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Author Topic: Gray Stray Kitty  (Read 8590 times)
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Debalee
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« on: August 29, 2009, 10:00:54 AM »

Hi everyone, we adopted a gray stray from the humane society about 3 months ago, when she came home with us, it seemed as if she was in love with us, the house, the dogs, just everything, and purred non-stop for 2 days, then the music came to an abrupt halt, her purrer seems to have  broken, she beats up the dogs, (especially the little white one who has a self-loathing issue), and she is not too crazy about us either.  I realize that she was a stray, but boy she is really gray and really mean.  We are coping with it, when my husband has to put a towel over her head so that he can cut her nails, its not a good time, when she is done and is put down, she goes right to the little white dog and tries to take his eyeballs out.  This is not how I remember the cats we had as kids. Unfortunately, I named her Grace, because I got her after my mom passed, and I figured she could help me in my sadness, has not happened yet.
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catmom5
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« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2009, 10:59:45 AM »

I'm sorry that this has not been a good experience for you, so far. Has Grace been taken to a vet for a complete check up? Sometimes there are health problems that cause behavior problems. Perhaps you could seek out the help of a behaviorist to learn how to deal with these problem behaviors.

I have a multi-cat family and have found that a squirt bottle with water will stop many behaviors before they escalate.

Since you don't say how old this cat is, or what her history was (if known), it's hard to know what to do.

But I do think you will need help to work them through.

Good luck!
catmom5
(I have a Gracie who is incredibly shy and reserved . . . but she's a long-haired tuxedo)
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Spartycats
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« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2009, 01:20:45 PM »

Debalee,
Welcome!  There are many very experienced cat folks here.  Catmom5 is absolutely right to know her medical status.  Maybe you could tell us more about your gray kitty, Grace.  How old is she?  Is she the only cat you have?  How many dogs do you have?  How does she spend her days?

Sometimes is just a question of knowing what they're trying to tell you.  Understanding, love and patience go a very long way sometimes.

I'm very sorry about your mom.
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lesliek
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Trooper,Remy & Fragile


« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2009, 02:58:52 PM »

I also have 2 former feral s & a small,medium & large dog. They get along pretty well most of the time but when the cats get miffed by anything they go for the small & medium dogs. Personally I think its jealousy. Because the 4 smaller animals are more likely to sit on laps. I just try to make sure everyone gets separate attention & the spray bottle[ like catmom5 said] works great ! I would make sure Grace is healthy & maybe put up some cat shelves or a climber,so she can have her own space when needed. I have the upstairs balcony blocked off from the dogs,but the cats can climb over easily. That way when they want to be alone they can.Or get a dog gate that the cat can get over,so she has a room of her own. Also if you ignore her when she acts up,she will come to the 2 of you when she wants attention. Having a multi animal home is kind of like having 3 kids. Someone is always left out & unhappy about it.
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catwoods
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« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2009, 07:25:20 PM »

Welcome, Debalee. I'm really sorry about the loss of your mom.

Everyone has given you really good advice. I totally agree with the medical checkup being the first step. From my experience, I also agree that rivalry and jealousy play strong roles in cat behavior. Especially when entering a house, cats may want to establish territory, and react with some hostility to other pets until they work out the relationships. Cats that have been single cats or single pets in a household in the past will have the most difficulties adjusting, according to one book on cat behavior I've read, and my own experience with my Bud, inherited by us from a single cat home.

Claw clipping is certainly often necessary, to protect other pets, and to keep senior cats' claws, which grow rapidly, and sometimes with a broadened base that pulls the claw closer to the pad, from growing into the pads. But in my experience most cats really do not like it, and act out during that time. Sometimes we clip one or two claws a day when the cat is asleep. That's not the fastest way, but there are less fireworks!
« Last Edit: August 29, 2009, 10:42:55 PM by catwoods » Logged
Debalee
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« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2009, 07:21:02 AM »

Hi everyone,  yea, we got her from the Humane Society, so she was spayed there and also got a free vet check, she was initially very sick from an upper respiratory infection and i had to take her to my vet to get her some other anti-biotics.  She is only around 6 months old, so whatever went on in her life was possibly traumatic.  She was in lockdown at the H.S. for awhile because she had a leg injury.
What I do know about cats is that biting is something they do when they are not with the mom long enough, it is not a good trait.
Our dogs are the best, we have 3 and they all are okay with cats, we have a stray that i feed daily, and they love him much!  We have one shar-pei/pit bull mix that was a foundling 7 years ago, we have very much loved pit bull, and the one with the wierd self-worth issues is a chihuahua/spitz mix, this is the one that the cat expressed her anger upon, I know its wrong, but it is pretty funny, admittedly, she has really stopped doing this much, but she rolls into a ball, kicks and bites herself after she is picked up to love.  I have had cats previously, and this cat is not normal, maybe she was deprived of the proper nutrition when she was supposed to have it.  Thank you to everyone, hopefully, she will mature into a nice cat, I doubt it but, there is always hope, right?
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catmom5
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« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2009, 09:59:18 AM »

It may be that this kitten has some neurological issues, perhaps she was injured when her leg was injured. I still would have your vet check her over thoroughly because this is not normal kitten behavior. Please let us know how things work out. I really doubt that this is something she is going to "grow out of"!
catmom5
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catwoods
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« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2009, 12:51:38 PM »

That does sound like a high level of aggression. I hope you can get an in-depth vet evaluation soon and find some answers.
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Debalee
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« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2009, 05:54:08 PM »

Firstly, thank you for the condolences.......... about Gracie, she doesn't have neurological issues as far as being spastic and such, cognitively, not so either, she is just, I hate to offend anyone, socially retarded, remember also, that she had been an outside stray, and now transitioning into an indoor cat has really given her a shock.  She is a fighter, I guess, because of the trauma she may have suffered while being alone outdoors.  This is my take on her, if she stays the same, it is okay because she is a very solitary kitty and doesn't really bother anyone, except Wylee, (I call him Why-me).  thanks again everyone for the advice and wisdoms, and I really appreciated the condolences.
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JJ
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« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2009, 09:22:33 PM »

Debalee maybe someday this kitten will turn around and be the most loving lil baby ever. Time will tell. And your insights on gray kitties will help others with grays.
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And nothing but happiness
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lesliek
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Trooper,Remy & Fragile


« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2009, 04:28:46 AM »

Sometimes the only sign of an old head injury is a drooping of 1 eyelid or change in meow. But it can cause personality changes and aggression. I hope as Grace gets more used to a home and family the situation improves.
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catmom5
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« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2009, 04:48:48 AM »

It sounds like your Grace has some real issues to work through - and I'm not convinced that she might not have some neurological issues based on your description of her circling and biting and scratching herself. They don't have to have spasms or obvious twitching to have those issues.

Since she has had a lot to deal with in her short little life, I'm wondering if you have a bedroom or other spare room that could be hers alone and allow her to approach you (and the dogs) as she feels comfortable. I know that when I fostered for the humane society, I would keep the cat/kitten in a spare bedroom and simply go in and sit and talk without trying to interact with the cat/kitten. Turn on the radio, if possible, so she can get used to sounds. Cats adjust so much better when they can dictate the interactions. It took my Jess (who is now my 9 year old mushy catboy) almost 2 months to come out from under the bed and interact with me. (He had been badly abused when I brought him home.)

I don't believe that cats are "socially retarded" at all. I think their behavior is very purposeful and has enabled them to survive whatever it is they had to cope with in previous times. And they are very different, socially, from dogs.

Sorry if I sound "intense", but it pains me to think of a 6 month old kitten who is suffering so, especially after such a tough start to life. I hope that you/she can work through whatever is causing these things (and it can take time) and learn that she is safe and cared for.

Just for the record, I don't think this is a color issue as much as her start in life issue.

Keep us posted.
catmom5
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petslave
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« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2009, 07:41:10 AM »

Cats do often change in personality after settling into a new home, but this sounds different.  It sounds like something definite happened to cause this change in her, either a shift in relationships among the animals or something medical. 

I've had cats with hyperesthesia syndrome that react severly to touch in the wrong places, everything from licking & biting to seizure like reactions.  Your kitty rolling in a ball and biting herself sounds a lot like that.  Maybe she developed nerve damage from her leg injury and has odd or painful sensations from it.  She could also have gotten some spinal injuries from the accident.  Definitely get her into the vet for a recheck.  They will be able to better assess the possibility of it being physical in nature.  If she checks out OK, then you can work on the relationship aspect.  Giving her a room to herself is a good idea so she can get away and decompress.  Good luck and let us know how it's going!
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catbird
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« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2009, 08:46:50 AM »

Have you considered food allergies as a possible cause?  The reason I say this is because I have two cats with food allergies that manifested mainly as increased aggressiveness, and, with one, seizure-like behavior.  The circling, twitching, and self-biting are very much like what one of my cats used to do.  When the allergen was identified and removed from their diets, both improved immensely.  The seizure-like behavior in the one who had it stopped completely; she's never had another such episode.

Especially if the cat is getting commercial food, there may be ingredients that are not obvious from the label, and you will need to read the detailed ingredients list to find out for sure what is in them.  I've seen foods labeled "chicken formula", for example, that contained a whole lot of fish (common cat allergen.)  Corn, wheat, soy, and dairy are other common offenders, and believe it or not, many cats are allergic to chicken.

Good luck in resolving the problem!
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The problem with cats is that they get the exact same look on their face whether they see a moth or an axe-murderer--Paula Poundstone
bug
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RIP little angel Katey


« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2009, 11:30:05 AM »

Debalee,

Two different situations:

My cat, Mia, had a back injury that rendered her unable to walk for some time. It seemed that when her nerves started firing again and she could feel her legs, she would lick, bite and chew on them frequently. It is conceivable that her leg injury is contributing to this.

My mother's cat, Bunny, has been called "autistic" because of the strange behavior she displays constantly. I do believe cats can have more widespread neurological issues that we just can't pinpoint. One of the major conditions that affects Bunny is her deafness. We didn't discover this until we had her for some time. She needs extra visual stimulation because she's missing all of the sounds other cats would hear. Aside from that, she's done very strange things since she was 4 months old. Some have disappeared and others have taken their place and are just as absurd. We have given up trying to figure out how her brain works, but we love her just the same.

Just to illustrate Bunny's issues: She lives with 6 other cats. Two of them, she grew up with. She is fine will all of the cats in an outdoor setting. She doesn't not recognize them as her friends in the house. She hisses and spits, fights and hides even if no one has touched her or even looked at her funny. If Bunny is out of her room (she needs her own sanctuary), all the other cats hide. She's that scary to them. She is also afraid of strangers (was a feral when she was found at 4 months old), but she is very good with my mother, myself and our niece and nephews (7, 5 and 2). It has taken her some time to see that not everyone is scary. She's 10 now and my mom's always amazed at the things Bunny gets into. It's a new adventure every day.

So, you're right, it's not funny if this is a condition that's causing her pain and that's why she's biting and scratching. It's not funny if she's hurting your poor dog. It only becomes funny when you've exhausted all your avenues trying to figure out what's wrong with her, she isn't in any obvious distress and she winds up just being eccentric. That's Bunny.

Your cat is still young enough to be shown that people are OK and your dogs aren't a threat. Talk to your vet about the scratching and biting at herself (it could be an allergy), and try to keep her environment as relaxed as possible. She could very well wind up surprising you if her issues are figured out. She just might be that lap cat you're looking for, she just needs to stop being preoccupied with whatever is tormenting her long enough to take it easy and give you a chance.
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My little babies, you'll always be in my heart. Mom will see you later. Look after each other, ok?
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