Anxious about new cat - any advice??

Laurafazz

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
Jun 12, 2018
Messages
16
Purraise
17
Thanks for the follow up! I'm so glad to hear it worked out with you and your cat.
Your description sounds exactly like me. I'm also on medication for anxiety and depression, I have been for a long time. I do not do well with major life changes, and i had a bunch all in a row just now. I had my first cat Lily for 11 years and she moved with me from place to place and was always a constant. I just bought a house and between the time that I went under contract on the home and when I moved, she had to be put to sleep after a long battle with kidney disease. It was absolutely heartbreaking to know she wouldn't be coming with me to the new home. She passed on April 7th, I made the biggest purchase of my life and moved on May 31st, and I brought my two new babies, Poppy and Violet, home on June 9th. I think I was already just barely keeping my sanity together after the move, so the new cats threw my anxiety into overdrive.

I'm feeling better reading these replies, because I was feeling like the WORST cat mom in the world for not being totally in love and attached to them yet. But I guess that's to be expected - I met them once for a few minutes about 3 weeks ago to choose them, and then they came home the other day. We barely know each other, whereas my bond with my Lily grew over 11 years and we were inseparable.

Thank you both so much for your support.
 

Katie M

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jun 1, 2017
Messages
3,647
Purraise
12,707
Location
Kingwood, WV
While I had plenty of pets growing up, my parents had taken care of them for the most part. Charlie was my first pet who was solely mine to take care of.

I'm an anxious person by nature, and I can't even begin to tell you how nervous I was. My self-esteem is low enough that my having gotten Charlie from kittenhood to adulthood provided a big boost. This has (mostly) subsided with Selene.
 

di and bob

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
12,671
Purraise
15,581
Location
Nebraska, USA
Let your kittens take you away from your anxiety, not add to it! You have started out on a new chapter of your life, a new home, new babies to love you, and knowing the bond you have with Lily can never be taken from you and her new journey will always parallel yours. Lily is fine, your two little terrors are fine, now work on making YOU fine. They all need you. Remember, love 9 out of ten times is NOT instant. It grows with getting to know someone. I didn't like my husband at first either, he totally ignored me! We celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary Sunday.
Don't dwell too deeply on things, take them for what they are. Worrying doesn't change a thing (except your stress level) and things we stress over almost always never comes true. Don't be afraid to let your heart love again, like a mother with many children each one is precious and unique. Take care and please let us help!
 

Laurafazz

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
Jun 12, 2018
Messages
16
Purraise
17
Just stopping by with an update. My babies are doing well, and i'm starting to feel a little better. I started letting them in my bedroom 2 nights ago and it really wasn't the massive change I was anxiously anticipating. They don't care much about my bedroom except when I'm in it lol. They like to be around me, but also love playing with each other. I feel like I'm still not getting to know their personalities yet though - does that make sense? Like they are just really unpredictable balls of energy. I don't know what they like or dislike, if they are sweet or sassy, i cant figure them out! They just like to chase each other around, play with toys, and sometimes climb on me and fall asleep. So even though it's going well, i still don't feel like I'm in LOVE with them because I don't know them well enough! Is that a normal feeling? Hope you all are well.
 

Etarre

TCS Member
Super Cat
Joined
Jan 25, 2018
Messages
759
Purraise
1,861
Laurafazz Laurafazz , thanks for the update. I'm glad to hear that your kitties are doing well and you're feeling less anxious overall.

I feel like I'm still not getting to know their personalities yet though - does that make sense? Like they are just really unpredictable balls of energy. I don't know what they like or dislike, if they are sweet or sassy, i cant figure them out! They just like to chase each other around, play with toys, and sometimes climb on me and fall asleep.
What you are describing sounds perfectly normal for kittens. Because they're so energetic and unfocused, it takes some time to figure out their personalities and quirks, and to really bond with them. I imagine that having two only heightens this feeling. In time, they'll settle down a bit and have more 'adult' personalities, and be easier to relate to. It also just takes time to get to know and appreciate a new family member. Just like you don't necessarily love your in-laws the moment you meet them for the first time just because they're suddenly family, it will take time to get to know your kittens. Even though Juniper was adolescent when I adopted her, and seemed to have a fully formed post-kitten identity, it probably took at least 2 months before I felt like I really 'knew' her, if that makes sense.
 

di and bob

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
12,671
Purraise
15,581
Location
Nebraska, USA
Of course what you are going through is normal. It all just takes time. Kittens are a wild, unpredictable ball of energy. It will take months to sort out personalities and their likes and dislikes. Then when they mature, it might change again, the little purring fluff ball that couldn't stay off your lap will ignore you because they have grown up.
Love takes time. But before you know it those sweet babies will have wormed their way into your heart. Don't let their wildness and energy get to you. This stage won't last forever. Play with them, get a play wand and join in and watch the wonder of kittens. You EARN a cat's love, they are shy about giving something so precious. And when they do give it to you, it is one of the most wonderful gifts you will ever receive. Please keep in touch, we will help you in any way we can. There are hundreds of years of experience combined on this site, we have been through much and are willing to share!
 

Coboltblues

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
Jul 4, 2018
Messages
3
Purraise
0
Hi everyone. I'm so glad I found the site and that I'm not alone in feeling this way. I would be so thankful to get some feedback about my situation.

I have this terribly anxiety about getting a kitten for my older rescue cat. I'm not exaggerating when I say he's the best thing that happened to me. He is a Maine Coon mix with the most awesome personality. I thought I'd get him a buddy to play with. Maybe he doesn't even need a cat buddy. I feel guilty sometimes when I'm too tired to chase him (to play catch) and that he gets bored.

I tried last summer with a kitten, but I ended up returning him. I cant handle changes and just the thought of my cat preferring to stay an only cat or them hating each other... It's too much. At the same time I know I should have waited a few weeks and not days, but the anxiety is too much for me.

I thought I should try again one more time and have been looking forward to it, but now when I have been in contact with a breeder, anxiety sets in again. It's awful. I just want to cancel everything... It's like I feel that I just want the one cat, and to keep things the way they are. I'm so indecisive and torn. I want but I don't want.... And so afraid to make the wrong decision.
 

Laurafazz

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
Jun 12, 2018
Messages
16
Purraise
17
Hi Coboltblues, I’m not sure I’m the best person for advice but I wanted to say I understand your anxiety completely. I had my cat Lily for almost 12 years before she passed, and I used to feel bad thinking she was lonely or would like a friend, because I was out at work all day and she was all alone. But then I also had a serious fear that if I brought another cat home (especially a kitten), she would think I was trying to replace her because she was getting older and sick.

Ultimately I decided to keep her as an only-cat, and I think it was the best thing for her. She loved having my undivided attention, so I think that outweighed the potential for loneliness during the day. This doesn’t help you if you were looking for encouragement to get another cat, but I’m just sharing what I decided for my girl. And if you read a little further up in the thread, I posted a few weeks ago about my intense anxiety over getting new kittens, so I totally understand the feeling like you want to cancel the whole thing. I think it can’t hurt to wait until you’re really confident with the decision, because you don’t want to end up in another position where you’re feeling awful and giving the new cat back.

I was just thinking though, have you considered fostering? That way you could go into it knowing it’s temporary, but if the cats are getting along great you could choose to adopt the foster kitty. Just a thought.
 

Coboltblues

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
Jul 4, 2018
Messages
3
Purraise
0
Thank you so much Laurafazz for the reply and advice. Yes, I feel exactly like you did with your cat Lily. Maybe my cat would be better off alone also, with all the attention and love just for him. All I want really is to make him the happiest.

Fostering is a great idea, thank you for bringing that to my attention. But I don't know with kittens, can I handle a bunch of them. They would probably be strays and I'm worried about disease etc. I also feel awful for saying this, but kittens are such a handful, I would prefer a calmer cat. The breeder assured me the kitten I am planning on seeing is calmer than the others.
I know I have problems bonding also, and I feel awful for it. I love all animals, why do I feel like that?

I have taken in stray kittens before and it was a great feeling caring for them and socializing them. But then I get that anxiety again and end up giving them away. Which I do regret now.
I have been so scared of having a cat that hate to be an indoor cat, I think that could have something to do with it.

Maybe I just have to come to terms with my anxiety disorder. But it's difficult to know when you should try and overpower it instead of succumbing to it.

Thank you for letting me write in your thread. I feel a bit like kidnapping it, I hope that's just a feeling I have.
 

Laurafazz

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
Jun 12, 2018
Messages
16
Purraise
17
You didn’t kidnap the thread! Or if you did, then I did first. What I’ve learned about anxiety is that if you avoid the things that scare you, it just creates more anxiety. I think there’s a difference between not getting a second cat because you’re afraid versus because you don’t want to disrupt your current cat’s life. Bringing home a new pet is always a big decision, so don’t beat yourself up over taking the time to really think it through.
 

di and bob

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
12,671
Purraise
15,581
Location
Nebraska, USA
Kittens are a handful! I would get an older, calmer cat. They are harder to get adjusted into a family, but it works out in the long run and you don't have all the anxiety, work, and being so careful that you have with kittens.
With indecision, you have options to choose from. Pick one, AND STICK WITH IT. There are always 'better' things that appear later with the other options you didn't choose from, but that happens in any scenario. Learning to be content with the option you chose is hard, but all that anxiety about making the right choice is worse. If you choose the wrong option, you have had a learning experience. We all have to learn to be content with our decisions. Never worry about what MIGHT happen in the future because it very rarely happens, and tomorrow takes care of itself. It has it's own worries, so concentrate on the present.Tomorrow is not here yet so can't be predicted, yesterday cannot be altered. So the present is what we are concerned about, or should be, and that is enough.....
 

Laurafazz

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
Jun 12, 2018
Messages
16
Purraise
17
With the new discussion about kitties I thought I'd post an update about mine! I've had my babies Poppy and Violet for almost a month now, and we are settling in nicely. Like i mentioned earlier, it was not the instant love connection I was hoping for, but over the weeks we have been bonding and I am their mama for sure. Their personalities are emerging and they make me laugh all the time. I'm definitely glad I got two from the litter at the same time, because they are best friends and play with each other constantly. It eased my anxiety when I realized they don't need my attention all day every day.

At some point over the past month I realized that my anxiety when the babies arrived was completely stemming from having not grieved over losing Lily. I thought I was doing fine and I thought I was ready for new kitties, but it wasn't until I got them that i realized how NOT fine I was. So like di and bob di and bob said above, if you make the wrong choice it's still a learning experience. I think I got my girls too soon after Lily passed, but that was my choice and I stuck with it, and I'm glad I did. I have a feeling that I probably wouldn't have realized my grief was so strong until I got new cats anyway, regardless of if it was sooner or later. I have reason to believe that Lily led me to Poppy and Violet because she knew I would be heartbroken and knew that the babies would keep me from falling into a deep depression. Caring for them gives me a reason to get up and out of bed on even my saddest days. Animals are magic like that sometimes.
 

Coboltblues

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
Jul 4, 2018
Messages
3
Purraise
0
Oh, it's great to hear your kitties are settling in and merging in to your family, Laurafazz. What a lovely feeling it must be! So happy for you!

Di and bob; yes, I know what you mean. Kittens are the cutest, but I prefer older cats any day. But I think getting a kitten would be the best option through, for us. My cat might be a bit of an alpha male, so I think it's for the best. The one thing I'm a bit worried about though (among a thousand others) is the fact that my cat eats a special type of cat food after he had an operation to get rid of stones in his bladder. I leave food for him to eat whenever he wants. Maybe I can't really do that anymore if I get another cat. They would have to eat different foods, and it's crucial that he doesn't eat anything else to not disturb the balance.

I know worrying brings you nowhere, it's a big waste of time. But I have to change my whole way of thinking and it's hard, especially as life is so much about planning ahead. But being in the now is awesome, and just the fact that my fur companion is healthy and well this moment is what it's all about.
 

Juliet42

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
Aug 19, 2018
Messages
1
Purraise
0
Sorry this is so long, but I’m so relieved that I found this thread today. I see myself in so many of these posts, and reading them helped me articulate how stressed and anxious I feel about the situation that I put myself in, and I know the cats are picking up on it and reacting to it, even though it’s (mostly) not their fault. I’ve spent the whole day in tears, and I’m afraid to do anything other than just sit in my desk chair because I’m so freaked out about everything.

I’ve never been a cat owner, and we never had pets growing up. I wanted cats for a long time but wasn’t really in a position to be able to adopt until this summer. It felt like a sign or something when I got a phone call from the animal hospital ten minutes after emailing them my adoption application, saying they had a bonded pair of cats looking for a new home. After spending about a half hour visiting with them the next day, I decided to go for it, and they came home a week later.

In between making the decision and actually bringing the cats home, everything went sideways with my house - busted air conditioner, malfunctioning garage door opener, finding a yellow jacket nest in an external wall - I even postponed bringing the cats home for a day so the exterminator could come. Then making the financial investment to buy all the stuff I needed for cats, which I had budgeted for but was still a shock, was just one more layer of stress.

Then the cats came home three days ago. I’ll admit I did a pretty bad job of introducing them to the house, letting them have the run of the main rooms instead of isolating them downstairs in the basement for the first few days, and I let them into my bedroom even though I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep with them in there or with the door open, so they didn’t take well to being evicted at bedtime (there is now a small chunk missing from the bottom of my bedroom door, thanks to that first night).

Personality-wise, I’ve bonded pretty well with the male cat, Hagrid. So far he’s affectionate and cuddly and loves to sit on my lap or by me while I’m working at my desk. If I just had him, I don’t think I would be as freaked out as I am right now, but since the two cats are siblings the animal hospital would not let them them be separated.

But I can’t handle the female cat, who I named Minerva. She is a biter, which seems to happen whenever I’m sitting on the couch. This happened a bunch of times last night, with her biting my hands or arm, or once when I tried walking away, she went for my foot instead. So now I’m scared to sit on my couch or try to watch on television, because I don’t want to get bit.

I was letting the cats hang out in my bedroom during the day yesterday and this morning, but when I got home this afternoon from running errands, I found that one of the cats has pooped on my bed. So now I’ve evicted them full time, but almost every time I open the door to go in or come out, one of the cats is sitting there waiting to sneak in.

The adoption agreement said I had to stick it out for at least one month, but right now I don’t see how I can do that. I know it’s only been three days, I know it should get better, but I also know that I can’t continue like this, being scared of my cats, crying all the time, and hiding from them in the bathroom or the laundry room because of it.
 

Laurafazz

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
Jun 12, 2018
Messages
16
Purraise
17
Hi J Juliet42 ,
I was writing not too long ago about my extreme anxiety over my new kittens. I remember also thinking I could handle the calm one but not the wild child.
 

Laurafazz

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
Jun 12, 2018
Messages
16
Purraise
17
Whoops sorry, didn’t mean to post that yet. I had a couple weeks of constant crying and being afraid of pretty much everything regarding the kittens. At some point I realized that the things that used to stress me out weren’t bothering me so much anymore. I guess we needed to get used to each other and I needed to learn that kittens were not going to be like my senior cat was at all.

I’m not sure if this is helpful for your situation, but maybe just try to let go of any expectations you have and take some time to learn about each other’s habits. My old cat, for example, would bite my hands for attention! But we were so devoted to each other that I just recognized it as part of her personality and it didn’t even bother me. The new kittens have some habits that drove me crazy at first but now they make me laugh.

My anxiety returned full force when they got spayed 2 weeks ago - I was a mess their first night after surgery because they were acting weird and aggressive from the anesthesia. But we got through that, and things are back to normal.

I’m so glad I got two littermates, because they keep each other entertained and it takes pressure off of me. Just try to go about your normal everyday life, and don’t let them scare you off from doing your normal activities. I bet they will get more comfortable with you as they get to know your routine.

Whether any of that helps or not, just know you’re not alone! I completely understand the feeling you’re having. It got better for me and I hope it does for you too.

Laura
 

di and bob

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
12,671
Purraise
15,581
Location
Nebraska, USA
Three days is not even enough time for milk to go bad, love, affection, and making a family takes a lot longer and develops over time. First don't think you have to be a super mom and take care of everything! They have each other fro company, it will take weeks for them to settle down in a new house, they have so much to learn and explore right now, so take a breathe and let them find their way. Your little girl is perfectly normal, they are the manner's teachers and are normally not as affectionate and loving as the boys. But your boy needs and loves her, so you are going to have to accept her into the family and mold her into someone you can live with. The next time she bites, yell NO loudly. Don't display fear, I know that is hard to do, but it can make them MORE aggressive. Tell her no and if she comes at you again, take her by the loose skin on the back of the neck, (NOT the neck itself)hold her still and to the ground. If she struggles over long pick her up so that her front feet are off the ground, and hiss at her or tell her NO again firmly. Do this every time. It may take 5 or 6 times in a row until she gets the idea YOU are the new matriarch in the family. This may have to happen over several days. If she sits near you quietly for a few moments, praise her, and give her a treat. Re enforce that behaving quietly and nicely brings on a reward. She may have a overstimulation problem, I have had several little girls that have, stroke her and see if there is a limit to how often she can be touched. My little Chrissy could be stroked only twice an then attacked. So stroke only once and leave them alone. Watch for a lashing tail, raised fur on the back or tail, and low growls or nervousness. For now I would ignore your little girl, talk softly to her and offer treats and good food. Let her approach you if she wants affection. She will come around, for the first week they are usually so scared out of there mind they disappear under the bed, so you are ahead there. She may not show it, and can ONLY show fear through aggression, but in time she will settle down and so will you once everyone gets comfortable with each other and learns limits and personalities. It all takes time. And you know what? Things that are fought for, that take real work and attention to get, are things that are truly worth having. My little Chrissy was a biter, and a 'B' to most people, but she became my soul mate and I would give anything to have her back to scratch me right now!
 

GraciesParent

TCS Member
Young Cat
Joined
Oct 13, 2018
Messages
85
Purraise
110
I could have written so many of the posts in this thread, as that overwhelming anxiety and panic is exactly what I'm feeling right now. I adopted Gracie on Thursday, today is Saturday... and my anxiety is going up each day instead of down.

My parents and sister each have a cat, and have had cats before, so I know I know HOW to care for one... my problem is that I feel like I nonetheless made a mistake adopting one of my own. Even though I've long (and I do mean LONG) thought about adopting and have visited shelters repeatedly over the years, actually having a cat IN my home has made me question whether it's actually right for me.

Today, I found myself deeeeep in the throes of an anxiety spiral -- I went for a walk this morning to try to de-stress and just get some exercise, and I almost started crying multiple times, just from feeling overwhelmed with fear and regret.

I feel like I've made a mistake. That, in reality and deep down, even though I love cats, I don't want a cat of my own -- that I actually just want to enjoy other people's cats, and then go home to my quiet, cat-free apartment and go on with my cat-free life. And that my mistake doesn't just affect me -- it affects the cat, and my family (all of whom have said they would always take Gracie if I ever felt I just didn't want her). And the more I think about the future, the worse -- and more panicked -- I feel.

It didn't help that today she bit me, but through no fault of her own. I was absentmindedly stroking her rear feet while she slept beside me on the couch, and she suddenly woke up, grabbed my hand, chomped and then hissed at me. She is super-sweet, so this was especially jarring. (Lesson learned, though: feet are OFF LIMITS!)

I know it's only been two days, so I know (rationally) it's waaaay too soon to be making any kind of "this isn't working" statements, but it *feels* like this isn't going to work out, which is sad and scary and depressing and embarrassing. Everyone I know is so thrilled for me that I finally have a cat and even though I'm the one who should be thrilled, I'm not. :-(
 

Laurafazz

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
Jun 12, 2018
Messages
16
Purraise
17
Hi GraciesParent GraciesParent , I’m sorry you’re having so much anxiety. I wrote a lot about mine a couple months ago. It took me about a month to settle in and stop being so anxious, but that was also combined with the fact I had just moved into a new house so i was constantly feeling like, “This isn’t my house and these strangers aren’t my cats!” I also anxiety flare ups whenever I took them for vaccinations and their spays - I was crying hysterically the night before their spays even though that was totally irrational.

Anyway, my anxiety has subsided and I’m completely in love with these two creatures! I’ve said to friends, “do you remember when I thought I could never love them?!” because it seems unfathomable now. Give yourself a chance to settle in and know it won’t happen overnight. Like you said, you are perfectly capable of caring for a cat, so don’t beat yourself up for thinking you’re not doing enough.
 

di and bob

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
12,671
Purraise
15,581
Location
Nebraska, USA
Many human parents go through this exact thing when they have their first baby too,you are NOT alone.
First of all, take a deep breathe and relax.....for a first time pet parent, you chose well, cats are NOT demanding creatures that need constant attention and approval from you. Cats are almost paralyzed by fear from change and your little one, and you, are going through a big change in your life right now. Three days is not enough time to get through such a big change in your life. Don't compare yourself, or her, to any one else at the moment and think you should be feeling what they are feeling or how they,or you, THINK you should be feeling. Familiarity brings about comfort and eases the stress, routines can help here. Set up, for now a routine that gets you familiar with caring for a cat, change the litter, provide fresh water, feed her at set times and set a 15-30 minute play time. Then egt about your life. Wait for her to come to you, call her with treats so she knows you are a friend, she is just as scared as you right now, think what she has been through lately. You are being there for each other at the moment, and that is where you should be. Don't go there to all those what ifs, and should I's. It does absolutely no good to worry about the future when it hasn't happened yet. It brings nothing but misery. Take one day at a time. 99 out of a hundred times what we worry about for the future DOES NOT HAPPEN.....I did learn that in life, and I too am a worrier. "What will be, will be..... the future's not ours to see".....keep that in mind.
Cats are easy, they have a litter box and can keep themselves company for periods of time. They DO adjust to change it just takes a while. Relax and do what you usually do with the bonus now of having a friend to confide in, to share your life's journey with. First comes fondness, then friendship, and then love. she will bond with your heart in time, not instantly. We'll help in any way we can, PLEASE keep us posted, and keep us informed on how it is going, in a few months it will be a different story, you'll see, and we'll be there with all of our experience and wisdom :)
 
Top