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Ugh. Foster Help/Advice

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  • Ugh. Foster Help/Advice

    Hi all.

    I have posted here before about various foster cats/kittens that I've had in my home. I have only two right now but one is presenting a bit of a dilemma.

    I have a mom and her son. Mom is a Lynx-point tabby Siamese (I probably just make that color scheme up ) and son is a flame point siamese (I know that's legit!) The son is no problem; he's a nice enough guy and he'll be adopted quickly.

    Mom..not so much. I took them both in for boosters/worming today and the vet tech said, "ohh..I remember HER." Turns out, momma cat was quite the hissy/nippy little terror while she was there. I venture to guess if she hadn't had a week-old kitten when she came in, she would've been euth'ed on the spot. In fact, I took her in as a foster bc she was there one week and as she was a pretty, out of the ordinary colored girl, I figured she'd be snapped up quickly for foster, but when I was there a week later she was still huddled in terror in the back of her cage with her then two-week-old son. She's been here quite nearly a month and she's settled in and is easily approachable (by me) and I can pick her up, etc. She still hisses when I open the bedroom door but as soon as I talk to her and she knows it's me she stops. She is NOT a bad cat. She isn't mean, and she isn't anti-social; she is just very scared.

    Anyway, she got her booster and wormed again from the safety of her carrier and didn't cause any problem, but I was told she'll be euth'ed on return. Which..I guess I can understand. She would NOT show well at all in a shelter environment; who is going to adopt the hissing, attached-to-the-back-wall 6 year old? So, sucker me: I'm going to try to keep her here and get her adopted home-to-home. I'm going to try to get her more integrated into "home life;" her bedroom door is open with a baby gate up so she can choose to come in and out (my own four cats are blase about the fosters at this point). Plus as she came from a hoarder situation, maybe the others will help bring her out of her shell a bit.

    But, she cannot stay here forever and there are just SO many cats--friendly, no-issue cats--at the shelter already. I am pretty worried that six months from now, she will still be here and then it will be all the worse to take her back where she will still more than likely be euth'ed. She is no spring kitten and I fear there is only so much I can do to help her. Like I said, she is pretty friendly around here but reverted to wild-eyed terror this morning at the shelter and I don't think that will go away. So, is it better just to take her in and let them euth her in a couple weeks, when her son is ready to go in for adoption? If I try to adopt her out from here, how long do I give that? I'm worried that she will just be here indefinitely and I really cannot have another cat. Four is a lot.

    I guess a lot of this is just thinking out loud. If anyone has any advice though, I am glad to hear. Thanks for listening!

  • #2
    I have found that many cats will bond better with humans when they do not have another cat with them. *Most* of the cats I've had that were very shy eventually came around especially when human attention was the only option they had. I would give her time as an only cat and see if you can adopt her out to a very quiet environment. Give her a few weeks as an only cat and then reevaluate.

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    • #3
      I think I'd start with clicker training her. Will she play? Will she eat wet food?

      Gosh I feel sorry for her, what state are you in?

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      • #4
        Perhaps you could try a calming collar on her. It may not help, but I wouldn't hurt to try. Good luck! I certainly don't envy your predicament.

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by threedogpack View Post
          I think I'd start with clicker training her. Will she play? Will she eat wet food?

          Gosh I feel sorry for her, what state are you in?
          I am in PA. She does not really play. Once, I think, i got her to bat around a piece of string for a hot second. She does eat wet food. I sit with her while she eats when I bring wet food in for her (twice a day; however I only have time to sit with her for her evening feeding). She will eat for a bit, come socialize with me for a few minutes, go eat some more; rinse, lather, repeat.

          I would really like to move her into my bedroom, but my dog (albeit my 6lb, very cat-ignoring/tolerant dog) sleeps on my bed and I can't say how she will tolerate that. I'd be willing to bet if we can iron out the dog issue she would sleep on my bed which always helps my foster kittens; I invariably will wake up with a previously wild-eyed, hissy kit nestled on my pillow or on my chest!
          Once her lil kiddo leaves things might be easier (to your point, horsenut; she won't have her companion any more).

          I have to admit, I don't know the first thing about clicker training. I mostly deal with foster kittens and super friendly moms; scaredy kittens are easy, though. They quickly realize people are fun. My four are a bunch of social butterflies; 2 of the 4 greet every visitor at the door and the other 2 mosey over quickly thereafter. I don't know if I got lucky or what, but I've never had to work hard to socialize one. Maybe I am a little out of my element but the alternative for this girl isn't so good so I am willing to try..

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          • #6
            I would like to just promise I have seen many, many cats of this nature be adopted--mostly by goodhearted people like yourself. Probably once a month we'd have a savior come into the shelter and say "Give me the skittish one in the corner/the black feral/the antisocial one...I know theyre just stressed." Now, it is harder when you can't physically be at the shelter with her to help pump her or attract adopters, but there ARE homes out there! Don't be discouraged just yet. Just advertise, advertise, advertise.

            Also, cats like her (if it comes to it) generally make good barn cats because they're not so complacent that they succumb to the easy dangers like dogs or being run over by the barn visitor's truck, if they're given time to settle down in a stall first and learn where the food stays.

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by irkenequine View Post
              I would like to just promise I have seen many, many cats of this nature be adopted--mostly by goodhearted people like yourself. Probably once a month we'd have a savior come into the shelter and say "Give me the skittish one in the corner/the black feral/the antisocial one...I know theyre just stressed." Now, it is harder when you can't physically be at the shelter with her to help pump her or attract adopters, but there ARE homes out there! Don't be discouraged just yet. Just advertise, advertise, advertise.

              Also, cats like her (if it comes to it) generally make good barn cats because they're not so complacent that they succumb to the easy dangers like dogs or being run over by the barn visitor's truck, if they're given time to settle down in a stall first and learn where the food stays.
              Thanks for the hope. I really, really would keep her. I just have a smallish townhouse and four is a lot to keep up with. Also I kind of forgot to mention: By keeping her around, unless I can "integrate her into my herd" I'm not really able to take in any additional fosters as she's taking up my foster room and believe you me, they're hurting for fosters right now.

              Like I said, she is flashy enough that advertising just might do the trick. I also neglected to tell you she has this deformed little ear that makes her look Scottish fold on one side. I'm sure *someone* will find her endearing!

              Comment


              • #8
                Lynx point is a valid colour The tabby part is not needed, all lynx points are tabbies.

                Get thee to the cat toy store and get a wand toy. Start dragging in slowly around her and entice her to chase it. She will learn to play with something like that as it uses the chase and kill instinct. Don't get wild wiht it until she chases consistantly, then let the games begin. Once she learns you are the source of food and fun, she should get better, albeit slowly.

                I have my Hissy cat inside now, completely her choice. She birthed her last kitten inside and has never even gone close to the door and is horrified by open windows even with the screen barrier. It took almost two years but she now lets me pet her, rub her, play with her feet and ears but I didn't really work that hard at it, just let her observe the rest of the cats interact with me, including her brother and her daddy, who have decided they are going to be indoor-outdoor cats. She will now play for a good 20 minutes with the wand toy and then retreat to the top of the stepladder which resides in the kitchen just in case I have to change lightbulbs on anything but the ceiling fan or a lamp. FWIW, she lived behind the fridge for the first year inside, only making a dash to the basement to the litter box or to the food dish she was that bad.

                Gads, she is the kind of cat I like here, a bit scared of things and would be taught by the residents to accept me as bearer of food and water. The affection in what ever form it takes comes with time.

                Any cat with oriental blood is a bit weirder than normal cats - more active, sometimes more vocal and more hunt driven.
                Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

                Member: Incredible Invisbles

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                • #9
                  I'm assuming that since she has a kitten she had not yet been spayed. That might help a bit.

                  Right now I'm watching my 8 year old house cat play with the 2 year old feral I took in last fall. She was supposed to go to a barn home but due to odd circumstances it never happened, and now she is sweet and approachable. Not normal- but getting there.

                  Worst case- can she be adopted out into a barn home? Instead of going back to be euthed?

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