PDA

View Full Version : Dilemma - looking after a cat - owner now wants me to keep it.


John
February 10th 06, 02:37 PM
I'm looking after someone's cat - Barney, a 7 year old spayed ginger
tom, found abandoned as a kitten and I'd really appreciate some
advice. It was meant to be for a couple of months but has turned into
6 months so far. The story is a little complicated - I posted the
details 6 months ago - > /
<URL:http://groups.google.co.uk/group/alt.cats/browse_thread/thread/c0c4abf90c0de237/bec0f958faa974e5?&hl=en#bec0f958faa974e5>
but basically I'm a tenant living within the grounds (12 acres) of
another house occupied by my elderly landlady. The cat belonged to
her, and scratched her, leading to a serious infection and
complications. She, understandably, said the cat had to go, her
daughter wanted it, but at the time lived next to a road with dogs and
was in the process of renovating another house before moving in.
Daughter requested I look after the cat, and her mother agreed, so it
moved in with me.

The latest is that the daughter is nearing the end of the renovations
and is now living with her mother although working all hours at work
and renovating. Her mother said that her daughter had said that as the
cat seems to have settled in with me so well she wonders if I would
keep it. I was surprised and said that I'd think about it. That was a
month ago and I can't decide hence this post !

There are a number of factors (I'm interested in the psychology but
please correct me if this is just psychobabble!) - the cat appears
desperate for re-assurance to the point of annoyance - recognition
that I still like it and it's position, by my stroking, feeding,
preferring that I open the door for it rather than use the cat-flap
and play and, if it doesn't get it, goes of and kills something and
comes back crying and offering it as a gift. It used to do the door
thing with my landlady - it will however, use the cat-flap if I ignore
it.

Not only do I hate it killing and my having to kill things if they're
maimed, however unrealistic that may be - I'm quasi-Buddhist on that -
live and let live etc but I recognise nature is cruel and barbarous,
but I'm frustrated with myself for being the probable? cause and not
giving it the reassurance it seems to require, and I'm getting rather
resentful, so it's becoming a downward spiral if you see what I mean.
He's allowed to come and go whenever he wishes apart from when I lock
him out to recover a live mouse he's bought inside. Because it's a
good tree climber and there's foxes around, I don't think de-clawing
or claw covers are reasonable as it may reduce its quality of life ?

Since the daughter is now temporarily living here with her mother, her
2 dogs (collie & collie cross) are around and are let out morning and
nighttime. He has never lived with any other domesticated animals
nearby and doesn't like them - running away from them, but will fight
them if he feels they are too close or he can't escape inside through
his cat flap in time. He stays inside much more than he did, although
that's maybe because it's winter. If he moves, will he get used to
them ?

I'm also setting up a business working from home and I don't have much
spare cash for anything much beyond feeding it at the moment, and I
will be in and out throughout the day. I think that the amount of
reassurance it appears to need may be incompatible with this - every
time I go out it, makes a big status/hierarchy play - requiring to be
stroked, fed and re-assured when I get back. My landlady used to go
out a lot so I can't understand why it isn't used to it. It was really
close to my landlady's husband who died a few years ago. It seems to
respect men more.

It's now increasingly ignoring its food, which is sods law as I bought
a load of Whiskas as it was on offer <g> !. If I feed it the only
things it likes Felix hake & sardine, sardines, coley will it
eventually refuse these as well ? It eats biscuits when it is hungry
and doesn't like the wet food on offer. I think the act of me serving
it food may have something to do with it as it prefers to eat when I'm
nearby - stopping if I go away. It's gone off tinned food. I've never
seen it drink from its bowl - I've tried both tap and mineral water -
it seems to prefer to lick the moisture off plants and grass outside.

It doesn't seem to play much and I think that he's bored. I'm working
through a load of ideas I found on a webpage without much success -
Simple Toys for Finicky Cats
<URL:http://www.flippyscatpage.com/toys.html> - his favourite 'toys'
appear to be the mice that he catches. He's playful at times when I'm
more interested in sleeping - late at night and early morning. Sleep
is another problem (btw he snores sometimes - it that normal ?) when
he first moved in it was summer and he could wander in and out of the
bedroom whenever he wished, now it's winter and I keep the bedroom
door closed (to keep the heat in the bedroom - heating is off in the
rest of the house at night) I have to get up and let him in or out -
he does allow me to sleep and only makes requests when he knows that
I'm just drowsing, but it's still causing me reduced quality sleep.
I'm trying to train him out of this by getting him to decide whether
he wants to come in or stay out when I go to bed (difficult because
that's when he's playful) and by ignoring any other requests unless I
get up to go out to the toilet.

HELP!! Sorry for the rambling post but does this all mean ?! If you
managed to read this far I really appreciate it ! I'm torn between
doing the right thing for the cat and the right thing for me. From a
cats point of view would it be better if it moved or stayed ? He'd
have a good size garden, but not as much or as interesting as now,
he'd be living with dogs. Has my approach to make him feel comfortable
just removed the necessary order that a cat needs ? What do cats need
? How much is me and how much is the cat - if I'm being stupid feel
free to spell it out, as I've never kept animals before <g> If he were
to stay, I'd want him to leave me to sleep at night, not to bring home
any animals he's caught and to stop being insecure and requiring so
much re-assurance. Not much to ask, is it ? ;-)

John

~*Connie*~
February 10th 06, 04:00 PM
The question you need to ask yourself is do you actually want to keep the
cat. Would your quality of life be better or worse with or with out the
cat. All the behavior issues can be worked on.

And just so you know delcawing or covering the claws will not keep it from
killing. Cats are amazingly adaptable. People who declaw to prevent a
behavior are often shocked (and don't ever believe me when I tell them prior
to it) when the behavior continues.

I can understand your distaste for the hunting aspect of the cat. That can
be fixed by keeping the cat in. Your right, the cat is looking for
something from you by bringing you gifts. He's trying to show you that he
can pull his own weight and or that he loves you by providing for you. He
doesn't understand you don't eat mouse, and he certainly doesn't understand
your beliefs. I had one cat who used to bring me "gifts". I ignored them.
They never stopped.

Spend time with Barney. Talk to him, pat him, tell him he's a good kitty.
Ask him not to bring you gifts. Find toys that have fur and or feathers on
them, and spend half an hour to an hour playing with him to wear him out.
It will help him feel as though he has hunted, has presented you with a
trophy, and it should make him hungry enough to eat.

A lot of people vary the food they eat, but I feel that doing so only
creates picky cats. In the wild they eat rodents or birds (or both) and I
only feed them one food. I do supplement with snacks of different items
(human food or different cat foods) but not more than 10% of their diet. I
would recommend scheduled feedings. Put the food down, wait 20 to 30
minutes, then pick it up and don't offer food till 12 hours later. He'll
get the hint and eat at the scheduled time, and should get over the
pickiness. If he doesn't eat after two days, then try something a little
different. The animals he has been eating has probably dulled his
appetite, and been giving him the water he needs. Wet food will obviously
give him more water content, and will be a bit more like rodent eating.....
although fresh water should always be provided.

Good luck with your decision. If it is that you would prefer he go back,
send him back and close up the cat flap. He will adjust to the new
environment in time.


"John" > wrote in message
...
> I'm looking after someone's cat - Barney, a 7 year old spayed ginger
> tom, found abandoned as a kitten and I'd really appreciate some
> advice. It was meant to be for a couple of months but has turned into
> 6 months so far. The story is a little complicated - I posted the
> details 6 months ago - > /
> <URL:http://groups.google.co.uk/group/alt.cats/browse_thread/thread/c0c4abf90c0de237/bec0f958faa974e5?&hl=en#bec0f958faa974e5>
> but basically I'm a tenant living within the grounds (12 acres) of
> another house occupied by my elderly landlady. The cat belonged to
> her, and scratched her, leading to a serious infection and
> complications. She, understandably, said the cat had to go, her
> daughter wanted it, but at the time lived next to a road with dogs and
> was in the process of renovating another house before moving in.
> Daughter requested I look after the cat, and her mother agreed, so it
> moved in with me.
>
> The latest is that the daughter is nearing the end of the renovations
> and is now living with her mother although working all hours at work
> and renovating. Her mother said that her daughter had said that as the
> cat seems to have settled in with me so well she wonders if I would
> keep it. I was surprised and said that I'd think about it. That was a
> month ago and I can't decide hence this post !
>
> There are a number of factors (I'm interested in the psychology but
> please correct me if this is just psychobabble!) - the cat appears
> desperate for re-assurance to the point of annoyance - recognition
> that I still like it and it's position, by my stroking, feeding,
> preferring that I open the door for it rather than use the cat-flap
> and play and, if it doesn't get it, goes of and kills something and
> comes back crying and offering it as a gift. It used to do the door
> thing with my landlady - it will however, use the cat-flap if I ignore
> it.
>
> Not only do I hate it killing and my having to kill things if they're
> maimed, however unrealistic that may be - I'm quasi-Buddhist on that -
> live and let live etc but I recognise nature is cruel and barbarous,
> but I'm frustrated with myself for being the probable? cause and not
> giving it the reassurance it seems to require, and I'm getting rather
> resentful, so it's becoming a downward spiral if you see what I mean.
> He's allowed to come and go whenever he wishes apart from when I lock
> him out to recover a live mouse he's bought inside. Because it's a
> good tree climber and there's foxes around, I don't think de-clawing
> or claw covers are reasonable as it may reduce its quality of life ?
>
> Since the daughter is now temporarily living here with her mother, her
> 2 dogs (collie & collie cross) are around and are let out morning and
> nighttime. He has never lived with any other domesticated animals
> nearby and doesn't like them - running away from them, but will fight
> them if he feels they are too close or he can't escape inside through
> his cat flap in time. He stays inside much more than he did, although
> that's maybe because it's winter. If he moves, will he get used to
> them ?
>
> I'm also setting up a business working from home and I don't have much
> spare cash for anything much beyond feeding it at the moment, and I
> will be in and out throughout the day. I think that the amount of
> reassurance it appears to need may be incompatible with this - every
> time I go out it, makes a big status/hierarchy play - requiring to be
> stroked, fed and re-assured when I get back. My landlady used to go
> out a lot so I can't understand why it isn't used to it. It was really
> close to my landlady's husband who died a few years ago. It seems to
> respect men more.
>
> It's now increasingly ignoring its food, which is sods law as I bought
> a load of Whiskas as it was on offer <g> !. If I feed it the only
> things it likes Felix hake & sardine, sardines, coley will it
> eventually refuse these as well ? It eats biscuits when it is hungry
> and doesn't like the wet food on offer. I think the act of me serving
> it food may have something to do with it as it prefers to eat when I'm
> nearby - stopping if I go away. It's gone off tinned food. I've never
> seen it drink from its bowl - I've tried both tap and mineral water -
> it seems to prefer to lick the moisture off plants and grass outside.
>
> It doesn't seem to play much and I think that he's bored. I'm working
> through a load of ideas I found on a webpage without much success -
> Simple Toys for Finicky Cats
> <URL:http://www.flippyscatpage.com/toys.html> - his favourite 'toys'
> appear to be the mice that he catches. He's playful at times when I'm
> more interested in sleeping - late at night and early morning. Sleep
> is another problem (btw he snores sometimes - it that normal ?) when
> he first moved in it was summer and he could wander in and out of the
> bedroom whenever he wished, now it's winter and I keep the bedroom
> door closed (to keep the heat in the bedroom - heating is off in the
> rest of the house at night) I have to get up and let him in or out -
> he does allow me to sleep and only makes requests when he knows that
> I'm just drowsing, but it's still causing me reduced quality sleep.
> I'm trying to train him out of this by getting him to decide whether
> he wants to come in or stay out when I go to bed (difficult because
> that's when he's playful) and by ignoring any other requests unless I
> get up to go out to the toilet.
>
> HELP!! Sorry for the rambling post but does this all mean ?! If you
> managed to read this far I really appreciate it ! I'm torn between
> doing the right thing for the cat and the right thing for me. From a
> cats point of view would it be better if it moved or stayed ? He'd
> have a good size garden, but not as much or as interesting as now,
> he'd be living with dogs. Has my approach to make him feel comfortable
> just removed the necessary order that a cat needs ? What do cats need
> ? How much is me and how much is the cat - if I'm being stupid feel
> free to spell it out, as I've never kept animals before <g> If he were
> to stay, I'd want him to leave me to sleep at night, not to bring home
> any animals he's caught and to stop being insecure and requiring so
> much re-assurance. Not much to ask, is it ? ;-)
>
> John
>

(PeteCresswell)
February 10th 06, 07:57 PM
What are the chances that you'll be evicted or have the rent raised if either
the mother or daughter become unhappy with your rejecting the cat?
--
PeteCresswell

Michael Rhino
February 11th 06, 01:18 AM
Whether or not you want to give the cat away, I don't know. Don't blame
yourself for the cat killing things. I have killed mice before, but my cat
never got a chance to kill anything while she lived with me. She used to
run to the window anytime birds were singing. She was trapped inside.

I recently gave a cat away, so it can be done. I gave her to a co-worker,
but I also placed an ad in the paper along with pictures on the newspaper's
website. I got 4 calls in 4 days. Your landlady might be willing to pay
for the ad and interview people.

Daytona
February 11th 06, 08:44 AM
"(PeteCresswell)" > wrote:

>What are the chances that you'll be evicted or have the rent raised if either
>the mother or daughter become unhappy with your rejecting the cat?

Negligible

Ryan Robbins
February 11th 06, 12:14 PM
....

First, he should not be allowed out of the house without being on a leash.
Not is this the most healthful thing you can do for him, it will eliminate
the small problem with his killing things.

Cats will bring their trophies to their owners out of appreciation. The
trophies are, in fact, gifts. Do not punish the cat for doing this; it will
do no good.

Cats also need exercise. They are not animated stuffed animals that you need
only feed and clean a litter pan for.