We had an issue with a house cat that was spraying and swatted at our son. She is now a very happy barn kitty. Her attitude stemmed from being territorial (which it sounds like yours is) and not only was she making us miserable in the house, but SHE was miserable, too. She is so much sweeter as a barn kitty. She spent the first week in a large dog crate to adapt to the change and then we released her and she has rewarded us with dead rodents ever since. I was against the idea at first (I hate the thought of her killing song birds) but, coincidentally, the mice were getting to be a big problem and traps weren't cutting it.
Oh shoot, I missed her age. If she's healthy and it's doable, the barn cat transition might work. if not, I certainly wouldn't criticize you for putting her to sleep. It's a tough situation. I'm sorry.
13 is really quite young for a cat.
I think euth'n a cat just because it doesn't like to be petted is rather ridiculous.
If you think she is lonely, why not "try out" another cat? just because she glares at cats out the window doesn't mean she won't welcome another cat in the house. After a transition period, of course.
Cats are very trainable- if you use clicker-type methods. Maybe you could train her to be less "eccentric"?
Mija did like the other cat who died, right?, so it may not be impossible to find one she likes or will tolerate, and your sons could then have a cuddly kitty.
However, the life you describe doesn't sound bad at all, with full house access during the day and only certain wings open to her at other times. Perhaps when she comes meowing for attention, she can be rewarded for that prosocial behavior by getting some attention from your husband, whom she likes, or you, whom she also likes, if a little less. Honestly, a little attention-seeking behavior can be seen as a good thing rather than a sign of desperate loneliness (so desperate you feel it is worth ending her life over. Is she losing weight? Listless? Anything besides just at certain times of day soliciting some attention?) Doesn't really sound "depressed" or "lonely" to me, though she is probably adjusting to the loss of the other cat.
In the meantime, start building some positive associations in the kitty's mind with your boys. If I'm understanding correctly, the younger is 3, so could the older one, perhaps with assistance (esp. if there are cans to open or heavy bags to lift), feed kitty? No touching or petting, but just being the one to fill the food bowl and put it down, with Mija present. Many cats make strong positive classical associations with the sound of a can opener or other signals of cat-food-preparation, so use those to make her think the presence of your boys is a good thing. Hopefully, all parties can enjoy that task and start to build positive associations with each other. And your boys can feel they have something to do with Mija even if it isn't petting her. ETA: Ok, I re-read and see where your older DS is almost 7, right, so maybe that is indeed a workable plan to set up some positive interactions between kitty and son(s).
And in a year or two your sons will be older and she may be tolerating them better anyway when their gross and fine motor movements are more like an adult's, and they may better understand what kind of touching kitty likes or at least tolerates.
And maybe the checkup to look for a spinal or pain issue, too.
Life really doesn't sound that desperate for this kitty, from what you've described so far. And scratches kind of go with having cats, I think.
I can't imagine being able to rehome a kitty of that age, with these issues. I would either teach my children to ignore the cat and not try to show any kind of attention or affection to it or I would euthanize the cat.
Personally, my choice would probably be to teach my children to ignore the cat. I don't think I could euthanize an animal simply because it didn't like being loved on. Especially not after living with the cranky animal for years. I get missing having a reliable, loving cat. But does that really rise to the level of euthanizing her?
Scratching should not be a normal part of "kids and cats". It happens, even with the most well meaning of cats, but when the kids are highly likely to be scratched should they interact with the cat, which it sounds like yours are, then something has to change. Maybe soft paws? Maybe weekly nail trims? I'm acutely aware of the danger to children posed by cats' claws. During my daughter's recent hospitalization for what turned out to be viral meningoencephalitis (with a side of epilepsy thrown in for good measure), I can't tell you how many doctors asked if we had a cat, did the cat have claws, do they spend time together, are there any wounds on her body....
Yes, the boys should leave Mija alone, but since they're kids and will likely slip up, there should be an insurance policy in place.
Yes, it's kind of sad when we consider to euthanize animals that don't fit the family.
if the animal itself is not happy, why prolong the agony?
And everyday we let thousands of cats die that don't have vices, that are perfectly fine companions.
On this note, is it fair to hang on to the problem child.
I am jingling for you that you can find the home for her. Maybe a single gentleman, who does not need more from cat than cat needs from him.
The *agony*? Really? Being a bit lonely is not agony. If the OP chooses to put down the cat, it is her choice. But I hope she would acknowledge it as a convenience euthanasia, not to save the cat from any perceived agony NOr is it agony to have a quirky cat. Annoying yes, certainly not agony. (Note to OP- I'm not picking at the OP, this is aimed at alagirl)
And 13 is not that old, many cats easily live until 18-20.
I have your cat. As a young cat, he hated all other cats, including those he grew up with . He only liked the dog. He would hiss and growl and if you were not smart enough to take the hiss and growl as warnings, would scratch and bite to tell you to leave him alone. A beautiful cat that wanted to be around but not touched unless it was on his terms.
When he was 9 yrs of age, I found a kitten in the middle of a very busy road. Took him home, knowing full well if the kitten made it there was no way it could stay in our now 1 cat household. That was 7 yrs ago. I was utterly shocked that Tobe actually didn't try to kill the kitten. He hissed and growled but was also curious. He accepted this "underling" and they have been just fine. I think due to Diesel being a very laid back cat. Actually, he's dog like. I have seen other feline hating felines be okay with a 2nd cat coming into the house once they hit an older age. Why I don't know and if you told me years ago I'd have multiple cats in our household I'd think you were nuts.
Tobe is now 16 and he will still bite anyone who tries to pet him one more pets than he wanted. I have nieces and nephews and they all know that "Tobe is the look-at cat". They understand he's grumpy and will sit near them but does not want them to touch him. And Tobe still likes Diesel which really is miraculous.
Thanks everyone. You have provided good insights and suggestions. Positive no-touch playtime might be a good way to redirect the boys' desire to interact with her safely.
I am ultimately leaving the decisions up to hubby on this one, as she is his cat. I will say that at this point in time, he is against rehoming her. As for another cat, I don't think he's ready to go out and look for one, or even consider looking for one. We have had a lot of pet heartbreak in the last 3 years--the sweet old dog, the sweet lovebug cat, and worst of all, our beloved mare last year. Losing her just shattered our hearts, and hubby is (IMO) still very heartbroken over that and doesn't want another pet of really any type because of the emotional anguish that losing them entails. He has as little to do with my new boy, outside of feeding and stall cleaning, as possible.
I honestly doubt any decision will be made in the immediate future, unless she strikes again. I will say if she does, it's not looking good for her.
Incidentally, he told me that our 3yro wasn't petting her when she swatted--she actually attacked him as he alongside that side of the bed. I had assumed he was petting her from what I overheard, but everything unfolded on hubby's side, so I didn't actually see anything.
Interesting, ponygirl. I came back to add this below, which relates (somewhat) to your experience--at least the start of it. Heh, Diesel sounds like our Inigo--I always called him a dog in cat's clothes. He even walked on a leash.
One more thing--I truly think that when the time is right, a cat (or kitten) will literally come to us. Hubby may not go *find* an animal, but he has a huge heart for the ones that find us. When a litter of feral kittens was found in a bush by our house, we brought them in (keeping them in one quarantined room), and he was the one that made their bedding, food, crate, etc., and he was the one who made sure we brought them in to a local vet for aging (about 5 weeks), sexing (all males!), and their first shots before we rehomed them.
A few months later, two litters of kittens were dumped at the school where I teach. Most found homes with teachers--but sadly, we are very close to a very large, high-kill shelter, so the rest went there. A year or two ago, still another kitten was found, and I brought that one home before finding a no-kill, private kitten rescue for it as well.
I have a feeling that when such kittens cross our paths again, one will stay, with everyone's approval (Mija included).
I have a multi-cat household (I've had as many as 10) and I've had the best luck w/ integrating a very tiny kitten and a moderately old cat. The kitten was very thin and sick too, anemic, nothing contagious. But because he was so weak and felt like crap, he just didn't care about the other cats. They'd come sniff the crate he was in and mutter and hiss, and he just slept. The no reaction from him seemed to really speed his insertion into the herd.
The older cat was the same. A bit on the debilitated side, and old enough that the teenager-crazies were long gone (he was about 8, I think) He also just kind of went 'meh' when the others grumbled at him. By the time he was feeling well, the others had decided that he wasn't THAT bad
This is a long winded way of saying that maybe you could try fostering an oldie or a wee thing, and just see how it goes. No harm no foul if it doesn't work, and if it does then your old lady will be happier.
Fostering might also give your kids a bit of cat-time without the claw marks
You mentioned Mija likes your husband, does she like him enough to tolerate SoftPaws being put on (http://www.softpaws.com/)? All you have to do is cut the nail and put the SoftPaw on the cat's nail (it comes with glue). We have them on our cat now because she thinks scratching the wall on our rental home is a fun idea, but I got them originally to protect my pup's eyes from cat nail injuries. If the cat is tolerant of getting their nails trimmed, putting the SoftPaws is fairly easy.
I feel your pain. We adopted a dog almost two years ago and he has never quite fit in with the whole family. He loves me and the other dog, and tolerates my husband most of the time, but he does NOT like the kids. We can't tell if he was never 100% housebroken or just pees and poops on their stuff out of spite. The last straw was when he bit my son who was trying to play with him. We have a baby due in May, and we don't feel comfortable having him in the house anymore. Since it's "just" been two years, we contacted the rescue we got him from, but she's out of the business now after getting divorced and developing lung cancer. Thankfully, she knows someone else local who is "courtesy posting" him.
Life-long horse lover, dreaming of the day when I have one of my very own.