View Full Version : Could Use Some Advice ... and Maybe Some Pixie Dust

03-31-2007, 01:06 PM
Okay, so this is going to be a bit long, but bear with me.

About four years ago this past October DH and I (when it DFiance and I) adopted a cat from an animal shelter near where we went to school in Maine. She was just the cutest little thing. About six months old. Tortoise shell colors with a little streak of orange down her nose. I fell in love with her at first sight.

We brought her home to the apartment we shared with two of our best friends. At times Elessedil (or Lyssie) was not the friendliest cat. We tried to cat sit once or twice for friends and Lyssie did not respond well to the other cats at all. Sometimes she swatted or would nip at us or at our roommates. Sometimes she would actually draw blood. But she was also loving and sweet and cuddly.

We moved to Conn. the following August on our own. Lyssie doesn't like car rides so we had the vet give us a sedative we could give her. She did not respond well to the sedative and would alternate between being practically comatose for five/ten minutes to the point where I would have to check to see if she was still breathing, to freaking out and trying bite her way out of the carrier. At one point I (stupidly) attempted to try to move her away from the metal because her mouth had gotten caught and we hit some contruction and a bump and she bit my finger hard enough to require stopping at an emergency room.

Since we've been down here it's been the same. She'll be sweet and cuddly and cute but some times she attacks feet, hisses, swats, etc. Definitely at strangers, but even at us. Sometimes she'll be curled up in my lap, purring her little heart out and I'll be petting her and suddenly my hand is her own personal chew toy. To the point that she's drawn blood a few times. And there's no warning. She'll purr the whole time she's doing it.

About a year ago DH was washing dishes and the water got too hot and burned him. He made the noises you would expect someone to make when they get burned. Apparently, Lyssie did not like these noises and she attacked him to the point where she actually ran up him and I had to remove her. About eight months ago we had just gone to bed when she suddenly ran at the window in our bedroom (we had a large picture window) and because we're on ground level DH went to make sure there wasn't anything outside. Lyssie was apparently still spooked and she attacked him again pretty good. Some of the scratches actually bruised.

Just a little while ago I was changing the litter in the litter box and pouring in the new litter. I was knealing on the floor and Lyssie jumped on my back with claws fully extended. She did a good number on my back, the back of my arms, and because I twisted and tried to move her off of me one of her claws actually caught my cheek. Some of the scratches looked bruised before they even started to bleed.

She gives very little, if ANY, warning sometimes when this happens. I spent eight months working in an animal shelter, I spent a good portion of these eight months working with feral cats who were unsociable and unadoptable when they came to us. I had a very good success rate of socializing kittens and even some older cats. I know what kind of warning signs of attack to look for. Sometimes I'll see them in her and say okay, now is the time to move away etc. But usually not.

DH just left for work telling me that he loves her, but that it's time to think about when "enough is enough". He's worried (and so am I) that she's done this three times in a year and a half now and what if next time it's not one of us. And we're at the point where starting a family is probably in the not so distant future and what happens then.

You have to understand, Elessedil is my little girl. I absolutely love her. The very idea of not having her in my life makes me feel sick. But I don't like having to worry about her attacking someone else or attacking DH and I. I'm really torn and don't know what to do. So I guess I'm looking for some pixie dust for luck and advice from anyone who's gone through a simillar situation or has any ideas for what I can try with her.

Thanks for reading.

03-31-2007, 01:31 PM
I'm going to send you :pixie: :pixie: because that is a terrible situation to be in. I am a firm believer in animals and children. I don't think they should be kept separate but it sounds like she might be dangerous around a baby :( I know this might sound insane but what about anti anxiety meds for her? I have no idea how expensive it would be but it sounds like it would be terribly hard to lose her. I'm sure others will come along with better advice. Good luck!

03-31-2007, 01:33 PM
Please understand there is no judgment, in my questions...I'm a long time cat lover/owner and I know that people can have various degrees of care for their pets.

Have you taken her to a vet? Is she current on her shots? Have you discussed the behavior with a vet? At the very least, a vet could recommend/advise regarding the cat.

My grandmother had a beautiful cat that she loved dearly, but it bit her twice-the second time resulting in hospitalization and medication. Needless to say, she couldn't keep the cat any longer and made that difficult decision.

If childern are in the picture, I don't feel good about the cat being around them.

I'm sorry you're in such a pickle, it's very hard to love a pet and make a decision to let her go, either to a new environment, or to kitty heaven. I wish you luck, and will think good thoughts for you.

03-31-2007, 01:44 PM
I am one of the biggest animal lovers I know. Although I don't have any pets because I travel a lot and live in an apartment I am an avid dog sitter for my best friend so I get pet time in. I also happen to love cats, and grew up always having a cat in my life. That being established...

I think you really need professional help for your crazy kitty. A vet can give you full info about what might be causing her out bursts. Just keep an open mind, make informed decisions and remember the biggest and most important part of the responsibility of loving animals is acting not only in THEIR best interest but in the interest of your family. You can do it! :thumbsup:

03-31-2007, 01:48 PM
To answer your questions DisneyFan, she is current in all her shots. We take her to the vet once a year (more if anything comes up). The vet has not only heard about her behavior, but has seen it, she swatted pretty good at a vet tech at one of our vets and she was hissing and spitting at our second vet and they actually finished the exam with her head covered in this mask thing that they keep for cats who behave as badly as my cat was.
Both vets basically said that some cats are just like this.

I just went into my bedroom to get something and she was all curled up on the bed and purring. She got up and started wrapping herself around my legs. It's so hard to make any sort of decision when she can go from acting insane and aggressive to so cute and loving in the span of two hours. I think one of the biggest factors weighing on me right now is children... there aren't any in the picture yet, but I'd say within the next three years there will probably be a baby in the picture... The tough things you never realize you'll be thinking about when you give your heart to a cute and cuddly six month old cat.

I just put a call in to my vet and they're supposed to call me back Monday so we can talk about what's happening.

03-31-2007, 02:31 PM
You might also check with some of your local shelters to see if they have any suggestions. A couple of the larger ones in our area have cat-behavior specialists that work with folks that have cats with behaviorial issues.

03-31-2007, 05:01 PM
I don't believe in this for most cats, but perhaps declawing will help. There are some cats that it does wonders for and maybe Lyssie is one of those. Talk it over with your vet. It can be safely done on cats up to several years old. My mother's cat was done when she was about 3 because she couldn't retract her front claws fully and they constantly caught in the carpet. You might also consider those little rubber nail covers that you glue on although I don't know that you want to attempt to put them on her and they only last about 2 weeks. Good luck with her!

03-31-2007, 10:49 PM
That is a tough one. I am sending you lots of pixie dust and I hope your vet can help you.

03-31-2007, 11:52 PM
WE had a cat like that... Comet. We fell in love with him and took him at about 5 wks b/c his mother abandoned them (at my mom's) He looked like a Maine Coon and was beautiful but had his moments, he just was not socialized properly by his mom :( . He did get worse with age and would randomly attack things like you explain. There were some ppl the cat hated and we could be sitting watching tv and the cat would attack. He would also go crazy sometimes in my dd's bedroom- we think it was too much stimulation.
When he was little the vet did recommend that we remove his claws -- all 4 feet. She normally doesn't recommend that but he had her bleeding everytime we went. She even gave us a big discount. When you do that you have to make the commitment to keep them inside or out of harms way b/c they loose their natural defenses. He did develop a bad biting habit after we removed his claws but was a lot easier to handle. I know ppl object to claw removal but we felt it was his best shot to keep his happy home and it worked for us. Comet lived out his life w/ no nails but he had a home. :pixie: Hope you can find a solution that you can feel good about. Sometimes giving a cat to someone who has a lot of property in the country can help too. :cat:

04-02-2007, 04:39 PM
:pixie: :pixie: :pixie: on the way. I hope it works out:cat:

04-02-2007, 05:15 PM
Oh no. :(

I don't really have much advice to give, but wanted you to know I was thinking of you and your kitty.

I have heard that you can put cats on anti-anxiety meds and that can help behavioral issues.

Our cat is the opposite... she didn't bite us even when DH accidentally stepped on her and I had to remove one fang from her upper lip. She is the equivalent of a live stuffed animal.

I adopted her from the shelter when she was 2.5, and she came all-4-paw declawed. I have no idea why they removed them, but her personality is one of complete submissiveness.

We had behavioral issues with her not using her litter box, but we found out she had bladder stones and once we had them removed ($$) she has gone back to her litter. We did discuss what we were going to do (before finding out about the stones), so I do understand what it is like to have to make a hard decision like this.

Sending you a :hug: ...