Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Marta608, Dec 13, 2006.

  1. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    Some of you know I've been volunteering at the local shelter a couple of hours a week and that I've been considering adopting a cat.

    Well. Yesterday I brought Sophie home, an approximately four-year old cat who growls at the other cats at the shelter, would eat continually and watches tensely everything that goes on there. She was originally found going through a dumpster for food, had kittens, was spayed by the shelter and has been there for several months. No one knows where she lived for the approximate four years before that.

    The idea of bringing her home was, as another vounteer begged, "just try it out and see how she does". Well.

    When we first got home, she looked around anxiously like a cat would, did a bit of quiet talking to herself, looked out the window then took a long nap. Ahhhh, I thought. We can do this!

    Although: she is terrified of stairs so I brought the litter box up from the basement - for the time being.... Totally exhausted, I had dinner, fed Sophie making sure she had water and dry food, and went to bed.

    All night long she told me how lonesome she was. OW OW OW OW, then quiet so I'd start to sleep only to get jerked awake with OW OW OW OW and her getting on and off the bed. Finally, after trying to cuddle her and getting scratched and bitten, I shut her out of my bedroom and slept for a short time.

    This morning after feeding she's still OW OW OWing which makes me think that this is not going to work out. I need SLEEP and while she will probably nap later, I should go to the store for groceries and buy one last Christmas gift. Meanwhile, Sophie doesn't seem to know what to do with herself, either at the shelter or here.

    As I type this, it seems to me that this was bad timing with the holidays and all. Or maybe I really can't introduce a pet into my life now that I have CFS. I hate to take her back to the shelter but I cannot NOT sleep. The more sleep deprived I am, the more anxious I get... Well, I don't have to tell you.

    Do you have any thoughts about this? Am I being too quick to give up? While she might be comforted by another cat (although doubtful) I cannot have another one. But if I take her back what will happen to her? Who will want a neurotic cat who eats like a pig, wants company all night and who needs her litter box at the top of stairs?

    Thanks you for your help!

    [This Message was Edited on 12/15/2006]
  2. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    She's a handful, isn't she.

    I think you just have to give it a try for as long as you think reasonable. One day, two days, whatever.

    Even a healthy person would have trouble w/ this furbaby.
  3. mezombie

    mezombie Member

    It's critical for you (us) to get uninterrupted sleep. Absolutely critical.

    At the same time, this cat could be just adjusting to a new environment and may stop some of her anitsocial behavior. Have you considered putting her in a separate room with an old-fashioned, tick-tocking clock near her? I know it soothes kittens and puppies.

    I, too, have been roped into taking in cats that were too disruptive for me to keep. One was brought back to her foster parent after waking me up in the middle of the night for several months, and was placed with someone who didn't have a chronic illness to contend with. The other didn't wake me up, but would want to cuddle one minute and then attack me the next. She went back to the crazy vet whose office she had lived in (in a cage) for years. He brought her home with him and built a special "house" for her.

    Is there any way you can give her a bit more time in your home? If it doesn't work out, does your animal shelter have a foster program? Maybe then you could arrange to have her placed with someone in a home who would take on the job of placing her.

    There are, unfortunately, way too many cats out there. I think adopting one is a good idea, but I'm also aware that those of us with CFS really need to be careful that any cat we take in fits in with our lifestyle and health care needs.

    I'm as soft-hearted as you are, so I know how hard it is to turn away from cats that clearly need a home. That's one of the reasons I don't volunteer at an animal shelter, frankly. But I do think you can have a cat in your life despite the CFS. It just may take some time.

    Give Sophie a little more time. And if it doesn't work out, maybe consider a cat that was given up by the owner to the shelter because they had to move. Don't forget to look at the foster cats. They tend to be the best socialized, in my experience.

    I hope this helps. Good luck!
  4. MelaC

    MelaC New Member

    I would give the cat a few more days to get to know the place. you can put an item of clothing in the box it sleeps in. It help make them feel more secure.

    I hope it works out for both of you. good luck.
  5. IowaMorningGlory

    IowaMorningGlory New Member

    You really are enjoying being at the shelter, and that is so good for you to have that social outlet and the animals need the love and care too!

    It is tough when you have CFS and the cat doesn't let you sleep. I think you both need each other.

    As an owner of 5 cats, 3 who were abused and I took in. (For years the veternarian knew that I took in abused animals, and I have had to work with more than just cats. (Try a 10 year old Cockatoo with a bite that draws blood) One cat we took in the kids laughingly called "Catzilla" for quite awhile. She growled and hissed and bite at everyone. She wouldn't let the kids upstairs to their rooms. I did holding therapy on her for over 2 weeks (the first week she bite through my fingernail!) Now, she is the most loveable cat we have. Oh she mumbles, but nobody pays any attention to it so she knows no one believes she is mean and has gotten over it.

    I think making Sophie feel secure in her new environment would be a good place to start. Maybe take a blanket folded and rub with catnip so she feels comfort from that one blanket. Put the blanket maybe on the end of your bed so she feels safe in your bed. Give up trying to hold her for a day or so, let her come to you. Only feed her once a day with special canned cat food so she learns you are the one who feeds her and that will form a bond also. Maybe throughout the day give her little kibble treats and just slightly pet her back when you do.

    Just some suggestions that have worked for me over the years. Hope they help.

    Take care and Kitten Hugs,
    Blessed Be,
    [This Message was Edited on 12/14/2006]
  6. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    Rocky, oh boy is right. What did I DO?? I think you may have the right idea feeding the feral cats.

    Mezombie, an old-fashioned clock? Like we used to do with babies, right? Keeping the radio on a talk station seems to comfort us unless I'm trying to sleep. After all, she's gotten used to volunteers, bunches of other cats and an adjacent room with barking dogs. I'm sure it's way too quiet here but any pet I have is going to have to work with that, darn it.

    MCD56, yes, she's now only an inside cat. I have a screened-in porch and she went out there but didn't want to stay long so I think she's comfortable inside now overall.

    MelaC, Oh, a box! My cats never had a box so I don't have a box for her. You're right, she probably needs one! She's made a cushioned chair in my office "her spot" so I thought that would do.

    Laurie, you've been there and back with pets, haven't you. Want another cat?? By the way, I think Catzillia's sister is currently at the shelter.

    After having two cats for 16 years, learning their habits and they mine, it's a real surprise to see Sophie's discomfort, if that's what it is.... Maybe she's just speaking her mind which she hasn't had a chance to do in a long time.

    OOOOK. I hear you all saying to give it all the time I can and I do want to. I just hope and pray she's quiet tonight!

    Thanks again.


  7. butterfly83

    butterfly83 New Member

    I personally have had bad experiences with shelter cats, unless you are adopting a kitten who hasn't been damaged yet. As much as I want to help, and have tried to help, the truth is that a LARGE majority of these shelter cats will have behavioral issues when you take them home. Agressive behavior, destructive behavior, etc.

    So i'm not saying to definately give the cat back. She may need some time to settle in and feel comfortable in your home. However, adopting a older shelter cat comes with much more emotional baggage, so you should just be aware of that, and know that the way she is, is probably the way she will always be.
  8. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    I want to say that I'm so impressed with the quality of all your comments. I'm not surprised that you're all so kind and in tune with animals but it's heartwarming.

    Linda, oh, dear, you kept the cat.... For sixteen years I had two adopted cats, one of which was allergic to chicken and fish, had been shot in the back with a BB gun when he was a kitten and was, of course, always afraid. Need I say more? I loved them both beyond belief and I miss them terribly.

    But now I find myself - foggy and shaky with fatigue - wondering if I've lost my mind! Sophie is a good cat but she's not my old cats who were my family. And there are some very good things to be said about being able to go out and just shut the door; to sitting down and not getting up covered with cat hair in spite of the fact you just vacuumed; not having smelly litter boxes to keep clean and no big vet bills.

    Sophie is now curled up on my yesterday sweatshirt, still on "her chair", sound asleep. Why, you ask, am I sitting here?? Because when I get as over-tired as I am, I can't sleep!!

    Butterfly83, I know you're right. The cats at this particular shelter are very well cared for but it's not the same as being in a home with people. This is going to be a huge decision, one that makes and unmakes itself constantly until it's done. If I keep her I have all I mentioned above. If I don't, I know I'll feel that I let her down. She has these penetrating EYES that look at me so urgently....!

    Some sleep will help and so will setting a deadline by which time to make a DECISION.


    Hugs to all,
  9. ilovepink4

    ilovepink4 Member

    Marta, I wonder if Sophie needs to adjust to the wide open space of your home? Is she used to being in a caged area only?

    I adopted a 1 yr old male nice...worked out great...he was sweeter than the cat i had for 15 yrs!! after having him for a few months, we went back and picked up his brother that was still at the shelter....his brother is even more cuddly...I think that there just are some bad genes bred into cats no matter where they come from....

    I have had a couple friends that had kittens that grew into the meanest, most aggressive cats that they had to get rid of moved to a was put to sleep...but they were scary!!! one would hiss and advance on my husband and not back off when my husband would move towards it...and it was coming over to our yard to harrass whoever he could...he was a very weird cat!!

    anyways, Marta, my vote is too give Sophie more time to adjust...then if it doesn't work, try another cat...i had such good luck i am begining to realize....

    take care of yourself!!!! Pink
  10. ckball

    ckball New Member

    hello- I feel for ya. I have been there too, except I was healthier but worked FT. My 15 Bubus nearly drove us crazy. He was a 6 week out ferel kitty. He howled as well, if we didn't lock in out of the bedroom he would attack your feet in the middle of the night full claws!

    He settled down eventually and was there for me for 15 years, he had to get just as close to my face as he could, he hugged too.

    Only you know what you can handle. I think cats are like dogs in the sense they feel what we feel as far a emotions.

    So if your nervous and apprehensive she will feel it too.

    Just try coaxing her to play and everything else every one has already said.

    See my profile pic, I will explain later- good luck, and hang in there, god love you Cala
  11. caffey

    caffey New Member

    sounds like she is adjusting if she is sleeping on your sweater and" her chair". My cat came from a foster home after being found on the street 2 years ago. She is her own woman. Will not be cuddled but will let me pet her and takes her half of the bed at night. One month ago she took over my chair. I admit I have spoiled her. One thing I have noticed is that she will sleep on the bed until the middle of the night and then she comes and sleeps under my walker. I had moved it for a few days and she was out of sorts. So I put it back and she is now a happy camper. I think they like a spot that is sort of enclosed. She also likes to hide under the table which has a long cloth on it. I also leave the tv on for her when I go out. My girlfriend started that when I was in the hospital. She is the only cat I know that likes to watch tv. Especially Touched by An Angel. Go figure. Her tv time is around 7pm. give her a bit of time. In a couple of weeks you will wonder how you lived with out her.
  12. Butterfly_of_grace

    Butterfly_of_grace New Member

    It will take some time. She has been so traumatized. I can understand that it is draining and exhuasting. Been there done that...always have had and still do a pound puppy and a pound kitty. She just needs a while to settle in and build some sort of trust. Right now the poor cat doesnt know whether she is coming or going and shes in an unfamiliar place. I took my moms friend cat (this was yrs ago)because when my moms friend died of breast cancer the family was going to put him to sleep because they didnt want to bother with him. He was 7 yrs old. I felt bad for him so I took him...already having another old cat and a dog which this cat NEVER had to deal with before. HE cried ALOT for a long time. I isolated him in a bedroom for a while by himself. Little by little each day I went in and gave him love and allowed him to gain trust in me. Eventually he was out of the room and a happy cat but it tool weeks. He also had to dela with a jealous cat and a doggy who was very big (part Irish wolfhound part Afghan) and who loved to play with her other kitty cat anbd was ready to play with Reggie (but he wasnt ready) After a while everyone became bets buddies.

    Patience is the key...lots of time is more key. But isolated the cat into one room. Slowly get him/her use to that and go and sit with him/her a few times a day until he/she gets use to you...THEN start introducing the cat to the house.

    The little guy/gal is just really overwhelmed.

    Hope that helps. Im glad to hear you are trying to help the kitty though.

  13. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    Pink, no, Sophie wasn't caged but the rooms were that large. It's definately different here at my house and way more quiet.

    Carla! In your profile I see the theater with your movie on the marque behind you! I can't wait to see it. I was very impressed with MM and the story behind the movie when I saw it on Oprah. And you're right, I am nervous and apprehensive - and now I have a cat! lol

    Cath, a TV watching cat. I believe it. I leave NPR on the radio for Sophie - and me.

    Donnaeil, you're owned by a cat! I love the toilet plunger story; she knows what needs to be done, right? Sophie continues to be quiet (this is only the second day though) except when she talks quietly to herself now and then.

    Diane, yes, I'm sure she's felt overwhelmed. She was a tyrant at the shelter, hissing and growling at the other cats, but she always watched the volunteers and looked them hard in the eye. She wanted OUT of there.

    Now I hafta tell 'ya all, this cat is amazing me. She slept on the very left bottom corner of my bed last night and only got down once. Not a peep let alone an OWOWOWO out of her. When I got up to use the bathroom she was waiting to be petted but went right back down to her corner as soon as I did that.

    But get ready for goosebumps because this next is amazing: I've been so super-tired that I've ignored my usual bit of exercise so this morning I went down to the basement to do my stretches and the tiny bit of yoga. Sophie, of course, has been very afraid of the stairs even though they're open and carpeted. Mid-"Leaf", I felt a little brush of fur on my arm. It was Sophie! I talked to her a few minutes and she looked around but she didn't stay downstairs long.

    Back upstairs, after getting my hot water and lemon, I came as usual to the computer to check mail but I couldn't find my glasses! I searched everywhere I could imagine they'd be with no luck which is not easy when you can't see at the range you're looking. I was feeling stressed to the max and began having that super-awful mega fatigued feeling, cold sweat and the whole bit. Not enough sleep recently, evidently.

    "Sophie!", I said, "where are my glasses??" I was muttering to myself and to her as I searched, getting more stressed every minute. Suddenly, Sophie went to the head of the stairway to the basement and gingerly went down, one step at a time, looking over her shoulder to see if I was behind her. Usually one trip up and down the stairs a day is plenty for me but I followed her ---- and yes! There, where I'd put them on a shelf above my exercise mat, were my glasses. I use them for mid-range vision so I don't usually wear them downstairs. Sophie went back up the stairs as soon as I had them in my hand.

    OK, I'm usually very logical. I know this sounds weird and I know it could have been a fluke, but the hair on the back of my neck is still standing up. I believe in angels but hadn't excepted one in a little dark grey cat.

    Sophie seems to be settling in quiet well. ;>) Now I need to relax and sleep. We may have a good team here.

    Thanks again to you all. I'll keep you updated.

  14. ckball

    ckball New Member

    That is great. They understand more than we give them credit for.

    I talk to my dogs all the time. I explain what I doing, it being cleaning, cooking, working, ect.

    All I have to do is ask Missy in a normal voice to go get a toy and her ears perk up and she starts looking for one. It is so cool.

    I think you have indeed found your angel. Please post a pic for us so we can see Sophie.

    Don't let the cat hair and the litter issue bother you, just love your kitty and all will be fine, now breathe.

    Got to go to work-you can read my updated post on my night with hollywood-Carla
  15. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    A kitty who can find stuff for you. Just what we brain fog-people need. That is amazing all right.
  16. fivesue

    fivesue New Member

    I'm sop glad she's settling inso well. Sounds like a great cat. So glad it's working out so well.

  17. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    Yep, a seeing-eye cat. Who woulda thunk it??

  18. Roseblossom

    Roseblossom Member

    Sophie braved the stairs for you!

    I look forward to more Sophie Stories.

    I adopted a 7-year-old cat from the Humane Society and she's wonderful.

  19. caffey

    caffey New Member

    I am so happy to hear that she is adjusting well. Your story reminded me of 2 things about my cat.
    1. I have bursitis in my hips and have trouble getting comfy in bed. So I sleep on the heating pad and put a pillow at my back. So in the middle of the night kitty is snoring away lying on her side on her half of the bed. I look over and she has the pillow at her back. Does she have hip pain or sympathy pains.
    2. For a couple of weeks last winter kitty was really restless and not herself. Couldn't figure out why. In the middle of the night I called 911. I was having a heart attack. They all came and took me out lights and sirens. When I came home everyone noticed for ages after she had such a look of fear in her eyes and everytime now when she hears sirens when they come to my building she absolutely freaks out. It is sad to see.
    3. One last story. Every Wed. am my worker comes and my son on Sat. afternoon. She sits at the door waiting for them at the time they usually arrive. How does she know what day and time it is when I don't.
    Enjoy your new friend.
  20. Butterfly_of_grace

    Butterfly_of_grace New Member

    Im so glad kitty is settling down for you. Im so happy! I love to hear positive stories about pet adoptions becuase I am a true believer in adoption NOT purchasing animals. Best wishes for you. Thansk for sharing with us.