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Old April 5th, 2008, 09:54 AM
Bev832 Bev832 is offline
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What to do with a mean cat

Hello everyone! Hope you can help.
I joined today because of "Sassy". She's my Granny's cat, and in the past month, she and Granny have moved into my parent's home as Granny is dying quickly. This has never been an affectionate cat, nor a calm one. She is isolated at the moment in one room as there are a dog and cat in the home already.
Granny wants to have Sassy put down because she bites and attacks people, pretty much anytime someone comes near. At this point, Granny would not heal if she bit her. She had started to accept my Mom but has bitten her twice now.
I have an old cat who isn't going to last too many more months, and a year old puppy. We have no kids to worry about. I am more than willing to take this cat in, if there is any hope of rehab. Granny is insistent that she not become a problem.
Can you take a cat who has never been nice and create a tolerable situation? I have always had a cat, but never one with issues. Those have always been reserved for the dogs.
I would appreciate any words of wisdom, this is a really stressful situation all around, and we probably aren't thinking objectively. Thanks in advance,
Bev
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Old April 5th, 2008, 10:11 AM
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jealma jealma is offline
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dang , wish I could give you some hope, but it's from my experience a cat is pretty much the way they are. Not like a dog that you can train out of bad habits. Dogs want to please,, cat's are independant. I love cats and dogs, but I can't see fixing the cats problems. I"m sure someone will say time, love patience.. ect ect... but I fear what you see is what you get with a cat.... Good luck, and I really hope I"m wrong,, but that is the truth as I see it
Sorry,, and yeah, I expect to be told how wrong I am :-)
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Old April 5th, 2008, 10:26 AM
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Wow, you really have your hands full. I think you have to reassure your grandmother that you will do everything you can to give her kitty a good life after she passes, even though she has a difficult character. And I think you have to tell her that if it becomes impossible, you will consider euthanasia, but that you'd like to see how things work out before making that decision. Who knows, maybe she'd benefit from a little medication. Could there be anything physically wrong? Meanwhile, leave the cat where she is, preferably in a room where there is some human traffic.

Lifelong biters are probably not going to stop biting completely, but if the habit is recent - due to various upheavals - the prognosis would be better. I have a biter, but she is a complete delight in all other ways, so it is easy to overlook. Not everybody is willing to live with a cat that is not open to any contact.

On the face of it, euthanasia may look like a no-brainer. Only your parents can decide if they are up to the alternative. But Granny is the one who must be reassured, first and foremost. My heart goes out to you. Whatever your decision, there is no blame, all lives are precious but all situations cannot be resolved.
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Old April 5th, 2008, 11:24 AM
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NoahGrey NoahGrey is offline
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You never know, the cat may come around with you.

I think alot has to do with how each person precieves the cat. If the person is scared or showing signs that it is fearful of the cat, the cat will react hasty towards that person. Cats can sense everything.

There has to be a reason why this cat is hissing and biting people and my conclusion is fear. For whatever reason, it does not trust humans. Also want to add, that the cat bring in a new environment, new smells, etc can trigger a cat to become aggressive. It does not know what is going on, and therefore is trying to protect itself. It's scared.

Maybe when you take it in, just let it be for abit. Let it get used to it's surroundings first. I would start slow. I would also talk to it alot. Cats love to be talked too.

if the cat comes to you and wants to be petted, start slow...just give a little rub.

My cat is insane and afraid of everything. One min she loves getting snuggles, then the next she wants to eat my hand. What I do is what I call "we leave snuggles on a good note". What I mean is, I pet her, till she is purring and content. I don't want her to pet her till she becomes angry and doesn't want to be petted anymore. By doing this, I am showing her that snuggles is a good thing. If I pet her until she is attacking my hand, it leaves her with snuggles is a bad thing. Does that make anysense?

Overall I would not give up on the cat. I think she is afraid of whatever, jsut have to give her reasurrance. It will take awhile...just be patieant.

ACO22
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Old April 5th, 2008, 11:32 AM
Bev832 Bev832 is offline
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In terms of her history, I know she was picked on by all the other cats when she was small out on the farm. She was cool to Granny when she first arrived but has warmed up over the years (6 or 7 as far as we can remember) to the point where she can handle the cat, she will come sleep in her bed, cuddle with her. She initially allowed my Mom to pick her up and put her in another room (when dogs were coming to the house) or into her crate (to take her to Granny) and seemed ok with that. It was after they arrived here and she was in the new environment that the real problems started.

I think we've almost decided to try her here. If Granny insists on euthanasia, we will tell her its been done. But all of us just feel so strongly that she deserves a chance. We would love to respect her wishes, but honestly, she's not going to be around to have any say in the matter and it just feels wrong. My husband has this magic touch with animals; they will respond to him like no one else. It's a bit freaky and I do get jealous of it!

It almost feels as though we have to start over with her, as though she were a recently captured feral cat. Perhaps that is where I need to look for information. It would be hard to live with a cat that wanted no human contact, because I love interacting with cats.

Thanks to you both for your input. I really appreciate it!!

Bev
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Old April 5th, 2008, 11:45 AM
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Keep us posted


ACO22
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Old April 5th, 2008, 11:50 AM
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A lot of people on here swear by Feliway. I myself have never used it but I have heard many others say they can't do without it.
Here is a site to tell you about it. I think you can get it just about in any pet store??? There is also another product which escapes me at this moment. I am sure someone else will come along soon to tell you about it too.
Personally, I don't think any cat is a lost cause. But then I am a little
The best of luck to you and hugs for your grandmother.


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Old April 5th, 2008, 12:37 PM
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jealma jealma is offline
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Here I go,, being negative ,, again,,, Was I the only one who read sentence number 4? It sounds to me like this is not just a change in atmosphere or people around her. so why does it sound like everyone is chucking this up to a change in address?
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Old April 5th, 2008, 12:38 PM
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sorry I sound so bad, and I don't want to see the cat put down either,, but I don't want to pretend this cat is going to have a magic change of heart and become a loving pet,, out of the blue
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Old April 5th, 2008, 12:48 PM
Bev832 Bev832 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jealma View Post
Here I go,, being negative ,, again,,, Was I the only one who read sentence number 4? It sounds to me like this is not just a change in atmosphere or people around her. so why does it sound like everyone is chucking this up to a change in address?
I'm not ignoring it, and I'm sorry to make you feel not heard. I'm repeating what my Dad said about her, but I have to remind myself he isn't a cat person. She's never been aggressive before now. She just hasn't been one of those cats who comes to greet people in the house or sit on someone else's lap. She hasn't shown that she wants a lot of interaction with people, and I can't ask Granny about how she was anymore because she's pretty much past conversation now.

What a great group you are - to share so much with a new member makes me feel really welcome.

Bev
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Old April 5th, 2008, 01:15 PM
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Very sorry to hear about your grandmother.

I agree aco22 100%. If this is new for the cat, than it probably is environment. Cats know when their owners are sick, plus with the new home, the cat is very stressed and is frightened.

Giving this cat a home where it is an only pet and no younger children may work out for the cat. If you dad is not a cat person, he may exaggerate the truth just a bit . Cats with this personality type must approach humans on THEIR terms, not vice versa. Sounds like your parents home has too much activity in it for this cat.

Cat bites can be very infectious and your grandmother should not be exposed to such risks. Is there anyway you can take in the cat now?

Please keep us posted!
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Old April 5th, 2008, 01:16 PM
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If this is recent, I would be very hopeful that you can give her a new lease on life. And as for running to the door to greet me and sitting in my lap, it would be a blue moon before at least half of my cats deigned to do either
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Old April 5th, 2008, 03:41 PM
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Kristin7 Kristin7 is offline
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I am so sorry about your grandmother! I miss mine... :sad: no grandparents left on any side of the family.

About the cat, I have actually seen cats totally change with a change of address. Some are meant to be only cats, or just have to get away from certain other cats. If the cat was being bullied in the home, she could come around. My parents currently have my brother's cat, and it took months but he has come around to be quite affectionate. He's definitely got issues, but has improved 1000%. My brother wasn't around much and he was left to himself probably for days if not weeks on end (some people should not have animals!). My parents are always around and for awhile did have a cat who became good friends with him. Frankie He is a changed cat, and though has his moments, is sweet and affectionate to them. He doesn't like to be held, but some cats are just like that. I would give the cat some time, even ignore her and let her come out on her own, keep her isolated until she shows interest in exploring and go very slowly with her and the other animals. I hope it works out!
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Old April 5th, 2008, 08:17 PM
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I have lived with and socialized probably hundreds of cats and I have to say there is no such entity as a Mean cat. To attribute such a horrible anthropomorphic characteristic to a feline makes no sense, with all due respect.
No cat is willingly mean. She may not feel well - may be ill, may have had a bad experience./ Has she seen a vet? Even for her regular check up? She also could be upset in a new home. I'd be upset too. Is she declawed? Is she spayed? There are so many questions I would want to know.

She needs time and maybe some Rescue remedy or something a vet might prescribe to help her with her depression and problems. It is never entire;ly the fault of the cat - and no cat is ever mean!!!! EVER!!!! Upset and nervous, you bet nut mean, NO! Please have a vet check her out and then properly maybe reintroduce er to the home so that she feels some control over her situation.

She may have been allowed to engage in this behaviour so I;d question your granny about what she was allowed to do. Get her used to the kids and vice versa- use the towel and vanilla tricks if you have to. And if absolutely necessary, an anti depressant like elavil tho I hate to see cats on tricyclics.

Good luck!
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Old April 6th, 2008, 08:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 14+kitties View Post
A lot of people on here swear by Feliway. I myself have never used it but I have heard many others say they can't do without it.
Here is a site to tell you about it. I think you can get it just about in any pet store??? There is also another product which escapes me at this moment. I am sure someone else will come along soon to tell you about it too.
Personally, I don't think any cat is a lost cause. But then I am a little
The best of luck to you and hugs for your grandmother.


http://www.feliway.uk.com/feliway_uk.nsf/Page?OpenForm
I guess I should clarify my answer. I think it's a great idea for you to "rescue" this kitty. Once he is in your home try using the Feliway or Rescue Remedy as an agent to help calm him. It is supposed to work wonderfully. Again - good luck!
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Old April 8th, 2008, 08:31 AM
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Any updates, how is your grandmother doing?
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Old April 8th, 2008, 09:50 AM
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I'm sorry about your grandmother. I am happy to see though you are willing to take on the responsibility of her kitty.

I agree with CyberKitten. It may very well be there is something physically wrong with the cat that may contribute to her biting. Getting her a thorough check up will at least help. Rescue remedy is something you can begin giving her now, as well as Feliway. It could also be she was never a lap type kitty and more independent. Your grandmother might have wanted to cuddle with her and the kitty turned her way and that might be why your granny sees her as being antisocial and a lost case.

I've got 4, indoors and 1 really hates being picked up and cuddled with. She'll scream bloody murder if you hold on to her for more than a few seconds, yet when she feels like she wants attention she comes and rubs her face against my leg or my hand. Perhaps your granny's kitty is similar.

Take her to your place, observe her and see if maybe she just needs to be allowed to be independent and not bothered with and she will probably just seek out affection on her own time and her own terms.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 08:58 AM
Bev832 Bev832 is offline
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An Update

Hello all! Well, Sassy hasn't left her place under the covers at Granny's feet except to eat and use the litter box, but I was able to reach under and say hello without any hissing or spitting, so I consider that progress.

Granny has started on morphine for the pain and all the family has come now so we are hoping for a peaceful, quick death. She is delusion more often than not, and sometimes we can see the humour, but for the most part this is so, so hard. Who knew dying took this much work for the person involved?

We have an appointment for Sassy next week with our alternative approach vet. Mom is coming with me to fill in the history. I'll let you all know how it goes. They all say if she bites Granny, then she will be put down. I still hope I can have her out of there before that happens.

Thanks you cyberkitten & ancientgirl, good words.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 09:13 AM
Jim Hall Jim Hall is offline
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so she is coming sround already thats good news

cats arent mean they are usually aggresive either becuase tier sick or more often they are frightened As Sassy gets more used to her surrundings she will become more social i am sure My cirrent cat DU was a rescue and she was so terrified when I got her she basically hid under the bed for 8 weeks and when i would try to pet her i would get a hand full of claws a year later she doesnt even try to scratch or bite even when i have to put her in her carrier good luck with your grandma I have had the same situation woith my aunt and I know its very stressfull.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 10:35 AM
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My heart goes out to your family in such a difficult situation...I will join you all in the hope of a calm, quiet passing...

I would urge you before considering euthanasia to spend a good amount of time figuring out what KIND of "aggression" (I hate that word) kitty shows. When I took in my Hopey, she had been returned 3 times for "random" biting and bit at least 3 people in the shelter as well. Well, no wonder, she has severe cage rage, which no one bothered to figure out. She will attack strangers if they aren't clear with their actions and she is petting reactive as well. She has been with me since 2003 and it has been 2 years since she has tried to attack any member of my household....because we know what her triggers are and we don't press them. We give her lots of space and never enter a door way if she's sitting there, we ask her and give her the opportunity to move first. She never gets pet over the head, we let her smell our hand and then only give her pets around the chin, she likes it best there anyway I never touch her bum. Ever.

Dumb Friends League has *amazing* articles about cat aggression, found on this page (it's now a PDF file) . http://www.ddfl.org/sites/default/files/cathumag.pdf They taught me so much about cat behaviour when I took in Hopey who, by the way, now peacefully lives with 2 other cats and a dog, which I NEVER thought would happen, so there is hope, but you will have to be patient I wish you luck and peace!!

Last edited by marko; June 25th, 2012 at 09:57 AM.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Bev832 View Post
They all say if she bites Granny, then she will be put down. I still hope I can have her out of there before that happens.
I want to say again how sorry I am your family is going through this, but I'm sad to see that it seems most of your family wants to put an end to this poor cats life no matter what.

I'm really hoping you can get her from your granny's bed, because I don't want her to bite your granny, but I also would hate to see her put down because of a reaction to a stressful situation.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 10:29 PM
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Sorry to hear about your granny

I'm so sorry to hear about your granny..but I 100% agree with ACO.

Everyone is probably feeling so forlorn and emotional right now and this might add to kitties anxiety. Here's hoping that she'll relax and settle in soon.
Hope and hugs!
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Old April 10th, 2008, 12:51 PM
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I don't understand if all are concerned about your grandmother's health and the seriousness a cat bite would do, why hasn't the cat been removed from her side? Does your granny want to keep Sassy with her?

Does anybody have a spare room to put the kitty so she can have her own space with no stress?
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Old April 10th, 2008, 01:26 PM
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I am sorry about yuor grandmother and glad the morphine is working. Sometimes opiates can make ppl delusional, esp in seniors (My dad when he was very ill was this way on dilaudid, an opiate with very similar properties to morphine) and I had to ask his docs to change the meds to morphine which is actually one of the better opiates (as compared to say dilaudid or oxycontion which is really synthetic morphine in a way) There are also so many different ways of administering morphine- does she have a pump , MS Contin, Morphine sulphate? These can all make a difference in her mental agility.

My guess is knowing some of the variables that this cat is really scared and there may be other factors. That does not mean she has to die. It means she needs a family who can cope with her and such families- a foster family at a good rescue center maybe - might help if your family can't cope. Clearly, this cat is terrified pr she would not be under the bed.

I do wish you luck - sorry about yopur grandmother. I still miss mine, sigh! (and she would never want a cat to die, ever! She managed to save the most what were called then "wild" of cats and I loved her for it.)
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Old April 15th, 2008, 11:33 AM
Bev832 Bev832 is offline
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The Next Phase

Hello everyone, I haven't posted in a few days because things went so fast for Granny. She passed away yesterday morning. One she was on sub-q morphine, and the pain went away, it went relatively quickly.

Sassy has an appointment with our vet today to have a geriatric panel (lol! what they call the collection of health tests on older kitties) as well as having her nails clipped. She seems to understand that she is on her own now; and that she'd better be on her best behaviour. She swatted my brother over the weekend when he was sleeping in the room but has allowed my aunt to do whatever she wants. Last night she slept on my aunt's back, and this morning my aunt carried her around the room.

I see those as positive signs, to be sure! When my brother was petting her and got scratched, he observed possible problems with her hips (pain and weakness) but the fact that Anne is able to manage means that she is willing to behave and work with humans. Yay!!

Granny was very concerned about Sassy right to the end. Even once she she was in a coma, when we talked about Sassy she would grip our hands tightly and become agitated. I just kept telling her that Sassy was coming to live with me and with my own "cat whisperer" of a husband, and she would settle again. She knows I've gotten my old girl to 18 so she knows I'll take good care of Sassy.

I suppose I should say that she knew I would take good care of her.

Thank you all for your kind words. This was the first time for all of us to have someone at home until they died, and it was something I feel so honoured to have been a part of. Being able to crawl into bed and hold her in my arms and kiss her goodbye - you can't do that in a hospital setting. It was profound. And it was hell watching her suffer before the morphine injections.

Wish us luck at the vet today!

Bev
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Old April 15th, 2008, 11:46 AM
Jim Hall Jim Hall is offline
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My condolences for your family But at least kitty is going to be OK some cats just take longer to warm up and some cats dont like males ever its wired but it happens regularly in the cattery i work with there ar cats there that i just cant make friends with but will let all the woman pet them .
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Old April 15th, 2008, 11:50 AM
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I am so sorry to hear about your grandma .

Glad to hear about Sassy, your grandmother I am sure was able to pass in peace knowing Sassy was going to be well taken care of.

Please keep us updated on Sassy's progression in her new home.
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Jasper, male Ragdoll ?? (approx 10 yrs)
Rose semi feral, a cpietra rescue, female tabby (approx 7 yrs)

Sweet Pea RIP (2004?-2014)
Puddles RIP (1996-2014)
Snowball RIP (1991-2005)

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Old April 15th, 2008, 12:12 PM
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This was the first time for all of us to have someone at home until they died, and it was something I feel so honoured to have been a part of.
I have heard other people use the same word - 'honoured' - when they describe caring for someone who is dying. Deep thoughts on a sunny afternoon.
My sympathies for your loss.

I predict Sassy will do splendidly.
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Old April 15th, 2008, 12:17 PM
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I'm sorry about your granny, but she died with her loved ones surrounding her and that's something we can all hope for. It's wonderful you gave her the peace she needed regarding the safety and care of her companion. I know you'll take good care of Sassy.

Good luck at the vet's and please let us know what they say.
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  #30  
Old April 16th, 2008, 07:56 AM
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jealma jealma is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: ontario
Posts: 375
First off I am sorry for your loss, it is never easy. The loss of a loved one takes time to heal.

I'm so glad things are working out with Sassy. Your family has worked wonders with her and it's good to know that she has landed with a family that loves her and is willing to work on a good relationship with her.

Keep us informmed on her progress.
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