even went to bed early last night - we were in our room by 8:00 thinking maybe we could give them some attention and she would sleep better at night. She did come up and spend some time with us but started howling last night before it was even bed time.

We have these cats on a 30 day trial. The gal we got them from was very clear about that and understands that these cats may not work well with families or at least families as big and loud as ours. She actually called yesterday to see how things are going. The one cat is great, lots of love and affectionate but the other one not so much. We would be ok with her being a recluse it's just the all night howling that's really getting to us

Unfortunately, there isn't anywhere we can really put her at night. Very early this morning I put her in our bathroom again but that seemed to really piss her off this time, she was loud as ever and was clawing at the door and the carpet. We don't have a basement or extra room we can put her in.

These cats have never been outside so I don't think that is what she is looking for. They have been in the cattery since their births from what I understand

Anyway, if anybody has any other responses we are willing to try whatever it takes. We really don't want to get rid of this kitty but DH is loosing patients and with a new baby on the way in a few months that is certainly a concern as well.

Keri

 Keri wife and Mama to  Cory 17,  Brendan 15,  Kerianne 8,  Avery 7,  Lilia 3
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#6 of 10 Old 11-13-2006, 01:36 PM
 
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Keri---It's been around 4 days. Adults are going to take longer. Chances are she doesn't yet know where she is and is quite possibly even looking for animals that she knew at the cattery. It's ONLY 4 days. I would give it another couple of weeks. She needs to adapt to her surroundings and your schedule.

Also, by reacting to her meows she is being rewarded, the reason she meows is to get attention. If you refuse to give her attention (no moving her, petting her, etc) she will stop. When she meows to you, just ignore it. Don't go see her, don't move her don't play with her. When she is quiet then go over and pet her and play with her. Sounds obvious, but it WORKS! So, give her another week with no reaction to her meows and she'll be done.

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Cats usually vocalize because they want something like food, rubs or a good brushing. Often though what they want is for you to pay attention to them. Occasional meowing throughout the day is cute and part of many cats' normal behaviour. It does become a problem however in the middle of the night when you are sleeping. The rule of thumb is this: Any type of attention or response to a cat's meowing or talking, is a reward for the cat. Scolding, yelling, or shushing can equal reward times three. The best way to discourage the behaviour is to give no reaction when it meows and EXTRA attention and reaction when it's quiet. If the problem is in the middle of the night get a pair of earplugs but never react. If you've tried the silent treatment and the cat still over meows at inappropriate times you can try squirting it with a water bottle from under your bedroom door. This should work well as long as the cat does not know that the punishment is coming from you. The goal is for the cat to associate meowing at your door with a squirt.

There are circumstances when you should be more considerate if you cat is vocalizing more than usual. Cats can become vocal when they are in a transitional phase like a move or the death of someone in the family or another cat. Try to provide extra love and support during these times by giving the cat more attention along with a few extra cat toys or treats. Again, give this extra attention when the cat is quiet, not while it's actually doing the vocalizing.
http://www.pets.ca/pettips/tips-67.htm

In a cattery situation cats don't get as much one on one attention as they do in a home, and it sounds like she's testing your limits. I would start to mold and modify her behavior so she knows when it is acceptable to meow. On a side note, cats who do this kind of thing I find are VERY intelligent and outgoing kitties and will be the ones that you will develop the strongest bonds to, So don't give up. Vent to us if you feel temporarily stressed/tense. It sounds like you've got a lot of changes going on.

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#7 of 10 Old 11-13-2006, 09:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You are absolutely right - it has only been 4 days and it's not like we're giving up today but it would be nice to see some improvement but it's getting worse.

I guess I don't know what to do with her when she is howling in the middle of the night??? There isn't a single room in our house we could put her that would be out of ear shot of everyone trying to sleep

I am definitely willing to give her more time, I know she hasn't had enough love in her little life and want to give that gift to her. I guess I am just looking for suggestions on what to do with her and I really, really hope it starts getting better in the next week or so.

Keri

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#8 of 10 Old 11-14-2006, 12:56 PM
 
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I know this sounds bad, but you're likely going to lose sleep for a few days. Just until she gives up the meowing. I wouldn't do anything special for her at all after she meows. I think once she realizes no response and no special treatment she'll give up .

If any other people (animal behaviorists come forward ) have suggestions come forward. It sounds like really basic behavioral modification to me. Sorry it comes at a bad time though (being super pregnant and having young children isn't the easiest time to adopt a couple kitties...not impossible though LOL). The good thing is long term everything should work out. You could always call the vet and ask a couple of questions about how to deal with it there. And, there's always google .

Sounds like you got some LOVELY kitties there though, and I'll bet with some patience they'll work out well. So smart of you to get two. I do think that two cats are happier individually than a single cat is alone .

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#9 of 10 Old 11-15-2006, 01:02 AM
 
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Keri,
Are both females spayed? If not, could the howling one be in heat?
If she's spayed, I would enclose her in a room at night and put in earplugs and ignore her. After a few days, she should be better. If she's being destructive, I would put her in a crate. Yes, it sounds inhumane, but I think it's better to acclimate her than have her go to another new home and get stressed out in another new situation. Also you may want to try some Feliway plugins. I used them when acclimating my cats when they were kittens. They are wall plugins that emit pheromones that calm cats down.
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#10 of 10 Old 11-15-2006, 01:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The good news is that last night was MUCH better! We all got decent sleep and she didn't start howling until DH got up to shower, which happens at 4am.
We decided to reconfine her and she is again limited to our bedroom. I think having the whole house was a bit overwhelming for her. She is also spending less time under our bed.
The bad news is that before we reconfined her she peed on laundry on our couch We are really hoping that was a one time thing. Thankfully she has not done that in our bedroom or bathroom.

She isn't in heat. We are not positive if she is spayed or not - we still need to get her to a vet but she isn't exhibiting 'in heat' behavior - rolling around, backing into walls, etc.

I talked to the Mama I got her from last night and gave her an update and she is very willing to take her back if this doesn't work but we want to give it at least another week.
As long as we have more nights like last night we'll do just fine.

I had no idea they had plug ins for cats : What will they think of next??

Keri

 Keri wife and Mama to  Cory 17,  Brendan 15,  Kerianne 8,  Avery 7,  Lilia 3
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