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Seeking some general advise about my cat (health/behaviour)

rhalstead
July 28th, 2009, 01:53 PM
I am having some issues with my cat. Some background info first, my cat was abandoned at birth and when he was rescued he still had his umbilical cord attached. My father hand raised him for the first five weeks and I took over his care after that. I had originally felt that a hand raised cat would make a good pet. He is 4.5 years old now and has some fairly substantial issues.

Firstly he can be quite mean, he has once attacked a child I was babysitting inflicting numerous scratches. Most of the time he avoids new people, but sometimes he will come out and get close to people then bite them. He has bitten me a number of times some of these I would classify as random bites some can only be described as attacks.

Secondly he is very overweight (26lbs) and is unable to clean himself, this leads to him being fairly smelly and also leads to him leaving marks on my floors and carpets when he sits. I have brought him to the vet and was given diet instructions, and he is on a very strict measured 1/2 cup of food 2x daily, no treats or snacks. I would bathe him regularly but with his personality that has been found to be dangerous. Once while attempting a bathing he bit my finger so badly he severed a tendon in my knuckle. He gets very upset (hissing and biting) if you go anywhere near his bum.

He can be sweet at times, he gives me head bumps and he comes for pats, and even to sit on my lap (though I have been less encouraging of this with his dirty bum issues lately)

I am curious if anyone has any experiences with a pet like this. It seems the older he gets the meaner and smellier he gets and the harder it is to share a home with him.

Bailey_
July 28th, 2009, 02:00 PM
So sorry to hear about your problems with your cat! You've come to the right place though, there are many members here who I'm sure will be able to help.

I don't know much about cat behavior, however I do have a question for you. Was your cat ever declawed?

Also, with puppies that are taken from their mother too early (or abandoned for whatever reason) often this leads to numerous issues as they grow; the main reason being that the mother teaches the puppy so many things at a very crutial period of time, including how to properly socialize with both humans and other animals. I'm curious if this could be similiar to your cats problem?

Other members will have better advice. Good luck! :thumbs up

Love4himies
July 28th, 2009, 02:03 PM
Thank you for saving this kitten.

First I would be getting your kitty on a healthy diet that will allow very slow weight loss.

A great website to get more info on how to do this:

http://catinfo.org/feline_obesity.htm

Has your vet taken blood to ensure he is healthy, no diabetes, thyroid issues, etc.?

One reason for the attacks could be due to the lack of socialization from other litter mates and his momma. Momma and the other litter mates will stop play if one of them gets out of hand and will not be included in play, so this will teach the kitten to be gentle. However, too late to do anything about that now.

Are you able to tell from an expression or body language when he is getting ready for an attack? If so, do you think it would be possible to distract him with a toy or a pat in his favourite place?

rhalstead
July 28th, 2009, 02:09 PM
Hi! thanks.
He was never de-clawed, I couldn't imagine doing that after the literature that has come out in the last number of years. If I get real brave I will clip his nails if I can find him in a real friendly mood (sometimes just a couple claws per session).

He is also terrified of being outside, and will crouch and hiss until he is brought back inside. At one time I thought maybe being outside would give him some exercise, and maybe the fresh air would be beneficial.

being a day 1 rescue he never had a chance to learn anything about being a cat. I almost wonder if getting a second "well-behaved" cat could help him learn about being a cat, or if I would just be adding onto a problem with a new potential problem.

Bailey_
July 28th, 2009, 02:12 PM
Hi! thanks.
He was never de-clawed, I couldn't imagine doing that after the literature that has come out in the last number of years. If I get real brave I will clip his nails if I can find him in a real friendly mood (sometimes just a couple claws per session).

He is also terrified of being outside, and will crouch and hiss until he is brought back inside. At one time I thought maybe being outside would give him some exercise, and maybe the fresh air would be beneficial.

being a day 1 rescue he never had a chance to learn anything about being a cat. I almost wonder if getting a second "well-behaved" cat could help him learn about being a cat, or if I would just be adding onto a problem with a new potential problem.

Okay, thats good news about the declaw. Often times cats will have a very negative reaction in their personality afterwards, so I thought that could potentially be another issue. Glad to hear its not! :thumbs up

Love4himies
July 28th, 2009, 02:19 PM
Unless he wanted the socialization, I would hold off on getting another cat. Trying to control a cat's food intake gets more complex with the number of cats around, trust me, I am living it :rolleyes:.

Take the time to read the catinfo link, it is fulled with great info.

There is another link that has very good info on cat nutrition:

http://maxshouse.com/feline_nutrition.htm

14+kitties
July 28th, 2009, 02:24 PM
From sounds of things I would recommend getting him to a healthy weight before thinking about getting him a playmate.
It sounds like he is on dry food. Probably dry food sold to you by your vet. That is actually the worse food to feed a cat, particularily when said cat needs to lose a substantial amount of weight. In a lot of cases cats gain weight on this "diet" rather than lose it.
L4H gave you a wonderful site to read. It will give you some great insight into what foods a cat really needs to eat. There is a section on weight loss and the correct way to lose it.
Could you try some interactive toys with him? Not toys where your hands are involved. Things like a laser light, those fishing rod toys with the feathers on the end, anything that will get the kitty moving a little more and will keep your fingers away from his claws.
I feel your pain with the biting/clawing. I have a couple who do that to me. Unless I am paying 100% attention to them while I am with them I sometimes miss their signals and keep on petting way past the time where they are saying stop. They will attack when in moods as well. Not condusive to setting a good tone with them but we keep trying because we love them.
I don't think this is a great time to try to introduce a new kitty to the mix. Maybe once he has lost some weight and is not quite as stressed out it can be reconsidered. But their introduction would have to be done properly or it would be a huge mistake. JMO

rhalstead
July 28th, 2009, 02:26 PM
Thanks very much for the links, just started reading them. Looks like some real good info. (interesting to see something not trying to push Science Diet as the answer to all pet problems)

Love4himies
July 28th, 2009, 06:37 PM
You are correct, rhalstead, science diet is a horrible food :yuck:. If you read the ingredients, you will find that it is not fit for a carnivore at all, cats are not cornavores.

rhalstead
July 28th, 2009, 06:39 PM
Wow, I had no idea dry foods were so unhealthy, but the literature (links) make a lot of sense. Living in rural Saskatchewan my options to buy premium canned foods seems a bit difficult, but there is a pet shop about 40k away and maybe I can convince them to order some in if they don't carry any. Bonus with canned is I can buy a large stock without worrying about spoilage (I assume Walmart/Superstore/Most grocery stores would be a bust as any that I have checked lack quality dry foods).

I assume if I can get Willy's (the cat) weight down it would take care of a lot of my (and his) anxieties.

There is online ordering, though with shipping a dozen cans of the good stuff is looking close to $50.

Love4himies
July 28th, 2009, 06:51 PM
Kibble is the worse food you can feed an overweight cat, it is filled with carbs, which a cat can't use (they use animal fat for energy) and turns into surgar, which is empty calories.

I make my own food (raw) and mix it with quality canned food, much cheaper and better for them. I use the recipe listed on the catinfo.org site.

sugarcatmom
July 28th, 2009, 07:03 PM
(I assume Walmart/Superstore/Most grocery stores would be a bust as any that I have checked lack quality dry foods).


I like Love4himies suggestion to make your own raw food, if you're up for it. It can also take a while to convince some cats that fresh meat (or even canned, for that matter) is actually edible, but in the meantime, it is possible to find not-totally-horrible canned foods at the Big Box stores. I'd recommend the gluten-free Fancy Feast (http://www.felinediabetes.com/glutenfree.htm) varieties if you can't find anything like Wellness, Nature's Variety, By Nature, Innova, Ziwi Peak, Merrick, Precise, Eagle Pack, Natural Balance...

Good luck!

Tundra_Queen
July 28th, 2009, 07:43 PM
Hi

My cat also Willie, was on dry food for his first 6 years and was a big cat. But he has been on wet food now for almost a year and has lost weight. It took him quite a while to get use to the wet food, but I was patient and he finally got use to it. Good luck!

I like Love4himies suggestion to make your own raw food, if you're up for it. It can also take a while to convince some cats that fresh meat (or even canned, for that matter) is actually edible, but in the meantime, it is possible to find not-totally-horrible canned foods at the Big Box stores. I'd recommend the gluten-free Fancy Feast (http://www.felinediabetes.com/glutenfree.htm) varieties if you can't find anything like Wellness, Nature's Variety, By Nature, Innova, Ziwi Peak, Merrick, Precise, Eagle Pack, Natural Balance...

Good luck!

Thanks for the list of better fancy teast food, I'm going to try it as we don't have Wellness or the better brands up here.

Debbie

catlover2
July 29th, 2009, 07:30 PM
You've been given very good advice from the "nutrition experts" on this board. I'm sure in a six months you'll notice a significant change.

As far as his aggressive behaviour is concerned, this is another 'kettle of fish' so to speak. Unfortunately without having a momcat or littermates Willy never learned to control his bite or claws which kittens learn to do from the time they start playfighting around 6 wks on. It's very difficult to train an almost 5 y.o. cat not to bite or scratch you. He has no conception of how hard he is biting or inflicting pain with a scratch, tho a loud "Ow!" from you may give him an idea. Better to just sweettalk him and avoid not getting bitten. However, there are times when one must handle him, so get a pair of thick leather gloves for whoever has to hold him.

I'm assuming he's longhaired and that's why his bum is stinky? Trim his fur away at least one inch from his anus and that will keep him cleaner (someone will have to hold him to do this!), even if you have to do a little at a time (blunt-nose moustache scissors do the best job---you certainly don't want to jab him with pointy scissors if he's too wiggly). Always try to end on a good note anything done to him he doesn't like, whether its grooming or toenail clipping, lavish lots of praise and a few treats. Don't give him treats any other time. Hopefully when he loses the weight, he'll be able to clean his bum himself. :fingerscr

MyBirdIsEvil
July 30th, 2009, 12:12 AM
I agree with the previous posters.

Honestly he would even be better off on a store brand canned food than on dry Science Diet. SD is about the worst brand of food you can find, I always find it ridiculous that so many vets recommend the stuff.

I can echo the recommendation of Fancy Feast if you lack access to better brands.

Take a look at the stores around you though. I don't know about there, but here a lot of stores like Walmart are beginning to carry some better stuff (not wellness, but better than fancy feast), so you might be surprised.

rhalstead
July 30th, 2009, 02:37 PM
I picked up the Fancy Feast. (I would love to get to raw food diet eventually, but I'll go with baby steps for both our sakes).

Seeing as my cat is 26lbs, the label recommends he eat... eh, lets round down 7 cans a day?!? That seems a bit extreme... any advice on an amount I should be feeding him? Does he need 7 cans of this a day? I couldn't eat 7 cans of tuna this size per day. Is there a formula for obese cats?

Love4himies
July 30th, 2009, 02:42 PM
The gluten free Fancy Feast is better than kibble, but a word of warning it is like kitty crack, lol. Cats love it and it is difficult (not impossible though) to change to other canned foods.

Wow 7 cans a day :eek:. My Jasper who is a very lean (but big cat) 13 lbs could eat about 3.

You may want to do a calorie check to make sure you aren't cutting his calories too much from what he has been getting. Always have to be careful of fatty liver.

rhalstead
July 30th, 2009, 03:21 PM
I'm assuming he's longhaired and that's why his bum is stinky? Trim his fur away at least one inch from his anus and that will keep him cleaner (someone will have to hold him to do this!), even if you have to do a little at a time (blunt-nose moustache scissors do the best job---you certainly don't want to jab him with pointy scissors if he's too wiggly). Always try to end on a good note anything done to him he doesn't like, whether its grooming or toenail clipping, lavish lots of praise and a few treats. Don't give him treats any other time. Hopefully when he loses the weight, he'll be able to clean his bum himself. :fingerscr

Hey there! thanks,
Willy is a shorthair, which makes the smelly/dirty bum just that much stranger, I wouldn't of thought it would have been much of an issue as a shorthair. He has fairly regular stools though will occasionally have a looser one. I believe he passes stools more often than is probably regular (2 or more per day)

When the issue with not being able to clean himself started I brought him to the vet and had a deworming and checkup done and the vet told me that he seemed healthy outside of being very overweight.

The gluten free Fancy Feast is better than kibble, but a word of warning it is like kitty crack, lol. Cats love it and it is difficult (not impossible though) to change to other canned foods.

Wow 7 cans a day :eek:. My Jasper who is a very lean (but big cat) 13 lbs could eat about 3.

You may want to do a calorie check to make sure you aren't cutting his calories too much from what he has been getting. Always have to be careful of fatty liver.

I just bought a bunch today so tonight will be my first attempt at it... remembering back to weening him off his bottle/formula and onto solid food brings a slight shudder.
The health sites you gave me links for had a calorie section and happily in order to match the number of calories he is currently getting in a day I only need to feed him 4 cans. 7 really didnt seem right to me.

edwina
July 30th, 2009, 09:36 PM
Friskies also has some wheat gluten and corn free canned food. You have to read the labels though, its only the ground cat food, not the chunked. Its better than dry. :) Also i cook meat/bones and use the broth to make some of my cat food like soup, as some of my cats wont eat ground cat food because it dont have as much gravy as the chunky kind. I have 2 cats now that would only eat kibble, and i have them eating canned cat food that way. :) I prefer to make my own broth because all the botten varietys have onion in them, which is bad for cats. :sad:
I am assuming he is fixed, i know that takes alot of agrivation out of a cat, i had one male that was a little demon spawn, and it helped some by fixing him, but he still could be really nasty. Unfortunetly he had a brain tumor, which was most of the cause of his nastyness. He died when he was 7. :sad: But this sounds like its what everyone has been saying, nothing to go by while growing up with out littermates and a mother cat. :sad:

catlover2
July 30th, 2009, 10:23 PM
[QUOTE=rhalstead;808253]Hey there! thanks,
Willy is a shorthair, which makes the smelly/dirty bum just that much stranger, I wouldn't of thought it would have been much of an issue as a shorthair. He has fairly regular stools though will occasionally have a looser one. I believe he passes stools more often than is probably regular (2 or more per day) .

When the issue with not being able to clean himself started I brought him to the vet and had a deworming and checkup done and the vet told me that he seemed healthy outside of being very overweight. [QUOTE]

After he poos, wipe his bum with a "baby wipe" to freshen his fur.

Another suggestion for not getting bitten is to get a "head cone" from the vet for him to wear whenever you have to cut his nails, or clean his bum. This has the advantage over leather gloves that you probably won't need an assistant. Give him a treat after you put on the head cone, then take it off, and repeat a few times so he associates it with something good, like a little piece of cheese or whatever he really likes. Head cones usually inhibit them from doing much. :laughing: Don't forget to give him a few treats when finished cleaning him up or clipping his claws! :cat: Yes, cats can be trained.

MyBirdIsEvil
July 30th, 2009, 11:46 PM
The health sites you gave me links for had a calorie section and happily in order to match the number of calories he is currently getting in a day I only need to feed him 4 cans. 7 really didnt seem right to me.

I was going to mention you should probably be feeding by his target weight or a little bit above that.
You said the can recommended 7 cans for a 26 lb cat, and If he weighs 26 lbs and that's too fat then feeding for a 26 lb cat is going to be maintaining him at that weight, which is not what you want.
Yes a 26 lb cat would require A LOT of food because most cats aren't healthy at 26 lbs. 26 lbs is about the weight of a large bobcat, lol. I could imagine trying to maintain one of those on cans of fancy feast :D

Hazmat
July 31st, 2009, 07:51 AM
Something that has not been mentioned is regular brushing. I find that with my 3 cats if I get lazy and don't brush them they eventually stop cleaning themselfs. They just can't keep up with the amount of hair they grow/shed and give up on self cleaning.

You don't even have to brush his bum. Even brushing half the cat, back and sides, makes a big difference in the amount of cleaning that they have to do to themselfs.