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Am I a bad cat parent? Looking for some reassurance.

Discussion in 'Cat Chat' started by Bethanjane22, May 28, 2020.


  1. Bethanjane22

    Bethanjane22 PetForums Member

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    Hello lovely people,

    First off I want to say thank you to everyone who has ever replied and helped me with queries on here. You are honestly wonderfully knowledgeable people whose advice has helped me no end.

    I am currently not feeling great and am feeling like a very bad cat parent. My anxiety is at a high again and I’m feeling incredibly overwhelmed, not just by COVID, but by my two lovely cats.

    A little bit about me: I am 28, live with my other half and his son (who is 11). We have two beautiful cats Luna & Nova who are almost 2 years old. I got the cats because I was feeling like something was missing from our family, they are my first cats ever.

    Up until the start of April this year, everything had been wonderful with the cats, they were loving, cuddly, fun, playful and everything I had hoped my two little companions would be.

    At the start of April they had a falling out (there is a long thread on here detailing the journey of that) and it was an emotional rollercoaster. Overnight, my two loving babies hated each other. I was crushed.

    It has been a very long almost 2 months of trying to get their relationship back on track, and for the most part, they seem to tolerate one another. They will sleep together on the same bed during the night, and only occasionally swipe at one another. This is major progress compared to early April.

    I thought life would get back on track, however they have now developed upset stomachs (again I have been getting advice on another thread regarding this). So now I am having to try and get this under control.

    I am just feeling incredibly overwhelmed by all of this, and it is impacting on my daily life. I feel like I haven't been able to relax since March, I walk on eggshells to make sure I don't upset them, my sleep is completely disrupted and I wake up every morning worrying about them, I have very little appetite, feel anxious all the time and worried about them constantly.

    - I'm worried that this bout of stomach issues, will lead to them becoming upset with one another again.
    - I'm worried I will have to take them to the vet and leave them there without me, which will probably cause them to fight again.
    - I'm worried that they are becoming stressed and unhappy which is why they started fighting one another and why they have upset stomachs (I know it probably isn't but I can't help but worry).

    They are indoor cats, with access to our cat proofed garden. They eat good quality food and treats, have the best cat litter (worlds best), two litter trays, countless toys, a cat tree, wall perch, access to all of the rooms in the house, endless cuddles and fuss and a happy home.

    I just cant help but feel like I am failing them. I've had multiple breakdowns to my partner where I have considered finding them a new home with someone who can make them happy because I just feel like I am a terrible cat guardian.

    I'm sorry for the long post, but I don't have anyone in my life who has cats so I just don't know who else to speak to.

    Has anyone else felt like a terrible cat parent? Have any of you ever thought your cats would be happier somewhere else?

    Thank you if you took the time to read my ramblings.
     
  2. ewelsh

    ewelsh PetForums VIP

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    Oh my love, you do put pressure on yourself.

    I had 7 pets now 6, I worry daily over them, they are my children, my responsibility, I analyse everything connected to them. Then logic kicks me up the bottom, they are safe, they are happy, they eat well, they have toys, they go to the vets when they are poorly. So I guess they have wonderful lives and so do your two, just look at them :D

    Relax, enjoy them and remember cats do squabble and they do have issues exactly like children. You need to give yourself a break, you love them, they know this and feel safe!
     
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  3. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    I think many of us have felt this way from time to time, I know I have. Having pets is a roller coaster at the best of times, but I am wondering about the corn litter. It's not really the "best" litter, it is made from GMO corn after all, and prone to mold and aflatoxins.

    If your cats are ingesting it, even just from washing it off their feet, or washing the dust off their fur, not to mention breathing it, it could be causing problems.

    (you might also want to add a third tray, with two cats)
     
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  4. Bethanjane22

    Bethanjane22 PetForums Member

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    Thank you for replying @ewelsh

    Your lovely message just made me cry, thank you for being so kind :Cat

    It has been a tough few months for me. Obviously with the whole COVID situation, our home life got turned upside down as I had to start working from home, so I have been home almost 24/7 for the past 2 months, so I have not had my daily escape of going to the office, which I suspect has not helped with me overthinking and worry. Then the girls fell out, then once that seemed to be starting to settle down I lost my beloved Nanna, which was very unexpected. Now I have a new challenge of the stomach upset with the cats.

    It's all just become a bit much for me.

    I will definitely have to try looking at things logically, as you say. They have a wonderful life here with us, and I just need to remember that when I start overthinking every little thing. They are my children, and I just want them to be happy and healthy x
     
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  5. Bethanjane22

    Bethanjane22 PetForums Member

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    Oh wow @lorilu I had never even considered this. They do have to clean it off their paws so they are probably ingesting some on a daily basis.

    The reason we use it was to make clean ups easier, as we can flush small bits down the toilet, along with any poo, and then the big clumps can be binned.

    Ideally I want a clumping litter, but I have heard bad things about clay litter and wood pellets (which I've tried in the past) just didn't work for us.

    Is there an alternative you could recommend?
     
  6. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    I just use plain clumping clay litter, Dr Elsey's Precious Cat. I used to use another brand but they discontinued their regular clay litter and only market light weight litters now, all of which I have found intolerable.

    I love the grass litter (SmartCat) but only one of my cats will use it. She was the same cat that, the one time I tried the corn litter (back when I was still trying to find an alternative to clay) she ate it and puked and had diarrhea all over the house from it.

    I finally just gave up on trying alternate litters and use the clumping clay in two boxers and the grass litter in one box. I actually like the grass litter mixed with the clumping clay, I find that gets really good results, better than either by itself. But only Queen Eva uses that box.

    Mazy cat has always been The Litter Box Police and the one time I tried to force the grass litter issue she was really unhappy, so I gave up.
     
  7. oliviarussian

    oliviarussian Meeoow!

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    I’ve just read your other thread about them bringing up hairballs this morning so I really recommend just letting things settle down for a few days before you start worrying about anything else :)
     
  8. cattherapy

    cattherapy PetForums Junior

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    I can understand totally why you feel the way you do. Obviously its unprecedented times for everyone with the fears and worries about the pandemic. It is to be expected that pressures added together then only need (relatively) small things added to tip you over the edge too much.

    It is probably the cats are picking up on this anxiety and this accounts for some of the health issues etc.

    When I have felt like this when my Shads was around (RIP xx) I tried to "be a cat" for a while and not only instigated play games but took part in them as well. Being on all fours with your cat(s) is not only therapeutic and makes you feel better, it is reassuring to them that you are ok and that you never forget them. And yes, that you can be "one of them" - however briefly in a day. I liked to tell Shads what to do - even though he would usually not take a blind bit of notice. I would try and reassure him by getting him to play mind games with me. This worked - cat language, or "emulating" cat language and behaviour can tell you a lot when you really get to know them well. He loved it and I knew he was back to his usual self when he ambushed me behind doors and did his "trick" of sticking his paw out to trip me up as I walked past. Its a case of inventing anything that works for you. It doesn't matter what it is. Your cats will go along with it quite quickly if they sense it is fun and that you are ok (even if you feel you are not!). It could be that this gets both of your cats playing along and this in turn quickly re-bonds them as well.

    Sometimes it is just specific attention they need and they perceive the anxiety you show as something fundamental being wrong in their home. This in turn can create the sort of niggly ailments you are seeing. Shads had a great digestive system and rarely had any problems at all - but if he ever saw or sensed an upset at home it sometimes made him sick on a one-off occasion. He was rarely sick at all based on his diet and from any occasional minor illness he had. Something like that was enough to remind me that the first person to take pressure off him was me taking pressure off myself!

    It is not always easy to do by any means, but it does help. Cats know best after all and offer us solutions all the time if we can notice them and then take them!
     
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  9. Bethanjane22

    Bethanjane22 PetForums Member

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    Agreed, I think this is part of my problem, I always think there is something I can improve on or make better for them. One thing at a time :)
     
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  10. SbanR

    SbanR PetForums VIP

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    're litter, do you order their food from ZP?
    Have a look at Super Benek. It's a clumping litter.
    Be sure to get the fragrance free one
     
  11. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Super Benek is a good litter (I buy it for my cats) but it is corn-based same as Worlds Best. :)

    Personally I haven't had a problem with the corn or plant based litters, but if you wanted to avoid them, I'd suggest using Cats best OKO Plus which is made of finely shredded wood fibres.

    https://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/cats/cat_litter/cats_best/14001
     
  12. Rufus15

    Rufus15 Banned

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    I agree with @SbanR regarding Super Benek. I found a lot of problems with OKO and World's Best, but Super Benek was far better.

    I'm sure it's already been mentioned but it's worth reiterating - your anxiety is probably making situations bigger than they need to be. Your girls will be picking up on this and redirecting it at each other. You need to manage your anxiety levels pronto.

    Also, consider things logically. You live with your hubby, do you always get on? Of course not, if you did you would be a saint :p no one gets on all of the time. Two of my kittens had an almighty scrap yesterday, because they rubbed each other up the wrong way. A swipe and a slap is completely normal and, as you say, a huge improvement in the last 2 months.

    Cat relationships are very fluid, and it hasn't been that long since things were rocky. Give it time, give them time and give yourself time. These things can't be miraculously fixed in a few short weeks.
     
  13. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Rufus15 - what is the problem with Oko Plus? :confused:
     
  14. Bethanjane22

    Bethanjane22 PetForums Member

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    Thank you @Rufus15

    I am working to manage my anxiety, taking steps to minimize stress during this very strange and unsettling time.

    My OH is so chilled he may as well be horizontal! We are the complete opposite in that regard. I worry, he tells me not to worry :Banghead (then I secretly want to strangle him for being to relaxed!). I do think their initial squabble was influenced greatly by their routine being thrown off, so hopefully once some normality can be resumed, they can enjoy each others company again.

    I am so very new to the cat world (having only grown up around dogs) so I have zero experience with cat relationships and the complexities of cat behaviour. Everyday is a learning day!

    This forum has been a huge help and I recommend it to anyone I know who has a pet.

    Thanks again for taking the time to reply.
     
  15. Rufus15

    Rufus15 Banned

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    I fully understand how hard it is to manage - I'm an anxiety sufferer myself and COVID is so not helping. But I promise you'll find things will be calmer when you're calmer.
     
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  16. Bethanjane22

    Bethanjane22 PetForums Member

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    Do you have any tips to help manage things? It is a very new thing for me so I’m finding it difficult to cope with. Thanks again
     
  17. Rufus15

    Rufus15 Banned

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    I'll pop you a message :)
     
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