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Rescue cat biting and scratching, advice on whether to return?

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by zozono1, Aug 23, 2013.


  1. zozono1

    zozono1 PetForums Newbie

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    We rescued an 18 month old boy cat 3 weeks ago and have been having some behaviour problems and also tummy and runny poo issues since we got him. The poo is improving but the behaviour is not. The issue is he bites if we pick him up to remove from counter top/bedrooms/anywhere we don't want him and he also is very scratchy, often when playful which is obviously normal but he has also bitten and scratched when unprovoked. My children and both young and now petrified of him as he has scratched them both, we try to only do supervised interaction with him but he will jump on the sofa, scratch them and run off! He also has bitten my husband and I unprovoked, we have been sitting with him on our lap not stroking then he has turned and bitten. I think the issue is we feel we can't trust him with the children and maybe he just isn't happy in a busy noidy house. Is this something which may improve when he is allowed out or should we return him? The shelter have said to see how he is after the weekend and then return him if still biting. Don't want to feel we have given up on him but we are all so stressed by him and clearly he is not happy either.
     
    #1 zozono1, Aug 23, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2013
  2. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    Trouble is, he may have come from an abused background and has not yet worked out that you won't hurt him, maybe?

    If it were me I would be inclined to give him more time to settle in. Give him as much space as possible and certainly don't allow the kids to handle him.

    If you need to move him off the tops etc. could you use a soft pillow or something to gently push him down?

    I found with a new pet rat that was a biter, that if I put a soft gardening glove on to pick her up, I felt more confident and she was less likely to bite.

    It's human nature to give off a nervous vibe to an animal if they have bitten or scratched you before.

    Three weeks really isn't that long for a cat with an unhappy past to settle. Does he like titbits? Maybe encouraging him to you with a titbit so you can gently touch him and he can learn that touching is good and brings treats.

    Hope things improve ;)
     
  3. Paddypaws

    Paddypaws PetForums VIP

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    TBH, I do think that in your circumstances, this cat is not ideal for your household.
    There are plenty of laid back cats used to living with children in rescue centres and my advice would be to speak to the rescue centre and return this boy so he can find a better suited home.
    You are doing a great thing by offering to take on a rescue cat as a family pet so do not be put off or feel guilty about this experience, but do try again.
     
  4. zozono1

    zozono1 PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you, I feel really guilty as he is such a handsome cat but we are all getting nervous about handling him now, I think my husband and I could carry on and hope it improves but my children are only young and they are very anxious when he is nearby. I went to the shelter this morning and they were very helpful and not judgemental at all, they showed us a lovely female tortie that we viewed at the same time as the cat we eventually chose. She seemed friendly with the girls but guess you can't tell until you get them home. We really want to give a rescue cat a home.
     
  5. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    I have to say I agree with Paddypaws. This cat does not sound like a good match for your family, and although it is possible he may settle eventually you cannot be sure of that.

    What PP says is right -- Shelters have many laid-back cats who would be wonderful with children.

    If you are going to return this cat, then I'd take your time in choosing another. Visit several times, ask to handle the cat, perhaps take a folding stool and sit with the cat on your lap in the outer pen. Talk to all the staff who are around, to get different opinions about any cat you like the look of. Staff will often point you in the direction straight away of any cat who is friendly and easy-going with everyone.

    Torties are lovely I agree, but some can expect to get their own way all the time. However, we have a very laid-back tortie-and-white in my Shelter, who is gorgeous! :)

    EDIT -- sorry just re-read your post and realise you may have already got another cat?:)
     
  6. zozono1

    zozono1 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi,
    We haven't got the other cat yet, went to look at her and she was friendly and let the girls stroke her, they said she wasn't good with other cats but we aren't planning on getting anymore. The lady cleaning out the pens said she was friendly with all the staff and children who have been in. She is very pretty, grey tortie but still young at only 14 months and had kittens already poor thing ,although no one ever found the kittens :mad:
    She has been vaccinated already so we won't have to wait months to let her out! I like the idea of visiting a few times and sitting with her, my husband is very stressed about the whole thing as isn't fussed on cats anyway and only agreed to get one for me and the girls. It's not a great introduction for anyone so far!
    Tuesday we are taking Leo back, unless a dramatic improvement over the weekend, and we will look at the option of the tortie girl. Happy bank holiday!
     
  7. Paddypaws

    Paddypaws PetForums VIP

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    Aww, try not to feel too bad about Leo, it just does not sound like he is the right cat for your household at all.
    I agree with chillminx about not rushing....you want to be 100% certain that the next cat you bring home will be the happy family pet which you are looking for. The children will need to have their confidence boosted back up, and hubby needs to be won over by the new feline boss.
     
  8. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    Don't feel guilty about returning Leo. You have tried and it didn't work. There are no guarantees when rehoming an animal. All any of us can do is try our best.

    It is certainly difficult if you have small children and the cat is making them worry. In the end you want to all live in harmony. Leo may have settled in another week or two - or he may always be unhappy. Who knows.

    I am sure the rescue will find him a more suitable home and good luck with finding a more laid back cat to join your family.
     
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