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Calamity Kris

I Could Use Some Advice - Zoe Our Cat

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I'm sorry for being a pest but I know the knowledge base here in the Saloon is so vast, I'm assured to receive a good answer.

 

Zoe, our new family member (cat) is painfully shy.  She still won't let us touch her or get closer than a couple of feet from her.  Apparently, she spent all of her life so far (2 years) in cages and at adoption sites so she's not used to human interaction.  I play with her (using a wand with feathers for her to chase), talk to her and give her treats but she won't take them out of my hand.  I have to toss them near her before she will eat them.   She has a large room with lots of balls and toys all to herself to explore and play in.  She is exploring and seems to enjoy that.

 

Well, she now has fleas.  I need to give her flea medication but I can't get close to her to apply it.  I'm afraid if I try to catch her and force it on her, that will make her fear of us worse.  Any ideas on how to help her?

 

Thanks,

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Unfortunately her shyness will take time and possibly be her trait for life. The medication she needs is a necessity that could slow down her acceptance but has to be done. So far what you are describing what you are doing is the right thing. Adult animals need additional patience to accept the humans especially when big portion of their life has been secluded. They have not learned to trust and it takes time.

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Get a soft blanket and put it over her.  Pick her up gently and sit down and start petting and cuddling.  Be aware that she my be frightened enough to pee on you or bite you and accept that it isn't a bad thing at this point.  Give her a snack if she has a favorite.  Be gentle as possible, but keep her with you for a few minutes. You might want to do this a couple of times a day just to get her used to being handled.  Give her a secure place of her own to go to when she feels stressed.  It might be best if you put it close to you. 

 

If she's "hand shy" don't approach her with an open hand.  Most people who mistreat dogs hit them with an open hand.  There are exceptions, people who beat a dog with their fist, but they aren't as common.  Both kinds of dog beaters should be shot.

 

I don't know what flea meds you are using but I highly recommend Frontline.  It is a liquid that comes in a small tube and is very easy to use.  My little dog gets her treatment the first of every month along with her Heartgard Plus (heart worm meds) which she thinks are candy.  Let us know how it works out.

 

BTW, I have gotten dogs that bonded almost instantly and others have taken a lot longer and needed much more caring handling.  I have only failed one dog in my life (and I have had many) and he was a lost cause from the beginning, a dachshund that was an "Army dog", passed from family to family every time one got transferred.  He was very insecure and neurotic.  We got transferred before I was able to get him adapted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If the dog has fleas she needs a bath to eliminate them.  It can be done at home, but can also be done by a groomer, if you feel that doing it at home might make her even more withdrawn.  There are chewable medications for fleas, such as Nexguard, which can be given as treats so that there is no need to apply a liquid on to the dog's skin.  Speak to your vet about it.

 

Getting hold of the dog has no easy solution.  You can try putting treats in her cage if you have one and letting her get used to that.  If she came from a mill, or some such environment, the cage should make her feel safe.

 

It takes a while to get a very insecure dog to trust.  You could try putting treats closer to you, such as when you're sitting on a couch, for example, and let her get them at her own time.  The more you do it and the closer you place them to you, the more likely she will start to come closer.  As you know, consistent repetition is the way most dogs are trained.  Most will respond, although it can take a while.  Some, unfortunately, will not.  Good luck.

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Hi Kris,

 

I've had two cats like that. Both came around for the brush.

 

One is still a bit shy; but, not like she was at first.

 

Good luck!

 

AM

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We got Sasha from the local pound.  She was covered in bite scars and rolled into a little ball that we weren't sure was a dog at first.  Would not interact.

Now, three years later, it is hard to remember she was ever that way.

Dogs are pack critters.  They are like a liquid in that they take on the shape of their container.  So dogs take on their place in the pack.  You are her pack. 

So, wait, be patient and treat Zoe like the dog you expect her to be some day.  She knows how to fill the space you give her.

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It takes a special sort of SCUM to mistreat our furry friends.

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I reckon I missed it, Ms Kris... but is Zoe a cat or a dog?  *:-/ confused

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44 minutes ago, Hardpan Curmudgeon SASS #8967 said:

I reckon I missed it, Ms Kris... but is Zoe a cat or a dog?  *:-/ confused

 

Sorry for the confusion.  Zoe is our new cat. 

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4 minutes ago, Calamity Kris said:

 

Sorry for the confusion.  Zoe is our new cat. 

Oh.  That puts a different slant on it.  Except for the chewables I mentioned, I don't know what a cat will do given the same circumstances.

 

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On 4/13/2019 at 10:28 AM, Calamity Kris said:

 

Sorry for the confusion.  Zoe is our new cat. 

Not much difference except where a dog will bite you, a cat will be able to bite and slice and dice you with her claws.  DO NOT HAVE HER CLAWS REMOVED.  That's simply maiming the poor critter for no valid reason that I have heard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If you can’t get close to her, how do you know she has fleas?  Not  trying to be a smartass, but fleas are not the only thing that can make a cat itch; allergic dermatitis is another possibility. 

 

 If you are correct and she has fleas, then the whole household has fleas.  You will have to treat any other pets you have, your yard if any of them go outside, your carpets, etc.

 

Bite the bullet.  Take all the pets in for flea treatment and have your house and yard exterminated at the same time.

 

The cat’s personality is not the problem.  Most animal personality traits are inborn and don’t change much over time. Fleas, if you have them, are the problem.

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our 5 shelter cats all came with fleas (and all at one time--but that's another story)

 

Got them into a small room by offering tuna juice then did the blanket thing over them--gentle as possible

were able to get two at same time on one occasion 

 

did the flea bath in bathroom  x5

didn't take as many band-aids as we thought to cover all the scratches and bites :)

 

FRONTLINE is way to go -- had to treat twice before all the fleas were gone.  

 

Each still has 18 intact toes

all are indoor

all still love tuna juice.

 

best of luck

 

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PS We have two cats from the same litter. One will eat treats from Hubby's fingers. The other requires them to be in his flat palm or the floor.  No worries, Zoe just has different likes and dislikes. Please keep us posted.

 

PPS Poor Francie (one of our shy cats) had a kitten (Ziggy) who harassed her. It is a wonder that she came "out of her shell; " but she did. She still doesn't like Ziggy; but she likes our two kittens (10 month olds).

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4 hours ago, J-BAR #18287 said:

If you can’t get close to her, how do you know she has fleas?  Not  trying to be a smartass, but fleas are not the only thing that can make a cat itch; allergic dermatitis is another possibility. 

 

 If you are correct and she has fleas, then the whole household has fleas.  You will have to treat any other pets you have, your yard if any of them go outside, your carpets, etc.

 

Bite the bullet.  Take all the pets in for flea treatment and have your house and yard exterminated at the same time.

 

The cat’s personality is not the problem.  Most animal personality traits are inborn and don’t change much over time. Fleas, if you have them, are the problem.

 

That's a good question.  We assumed (I know..) scratching = fleas.  She doesn't scratch all the time and I haven't seen any flea cascaras around.  We'll keep an eye on things and take it from there.   Luckily, we don't have any carpet.  The whole house is tile.  We do have 2 acres of yard.  That will be a lot to treat. 

 

Thanks,

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Try some rescue remedy liquid on her food. It is available on Amazon. It will help her anxiety. Thank you for the rescue

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5 hours ago, J-BAR #18287 said:

Most animal personality traits are inborn and don’t change much over time.

I disagree.  Proper socialization is the key, and it can take a while with an adult animal.  With kindness and patience, they can learn to trust.*  You have to get the flea situation taken care of.  No options.

* my experience:  Baby Girl adopted an abandoned kitten that had been fed, but nobody could put a hand on her.  Amy Sumner loved Baby Girl, tolerated her husband, and put the fear of God into Grandsons #1 and #2.  When the family moved to China for two years, I went & took care of the house and Amy Sumner (to whom I still referred, at that time, as My Daughter's Little Biting Cat).  She mellowed to the point that, if I made a lap, she was in it and did not willingly share.  When the family came home, Grandson #2 was so amazed that "Grandmom picked Amy up!" he called his brother to witness the miracle.  Before she died at the age of 19, she was sitting in both boys' laps and seeking out their attention.  I still miss that l'il biting cat.

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9 minutes ago, MizPete said:

I disagree.  Proper socialization is the key, and it can take a while with an adult animal.  With kindness and patience, they can learn to trust.*  You have to get the flea situation taken care of.  No options.

* my experience:  Baby Girl adopted an abandoned kitten that had been fed, but nobody could put a hand on her.  Amy Sumner loved Baby Girl, tolerated her husband, and put the fear of God into Grandsons #1 and #2.  When the family moved to China for two years, I went & took care of the house and Amy Sumner (to whom I still referred, at that time, as My Daughter's Little Biting Cat).  She mellowed to the point that, if I made a lap, she was in it and did not willingly share.  When the family came home, Grandson #2 was so amazed that "Grandmom picked Amy up!" he called his brother to witness the miracle.  Before she died at the age of 19, she was sitting in both boys' laps and seeking out their attention.  I still miss that l'il biting cat.

 

J-BAR is a DVM. ;)

OLG

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24 minutes ago, MizPete said:

I disagree.  Proper socialization is the key, and it can take a while with an adult animal.  With kindness and patience, they can learn to trust.*  You have to get the flea situation taken care of.  No options.

* my experience:  Baby Girl adopted an abandoned kitten that had been fed, but nobody could put a hand on her.  Amy Sumner loved Baby Girl, tolerated her husband, and put the fear of God into Grandsons #1 and #2.  When the family moved to China for two years, I went & took care of the house and Amy Sumner (to whom I still referred, at that time, as My Daughter's Little Biting Cat).  She mellowed to the point that, if I made a lap, she was in it and did not willingly share.  When the family came home, Grandson #2 was so amazed that "Grandmom picked Amy up!" he called his brother to witness the miracle.  Before she died at the age of 19, she was sitting in both boys' laps and seeking out their attention.  I still miss that l'il biting cat.

 

If you are right then every dog could be trained to guide the blind, be a sentry for a military base, find hidden drugs for law enforcement, be a support animal for a special needs child, and there would be no such thing as feral cats.

 

Socialization works for individual animals that are genetically predisposed to it.  Not all individual animals can be socialized. And like humans, there is a wide range of intelligence;  some individual animals are extremely smart, others not so much.

 

Real life is not a Walt Disney movie in which every animal is our friend.

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Not giving it up.

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12 hours ago, J-BAR #18287 said:

Socialization works for individual animals that are genetically predisposed to it.  Not all individual animals can be socialized. And like humans, there is a wide range of intelligence;  some individual animals are extremely smart, others not so much.

 

 

I had a dust bunny that would never come when called--always had to go under the bed to get him

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8 hours ago, MizPete said:

Not giving it up.

 

She is ours.  We won't give her up.  She may not be the lap cat we had hoped.  That's OK.  Eventually,  we will adopt a buddy for her and hope that is our lap cat.

 

To the good, I had some treats in my hand and was able to get close enough for her to sniff my fingers before I put the treats down in front of her.  That's progress.  We will keep working slowly and steadily. 

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31 minutes ago, Calamity Kris said:

 

She is ours.  We won't give her up.  She may not be the lap cat we had hoped.  That's OK.  Eventually,  we will adopt a buddy for her and hope that is our lap cat.

 

To the good, I had some treats in my hand and was able to get close enough for her to sniff my fingers before I put the treats down in front of her.  That's progress.  We will keep working slowly and steadily. 

That is great progress. In time she might be your lap cat but it will have to be on her terms.

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I recall a post not too long ago where someone had posted an information graphic on pet food manufacturers.  I have searched the Saloon and the internet but can't find the graphic.  If someone knows where to find it, please let me know.  I would like to try changing her food and need more information before I decide.

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17 hours ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

 

J-BAR is a DVM. ;)

OLG

I respect J-Bar very much. He is a good man.

 

However, cats, like people, can be very different. We took in a stray and took her to our favorite vet ever to be spayed and vaccinated. He said he doubted that she'd live long enough to go into heat. She lived with us for 16 more years.

2 hours ago, Calamity Kris said:

 

She is ours.  We won't give her up.  She may not be the lap cat we had hoped.  That's OK.  Eventually,  we will adopt a buddy for her and hope that is our lap cat.

 

To the good, I had some treats in my hand and was able to get close enough for her to sniff my fingers before I put the treats down in front of her.  That's progress.  We will keep working slowly and steadily. 

:wub:

 

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8 minutes ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

Hey 'Crash'-Just maybe that DVM, wanted you to prove him wrong. ^_^

OLG

One time, when we took a stray kitten to him, he said he thought we had a sign on our yard that said "sucker for kitties."

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1 minute ago, Allie Mo, SASS No. 25217 said:

One time, when we took a stray kitten to him, he said he thought we had a sign on our yard that said "sucker for kitties."

Well-He's 'rite' :excl:  :P

OLG

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16 minutes ago, Allie Mo, SASS No. 25217 said:

One time, when we took a stray kitten to him, he said he thought we had a sign on our yard that said "sucker for kitties."

Home for wayward kittens:D

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19 hours ago, J-BAR #18287 said:

 

If you are right then every dog could be trained to guide the blind, be a sentry for a military base, find hidden drugs for law enforcement, be a support animal for a special needs child, and there would be no such thing as feral cats.

 

Socialization works for individual animals that are genetically predisposed to it.  Not all individual animals can be socialized. And like humans, there is a wide range of intelligence;  some individual animals are extremely smart, others not so much.

 

Real life is not a Walt Disney movie in which every animal is our friend.

I've only found one that could not be adequately socialized (see previous post) and I think I could have salvaged him if we hadn't been transferred.

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I do respect J-Bar's professional credentials.  It's just hard for me to give up on an animal, especially one that has come up the hard way.

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1 hour ago, MizPete said:

I do respect J-Bar's professional credentials.  It's just hard for me to give up on an animal, especially one that has come up the hard way.

 

I would never ask anyone to give up on socializing a pet.  I just want to help folks to have realistic expectations, and not to endanger family members, particularly kids, by exposing them to animals that might bite or scratch.

 

If the animal does not respond to your efforts, it probably is not your fault.

 

 

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We have a cat that just would not come to me or let me go to him. It took a long time but he eventually decided that I was okay and he didn’t need to fear me. The secret is patience and really good treats. :D

He loves “Greenies” cat treats and pork chops.

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