I am at my wits end and I want to cry

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miserableowner
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I am at my wits end and I want to cry

Post by miserableowner » Sat Aug 26, 2017 1:19 am

Hello all -

I have never felt more horrible writing a forum post in my life.

I rescued a cat on Monday, and I cannot stand this cat. I'm so confused at this cat's behavior, as I spent three hours (on two separate days) with this cat before adopting it and did not see any of this. I was told by the foster parents and the rescue that she was calm, practically silent, and required "hardly any attention" to the point of where she's "comfortable being in a room alone for a week" (PSA: I would never leave a cat alone in a room for a week, I just wanted a cat that was low-key).

This could not be the farthest from the truth. I've had cats and dogs my entire life, and I have never had an animal that has driven me bonkers like this.

She needs constant attention. I've never even had a dog that requires this much attention. I don't mean petted, I mean on top of you 24/7, and if she's not on top of you, she's hissing at you or yowling so loud that you can hear her outside of the house. My neighbors are retired and at home all day; on Wednesday I came home and she was at my door waiting for me to let me know that the cat yowled for 6 and half hours without stopping, while I was at work. She "suggested I get it under control". The yowling does not stop once someone is inside the house, unless you let her climb on top of you...

...which brings me to my next issue. She is front paw declawed (she was already declawed when I adopted her) and has been scratching me with her back leg claws on my upper thighs. She is not trying to get on or off of me, she is literally walking up to me, turning around, and scratching my thighs. Out of the five times that she's done it this week, three have drawn blood, one time to the point of bleeding through my pants. She is also biting my face and going for my jugular when I allow her to lay on me. She only has her canines left, but man am I surprised how much those suckers can hurt, which, again, brings me to my next issue...

Yesterday, I watched a neighbor girl for her mother for 20 minutes. I know that my cat is having behavioral issues, so I put her in the second bedroom with a baby gate up. The neighbor girl sat in my recliner watching tv - her hands were not waving, she wasn't making a sound, she was completely entranced by the tv. I had to get up to go to the bathroom. My cat looked through the gate to check and make sure I wasn't there, saw I was around the corner in the bathroom, jumped over the gate, ran over to the little girl, and bit her hand, hissed, and ran away from her. Her mother was nice enough about it when she picked her up, but later texted me telling me that she had to give her daughter medicine for it.

I am licensed to adopt and take in older children where I live, and I absolutely cannot have animals in the house that are attacking children. I currently don't have any children in the house, but if a placement comes up, I take it. Yesterday I text the rescue and told her what happened - I called her on Wednesday due to the yowling/scratching issue, so she was already aware of that - and told her about the little girl being bit. I reminded her that I had told her in my in person interview that I will have children in and out of the house and that is my first priority, and I need a cat that can handle that. I told her if the behavior doesn't change that I will have to "discuss my options" with her.

Personally, I feel that her text message response is blaming me for her behavior. She stated "She's just stressed. You shouldn't be introducing anyone until she is comfortable with you and her new place. She has never exhibited any of that type of behavior before with anyone else but if it doesn't work, you can meet other cats. You need to learn to be patient and just let her come to you". Please note that I have already had an hour long phone conversation with her about the fact that I don't seek the cat out at all, and describing all of the above behaviors I've been experiencing. I only let the cat come to me, the problem is she is attacking me every time she comes to me.

Please note that I have confirmed with vet that she is healthy and none of this is related to illness.

It makes me feel even worse when I know how great of a cat she has been in the past with everyone except for me, apparently. I am an animal lover so all I keep thinking about is how horrible I'm making this cat feel, and there's nothing I can do to fix it. I know this cat isn't a bad cat. She deserves to be in a home that she feels comfortable and she is loved. I've seen her as a great cat, but this cat I have in my house and the cat that I met is not the same cat.

I took Friday off work so that I could continue the 're-introduction to the home' process, in hopes things changed. I started on Thursday night after the neighbor girl left. So far, nothing has changed; if anything, her yowling has increased. One thing I would like to point out about my home is that I live in a very, very busy area. I am 4 metres from a fire department and police department, one block away from 4 schools and a 24/7 petrol station, and I'm surrounded by flats. There is noise constantly where I live. She has lived for the past two years with a foster family on a quiet, nice dead-end road surrounded by small houses. There's nothing I can do about the noise, and I'm really starting to think this is what it causing all of the problems.

I know I'm supposed to give her time to adjust and it's only been a week, but I honestly don't want this cat anymore. It's really difficult to want a cat when you're covered up in bandages and you (and your neighbors) can't sleep because of feral-cat style yowling. I don't know what to do vs. what's right, and I just need guidance. I emotionally feel horrible about this; I'm not someone who cries, but I've cried about this about every other day since I got her. Everyone just keeps yelling for me to 'give her time!', but I'm completely drained.

I'm giving her the next three days, but if this doesn't stop I just won't be able to take it anymore and I'll be calling the rescue to take her back. I'm so incredibly stressed out and I feel like a prisoner in my own home.

Please tell me I'm not alone in this. :(

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Ruth B
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Re: I am at my wits end and I want to cry

Post by Ruth B » Sat Aug 26, 2017 8:23 am

Reading the post makes me instantly think that something somewhere is very wrong, the behaviour you describe isn't what I would expect from any cat and the fact that she was calm and quiet when you saw her at her foster home really brings questions to my mind.

How old is she, you mention that she has been declawed on her front paws and had most of her teeth removed. I'm in the UK and declawing, except for medical reasons, isn't done, but I know other countries do do it fairly frequently. Normally having all the teeth removed I would take as an indication of an older cat, but older cats are normally more placid. It just makes me wonder if any of this is due to aggressive behaviour in the past.

I know you mention that the vet said she was healthy, but I don't know if there is anyway to check a cat hearing. It might sound slightly mad, but if she had a hearing issue could the move from a quiet environment to a noisy one be causing her distress.

Alternatively her behaviour makes me wonder if it could be a dependency issue. How long was she with the fosterers, how much time did they spend with her, and did they have any other animals about. To me it sounds like she gets anxious about being alone but then has to try and prove her dominance over anyone she comes in contact with, neck biting in particular can be a sign of a cat trying to be dominant over you.

Could you contact the fosterers and see if they used anything like Feliway to help keep the cat calmer and find out what her behaviour was like when they first had her, and how long it took her to settle down.

I have to admit having read the post I do wonder if this cat is the right cat for you. In your situation, being licenced to look after children does mean you can not risk having a cat that has a habit of biting and scratching people. Something is obviously causing her stress and that is causing you stress, which no doubt will stress her out and you end up in a vicious circle. Unfortunately it also means that you start to dislike the cat and are wary around it expecting it to attack you she will possibly pick up on this and oblige.

If you feel you have the time to try and sort it out then I would suggest getting in touch with a professional behaviourist, but any treatment plan could take weeks to carry out, and I'm not sure your situation with neighbours and children gives you that option. Otherwise the best option would be to return her to the rescue she came from so they could look into the cause of her behaviour and then rehome her somewhere more suitable. That can be a hard choice to make, I had to once when I adopted a cat who just would not settle with the two resident cats I had. In the end after several weeks and stress levels rocketing, I had to return her to the charity she came from, I heard afterwards that was rehomed as an only pet and her behaviour was fine afterwards, and my two returned to their good behaviour. It took years of reading before I realised that returning her was the best decision I could have made for all concerned and not a sign that I had failed her, and I finally realised that I had nothing to feel guilty about.

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Re: I am at my wits end and I want to cry

Post by booktigger » Sat Aug 26, 2017 11:04 am

Do you know why it has taken 2 years to find her a home? Unfortunately cats can change personality when homed, but this is very extreme. I'm wondering if you weren't told everything or if it is a reaction to being homed after so long, whether she feels abandoned.

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Re: I am at my wits end and I want to cry

Post by MarySkater » Sat Aug 26, 2017 12:35 pm

Ruth B wrote:but any treatment plan could take weeks to carry out, and I'm not sure your situation with neighbours and children gives you that option.
That was my thought, too. Whatever is wrong with this cat (and it may be that human mistreatment started her problems) I don't think that you have the right situation to rehabilitate her, however much you might want to. You wanted a quiet cat, and that's not what they've given you.

In your place I would send her back to the shelter, and if they didn't want to take her back, I'd euthanize her. I've stood over a cat of my own while she was being put to sleep, and it was quiet and non-traumatic (for the cat, that is. I was in tears, but it was the right thing to do.) There are nice cats out there needing homes. Why should you struggle with this one, who appears to be just as unhappy with you as you are with her.

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Re: I am at my wits end and I want to cry

Post by Kay » Sat Aug 26, 2017 1:43 pm

the ideal situation would be for the fosterers to take her back - are you allowed to contact them directly? I certainly think it would be only fair to give them the option rather than have her euthanized

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Re: I am at my wits end and I want to cry

Post by Lilith » Sat Aug 26, 2017 2:46 pm

Hi there - I feel for you.

Some years ago I took in a 'devil kitten' - her owners were anxious to get rid of her because of her aggressiveness, and she's STILL aggressive. At first I refused but weakened ... oh and wasn't she so meek and mild when she first arrived? Then she started and it was HELL. She was of course very young, not yet a year, so normal kitten exuberance was in the mix, but I'm a veteran of numerous cats and kittens, including being an ex-Siamese breeder, and I can honestly say I've never, ever, come across a cat like her. I'll admit she made my life a misery for quite some time and I too was at my wits' end. But mercifully a bond was growing between us and now she's 6 and we're still together.

But it took a very long time and my lifestyle is very different to yours; I too am retired and I don't have many callers. Molly has me 24/7 and (as far as she can) trusts me (I hope) and now shows affection.

I feel that this poor cat is all wrong for you and that you can't go on adding this pressure to your life. I also feel that your neighbours ought to be more considerate - hell, with a fire station and constant traffic about they're on at you to 'control' a mewing cat??? :o

Especially when you'd been assured that this was a placid cat who could handle its owner being out at work.

Above all I feel very very sorry for the cat but you just don't have the time or lifestyle to work with her (and it's hard work!) You have your job and your childcare and this isn't a cat you can leave, or allow near children (my Molly's previous owners were afraid she'd attack the baby, and she would have too!) I still daren't let her out of the (luckily secured) garden because she'd certainly attack any child or dog who approached her; she's learned to respect my other cats (because she knows I'm on hand to tell her off!) and she's affectionate and possessive. But this has taken years.

I know the alternatives to keeping your cat are her return to the shelter or euthanasia and that whatever happens you're going to feel awful. But sadly I think you would be wise, under the circumstances, to let her go. You never know, the shelter might have another mug like me on their books :lol: with time to work with what is a very disturbed cat.

I'm so sorry for what you and this cat are going through - please let us know how you go on; we're here to support you x

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Re: I am at my wits end and I want to cry

Post by miserableowner » Sun Aug 27, 2017 5:25 pm

Thank you all for your messages! I at least don't feel like I'm crazy anymore.

To answer your questions:
1.) She is an adult cat. She is 4. She had all teeth removed due to an infection she had when she was a kitten. She was front paw declawed when she was a kitten too.
2.) According to the foster family, the reason she hasn't been adopted out is because she doesn't have all of her teeth and people don't want to pay for the wet food only diet, or the shot she has to get every 4-5 months to stop inflammation in her teeth.
3.) This is the first time that she has been in a house with no men and no other animals. I will not be getting any other animals (and don't plan to pick up any stray men lying around) so if this is part of the problem as well, I'm not a good fit.
4.) Euthanizing her is not an option, and if the rescue or foster family for some reason does not take her back, I will take her to a different rescue.
5.) Yes, my retired neighbors are...nice, but sort of....'pompous' might be the right word? They have show dachshunds that they've spent thousands of dollars getting trained and they're the quietest most calm dogs I've ever seen in my life. They're on the association board and can contact my landlord directly to evict me if my cat continues breaking the noise ordinance. Her howling has increased and worsened since I wrote my original post, and they have now resorted to stomping on their floors (my ceilings) to try to get her to shut up. It doesn't work, obviously, and I understand their frustration because I'm also living with it.

I called the rescue this afternoon, to inform them I will be returning her. The rescue didn't answer my call, so I text her and said:

"Samantha*, this is not going to work. Dolly* is absolutely miserable here and is continuing to lash out. I'm really sorry, but I'm going to have to bring her back. I don't want a refund on the adoption fee, and I have about $100 worth of food, toys, etc. that I would love to donate to the rescue that I purchased for her. Can you let me know what time would work best fro me to take her back to the fosters? Or would you like me to schedule that with them directly?"

I haven't heard back. I know that she's busy on Sundays volunteering at a local hospital, so I'm just going to wait and see what I hear back. I feel horrible saying this, but just being able to get it out there into the open makes me feel like a weight has been lifted - not only for me, but for the kitty too. I'm actually excited for her that, so long as I get a response from the rescue, she'll be going back to an environment in which she felt comfortable. I honestly think the foster family needs to adopt her, but that's just me.

The woman who runs the rescue is a very loving person, but can come off as rude or say mean comments without meaning to. Does anyone have any advice for me when I talk with her or if I have to see her to return her?

*note, names changed for privacy

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Re: I am at my wits end and I want to cry

Post by Kay » Sun Aug 27, 2017 6:01 pm

sounds as if things will turn out OK all round in the end - as regards dealing with the rescue boss, I would suggest you don't feel you need to justify yourself at all, or even apologize - you are after all able to provide some much needed information about this cat which should help in finding her a more suitable home, and for her sake rescue owner and fosterer need to take what you say on board

incidentally, cats with no teeth can often manage dry food perfectly well, as long as the pieces are not too large

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Re: I am at my wits end and I want to cry

Post by Ruth B » Sun Aug 27, 2017 6:13 pm

I think you are making the right decision and I hope the rescue gets back to you soon. Its surprising how much better you can feel once the decision has been made, it's the uncertainty that cuts you up inside.

One of my cats has what the vet referred to as Viral Gingivitis and there is the probability that he will need his teeth out as some point. He's only about 2 and a half so I'm leaving it as long as i can as it isn't giving him any problems yet, and he is quite a hunter bringing home mice and rats on a fairly regular basis, I would hate for him to try hunting with less the the full set of teeth and end up getting hurt. I guess yours had something similar then that meant her teeth were removed.

As far as the dried food goes, one of our previous cats had to have all his back teeth removed when he was about 13 years old. The vet said that he should be on wet food particularly to start with, however when we got him home we hadn't taken up the dried food that was down for our other cat and he was face first in it the moment the carrier was opened. He never did stop preferring it to wet food, the lack of teeth didn't seem to make a difference to him.

I don't think you need to apologise to the rescue, she just wasn't the right cat for your environment, and they can now take that into account when finding her a new home. If you are also donating all you bought for her then they should be grateful. Don't give up on finding a cat there will be one out there that will be perfect for you and the way you live, she just wasn't that cat.

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Re: I am at my wits end and I want to cry

Post by Lilith » Sun Aug 27, 2017 6:17 pm

Yup. Agree with Kay and Ruth.

You don't need to explain yourself to this person, and she may not have checked her emails yet today anyway.

I'm so very very sorry that you and 'Dolly' have to part, but what with unpleasant neighbours and the fact that if you don't earn your living you can't eat (or feed the cat) I think you've made the wisest decision.

Yes I've known toothless cats who've hoovered down biscuits too :)

I do hope 'Dolly' finds a good home and that at some future date you're able to give a more suitable cat a home; you sound like a very caring person so please don't let this experience put you off owning a cat - all the very best to you and 'Dolly' :)

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Re: I am at my wits end and I want to cry

Post by MarySkater » Sun Aug 27, 2017 6:28 pm

Kay wrote:incidentally, cats with no teeth can often manage dry food perfectly well, as long as the pieces are not too large
I once adopted a young cat who had chronic mild gingivitis, really just a reddening of her gums which caused her no problems. My vet advised feeding her on a veterinary dry food which had large kibbles, the idea being that as the cat bit into them, it cleaned the teeth. It certainly worked for her; her teeth were always clean. However, aged 5, her teeth started falling out, and by about 10, she had none left. I still kept feeding her the big-kibble food, she always liked it and never had any trouble "gumming" it into submission.

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Re: I am at my wits end and I want to cry

Post by miserableowner » Sun Aug 27, 2017 8:31 pm

Hello all! The rescue did reply and told me that I could schedule time directly with the foster family to return her. I know she's going to be much happier with a family that has a living situation that matches her needs. I am taking her out there at 6 PM tonight. I offered to give the foster family all the things I bought but he said he wouldn't take any of it. Not sure if I should just bring it anyway?

Either way, it's bittersweet because it's something I really wanted to work out that didn't. I just have to remember we'll both be happier by the separation and that's what's important.

I really appreciate everyone helping me out with this.

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Re: I am at my wits end and I want to cry

Post by booktigger » Sun Aug 27, 2017 8:35 pm

So glad the fosterer is able to have her back, surprised they didn't want the things you had bought though
I do hope this doesn't put you off completely, and you get a cat that fits your lifestyle

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Re: I am at my wits end and I want to cry

Post by Kay » Sun Aug 27, 2017 9:00 pm

great news - I'd hang on to the stuff if they really don't want it as a promise to yourself that you will find your perfect companion one day soon

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Re: I am at my wits end and I want to cry

Post by Lilith » Sun Aug 27, 2017 9:04 pm

Hey that's great that things are sorted.

You WILL feel sad - but I don't think you've failed. You tried your hardest.

All the very very best and to the cat too, hope things work out for her, love x

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Re: I am at my wits end and I want to cry

Post by mr_frisky » Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:57 am

MarySkater wrote:
Ruth B wrote:but any treatment plan could take weeks to carry out, and I'm not sure your situation with neighbours and children gives you that option.
That was my thought, too. Whatever is wrong with this cat (and it may be that human mistreatment started her problems) I don't think that you have the right situation to rehabilitate her, however much you might want to. You wanted a quiet cat, and that's not what they've given you.

In your place I would send her back to the shelter, and if they didn't want to take her back, I'd euthanize her. I've stood over a cat of my own while she was being put to sleep, and it was quiet and non-traumatic (for the cat, that is. I was in tears, but it was the right thing to do.) There are nice cats out there needing homes. Why should you struggle with this one, who appears to be just as unhappy with you as you are with her.
You can't be serious? Considering killing a cat because their behaviour is inconvenient?

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Re: I am at my wits end and I want to cry

Post by MarySkater » Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:06 pm

mr_frisky wrote:You can't be serious? Considering killing a cat because their behaviour is inconvenient?
Persistently attacking people, disrupting the owner's lifestyle, and annoying neighbours who might have the power to get the owner evicted, goes beyond "inconvenient."

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Re: I am at my wits end and I want to cry

Post by booktigger » Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:22 pm

MarySkater wrote:
mr_frisky wrote:You can't be serious? Considering killing a cat because their behaviour is inconvenient?
Persistently attacking people, disrupting the owner's lifestyle, and annoying neighbours who might have the power to get the owner evicted, goes beyond "inconvenient."
Maybe if that behaviour had been going on for a while, this cat had been in a new home less than a week, it can take months for cats to adjust

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Re: I am at my wits end and I want to cry

Post by mr_frisky » Tue Aug 29, 2017 6:51 pm

MarySkater wrote:
mr_frisky wrote:You can't be serious? Considering killing a cat because their behaviour is inconvenient?
Persistently attacking people, disrupting the owner's lifestyle, and annoying neighbours who might have the power to get the owner evicted, goes beyond "inconvenient."
That's still no reason to kill them.

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