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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi.
It is my first post on this forum.
2 years ago we have decided to bring a cat to our home. Our little boy was 9 mnths, and used to play a lot with a Koko (she was 12 wks old, when we adopted her) Ewerything was absolutely fine until we went away for a week, and she was looked after by someone else. When we've got back she didn't like my wife anymore, and become my cat. Next summer I stayed at home with her, wife with kids gone for a 2 weeks, and when they got back, cat gone mad. She looks scared, runs away from my wife and the youngest one. Ok he is noisy, but it never was a problem. We thought a new kitten maybe a solution and we brought one. Problem escalated. Koko does not even try to fight for her own territory, keeps hiding behind sofa, not using litter tray anymore. This morning we found stuff that should have gone into litter tray on the sofa.
Help us please...
Regards

Andy and Joanna
 

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Hi and welcome to the forum. :) Sorry to hear of the problems with Koko.

First you need to establish Koko does not have any health problems. If she is in pain or discomfort it could be making her scared and want to hide or avoid people. Presumably as this has been going on for some while you have already seen the vet about it? Did the vet do any blood or urine tests?

Is Koko eating well? Do her stools look healthy/normal? Does she wee frequently, or pass a lot of urine? As she has toileted on the sofa it could mean she has a urinary tract infection, or a inflamed bowel.

What are you feeding her?

If your vet is certain Koko has no physical health problems, then her behaviour is due to stress. Evidently when you went on holiday and she was on her own a lot she found she got used to it, and liked the peace and quiet. So she found it hard to adapt when the family got home. Same thing the following year. Some cats do prefer a quiet home.

Unfortunately, (as you say), it was probably not the best idea to introduce another cat (kitten) to the home when Koko was already scared and unhappy. How old is the kitten and how long have you had him?

For the time being it is best to keep the kitten and Koka apart from each other all the time, until Koko is less stressed.

Basically you are going to have to try and build up Koko's self confidence again. She is probably always going to be a nervous kind of cat, who may prefer spending time on her own.

I would buy several Feliway diffusers (amazon sells them) and plug them in around the home in areas where Koko sits or sleeps. They contain cat pheromones which help the cat relax.

Also, I would give her a course of Zylkene, which helps to calm stressed cats and give them confidence. It is a supplement (not a drug) which comes in capsules which you break open and add to food. Available on line from pet pharmacies, or from the vet.

Other than that, ensure you are providing several quiet *retreats* around the home where Koko can go when she wants peace and quiet, and so she can learn to trust that no human or cat will disturb her when she is in one of her retreats. e.g. one good place is a blanket or cushion on top of a wardrobe in a quiet bedroom (with some means of her being able to climb up there of course :))

Incidentally, does she go out? If it is safe for her to do so, she would probably be happier if she could have some time outdoors. This will enable her to find a spot tucked away where she can feel completely on her own, and undisturbed. Perhaps not at this time of year, but in the summer it would probably help her a lot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
We have seen our vet. They couldn't find anything wrong with her. She is eating quite well if nobody is about. Simply she gets her breakfast when I leave for work, lunch when wife takes little one for a walk/ shopping, and she happily eats dry food in the evening, when little one is in his bed.

Kitten is 10 weeks old and she joined us 2 weeks ago.

Koko usually stays in little ones bedroom under a sofa. Tula (kitten) always stay downstairs. Both cats meet on the way to the toilet or kitchen, and kitten tries to hiss at Koko, and Koko is likely to back off.

We have bought Zylkene already and are about to order Feliway too.

Food: Canned Bozita during the day, and Iams dry in the evening (she loves dry Iams)

She goes out if weather permits, in the summer she usually spent most of the day wandering about, autumn/winter we let her out after 9 am and try to get her back before dusk.
 

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I am pleased the vet found nothing wrong. However it is possible she could have a mild health issue that is not apparent yet to the human eye. Cats are notorious for being able to conceal pain and discomfort. It is part of their survival mechanism.

If you are just providing one litter tray to be shared by both cats I recommend you remedy that a.s.a.p and give each cat their own tray, located in the part of the house where they spend most time.

Many cats do not like sharing litter trays so this could be the reason why Koko used the sofa for a toilet, in preference to using the same tray as the kitten. Not having her own tray could also be contributing to her general feelings of unease and anxiety.

However I appreciate Koko also goes out for her toilet. Is there a cat flap, and is she free to come and go when she chooses?

Do you or your wife play much with Koko? She is young cat still, plenty young enough to enjoy interactive play with wavy wand toys or fishing-rod toys. Play is a good way of cementing the bond between human and cat companions. Play is also a good way of distracting a cat from its anxieties.

When you play with her, sit on the floor so you are at her level and she doesn't feel intimidated by your (adult human) size. Talk to her in a gentle upbeat tone. She will find this reassuring. Have lots of treats to hand when you are playing, so you can reward her if she comes close to you. Both you and your wife should take turns at different times to play with her and feed her, so she learns to trust (or re-trust) both of you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
We will get another litter tray tomorrow. We have a cat flap fitted to the garden door, and she is free to use it whenever she wants within the time limits (for a safety reasons we don't want her to go out when dark).
We could only play with her in the evenings, when our youngest is in the bed, but we do our best to play with her most of the evening. We use fishing rod, as it is her favourite toy. I never knew I should seat on the floor and always used to seat on the sofa. Will have it changed.
 

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Yes, you are right not to let her out at night. It is the time when most accidents and injuries happen to cats. :(

I do hope Koko begins to feel happier soon. Please let us know how things go?:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Bought a new litter tray. Unfortunately Koko is so scared and will not use it at all. Just found a bit of her poo on my trousers:( She is in need of the toilet, but won't do it...
 

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I think it might be an idea if you were to seek advice about Koko's fearful behaviour from an animal behaviourist who specialises with cats. This would be someone qualified and experienced who would come to your home and observe Koko in her own surroundings, make an assessment and offer you advice. Lots of people have found this helpful where there are seemingly intractable problems.

It would be easier for someone who can actually see how she is I think. It may only need one visit, and would not be expensive for what you'd get -- about £60 to £70 a visit I'd say.

Your vet should be able to recommend someone good. Make sure it is someone who comes to your home though. It won't help much if you have to take Koko to see them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
We are getting better...
One of our friends recommended a vet from Poland who uses a homeopathy. I never used to take it seriously till now. After quite a few emails we have got a prescription, bought stuff from online pharmacy, and it works!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ok, we are still quite far away from good old cat, but now Koko is more likely to spend some time with us, more likely to come and play.
 

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that is a great result with the homeopathic remedies.
Could you post the details of the vet? I am a big fan of homeopathy for cats, but the only vet I know who is trained is VERY expensive, it would be nice to see if there are less costly alternatives
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm not quite sure if he speaks/ writes in English. He is an old Polish fellow with 30 years of experience as a vet... We have never got an invoice from him yet. First of all he wants to make sure if that helps... We will get in touch with him during the week, ask a few questions and will pass answers here... We have tried homeopathy before on ourselves and it did not work at all... Cats are different...
 
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