Traumatised Cat

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DarrinL
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Traumatised Cat

Post by DarrinL » Sun Nov 25, 2018 5:27 pm

Our 10 year old female cat has been hiding up behind the sofa now for approaching six weeks ( well before firework night ) and shows no signs of improvement.

We have taken her to the vets twice, and she has been examined by two different vets and they say there is no obvious damage or physical problems. They have both taken her temps (normal) and on the last visit she was given painkillers and antibiotics (on Saturday).

She is eating (just about), and we have given her wet food (Felix pouch) and made sure water was available for her to drink, and put a clean litter box right near the sofa for her to use.

But she remains morose and disinterested and won't come out, in fact she has been urinating behind the sofa on the carpet and won't make any attempt to move when we go to clear up, she just gets right up against the back of the sofa.
She will let my wife brush her now and again but doesn't seem all that keen, more like tolerating it if anything. We have put one of those plugin calming diffusers in the room too, although it isn't a noisy or 'busy' house, just the missus and me.

I'm thinking she has experienced a nasty encounter with a person or dog, for instance,but obviously one can only guess- she certainly isn't going outside at all now.

We are at the point of wondering what to do next, as she doesn't have much quality of life (although when OK she mostly slept anyway- cats, eh!) and feel bad that there seems to be nothing more to do for her. She had always been a nervous cat but now she seems to be a shell and although she will tolerate me stroking her head carefully, a task in itself behind the sofa, then she will sometimes hiss and withdraw.

I would be grateful for any advice really, wondering will she eventually come round or is that where she lives for evermore? :|

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fjm
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Re: Traumatised Cat

Post by fjm » Sun Nov 25, 2018 5:42 pm

If it is a physical illness (and the signals are very much those of a cat out of sorts and in some pain), the drugs should begin to take effect in another day or two. If there is no change later in the week I would go back to the vets. I had some success settling my very stressed cat in the cloakroom, with an enclosed warm bed, a tray and food and water, and anti-anxiety medication from the vet. I let her choose when and how to explore the rest of the house, keeping her safe room calm and dark and quiet. Once she had a place that felt safe, she got over it fairly quickly, as I recall, but it was some years ago now.

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Re: Traumatised Cat

Post by DarrinL » Sun Nov 25, 2018 6:16 pm

Hi,
Thanks for your reply, I guess we'll see how it goes; she just refused a bit of roast topside beef, we will see if she eats her regular food later on. I expect we will end up back at the vets, and I will enquire about anti-anxiety meds for her, to see if that is an option.

Cheers.

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Re: Traumatised Cat

Post by Ruth B » Mon Nov 26, 2018 9:13 am

Poor girl it does sound like something has happened to really upset her.

You say you can stroke her head but not else where, i take when she went to the vets they did a full examination to make sure she wasn't in pain anywhere. Even so it might be worth trying to stroke her in different places and see if she reacts more to being touched in one area than in others.

I hate to say it but you need to get her to use a litter tray, cat urine is dreadful stuff and the more she goes behind the sofa the more she will think she can. No matter how well you clean it up it will get through the carpet and the underlay and start to soak into the floorboard or concrete then you will have a real job getting rid of the scent in that area, if it gets on the walls if she starts spraying it will dissolve the plaster there. This may sound minor compared to what she is going through but you don't want to regret not taking action now in the future.

My thought would be to try and give her a safe place else where. I don't know if you could get or borrow something like a dog crate. place water, food, litter tray and bed in there and cover it with a thick blanket leaving only a small opening so she can come out if she wants to. Hopefully it will be come a good replacement for hiding behind the sofa and a place she can feel safe in.

The only other suggestion I could give is to talk to your vet about a referral to a cat behavourist to see if a professional can think of any way to help her.

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Re: Traumatised Cat

Post by Sniper1 » Mon Nov 26, 2018 11:05 am

Hi my gut instinct is there is something wrong with her I would put money on a physical not mental problem and yes I know you have had her to vets but vets can't always know everything and sometimes a cat can be obviously very I'll and have all tests available but no diagnosis but I really would say that it does sound like she is not well with her hiding away not eating very well and her urinating where she sleeps despite being in an environment that's always been safe and comfortable for her with people she trusts she is getting worse which to me says a physical health problem I hope you can help her whatever it is and it would be even better if my thoughts were very wrong

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Re: Traumatised Cat

Post by ChingfordPetRescue » Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:15 am

Hi Darrin, are there any updates on your kitty? The poor little thing :(

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Re: Traumatised Cat

Post by DarrinL » Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:13 am

Thanks for your replies and concerns!

Lucy is still behind the sofa (2 months now), but seems to be reasonably content and she is eating and using the litterbox so can't complain. She seems responsive enough to my wife (Lucy gravitates more to her than me I think; I'm a necessary evil and provide food!)

Lucy has been to the vet 3 times now, and the last visit she was sedated whilst the vet obtained a blood sample. He also took the opportunity to give her a more thorough examination whilst she was 'dopey', perhaps better than he would be able to if she was alert.

Blood tests came back OK...

https://imgur.com/3JByPLa

Lucy has a brother who is bigger than her by quite a margin (he weighs 8kg) who had a tendency to bully but we didn't think that would be enough to warrant permanent cover in safe space behind the sofa? I'm finding it sad that he has now adopted some things that were exclusive to her as well, for example he now sleeps at the bottom of the bed (on my side!)whereas that was something she always did, but no more.

Of course we don't really know how this will effect her health as time passes as she is having little interaction with anything and is getting no exercise. She has had her claws trimmed by the vet though.

Hopefully over time her confidence will return and we will have to supervise the brother (Oscar) to make sure he doesn't attack or intimidate her.

We are going to have to relocate the Christmas tree this year now as well! :shock:

Have a good weekend everyone

Cheers Darrin

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Re: Traumatised Cat

Post by Mollycat » Mon Feb 25, 2019 12:56 pm

What's the situation now with Lucy?
Hate to say this but just reading this it sounds a lot like something happened between the two of them.

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Re: Traumatised Cat

Post by DarrinL » Tue Mar 05, 2019 3:49 pm

Lucy is showing great improvement, thanks!

She doesn't sleep behind the sofa anymore (she's back on the foot of our bed at night, as per normal!) and has shown more confidence overall. She remains reluctant to go outside though but maybe that will improve as Spring arrives.

We do supervise Oscar's behaviour towards her (probably jealousy?) but inevitably we can't be around 24/7 unfortunately. The weird thing is sometimes they will tolerate each other when circumstances are right; Our central heating has pipes that go underneath the floor and they both like laying under the radiator in the hall at the same time with no problem. He will have outbreaks of energetic behaviour where he will chase her, but I think the intention is to play, however Lucy is intimidated and won't have any of it- as I said he is much bigger than her.

My feeling overall is that something (an external event) happened to Lucy and although Oscar can bully, I don't think that was the cause of the trauma- although we'll never know of course.

She is on the up now though, and getting back to her old ways (missus has to groom Lucy on the toilet seat after bathtime every evening, for instance!)

https://imgur.com/1SlzDQn

Rubbish picture, but you get the idea! ;)

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Re: Traumatised Cat

Post by Lilith » Tue Mar 05, 2019 4:18 pm

Lol those guys look pretty comfy together! :D

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Re: Traumatised Cat

Post by Mollycat » Mon Mar 11, 2019 6:57 am

Think you're right to keep an eye on them, that doesn't look as friendly as it could. More of a truce than peace.
Oscar's position is actually quite a dominant challenging one, and Lucy is near the radiator but off the end of it. Oscar's belly turned slightly upwards isn't relaxed, more like I know I'm so strong I lie with my belly exposed because you are too weak to challenge me.
I learned this the hard way with two cats who seemed fine but when the dominant one died the other one had a complete personality change and became the most loving attention-seeking cat imaginable.
The passive-aggressive belly-up actually does make some sense, even though the belly is vulnerable. When cats fight they hold with the front claws and kick with the back. The back legs are very powerful and the claws hard and not all that sharp, and they do the real damage. A cat that is not on its feet is ready to do real damage at any moment. I bet Lucy never approaches Oscar in that position?
Does Lucy sometimes come into a room, Oscar rolls like this and Lucy goes to sit in a specific spot and just sit there not moving? Do they avoid looking at each other but turn their head away or look down, but their ears make a lot of small movements, usually very slightly back, one at a time?
And does Lucy avoid certain places in the house? Oscar may have laid down territory lines even though you never see him do anything to maintain them, which Lucy does not cross.
Outdoors, cats in high density cat population areas sometimes timeshare territories, avoiding direct contact that could lead to fights. And there will likely be neutral areas in the house for the same reason, places where we agree not to have conflict (like hallways litter boxes and feeding places) to keep the peace but it's not an easy peace, just a way to live together without constant conflict.

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Re: Traumatised Cat

Post by milesdavid » Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:01 am

Hi Darrin, how's your baby doin? I want to know how to deal with a traumatised cat.

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Re: Traumatised Cat

Post by DarrinL » Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:04 am

Mollycat,

I suspect you're right that there is more of a truce going on here and they seem to tolerate rather than seek each other's company- they tend to sleep in different areas of the house generally. Lucy tends to avoid Himself where she can, but we live in a 2 bed bungalow so it isn't a big space!

Strangely though at feeding time Oscar makes a lot of noise and reaches up the cupboards whilst I'm preparing their food and Lucy will approach and then fetch him one around the ear! Which he doesn't seem to mind, he's more interested in his food.

I've got another litter box :shock: so there are 3 boxes in 'their' room and 1 in the lounge (nice!). But there aren't a lot of options really - yes we have made a rod for our own backs so to speak by permitting both cats unfettered access to the whole house, but you can't turn the clock back.

So they co-exist!

Lucy seems to be OK though and she doesn't resort to going behind the sofa in the lounge at all now, but still enjoys the use of the litter box there. Funny, because I removed it to see and as soon as I did this she was looking for it.

In the spare bedroom where there is an alcove where the other 2 boxes reside, she was looking to pee where the 3rd box used to be - hence the purchase of another one. Everything is arranged for the convenience of these cats, but it IS their house - we just pay the mortgage ;)

In all we are pleased that Lucy is getting back to normal (whatever that is in the cat universe) and feel privileged to be servants to these two - ferals made good...
milesdavid wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:01 am
Hi Darrin, how's your baby doin? I want to know how to deal with a traumatised cat.
I hope you get sorted- trust your judgement I think and visit the vet if you think the cat is physically declining; otherwise be guided by your cat and what they want to stay comfortable- usually a secluded place they feel secure and provide water, litter box and comfort in situ (bed and maybe heated pad).

Lucy was behind our sofa for approx four months but then her turnaround was quite dramatic and happened almost over the course of one weekend, we were quite shocked when she emerged finally - depends on the individual I suppose.

Best

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