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I'm fostering a cat and she's not happy :(

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  • I'm fostering a cat and she's not happy :(

    This is my first time being a foster, so I'm not sure what to expect. The cat's family was moving and didn't think they could take their cat. It's an older cat 10+ and they were going to take it to a shelter. It's also a black cat and I'm told most people don't adopt black cats let alone older ones.

    She needed a place to go other than the shelter because she probably would have been put down. I don't know anything about the cat other than she's supposed to be sweet. I've got her in a separate room away from my own cats.

    She has been hiding in the closet and hasn't really eaten since I got her late Thursday night. I'm guessing she probably spent her whole life in one place and this move may be traumatic for her. I make sure to visit and talk to her a few times a day, but right now she doesn't want to have anything to do with me.

    I'm hoping she will come around, but am looking for tips/suggestions from other "foster moms".

    Thanks!
    Proud owner of a Slaughter-Bound TB from a feedlot, and her surprise baby...!
    http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e350/Jen4USC/fave.jpg
    http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e3...SC/running.jpg

  • #2
    Changing locations and people can be stressfull for kitties.

    We took care of a cat for a coworker of my mom's and that critter spend a couple of days under my bed at first. (then when his owner came to pick him up I had to crawl under my bed to retrieve him )

    You can try (as always) rescue remedy in the water. Of course time. Maybe you can also find what tickles her fancey: Yummy food, irresistible treat or that to die for toy...

    good luck
    Originally posted by BigMama1
    Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
    GNU Terry Prachett

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by Alagirl View Post
      You can try (as always) rescue remedy in the water. Of course time. Maybe you can also find what tickles her fancey: Yummy food, irresistible treat or that to die for toy...
      good luck
      I thought about going out and buying her some baby food, but I didn't think about Rescue Remedy for her stress. That's a great idea, thank you!
      Proud owner of a Slaughter-Bound TB from a feedlot, and her surprise baby...!
      http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e350/Jen4USC/fave.jpg
      http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e3...SC/running.jpg

      Comment


      • #4
        Give this a try.
        http://www.petsmart.com/product/inde...ductId=2755197
        McDowell Racing Stables

        Home Away From Home

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by jenm View Post
          I'm hoping she will come around, but am looking for tips/suggestions from other "foster moms".

          Thanks!
          awww! Good for you for helping out the kitty.

          leave some good smelly cat food out as well, just a spoonful. She may be willing to try that.

          Comment


          • #6
            Takes time, lots of time. Make sure that familiar food is easily accessible and water as well and keep a litter box close by for kitteh. Spend time with her, talk but don't touch, heck, even sit by the chosen closet with a good book and read aloud to her. She needs to get used to you and your voice, and being older, it will take a while; she will be pretty set in her ways. Hopefully, the owners told you what to feed and were nice enough to give you her dishes and litter box. If you feel the need to do the baby food, make sure it is meat only, and no spices of any kind including salt.

            I hope things work out for you and her
            Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

            Member: Incredible Invisbles

            Comment


            • #7
              Thank you for taking her in. I have such a soft spot for older critters who lose their homes. I'm so happy this girl found a new one.

              It'll just take time. She'll come around.
              I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm also glad you took her in Time is all I can suggest.

                We got two of our kitties from the humane society, and one is black with just a tiny white spot on her chest. She resembles a panther out in the fields when she's stalking or running...then is a total lovebug when she comes and sleeps in my bed.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by sk_pacer View Post
                  Takes time, lots of time. Make sure that familiar food is easily accessible and water as well and keep a litter box close by for kitteh. Spend time with her, talk but don't touch, heck, even sit by the chosen closet with a good book and read aloud to her. She needs to get used to you and your voice, and being older, it will take a while; she will be pretty set in her ways. Hopefully, the owners told you what to feed and were nice enough to give you her dishes and litter box. If you feel the need to do the baby food, make sure it is meat only, and no spices of any kind including salt.

                  I hope things work out for you and her
                  Second this - go get yourself something good to read, and sit in the room with her so she gets used to your presence.

                  It often takes a few days. "Pounce" treats are also a great incentive.

                  Forgot to add; I wouldn't bother with the Rescue Remedy - trying to give a cat meds is even more stressful than trying to get to know them!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Romany View Post
                    Forgot to add; I wouldn't bother with the Rescue Remedy - trying to give a cat meds is even more stressful than trying to get to know them!
                    LOL, yeah, trying to feed it to them....
                    but the RR you put in the water...a little goes a long way!
                    Originally posted by BigMama1
                    Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
                    GNU Terry Prachett

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I would be concerned about the not eating, since you are now on day 4. Cats which go on fasts can get hepatic lipidosis. If you normally feed your cats an all natural healthy brand, at this point I'd be offering her some kind of canned kitty crack stinky grocery store cat food. Consult a vet if the cat persists in not eating.

                      As for getting her to be more sociable, I've had good luck with the "you're an unbelievably boring cat" strategy. I go into the room and make eye contact with the cat without attempting to approach the cat in any way. I then turn away and start reading a book or doing a jigsaw puzzle. This tells the cat that I'm perfectly aware of its presence, and I find something else far more interesting than it.

                      Eventually, unless totally feral, most cats get curious and emerge to check me out. They want to know what I'm doing and why I'm ignoring them. I continue to pay no attention to the cat, even if it is sniffing me. If the cat touches me - puts a paw on my leg while sniffing, or bats at a puzzle piece - I will look at it and say hi. If the cat retreats, I go back to ignoring it. If the cat approaches me more - jumps on my lap, wraps a tail around my ankle, head butts - I will reciprocate with some gentle scratching around the head and throat. I do not attempt to pick the cat up at all initially. The cat is welcome to climb onto my lap or retreat as it wishes; I do not force the interaction until the cat is feeling more comfortable in my presence.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Thanks everyone for your great suggestions and support. I put some food and water in the closet and she has been eating, so I feel much better. She does come out of the closet to use her litter box, but usually at night. I will start putting her food outside of the closet as well, I just wanted her to eat.

                        I do talk to her every time I'm in the room, I didn't think to just hang out in the room for a while.

                        Thank you all so much for helping me out, I feel badly she got uprooted from her familiar environment, but I just want her to know she will still be loved.

                        I also appreciate the advice of not approaching her, and letting her come to me on her terms.
                        Proud owner of a Slaughter-Bound TB from a feedlot, and her surprise baby...!
                        http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e350/Jen4USC/fave.jpg
                        http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e3...SC/running.jpg

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Take a book and go read to her. Sounds silly, but sit on the floor and read in a soothing voice. Let her approach or not.

                          Poor thing. Her life has been completely turned upside down.
                          "Dogs are man's best friend. Cats are man's adorable little serial killer." -- theoatmeal.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Jenm,

                            Want to add my thanks for taking on this poor girl who has been uprooted, and you are right about the black cats having a hard time.

                            I'm involved with a no-kill shelter that has found this to be the case (though they refuse to adopt out black cats around Halloween for the protection of the cats).

                            I fostered 7 kittens for them (a week on the bottle until the mother could be found - what a nightmare), several of which were black, and it was a long road trying to find homes. My elderly mother wound up with two of the black ones, now living like kings.

                            Glad to hear that she is beginning to emerge and eat.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              the kitty I took in as a foster, I ended up keeping b/c like yours1, who wants an older kitty? When she first came home, I kept a baby gate up for almost 2 weeks b/c all she did was hiss at my other kitties. She ate b/c she had been living outside without food, but petting her was a challenge so I left her alone. Over a year later, she is a total love bug with me and loves other people but HATES the other cats. Always hisses at them but runs away instead of running at them, b/c shes afraid of them. The two big ones go after her sometimes and my other one just looks at her like shes nuts. Shes 15, Im not gonna change her so I try to keep my other cats away from her.
                              "to each his own..."

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Oh, big ditto on the 'ignoring her' idea.
                                I think it's impossible for a cat to tolerate being ignored.
                                So if you retreat to said room with a book or the paper or decide to take your laptop there to write that novel you have been working on, I think the kitty would soon enough emerge to demand attention!

                                It's a cat thing!

                                http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n...e/IM000327.jpg

                                http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n...re/pets010.jpg
                                Originally posted by BigMama1
                                Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
                                GNU Terry Prachett

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Triple the ignore her idea.

                                  Let her have her "safe space", don't invade it, and until she engages you, just pretend she doesn't exist. They usually will "tell" you when they're ready to be part of the household. With one of ours that took 4 days. With another, 8 months.

                                  Since she's much older, it will take that much longer. Especially if she was very bonded to her previous family, and they were all she ever knew. It can take those kitties a really, really long time to get over it.

                                  I've also heard that black kitties are hard to adopt too. I've been told it's because people think they're plain, bad luck and/or "familiars". I had never heard anything about black kitties being hard to adopt before that. I personally think the blue and cream color is hideous and would have thought THOSE would be hard to adopt!
                                  "The nice thing about memories is the good ones are stronger and linger longer than the bad and we sure have some incredibly good memories." - EverythingButWings

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    there isn't really a bad cat color...though black base calicos do look like a bleach accident at times
                                    Originally posted by BigMama1
                                    Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
                                    GNU Terry Prachett

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      "benign neglect"

                                      is what I call the ignoring thing. A stressed cat needs "psychic space". Leave several kinds of food out (hopefully one she used to eat.) She may want to only come out at night when it's quiet and she feels safe and eat then.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Ever notice when you have guests over, how cats can tell *exactly* who doesn't want to see them, and they go right up to that person?

                                        It's not because cat's are evil beyotches (though they are, lol). It's because the people who don't want to interact with the cat are sending out very clear body language: not looking at them, not talking to them, sitting still as if trying to be invisible. These are behaviors that cats find attractive (not the "here kitty kitty kitty!!!" some people squak out) and safe, and thus they gravitate to those people.

                                        I can't wait until I can get another cat one day. My first pet ever was an all-black long haired kitten. I vaguely remember going to pick out a kitten from a litter in dank basement (I was younger than 5). Apparently I wanted one of the kittens, but my mom vetoed it and instead we took home the all black runt. For all of her faults, my mother is nothing if not an angel to animals- she must have known that the little black kitten was unlikely to be adopted, and even more unlikely to meet a nice end in that house.

                                        It stayed cowered on the chair in the living room for 3 days straight, not eating. And then it just decided that life was okay. He lived for 19 years, despite being an indoor/outdoor cat that got closed in neighbor's garages more than once when they went away on vacation, not realizing my cat was curled up on a storage shelf!

                                        Sometimes I have dreams and he's in them, and they are the nicest dreams to have.

                                        But I digress. Thank you for taking the old black cat into your home. I hope it relaxes soon

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