What can I do for my depressed cat

kashka_katOctober 17, 2013

Im down to one cat now - Orange's buddy went missing and while I'm continuing to search its been a month and I cant say I'm all that optimistic.

Meanwhile, Orange is on lockdown - used to let him out for a couple hours before dinnertime, but I cannot do that anymore, not knowing what happened to Figgy and having some uncertainty about the safety of this neighborhood. Orange obviously misses his buddies - was looking for him for a while in cabinets and closets, now he sleeps about twenty hours a day - just sits and sleeps, not interested in toys. (Yes I got some new ones.) Occasionally meows like I might change my mind and let him out, but seems to have mostly given up on that idea.

I could cry thinking of how alive and alert he was just last summer back in the garden, his obvious joy running down the stairs each afternoon to greet the new day. Just wish I knew what to do for him - I hold him and love him and he is always so sweet but seems to have lost some of his old spunk.

Figgy was the one who loved toys and chasing superballs and he and Orange would play a daily game of chasing each other around the house - can't think about getting another cat now but when I do.... how can you even guess about whether they would get along or not?

This post was edited by kashka_kat on Thu, Oct 17, 13 at 15:13

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So that your cat can continue to enjoy the outdoors you could always do what I've done....see link below.
I sometimes think my cat would enjoy having a friend but when I see her reaction to cats that come across our deck I don't feel so bad. She acts as though she wants to kill them!

One thing you might consider in choosing a new cat is to become a foster for a shelter. You could request either kittens or adult cats to see if either will be compatible with your cat. You may end up with more than you planned!

Here is a link that might be useful: Kennel

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 4:37PM
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I would let him out. He might be heartbroken and feeling extra for not being able to go out like used to.
Can you go out with him? I do take my kitten for walks and she never leaves my sight. I understand it takes some training but sometimes I take her on a leash and it work just as well. All they want is fresh air, scent of trees, grass, movement...

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 10:51PM
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I know you don't feel emotionally ready for a new feline, and I completely understand that, but I also think a new feline friend may be the best possible solution for Orange. He's in mourning for his buddies, and now that he's restricted to the house (which I also completely understand), he has nothing to distract him from his losses and loneliness.

A new buddy would give him something on which to focus his attention, and the "right" new buddy would give him a companion with whom to bond and feel that all-important same-species connection that he's missing. But you're right; it can be tricky finding the right match.

Annz has made a great suggestion about fostering, but I would modify it to "foster with the option to adopt". You would need to make sure that any shelter or rescue you work with would give you first option to adopt your foster kitty. The last thing Orange needs is to start bonding with another feline, just to lose that buddy to an adoption to another home. Alternately, you could find a shelter or rescue that would allow a trial period before finalizing the adoption to make sure the match works well.

If you do consider getting another feline, I recommend a young kitten. I have adopted felines of all ages, genders (intact and desexed), and personality types, and I can tell you that the easiest integrations have been the kittens. Kittens don't tend to pose a territorial threat to adult cats, and young kittens' playful antics aren't interpreted as serious attacks. I would caution you, however, against adopting the most boisterous and playful kitten of the bunch. A really rowdy kitten (esp. male kittens, who tend to be relentlessly pesky and aggressively playful) may be overwhelming for Orange. Look for a kitten who is self-confident (not shy or skittish) but who is also fairly laid back compared to other kittens. Avoid the kitten who's always pouncing on his/her littermates. Go for the one who is more moderately playful and enjoys snuggling with littermates.

You may also find that Orange will take more quickly to a kitten who is the same color as Figgy. Some cats have very definite color biases.

Think about getting Orange a new companion. I have seen bonds form in my own household between strays-who-decided-to-stay and resident cats who didn't previously have buddy relationships in the household. Those bonds have dramatically improved not only the resident cats' emotional wellbeing, but their physical health, as well.


    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 8:17AM
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Wonderful post, Laurie! You know cats!

Kasha, why did you say you can't think of getting another cat now? I'm sorry Orange is sad. Poor thing!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 12:11AM
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Yes she does know cats! Hoping you all have some further ideas because - the situation has changed radically in the last 48 hours.

I've got my Figgy back!!! After 6 weeks he's very skinny and now its like he has full blown PTSD -was clingy before, now I can't leave the room without him crying or following me. Seems extremely hypervigilant - I was expecting him just to sleep for the first couple of days but he's just bouncing off the walls. He tries to sleep with Orange but Orange hisses and is really not liking it - he's not sure what to make of it. Truth be told, there were some tensions between them before Figgy disappeared, and in fact I wonder if that might have been a factor. A day or 2 before Figgy disappeared, I heard a catfight two doors down and when I ran to break it up all I saw was my 2. Figgy is back to wanting to be in charge - eats his food then goes to eat Orange's, has to be the first one through the door or down the stairs, if I give Orange any attention at all or try to play with him Figgy comes running to physically insert himself between me and him. Sometimes in the past Figgy going to lie with Orange and licking him sometimes ended with Orange hissing and leaving the spot. Once I made some nice memory foam cushions and had them all around the apartment but Figgy had to go claim every one of them - so Orange just gave up and slept on bare wood in front of the vent. But then even that Figgy decided he had to have.

Soo.... what to do.... long term I have to build the outdoor pen for Orange that's exclusively his domain, but I may be moving -ARGHHHH I have SOO much else to get done on this house so in the interim I was thinking I could leave Figgy in a room the 4-6 hours a day Im not here or working on stuff - but he just cries nonstop.

Of course I'm just so happy he's alive and back here thatI could cry (and in fact have) but.... if theres one thing I learned its that I have to take responsibility for my cats. If it means finding one another home I would do it - but want to exhaust other possibilities..

I've thought maybe now I could go back to letting Orange out (not knowing before if there was someone intentionally taking cats - this can be a rather chaotic urban environment). But then I'd be afraid HE'D disappear now... esp with Figgy back and challenging him.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 2:02PM
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I am soooo glad that Figgy is back! Now, YOU just have to relax. Figgy is experiencing a feline version of PTSD, but he'll recover in time. It's only been 48 hrs. Figgy needs time to regain his psychological and emotional equilibrium, and Orange needs time to become reacquainted with Figgy.

If you don't think it'd freak him out too much, it might be a good idea to bathe Figgy to get 6 weeks worth of unfamiliar smells off of him. If a bath WOULD stress him out, though, just take a towel and rub it daily all over both cats to swap smells.

Let Figgy be as clingy and pushy as he needs to be. He'll settle down eventually, but right now he's self-medicating to get through his re-entry into family life. Go ahead and do what you need to do during the day. Yes, he'll be upset if he can't be by your side every minute, but that's part of his necessary adjustment.

I would NOT, however, recommend secluding him in a single room, unless he starts seriously attacking Orange, He needs the run of the house, and he needs to be close to his family. When you're out of the house, he'll most likely work on rebuilding his relationship with Orange, which will be good for both of them.

I've been through the "cat disappeared for weeks and came back bonkers" thing, but in my cat's case, he started violently attacking ME every time I tried to leave the room he was in. Fun times, I'll tell you. It took a while, but his brain eventually started to function normally again.

Be patient and maintain as relaxed and "normal" a behavior pattern around Figgy as possible. The more you chill out, the sooner he'll follow suit.


This post was edited by laurief on Sun, Oct 27, 13 at 15:06

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 3:04PM
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Laurie, thanks .... it's funny, I'm having a hard time stopping worrying! I guess I have an adjustment to make myself. What a concept, let them work it out instead of me hovering and being overprotective of Orange. Interestingly I'm seeing that Figgy is paying attention to Orange's hisses and being deferential.

Right after I posted, Figgy jumped up again on the bed where Orange was sleeping. Orange hissed once, and then they settled down to sleep together, Orange with his arm over Figgy.

I think we're gonna be fine.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 7:26PM
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Of course you're having a hard time stopping worrying. You've been worrying for the last 6 weeks! You need time to decompress and get back to normal, just like Figgy and Orange. Orange has got the right idea. Now you just have to find someone to hold you while you sleep. ;-)

I think you're all gonna be fine, too.


    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 9:43PM
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So happy to hear your kitty is back :)

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 8:21PM
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So glad your Figgy returned! I remember your post about him being lost from last September, and I see now that my advice to "never give up hope" panned out! Yeah! Any ideas where Figgy was all that time? If only they could tell us their adventures.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 6:02PM
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I hate letting my cat out too, b/c of the rampant coyotes in our neighborhood. I let him out though, b/c it's what he wants. He becomes very unhappy when we keep him in out of our own fear.

People have a lot of different views on cats being indoor or outdoor. In my view, if he/she is used to going out, it's cruel not to let her anymore. It's what she knows. Think if you're parents locked you up when you were a restless teenager. They're just trying to protect you but the full on lock up is never healthy:-)

Your cat would probably rather die trying to be happy and living an active, normal, and healthy outdoor kitty life than be locked up unnaturally inside...me thinks at least and I bet whiskers is with me on this one;-)

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 4:33PM
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