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If you’ve rescued a cat...

Discussion in 'Cat Chat' started by Mrs Funkin, Jun 28, 2020.


  1. Mrs Funkin

    Mrs Funkin Human mother to Oscar

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    Hello lovely Cat Chatters,

    I have a random thought going on.

    I’m obviously well renowned for worrying about *everything* to do with Oscar. I’ve been thinking about his former life though, sparked by a couple of things.

    Firstly, you might have seen how I’ve been wondering why, after his overnight vet stay, he’s not really left us and didn’t behave like he usually does after a vet trip (and he’s had a lot!) as he didn’t go upstairs and under the bed in his safe room. I have been worrying he thought he’d been dumped (again!) and wanted to make sure he’s with us? I don’t know.

    Secondly, after Charity helped her recently cat bereaved friend adopt Orlando. That poor cat had been taken to the vet to be PTS for goodness sake! He was starved and yet STILL he has been with his new mum since Thursday and he’s on her lap and her bed and LOVING it! One might presume (perhaps incorrectly) that an unwanted cat, starved, would be wary? Which led me to thinking what the actual **** did the people who had Oscar before us do to him? He was underweight and scraggy and bitey and wouldn’t tolerate being touched and you all know how excited I get when he shows us any change in affection. When he let me hold his hand the other week, after over two years, it almost reduced me to tears!

    Husband always says he’d like to know where he lived and how he was treated but I don’t think I do. I can’t do anything about it - I think Oscar knows now that he is loved and we take care of him. He certainly seems comfy currently :)

    15ABB27F-A397-4323-BDA0-3E575CE8F320.jpeg

    I must confess I am jealous (or maybe envious rather than jealous) when I see FB posts from people who’ve adopted cats from Oscar’s rescue, that within days are on laps and accepting cuddles...having said that, I wouldn’t swap our boy for anything in the world. I think that if he’d not been taken to the rescue, he wouldn’t be alive now, with all his issues.

    Anyway. Is it just me that ponders the former life of a rescue cat, or is anyone else such a worry-wort?
     
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  2. ChaosCat

    ChaosCat PetForums VIP

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    The good thing is that cats live in the present. Oscar NOW knows he‘s cherished and cared for in the best possible way. He has his Human Mother and Human Dad, his house and his garden and is loved just the way he is.

    I don‘t need to worry about Annie’s experiences as she was born to a feral mum trapped just the day before giving birth. So she and Bonny grew up in a foster family with their siblings until they came to me at four months old.

    I agree that it’s better not to know about Oscar’s experiences before he came to the shelter. Better to live in the present just as he does.
     
  3. Summercat

    Summercat PetForums VIP

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    Hi,
    I am not quite certain what you are asking.
    Cats can be more social and friendly when adopted but that does not mean their whole previous life was sunshine and roses. Cats can be more standoffish but that does not mean life was pure horror either.
    I think many factors come into play and all have their own story.

    I have seen feedback from adopters, who we helped connect with cats.
    Cats who spend their first days, weeks or longer hiding and refusing all contact have in some cases become lap cats. Others who were similar, allow touch, being near people. It varies.
    Some are more social from the start. Like my Biggles. He was malnourished, found along a motorway and had FELV.
    But I am sure he had a kind home at some point. He was too affectionate not to have had good early socialization and/or he is very resilient.

    He is very friendly and social but does not always want to lay on our laps. In fact rarely does. He will sometimes lay on our chests in bed or more often near us. Though he likes to be picked up and carried about.
    When he first came home he would jump in my lap a lot and climb up on my shoulder, if I bent to put my things down on coming home.
    That I think, was more a sign of asking for reassurance, as he does it much less now.
    But what he does do different, is he talks to us. He has a whole range of sounds he makes. He never made a peep the first few months.

    Oscar if that picture in your avatar, is as you said before, when he first arrived. He does not look fearful. He has a collar, so must have allowed some contact. He is not hiding. Does not look sickly or malnourished. How long was he in the rescue before you adopted him?
    Maybe his nipping at you was more he didn't want too much contact or at the times you did. It does not mean he was necessarily abused.
    He does look content. Maybe he just does not want to be a lap cat, not all cats do. It does not mean they are unhappy.
     
  4. catzz

    catzz PetForums Senior

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    It’s odd isn’t it. Gypsy was a stray who was trapped pregnant. She gave birth to Kiera (and other siblings) shortly after and came to me from foster when Kiera was 10 weeks old. Gypsy is calm and purry and can be picked up and carried around. Kiera, who has been with her mum since the day she was born and who nothing bad has ever happened to, is a nervous little thing.she will sit on my lap (only my lap) won’t be picked up and hides from virtually everybody. I’m sure past experiences do affect them but I think a lot is down to personality too. It’s very obvious that Oscar feels loved and safe with you!
     
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  5. Mrs Funkin

    Mrs Funkin Human mother to Oscar

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    Yes @Summercat my avatar is “as I said” and when he first came to us. The day after, in fact. Oscar bit me in the rescue, when we first saw him. He then continued to do it to me and husband too. No we don’t know how long he was in there exactly, around a month given that he’d just progressed from their “recently arrived” area to the “ready for adoption” area and that seems to be what they do there, whilst they sort out what needs doing. The rescue put his collar on and the lady was nibbled in the process. We only know he wasn’t in the re homing pen for long as the little card by his pen didn’t have many contacts on it from the handlers. We know he was still quite underweight when he came to us (initial vet check), no matter how he looks, he was very thin and his coat was terrible. He’s definitely changed a lot since he came to us. Obviously you volunteer with a rescue so see lots of different cats and behaviours, so thank you for your input. I’m glad that your boys prior experiences don’t seem to have affected him too much either. Chatty is good.

    As to what I’m asking, well I am just musing really, as this is a (generally) safe place to do so. That’s all.

    I think we provide him with a good life now and as you say @ChaosCat I hope he just enjoys the now and likes what he has here. Currently he likes the bubble wrap he’s asleep on :)

    @catzz I think cat behaviour is so interesting, I do wonder how they end up how they do. no matter how much I read on it, there doesn’t seem to be much consensus!
     
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  6. SusieRainbow

    SusieRainbow Moderator
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    My Oscar , adopted at 9 months old from CPL, had been abandoned in a flat. His previous owner had just moved out and back to her parents, she didn't mention to them for several days that she had left a kitten ( and a rabbit) alone in the flat. When rescued he was thin and hungry, he and the rabbit had survived on the contents of the fridge left open.
    Oscar was never the cuddliest cat but loved to be around us, was very tolerant with the grand children , and always hungry ! I do think he suffered from food anxiety, he was insatiable.
    He really was a lovely cat , we were heart broken when he died in an accident at 14 y.o , he repaid us 1000 fold for rescuing him in so many ways.
     
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  7. Mrs Funkin

    Mrs Funkin Human mother to Oscar

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    That's interesting @SusieRainbow as our Oscar also loves to be around us and when we (did) have people over, he will often just sit in the room with us.

    I'm glad that your Oscar had so many happy years with you :) Poor baby, what a horrid thing to happen.
     
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  8. Summercat

    Summercat PetForums VIP

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    @Mrs Funkin

    I think Oscar was probably just telling you to leave him alone. But he does not seem upset or fearful in that photo. So I would not expect he came from an abusive situation or was unused to living in a home, if he was happily exploring so soon.

    What I would guess, if he nipped at you and your husband when you tried touching him, is possibly he was bothered by children in his previous home and was saying leave him alone. Or he didn't know you and didn't feel comfortable being handled by you. Or simply he did not want to be touched for whatever reason.

    Try to look at the positives vs negatives. Think about how he was happily exploring his new home right away vs oh no he nipped me when I touched him. If a cat doesn't like a behavior don't keep doing it.

    Enjoy your cat for what he is, accept he is not a necessarily going to be a lap cat. If he is one day, then great. But not being a lap cat does not mean he was horribly abused.
     
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  9. SusieRainbow

    SusieRainbow Moderator
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    My Oscar didn't ever sit on laps, but he loved to sit next to us with his paws on our legs . He would knead away blissfully, eyes half closed, claws fully extended . Ouch ! Every now again he'd take a lazy swipe at my knitting as if to say ' I'm a cat, this is what cats do isn't it ?'
     
  10. Mrs Funkin

    Mrs Funkin Human mother to Oscar

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    Oh yes, we learnt very quickly that the little head shake meant, "stop that"...didn't take long to figure that out, that's for sure, even if it had been just one stroke on his head. Even now, he will only allow contact in a few ways/areas, which is fine, we know what they are now. Plus he doesn't savage us when we pill him every morning, so that's also good.
     
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  11. Charity

    Charity Endangered Species

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    Orlando isn't all sweetness and light @Mrs Funkin but its early days for him. He has bitten a couple of times out of frustration I suppose and will put his claws out for food which is his worst problem as he is constantly looking for food. We have heard more details about his past, he was shouted at a lot, rarely fed and who knows what else. I'm actually amazed at how cool and confident he is considering. I'm hopeful as he learns to trust more, his bad habits will decrease.

    Bunty was a pregnant stray when rescued, I always think she must have had some cruel treatment at some point as she is so afraid of everyone other than me. She isn't a lap cat, she rarely sits on my lap though she does like to sit on the arm of my chair and chat. I know she trusts me but she just has backward days when something spooks her then she doesn't want to talk to anyone. Funnily enough, she will let me pick her up and hold her upside down like a baby which Toppy will never allow. He hates really close up contact, he won't look you in the face. Whereas I can give Bunty a really close cuddle, if I do it to Toppy, he will squirm himself out of your arms. His history is he came from a multi cat household where the owner wasn't coping with her animals. He was quite thin when we adopted him.

    I wonder about their previous lives but I don't worry about it as I know its passed and they are as happy as they can be now. I do feel sad though that, like people, what has happened to them in their earlier years or being unsocialised as kittens does have an affect on them for the rest of their lives unlike other cats who are lucky enough to have always had happy lives.
     
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  12. QOTN

    QOTN PetForums VIP

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    In many ways, cats are like humans. They are individuals and the people they become are influenced by their experiences. When I had my son fifty years ago, Nurture was all the rage. Nature was nothing. Of course things are different now and I always say that, if I had bred cats before a human I would have chosen a different stud for the latter.

    Genetic make-up is most of what we are and experience can only modify not change that. I think the same is true for cats.

    I bred for twenty years and with careful selection of studs was able to breed out neurotic tendencies fairly effectively within a few generations.

    Cats react to their experiences according to their temperament. Some will become very needy after neglect or ill treatment. Others will withdraw after the same treatment.

    In the last thirteen years I have had three new cats, all coming down my line but from different breeders. The first had an unfortunate start in life because there was a family bereavement and the breeder was not able to give the litter the appropriate socialisation. My Rose always seemed to have conflict between her need for affection and a wariness of too much closeness. I think it took me about twelve years to gradually overcome it.

    The second was just like one of my own cats from the time she came to me but she was a more confident character, although her breeder told me only today how she had worked extra hard on Darkness because she knew she was going to be a breeding queen.

    The third girl is very affectionate which is amazing to me because, although I saw her regularly from the time she was a few days old, I was not allowed to touch her. Neither did her breeder until she was about three weeks old. This is so against all the advice about socialisation, I am lucky she has turned out the way she has but she can still after seven years be incredibly spooked in any situation she does not know and then she really freaks out.

    I think that cats who have been ill treated will gradually put the experience behind them to a greater or lesser extent depending on their temperament. I think this must be the challenge for owners of all random bred cats because their genetic background is unknown. The problem is just magnified with rescues.

    (Sorry to go on so but this has fascinated me ever since I started breeding.)
     
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  13. Emmasian

    Emmasian PetForums VIP

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    Could it be that Oscar is just not that tactile a cat? The fact he will let you pill him without armageddon is a real sign I think, and he usually looks incredibly chilled out, relaxed and companionable in your photos.

    I only say this because there are big differences in the personalities of my three who were not rescue and arrived confident as hell. Teddy would probably like it if I carried him round in a baby sling all day, and leaps into my arms at the most unexpected moments. Rafa is far less cuddly and if picked up will make it very clear that I didn't have permission to pick him up, how very dare I. However he will come for cuddles on his terms and I really respect his autonomy. Freya is somewhere in between.

    The boys are not keen on visitors until curiosity sometimes gets the better of them, but Freya will be right in there.

    All in all what i think I'm trying to say is that Oscar is Oscar. He has a great home with parents who cater to his every need. He looks so happy on the photos and I'm sure he loves you and HD so much. Xx
     
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  14. Mrs Funkin

    Mrs Funkin Human mother to Oscar

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    @QOTN I really do think it’s so interesting, thank you for your breeder perspective :)

    @Emmasian it could well be, yes, he does like our company though and he’s currently sitting on me in bed - which is fine for him as there’s Something Between Us (I.e. a duvet!), when he first started to do that, it was like all my Christmas’s had come at once :)

    I am glad I have the Oscar thread as it’s kind of like a journal, one day I should print it all out and read it.
     
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  15. tyg'smum

    tyg'smum PetForums Member

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    Four of my cats have been rescues, and three of them had problems which I am sure were forms of PTSD.

    Sammy loved me to distraction. According to her previous owners, she was vicious - I never saw any sign of this in fourteen years. She was terrified of men, feet and closed doors: she'd been shut in the cupboard under the sink while her rotten first people were "saving up to have her put down".

    Charles Frederick Spong had been used as a football by the children of the house. He was terrified of children, feet and loud noises.

    Mr Tyg I've written of before: he had nightmares, and would suddenly be terrified if he thought he'd done something wrong. The first time he "missed" his litter tray, he stopped by my side shaking with fear as I cleaned the mess up: I suddenly realised he was waiting to be hit (presumably he'd learned the hard way that was better than hiding and being found).

    Interestingly, the one who seemed completely unaffected was the one who'd been worst treated - I can only describe what had happened to him as torture, and he was in such a state when I unashamedly stole him from his owners' front garden that the vet I took him straight to (who was the same vet that Sammy was registered with, and therefore knew me well) took one look at the poor little scrap and said he'd make damn sure I never kept an animal again. I explained, the ensuing medication and operations cost a small fortune, and Chad spent 13 happy years with me before his system gave out, almost certainly due to the treatment he'd been subjected to. And he settled with me immediately, sat on my lap the first night home, and never seemed to remember that life hadn't always been all catnip mice and fish suppers.
     
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  16. Jaf

    Jaf PetForums VIP

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    All my cats are rescues. They just turned up at my house! The biggest difference is between 2 mums who brought their babies to the house. 1 mum must have been a pet cat, she likes being stroked and her babies are all tame too as I was allowed to handle them. She won’t come in the house at all though, babies are in a lot. The other mum, even 5 years later, is still scared of me and her babies only like a little stroke. Mum is getting closer when I feed her.

    Even my pet cats were rescue cats I took in when they were a few days old (with mum). I know their history as I’m the one that made it, and yet their temperaments are very different. Lori can be bitey/ hissy but Jackie is the softest cat ever. Geri refuses wet food completely. Choccy doesn’t really have a quirk.

    @tyg'smum how terrible people are, your story made me cry. I’m so glad you helped those poor cats.
     
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  17. tyg'smum

    tyg'smum PetForums Member

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    People can be disgusting. I seem to have spent most of my adult life trying to put right the damage they've done to cats, but I can honestly say I've never regretted a moment of it, or a penny spent on them.

    When Chad reached his first anniversary with me - and we think he was only about seven months when I liberated him - the vet sent him a card. Neither of us thought that he'd make it that long, but Chad was clearly determined!
     
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  18. Summercat

    Summercat PetForums VIP

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    Poor Oscar, if you can survive putting bow ties on him periodically, I don't think it is that dangerous. I wouldn't put a bow tie on a cat who might 'savage' me and I have been around many cats who actually might if I tried. ;)
    But good you have learned his boundaries, cats like people should be allowed them.
     
  19. Charity

    Charity Endangered Species

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    I think Oscar is very contented with his life. He's loved and he's cared for and he knows it and you've done your very best to understand him, his nature and his little quirks. I have friends with cats who don't do that, they don't try to understand what makes them tick or their individual needs. I find this very sad as then they don't get the best out of their relationship with them.
     
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  20. Mrs Funkin

    Mrs Funkin Human mother to Oscar

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    Once @Summercat he had a collar with a bow tie attached to it once. For a few minutes. NOT periodically. I hardly think that means he is “Poor Oscar”.

    I actually don’t know what I’ve ever done to you? It feels to me that if you ever respond to me, it’s to have a go at me. I appreciate that not everyone agrees on the care of cats - that I have no issue with at all and given that we are still learning I come here a lot to learn from people’s experience - but to post the above (the wink doesn’t detract from the tone it’s written in) is just unnecessary. I am sure I annoy you, that is also fine, just ignore me. Plenty of people do.

    @Charity thank you. I hope so.

    I’m going to ask for this to be closed now, I don’t want an argument. So @SusieRainbow @lymorelynn if you are around could you please close this thread for me? Thank you.
     
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