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abused cat - depressed cat - Answered by Dr. Van Lienden

Jim Hall
July 6th, 2007, 02:26 PM
Hi About 6 weeks ago i fell in love with a beautifull tortise shell cat about 5 yrs old
SHe had been rescued from a pretty horrible situation and spent the first 2 weeks under the bed.
After spending a lot of time on the floor talking to her she has been coming out and staying in the room with me though she still doesnt like to be touched.

Here's my problme How do I know she is content? I have never had a shy cat before. She is eating well, grooming herself fine and using the litterbox always.

She does not like to play however.

My girlfriend says i am being a worry wart and that she is fine.
What do you all think?

badger
July 6th, 2007, 02:45 PM
Yeah, you're a worry wart, but you're in good company here :)
She sounds fine to me. Under the bed is normal, as is her skittishness and (temporary) aversion to being touched. If she's been abused in the past, or simply ignored, this is doubly true.
Eating, drinking and using the litter box are all good signs that she's settling in.
One of these days, she will come over and give you a hip check and you'll lean down and scratch her behind the ears, and the love affair will begin.
I've found that with some cats, the play instinct kicks in a bit later. I think they get out of the habit and then have to find it again.
Thanks for giving this little girl a good home. Is she spayed?

bendyfoot
July 6th, 2007, 03:41 PM
Give her time, be patient and loving, and let her approach you...but continue to encourage her when it looks like she's feeling brave. We have a kitty who had a hard start (we don't know her history, but it wasn't a nice one), and it took us a looong time to get her to allow us to pet her much. Now, she LOVES a good, HARD scratch...she can't get enough of them and is the most demanding for attention of our three cats...

But yeah, she's fine and normal given her circumstances. It'll come.

Winston
July 6th, 2007, 03:41 PM
Jim Hall!! Thank you for rescueing this little one! I too have 2 cats that were abused! They are 10 years old this year and I got them at about 3 months old! Bottom line is the guy was feeding the litter to a boa constrictor! My 2 were the only ones left by the time they were rescued! Brother and sister! Tabitha rules in our house! there was never any lasting affect of the abuse with her! but my boy Bomber was skittish, terrified of a man, and would have the occasional accident for the first few months I had him...My heart broke for this little one! Anyway one day he was lying down on the floor and he extended out his legs and let me give him a big belly rub for the first time ever! that was the defining moment! He loves attention now but to this day is a skittish cat! Patience and you will know...sounds like she is getting along fine....

Cindy

Jim Hall
July 6th, 2007, 07:23 PM
thanks for all your kind replies I am sure she is fine and she is already showing signs of coming out what a gorgeus cat though
ANd yes she is spayed I lived with one cat i inherited that wasnt I aint gonna go thrpough that again

Jim Hall
July 7th, 2007, 06:02 PM
lol ok i bought about 6 diff treats since ive had her and she turns her nose up at all

So i make mysekf a nice spinach salad for lunch and as usual i put a little of what im eating in a bowl for her (only things not spiced and no onions garlic or choclate}

SHe comes over and starts chomping on the spinach
I just cut up some peaches and guess what she likes those too!
Doesnt like pou:laughing: nce doesnt like tuna but like veggies what the hey

rainbow
July 7th, 2007, 07:16 PM
:laughing: :laughing:

Okay, I want pics of her eating spinach. :D

Frenchy
July 7th, 2007, 07:50 PM
:laughing: :laughing:

Okay, I want pics of her eating spinach. :D

:laughing: Me too ! About an hour ago I dropped some salad on the floor. With 4 dogs here , I left it there .... and it stayed there :laughing:

CyberKitten
July 7th, 2007, 09:16 PM
My cats are not keen vegetarians either but of course, it is not their usual or normal diet so I understand that. I've had to bone up (no pun intended here) on feline nutrition when I began transitioning my cats to a home made diet - and we are still not 100% there yet (since no cat can go from one diet to another in a short period of time, with their finicky eating habits and tender digestive systems. Mine do seem to like carrots but they are natural carnivores so the nutritionist I am working with has given me wonderful ideas and I have found some good recipes - 99% of them meat based since that is what cats need. Your cat does GET meat right, she just happens to like veggies? (Since a non meat diet, even one with protein but without meat is not healthy for a cat - they cannot be vegetarians in the same we humans can - they have entirely different sorts of needs, as you prob know.

I think if you try to "speak cat" (I am borrowing here from the title of a book <g>), I think you will know if she is happy. Cats communicate in a variety of ways. They purr (some don't purr as often as others - it does not mean they are unhappy and many cats actually purr when under severe stress but you can ascertain the difference in the way the purring sounds. What does her tail look like- the position of the ail signifies a content or affectionate or "in charge" confident cat (a tail in the air, pointing vertically above is a good thing).

Your cat - and thank you for adopting her - prob has special needs and may even be afraid of humans but if she has been through a bad situation, who can blame her? She will gradually get used to you and in fact, over the yrs I have been very impressed at how so many cats- coming from bad situations- will be so friendly and loving in spite of all they have been through. This is not to say that cats cannot suffer from trauma (They certainly can!) but that unlike us, they hold no grudges and are not judgmental. We could learn so much from them!

Going slowly with a cat that is new - especially one that has been through difficulties - is the best way to let a cat acclimatize to your home and you and your family. Cats are easily stressed and need to feel they themselves have some control over their territory. I think if you play her soft music and talk to her - leave a radio on when you are not around, she will get used to your voice. And you will know when she is content - and all cats are unique. Some want to play and will call you (My YY will decided she wants to play and I swear she is saying Nooow but she is a Siamese and they are a breed that loves to talk) while others are equally content to lie there all by themselves just relaxing. The more you get to know her, the more you will be able to tell how she is and how content she is.

I hope this helps- and good luck!!!

Jim Hall
July 7th, 2007, 09:35 PM
i has a siam called blockhead who had a vocabulary that supassed some humans i know
yes seh is getting at least 6 oz of fancy feast and she eats abour 1/3 of a cup of purina 1 a day. stuff from our plates are always treats not diet
lol yeah i speak cat i have intreacted with a lot of cats this is the first one with trauma though
her tail os usually straight and sometimes up and her ears are usually out sometimes up she likes ablink and also showing your neck is a calm to her iI had a big ginger altered tom that went crazy for cooked carrots when he was elderly we feed him meat smotthies and cooked veggies
lwWhaen i get close enough long enough i see if see purrs i have gotten a chirp or two from her

TeriM
July 8th, 2007, 01:09 AM
Welcome to the forum and good for you for rescuing :thumbs up . I also have a female tortie that is a rescue and she has come a very long way :cloud9: . I also found out (after adopting) that torties are notoriously moody kitties anyway so we have definately needed to learn to love her as she is :lovestruck: .

Just a quick heads up about the purina food. I would recommend a better quality food for your cat as a good food can definately benefit her health and subsequently reduce your vet visits. Great choices to consider include Innova, Solid Gold (very popular with cats in this forum), orijen, wellness and canidae. Check out the dog and cat food forums for some great advice.

Jim Hall
July 8th, 2007, 01:20 AM
Ok well thats interesting
I always thought purina was pretty good as dry food is purina 1
used to feed p to my cats and dogs all the time
i do have to do some reaserch on cats nutriton though

rainbow
July 8th, 2007, 02:29 AM
Ok well thats interesting
I always thought purina was pretty good as dry food is purina 1
used to feed p to my cats and dogs all the time
i do have to do some reaserch on cats nutriton though

Many years ago Purina was the most popular food to feed both dogs and cats. Then people started demanding better quality ingredients for their pets.

Check the ingredients on the Purina lable and compare them to the ingredients for:

Canidae (dog) and Felidae (cat) www.canidae.com
Innova www.naturapet.com
Solid Gold www.solidgoldhealth.com
Orijen www.championpetfoods.com

And, as Teri said, check out the Food Forum here for lots of great information. If you have any questions just post them there. :)

dudabug
July 9th, 2007, 12:46 AM
Jimbo...bless you for giving that kitty a good home. How someone could hurt something like that is beyond me! :mad: :mad: But luckily your kitty won't have to worry bout that. When I first got my Quincy from a shelter, not sure if she was ever abused, she stayed hidden for awhile. But she soon came out and my life hasnt been the same since.!

Jim Hall
July 9th, 2007, 11:29 AM
ty you for all your kind replies It's really no trouble to have a cat like this
except my desire to give her a good brushing :goodvibes:



Im soo prooud of her! she actually came out and watched my buddies and i play ps2 till we got to loud. she likes curling up under the tv table and watching the goings on
Lol she also knows she can see the food stuff from there.

krdahmer
July 9th, 2007, 03:00 PM
Aw... I have a skittery Torty too, I have a soft spot for them. Even now after being with us for about 2 years, she doesnt sit still too often for pets, shes more of a run by petter. But she tolerates being picked up and is generally healthy and hiding a whole lot less than in the beginning. I guess it just takes a whole lot of patience and encouragement. But ya I agree, she seems to be adjusting pretty normal. And good for you for turnin her situation around. Oh and ditto with the food thing...check out the forum tons of info there, I just spent the last year agonizing over what to feed here... and so glad I did, I feel much better about their nutrition now.:goodvibes:

Jim Hall
July 9th, 2007, 03:48 PM
Ty aobut 4 hrs ago she came out and got a pet before her brakie
so iget some and get the brush
she actually decided she liked the brush!!! lol im amazed she is coming around so fast. I guess im good

Krdahmer what do you feed her?

krdahmer
July 9th, 2007, 04:02 PM
thats awesome!

As for food, I'm feeding 6 here and have many health and gut issues so I feed Performatrin Ultra dry and Merrick canned. There are many many higher quality foods out there though. The food forum here is a really great place to start. I was using California naturals and that is what my parents now feed my first torty (I moved, they wouldn't let her move with me... lol:rolleyes: - but I'm ok with it, their house is way nicer!) She seems to be doing really well with it, and shedding a little (I stress a LITTLE) less. Is yours long or short hair? If long I find the rake style brushes work wonders.

The long hair is Cordelia, who resides with my folks and the short hair is my Asker. Do you have any pics?

Jim Hall
July 9th, 2007, 05:11 PM
calif natural seems to be a popular choice here
no pics yet i got to get to cvs and its wayy too hot
mine is i guess long hair actually a few diff kinds and since i cant really brush her grooming wise she is now a walking fur ball
that long haired look has a serious case of bed head eh?
thats the tihing with torties the asymetrical facial coloring they always look pissed off

chico2
July 9th, 2007, 05:28 PM
Jim Hall,from one catlover to another,I think you are doing a great job and thank you for rescuing this little girl,I am sure with time and patience she'll come around and love you to bits:cat:

krdahmer
July 9th, 2007, 06:07 PM
Ya cordy is a fluff ball... my dad says she looks like she's wearing those old school baseball pants she's so furry in the back end.

And funny, I've never put the two of them side by side like that... their nose markings are almost identical.

chico2
July 10th, 2007, 07:45 AM
Dahmer,Asker is a real beauty,bet she knows it too:lovestruck:
It's an unusual name,but a friend of my has a girl Tabby(19yrs old)who's name is Asker too:cat:

Jim Hall
July 12th, 2007, 11:47 AM
Yeaaaa this morning for the first time my beautifull cat came up after eating and wanted a brushing nest step is to lure her onto the bed
she gets s up there when im out but she still too nevous to be on there with me I tell you this is one of the most rewarding things i have done recently:lovestruck:

krdahmer
July 12th, 2007, 12:02 PM
Aw thanks Chico...

and wooo way to go Jim! Have you tried luring her with treats?

Jim Hall
July 12th, 2007, 12:06 PM
yup no luck i have tried about 5 diff treats
you know what she likes spinach lol go figure :shrug:

kiara
July 12th, 2007, 12:42 PM
Lucky cat that you adopted her. Sounds to me that she is happy, does she purr?? You have made so much progress already. Brushing a cat is a great one-on-one activity and most cats really love it. Sometimes getting them a friend is also a good idea. Did you know that tortoiseshell cats are always female?

Jim Hall
July 12th, 2007, 01:32 PM
she has a very low purr
I did not know that about torties always being female

i have not met a cat or a dog that didnt like a nice brushing

Im the lucky one next paycheck i will get my pics developed and post them

ancientgirl
July 12th, 2007, 02:19 PM
Boy, my two won't sit still for a brushing. I use a baby brush, so I know it can't be hard. LOL, I have to brush them as they wiggle.

I can't wait to see pictures of your kitty!

Jim Hall
July 12th, 2007, 06:54 PM
in my desire to have down under trust me / like me , i have held off a trip to the vets
wel its gonna happen in the next 48 hrs
cause she has a eye discharge and isnt eating her food though she is licking up all the gravey
i suspected she had a problem with her mouth but i hoped it was stable.
ahh well sorry down under, shold of taken you sooner one way or another your gonna be in a carrier .come friday

krdahmer
July 12th, 2007, 06:59 PM
Aw poor baby, don't worry it may take a few days to get back where you are now after a vet trip, but you will. ;)

chico2
July 13th, 2007, 07:35 AM
Jim,when I tried chunks in gravy with my cats,they too just licked the gravy left the rest,maybe your kitty prefers the Pate type just like my cats:confused:
I always add a little warm water to make it more sloppy.
Good Luck at the vets,don't panic if she howls in the car,or fights you to get her in the carrier.
My cats howl so loud when in the car,you'd think I torture them:laughing:
As soon as the carrier comes out,the scatter:laughing:

petdr
July 17th, 2007, 09:53 AM
Your feline needs a little space and time to settle. She is likely much happier in your home, then where she came from: fresh food, clean litter box, clean water, a patient calm person looking after her, will, all over time, give her the chance to trust you.

I agree with your girlfriend, and probably over the next few months she (the cat) will be sleeping on your head.

Dr. Van Lienden

Dr. Raymond Van Lienden DVM
The Animal Clinic of Clifton
12702 Chapel Road, Clifton
Virginia, U.S.A. 20124
703-802-0490

I_love_mischa
July 19th, 2007, 10:58 PM
I'm a worrier too Jim so I don't blame ya! It sounds like you're doing a great job with her so I think soon enough she will really come around! Great job!

Angel:thumbs up

chilli1327
April 6th, 2010, 05:51 PM
I came across this web page because I was looking for info about how to treat an abused cat.

Let me outline the circumstances around this story.

I have a neighbour who lives above me and owned a long hair black cat named Harley(didn't know this at the time, any of this). One morning I was awoken to noise outside my window from the balcony. I live on the 4th floor.
there was banging etc, but no other noise. When I went to my balcony door, I listened for a couple of minutes, then I heard a cat in distress making low growling noises. Then I heard a person say You B****, you're going over the edge!", in an angry, vindictive voice, and not one second later, the cat flew by me! I was shocked! I looked over the balcony and the cat was unconscious on the ground lying prone. I ran to get dressed and when I looked over the balcony again, the cat was lifting up it's head and trying to look around.
I ran downstairs to where the cat was, and it had moved under the hedge along the edge of the building. It was a nightmare capturing the cat and bringing it in. I didn't suffer any scratches, but got one hell of a bite on the end of my finger. I was using thinks winter glove for the process, but didn't think how strong a cats bite can be! Never been bitten that hard before, but I will live, with no lasting damage.

Apparantly it looks like Harley has sufferred more than one instance of abuse as his right ear lobe is crushed flat against his head. That is minor at this point, but I will have it looked at. Harley seems to be ok, he is moving around, not limping, but very cautious. He stayed under the couch for a full day, but is now out, but will go in behind the wall unit half the time, and comes out the other half the time. He is eating and drinking, but I have to have the patience of Job here because I have to clean up after him.

He will let me put treats in front of him, but he growls lowly and bares his teeth, but will eat the treats pretty much immediately. He is eating and drinking and I saw him cleaning. So for now I think the physical stress of any possible injuries is behind him as it has been 3 days now and he is only getting more active, not less. After talking to the vet, if he was injured internally, he would have expired pretty quickly.

I felt so useless and angry at this whole situation, and the police were no help as they believed the person who ownded the cat, not me irregardless of what I heard. That angered me more because I was told the cat would have to be returned! Well I know, the law is the law, and again it makes me feel powerless as Harley has to go back to this abusive owner. A friend of the owner was supposed to come around, but hasn't showed up. I pray to God that they don't.

I will be patient as I can and give Harley the space he needs for now and wait and see what happens. I know that cats do not like to be looked in the eyes and Harley won't look me in the eyes, except if I get to close and he hisses/growls and looks me in the eyes then. When I interact with him I try not to look him in the eyes and then I only glance.

I just need a place to be able to get this out in the open and have a place to vent, speel or whatever.

Thank you in advance for your support.

chilli1327
April 6th, 2010, 05:59 PM
lol ok i bought about 6 diff treats since ive had her and she turns her nose up at all

So i make mysekf a nice spinach salad for lunch and as usual i put a little of what im eating in a bowl for her (only things not spiced and no onions garlic or choclate}

SHe comes over and starts chomping on the spinach
I just cut up some peaches and guess what she likes those too!
Doesnt like pou:laughing: nce doesnt like tuna but like veggies what the hey

Kool! My Missey love banana, and cantalope! As well as various plants around the house. I know this is normal, and in the summer, I buy grass to have inside for her to chew on. Cats are carnivores, but the will eat to gain what their body needs. but it is cute and funny to watch her chow down on bananas and cantalope!

14+kitties
April 6th, 2010, 06:02 PM
Thank you for looking after this poor baby. :grouphug:
As for returning him.... can he suddenly disappear? Like in - "Oh sorry. I opened my door and he took off thataway. I couldn't find him when I looked." No animal deserves to be treated like that!!!
He doesn't use the litter box at all? Have you taken him to the vet or just phoned the vet? It sounds like this baby needs a good checkup. There may be medical reasons he is refusing to use a box. If you have taken him in for a complete check up and nothing is showing could you try keeping him in one small room with a bed, litter box, his food, a scratch post and toys? Not let him have the run of the house? That may give him the idea he needs to use the box.
Good luck. Stick around and let us know how it goes.
But there is no bloody way that cat would be going back to the loser who had him! :frustrated:

14+kitties
April 6th, 2010, 06:04 PM
I'm a worrier too Jim so I don't blame ya! It sounds like you're doing a great job with her so I think soon enough she will really come around! Great job!

Angel:thumbs up

I don't know if you noticed but this thread is a few years old. Jim did do a marvelous job with his girl. She is a happy, content kitty now. :cloud9:
You may want to consider starting a thread of your own. You will get more replies that way. And welcome to Pets. :thumbs up

sugarcatmom
April 6th, 2010, 06:11 PM
I felt so useless and angry at this whole situation, and the police were no help as they believed the person who ownded the cat, not me irregardless of what I heard. That angered me more because I was told the cat would have to be returned! Well I know, the law is the law, and again it makes me feel powerless as Harley has to go back to this abusive owner. A friend of the owner was supposed to come around, but hasn't showed up. I pray to God that they don't.

That is absolutely outrageous. Can you get the SPCA involved? What about a vet report (did you take him in to see a vet?). Why would the "owner" :loser: even want him back? If it were me, I would tell whoever comes to pick him up (if they even do) that Harley ran away. He should not go back there!!! The next incident could kill him.

I will be patient as I can and give Harley the space he needs for now and wait and see what happens.

Some tips to help you and Harley get acquainted can be found in this post:
http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?p=492728&highlight=shy+cats#post492728

chilli1327
April 6th, 2010, 06:16 PM
I don't know if you noticed but this thread is a few years old. Jim did do a marvelous job with his girl. She is a happy, content kitty now. :cloud9:
You may want to consider starting a thread of your own. You will get more replies that way. And welcome to Pets. :thumbs up

Thank you for the advice, but I was looking for a link to start a new thread and I just can't seem to find it. I use different forums and they all seem to have the same structure, but for the life of me, can't find the start new thread tool!

14+kitties
April 6th, 2010, 06:20 PM
Actually from here it's pretty easy. Just go to the blue box at the top where it says pet forum for dogs cats and humans > discussion..... > general forum> and click on the general forum. It will open a new page. From there you will find a small button on the left side part way down that says New Thread. Bob's yer uncle from there!! Good luck!

chico2
April 7th, 2010, 09:51 AM
Wow,that is just terrible,poor kitty,but I am glad he has you.
I would think pushing a cat off a balcony is severe abuse,our animal-cruelty laws are sorely lacking,but this is clear-cut abuse.

Maybe Harley is hissing and growling because he's in pain:confused:

chilli1327
April 7th, 2010, 03:46 PM
Wow,that is just terrible,poor kitty,but I am glad he has you.
I would think pushing a cat off a balcony is severe abuse,our animal-cruelty laws are sorely lacking,but this is clear-cut abuse.

Maybe Harley is hissing and growling because he's in pain:confused:

I imagine that there is some pain, but he only does this if you get too close. So for now it is just a waiting game. We shall see. If you like, follow my thread that I started as advised to. I just hope I have the patience of Job, because I am going to need it.