Devastated after rehoming one of my cats

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aislinn

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Kittensmom, I thought the same thing. I have wanted to call the rescue to get him back, in the hopes that the separation outside of the the house may change the relationship and start it on new ground. The problem I have is that firstly, I doubt they would even consider giving him back, but worse than that, if it didn't work, and he continued to be aggressive toward his sister, then it would be horrific for him to be returned. The other concern is for his sister, who has only recently started to feel comfortable. To put her through that again would break my heart. It's just too risky. Believe me, there is nothing I want more than having him back, but I couldn't do this to him again or his sister. From what I've read about redirected aggression, the cats associate the bad experiences with the location of the event, and the visual of the perceived predator, which in my boy's mind is his sister. It is so difficult to undo, and according to my vet, not always possible. I just can't take that chance.

Theyremine, I would love it if I could be involved with the prospective adopters. I will ask the rescue. I don't know how they would feel about it. I've done nothing but send them regular emails asking for updates and I think they probably classify me as a nut case by now. I have been relentless with them. I worry about him every day. I will gently ask them the question. Great suggestion. Thank you all so much. This is such a great site and it's been a great help to me during this absolute nightmare.
 

kittens mom

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Kittensmom, I thought the same thing. I have wanted to call the rescue to get him back, in the hopes that the separation outside of the the house may change the relationship and start it on new ground. The problem I have is that firstly, I doubt they would even consider giving him back, but worse than that, if it didn't work, and he continued to be aggressive toward his sister, then it would be horrific for him to be returned. The other concern is for his sister, who has only recently started to feel comfortable. To put her through that again would break my heart. It's just too risky. Believe me, there is nothing I want more than having him back, but I couldn't do this to him again or his sister. From what I've read about redirected aggression, the cats associate the bad experiences with the location of the event, and the visual of the perceived predator, which in my boy's mind is his sister. It is so difficult to undo, and according to my vet, not always possible. I just can't take that chance.

Theyremine, I would love it if I could be involved with the prospective adopters. I will ask the rescue. I don't know how they would feel about it. I've done nothing but send them regular emails asking for updates and I think they probably classify me as a nut case by now. I have been relentless with them. I worry about him every day. I will gently ask them the question. Great suggestion. Thank you all so much. This is such a great site and it's been a great help to me during this absolute nightmare.
So you have answered the question. You did what was absolutely best for both cats. And you made an unselfish and painful decision. It would be nice if doing the right thing always felt good. Perhaps you can do something more to sponsor him. I adopted our Little Mercy partly because we were grieving the loss of Kitten but also because she had a rap sheet at 4 months old. People who understand cat behavior can read between the lines. It sounds like you took the best course of action. Anyone who judges you for it hasn't had to walk in your shoes.
 
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Kittens mom, I am my worst enemy. I have been beating myself up over my decision for weeks. I don't know if I will ever forgive myself. I just don't know what the right answer is. I hope in time that I can accept the fact that I wanted what was best for my two cats, but the pain of giving up my boy is so deep, and the loss is overwhelming. If I had to do it all over again, I would have tried to salvage their relationship over a longer period, but my greatest fear had they ever been able to coexist was that it would happen again while I was at work, and my little girl would have had no protection. It's just a mess, no matter how you look at it, and my heart truly breaks for anyone going through this. I just pray that my sweet boy soon finds a loving home and lives the rest of his life surrounded by a loving and patient owner. That is my daily prayer.
 
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aislinn

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And bless you for saving Little Mercy.
 

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Kittens mom, I am my worst enemy. I have been beating myself up over my decision for weeks. I don't know if I will ever forgive myself. I just don't know what the right answer is. I hope in time that I can accept the fact that I wanted what was best for my two cats, but the pain of giving up my boy is so deep, and the loss is overwhelming. If I had to do it all over again, I would have tried to salvage their relationship over a longer period, but my greatest fear had they ever been able to coexist was that it would happen again while I was at work, and my little girl would have had no protection. It's just a mess, no matter how you look at it, and my heart truly breaks for anyone going through this. I just pray that my sweet boy soon finds a loving home and lives the rest of his life surrounded by a loving and patient owner. That is my daily prayer.
Love makes us our own judge , jury and executioner. You suffered a significant loss and you are experiencing a unique form of grieving.

You might , if the rescue allows write a letter for potential adopters. So he gets to carry who he is to his next home.

No one is going to judge you. I highly suggest you try a group like the ALPB and get someone to help you process this. They do several chats weekly. I have never seen anyone there be judgmental. Most of the moderators are long term a few were there over 10 years when I lost the Nikkihorse. Aside from pushing their founders book a bit too much, And it is a worthy read, you get live help from the moderators and others who are grieving.

You didn't do anything wrong. Look at the plethora of posters here that blame themselves, like me, for having to have their beloved pets PTS. Even when there was no option.

http://www.aplb.org/
 
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Thank you, Kittens Mom. I will go to that website. Hopefully I can talk through the pain.

And bless you for saving Little Mercy.
 
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I get that, Kittens Mom. She did save you.
 

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Oh, sweetheart.  I'm so sorry for your loss.  Do please talk to the pet loss people; I'm sure they know as well as we do how awful this was for you.

I've never had to do this myself, but Jasmine came to us because her previous human's granddaughter developed a cat allergy so she had to give Jasmine up.  I can't necessarily say that this was best for Jasmine, certainly it would have been better if the granddaughter hadn't developed the allergy, but Jasmine is now in a home where she is loved and happy, and I desperately needed a new cat when she became available.  And whenever I take a new picture of Jasmine I email it to the friend who helped us get her so that he can pass it on to her previous human, to let her know that Jasmine is well and happy and loved.

Margret
 
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Hi Margret,

Thank you for your sweet comments.  It is so nice to hear about Jasmine being loved in her new home, although I'm sure it was devastating for her, and her former human.  God bless you for taking her in.  It's wonderful that you send photos that her former family can see.

My hope is that my little guy, who owns my heart and soul, will find someone like you who will love him for the rest of his days.  I cry just thinking about him.  We were so bonded and all I ever did was look forward to seeing he and his little sister's faces when I walked in the door.  There is a huge hole in my heart now, but I am hoping that it will heal with time.  

I know that once he finds his new human, that he will be fine, and all I want is for him to be loved as I loved him.

I will look into a pet loss support group, which I know I need.  This pain is worse than when I lost my last boy to a natural death.  There was closure, and I knew he was in Heaven.  I planted a tree in his memory, and I look at it every day.  I will plant a tree for my boy Finn, but I'm not strong enough emotionally to do it just yet.

Thank you so much for taking the time to write.  The people on this site have literally saved me.
 

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Hi everyone,

I have had the joy of having two sibling cats for the past 5 years.  A couple of months ago, my male cat saw a stray outside, and turned his aggression on to his sister.  It was a horrific and violent fight, and I managed to step in to prevent any further harm to my female.  I separated them immediately, and consulted with a behaviorist who talked me through a reintroduction.  After three devastating attempts at reintroducing them, I made the heart wrenching decision to return my male cat (the aggressor) to the rescue group where I had adopted him.  That was two weeks ago, and although they have kept me updated on him (he has not been adopted out yet), I cry constantly every day because I miss him terribly.  I am completely devastated by this, and saddened that it came to this.  I had never heard of redirected aggression before, but had I known that this was a possible outcome, I would have shielded my cats from the outside world.  I tried to live with the two of them in separate rooms, but my female was so distressed by the end of the day, by staying in my bedroom.

I don't know if I will ever get over this.  I can't even speak to pet loss support groups because I am ashamed of the fact that I let him go.

Is there anyone out there who has been through this, and if so, how did you cope.

I am heartbroken and lost without my boy, and I know there's no hope of my ever seeing him again.

Thank you to anyone who understands.
Let's break this down a little bit. 
I am completely devastated by this, and saddened that it came to this
​Of course you are. This is perfectly understandable. what a horrific thing to witness and experience, and what an absolutely horrific decision to have to make. You must be torn apart. However, for what it's worth, I think I would have done the same thing, much as it would have pained me. 
that was two weeks ago, and although they have kept me updated on him (he has not been adopted out yet), I cry constantly every day because I miss him terribly.
Grief has no timescale. From a psychological perspective, you are experience a very real grief, absolutely no different than if one of your cats, or indeed a loved friend or family member had died. The experience is identical. Painful, traumatic even. and there is no timescale. There is no "shouldn't I feel better by now" or "why am I still so upset". you are upset because not only are you dealing with the grief of losing your cat, you know your cat is still out there and dealing with the misplaced guilt that it was your decision. I actually think you are being very brave. 
 I can't even speak to pet loss support groups because I am ashamed of the fact that I let him go.
Newsflash. You're speaking to a pet loss support group, one where there are hundreds of people who have been through the pain of pet loss, hundreds of people that will not belittle or minimise your pain, and who understand that it can be a long process. Talk to us as much as you want to. Hey I'll listen and respond once an hour if it helps someone. PM whenever you like, I'll always respond as soon as I see it.

I do understand, though I question whether I would have had the strength to make the decision you have. ultimately, you had no real choice. You had to do what was best for the animals, because that's what we sign on for as pet owners - the tough decisions. No-one else has to make that decision and, to be honest, no-one else has the right to second guess that decision. Your life. your cats. Your call. I think, as I said earlier, you made the right one, tough as I'm sure it is. 5 years is a long time to bond with a cat. 

If I can offer you one piece of advice, you need to stop getting updates from the rescue centre. It's going to act as an emotional trigger as bring the pain back every time. I know that sounds tough, and harsh and unfeeling, but please believe me when I have no interest other than helping you heal as quickly as possible.
 
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Hi Gareth,

Oh my.  Thank you so much.  I read and re-read all of your words.  You have no idea how much they mean to me.  They helped me immensely.  I am still so sad about giving up my boy, and break down in tears at the drop of a hat.  I wake up crying, and go to sleep crying.  I just want to turn back the clock to the happier times.  My sister, who is a wise gal, tells me that there is a reason for everything, and that I may one day understand.  I hope that is the truth.  What you've said about contact with the rescue makes a lot of sense.  I have been sending them emails, asking for updates, and if I hear that he's not eating, or he's nervous, I break down again.  I will stop asking.  I have stopped following their Facebook page because I know that one day his sweet face will be there, with a short bio.  That will likely devastate me.  I know I have to move on. I  do want to know when he is adopted, and even by whom, simply because I want to know he's ok.  I just want him to be loved, and comfortable, as he was with me.  The poor thing didn't do anything wrong.  He was just being a cat.

I try to focus on his sister, who is with me, and I do worry about her being alone all day.  She's a little more independent than he, so I think she'll be fine with our new normal.

I didn't really have the strength to give him up.  I just knew that there was no hope, and living with them separated was causing so much stress for me and his sister.  I was constantly worried that I left a door open, worried that she was stressed being cooped up in a room.  The rescue group made the decision on when to pick him up, and I felt that it would be easier to do it sooner than later.  What I hadn't thought about was the magnitude of the pain.  So much more than when I've lost my other cats to death.  The worry, the guilt, the unbearable heartbreak.

Gareth, thank you for reaching out to me.  I have met so many wonderful people on this site, and as I have said to others, I don't think I could cope without all of you.  It has been a beautiful Godsend.

Thank you so much.

Sincerely,

Aislinn
 

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As I said, I really don't think you had a choice.

Keeping them apart could not have worked long term and would have actually ended up with your female (name please !!!) becoming more and more stressed. She would probably have ended up jumping at noises. Give her some time, and she will come back out of her shell. 

you need to heal together. Make sure you are both eating and drinking water. Make sure you both get time to play and relax, and make sure you both get time to sleep. I'd like to hear more about your little girl, and I want pictures please :)
 

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I am TRULY sorry about what you have been enduring. I understand it well. Actually, I, many years back, went through a similar situation. It was just a few short days and I gave up one of my cats to my SIL. I don't want to throw a wrench in your decision BUT want you to know in my experience how things turned back around.

After giving up the aggressor - my SIL called and had a major life change and could not keep my cat. So back he came. It had only been about one month since he was gone. I started all over again with introductions from square one with his sibling - a female. It went really well, and things went back to normal. Sometimes, we have to give these things more (LOTS) of time BUT removing the cat from the home, even for a couple of weeks, and bringing them back, starting over - it's really almost starting anew in the cat's mind! Sometimes, this can work. Please know that I am not suggesting you do this, I am only offering up my experience with my situation and knowing that this worked with a few other cat's being removed from the home for a couple of weeks and then brought back in.

Sending you mega vibes that you work your way through this and know that whatever you had to do was the "right" thing for you and your other kitty. Don't be ;hard on yourself and I hope you can come to terms with all of this very soon. It's not easy to do at all, though, easier said than done. Sometimes, we have to make these decisions and stick with them so we don't drive ourselves crazy. :nod: :vibes: :vibes: :vibes: :vibes: :vibes: :vibes:

AND that maybe your boy will soon be adopted so you can feel better about this whole situation!! :cross:

P.S. FOR the outside stray cat that is coming around. Place a few of these outdoors near window/doors that the stray is visiting. I had to do this when we moved to our new home three years ago with neighborhood pet cats that were coming around my windows (which are floor to ceiling windows!!) causing holy havoc indoors with my cats. I PROMISE you this will work !!!!!!!!! It will keep the peace for our indoor kitties.
 
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aislinn

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Feralvr,

Thank you for writing. There is nothing on this earth that I want more than my boy back. Someone else had also suggested that maybe by him being out of the house, he would come back feeling differently and I could try again. The problem that concerns me is that I surrendered him to the rescue where I had originally adopted him, and signed a release. I don't know if they would even consider giving him back to me. I'm so afraid to even ask. I don't think they think much of people who return their cats. Believe me, the thought has crossed my mind every single day. It is heart wrenching. Now, the other fear is what if it doesn't work? What will his sister's reaction to him be? I'm so afraid that it will be a repeat, and then I'll have to separate them permanently in my home, which won't be an easy task. I would never put him through the turmoil of returning him to the rescue. I have been praying for guidance, somehow hoping for a miracle. I just don't want to initiate a conversation with the rescue unless I am sure in my heart that this could work. Was your situation due to redirected aggression? How was their initial meeting after you brought the aggressor back? How was the victim cat? I am so afraid of a repeat. I wish I had known about that repellant before this nightmare started. I had no idea that cats would even redirect their aggression. I would love to know more about your experience. Thank you so much for commenting.
 

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Feralvr,

Thank you for writing. There is nothing on this earth that I want more than my boy back. Someone else had also suggested that maybe by him being out of the house, he would come back feeling differently and I could try again. The problem that concerns me is that I surrendered him to the rescue where I had originally adopted him, and signed a release. I don't know if they would even consider giving him back to me. I'm so afraid to even ask. I don't think they think much of people who return their cats. Believe me, the thought has crossed my mind every single day. It is heart wrenching. Now, the other fear is what if it doesn't work? What will his sister's reaction to him be? I'm so afraid that it will be a repeat, and then I'll have to separate them permanently in my home, which won't be an easy task. I would never put him through the turmoil of returning him to the rescue. I have been praying for guidance, somehow hoping for a miracle. I just don't want to initiate a conversation with the rescue unless I am sure in my heart that this could work. Was your situation due to redirected aggression? How was their initial meeting after you brought the aggressor back? How was the victim cat? I am so afraid of a repeat. I wish I had known about that repellant before this nightmare started. I had no idea that cats would even redirect their aggression. I would love to know more about your experience. Thank you so much for commenting.
My heart goes out to you over this situation. It does sound like you did try to separate them and reintroduce them three times from re-reading your original post and that you contacted a behaviorist for assistance. With my situation, I was undereducated on cat behavior way back then and I gave up WAY too quickly. I lived in an apartment at the time, and my male cat ran out the apartment door into the hallway where a neighbor would let his cat run freely!!! They got into a tiff in the hallway and I had to break them up with a broom. My male cat ran back into my apartment and immediately went after his sister. They had been together for two years with absolutely no problems before this. I have learned much from that incident and now understand that this is a very common issue among cats living together that become frightened or threatened by something outside of their control and they redirect the fear onto their housemate or even their guardian!!! I was able to talk with the neighbor and she agreed to keep her cat IN her apartment and not roam the halls anymore OR I would have to contact the landlord about this predicament. After my male cat came back home, and was confined for a couple of weeks and slow intros were done, everything went back to peaceful cohabitation. Actually, reintroducing two cats that already had a deep bond goes rather quickly but still best to follow slow intros after a frightening situation.

You may be surprised to hear that it is not that all uncommon for rescues/shelters, etc., to have people come back asking for help and support to take their pet back that they relinquished wanting to try again. Usually, in most cases, the rescue will be very willing to work with you on this and give it another try. My feeling is two fold in your situation and don't know if I will be much help in sorting this all out for you. You have both some regret and a deep sense of loss over this, and at the same time, you did try to work this out between the two cats three times - so you are torn in two directions. IF it were me, I may contact the rescue and run this past them in the first place and even get answers as to whether they would be willing to work on this with you. Then, do some research, and I will post some info./links below for you to look over and read. Then, purchase some of those motion detector air blasters to keep the stray cat away. You can even contact your vet for some medication (OR the rescue may even have a shelter vet to help with this) to help along the process. Sometimes, medication is the answer for redirected aggression issues with cats at home to get them back on track to a calm and peaceful coexistence. Medication can help take away the underlying fear and anxiety that may be lingering long after the threat is gone. I also like Jackson Galaxy's Spirit Essences. There are multiple different remedies and many have had great success adding this into their regime on the path to happy cat's at home.

I have to run and just noticed the time BUT will be back later to check in. Just know, that I am not suggesting you go ahead with this. A lot to take on BUT in my mind, I feel that if I have exhausted every possible outcome and still no success then I will be more at peace with my final decision. Sometimes, for me, if I feel this way and can't get things worked out in my mind, then I know I need to do something more to get a resolution. Whether that be taking the cat back OR getting some sort of support and resolution in my decision. It did sound like you tried multiple times to work this out. Just know, that this is very common and you are not alone. Usually the two cat's can co-exists happily again once the threat is removed though.

[article="32493"][/article]

[article="32680"][/article]

[article="32390"][/article]
 

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Feralvr,

Thank you for writing. There is nothing on this earth that I want more than my boy back. Someone else had also suggested that maybe by him being out of the house, he would come back feeling differently and I could try again. The problem that concerns me is that I surrendered him to the rescue where I had originally adopted him, and signed a release. I don't know if they would even consider giving him back to me. I'm so afraid to even ask. I don't think they think much of people who return their cats. Believe me, the thought has crossed my mind every single day. It is heart wrenching. Now, the other fear is what if it doesn't work? What will his sister's reaction to him be? I'm so afraid that it will be a repeat, and then I'll have to separate them permanently in my home, which won't be an easy task. I would never put him through the turmoil of returning him to the rescue. I have been praying for guidance, somehow hoping for a miracle. I just don't want to initiate a conversation with the rescue unless I am sure in my heart that this could work. Was your situation due to redirected aggression? How was their initial meeting after you brought the aggressor back? How was the victim cat? I am so afraid of a repeat. I wish I had known about that repellant before this nightmare started. I had no idea that cats would even redirect their aggression. I would love to know more about your experience. Thank you so much for commenting.
My heart goes out to you over this situation. It does sound like you did try to separate them and reintroduce them three times from re-reading your original post and that you contacted a behaviorist for assistance. With my situation, I was undereducated on cat behavior way back then and I gave up WAY too quickly. I lived in an apartment at the time, and my male cat ran out the apartment door into the hallway where a neighbor would let his cat run freely!!! They got into a tiff in the hallway and I had to break them up with a broom. My male cat ran back into my apartment and immediately went after his sister. They had been together for two years with absolutely no problems before this. I have learned much from that incident and now understand that this is a very common issue among cats living together that become frightened or threatened by something outside of their control and they redirect the fear onto their housemate or even their guardian!!! I was able to talk with the neighbor and she agreed to keep her cat IN her apartment and not roam the halls anymore OR I would have to contact the landlord about this predicament. After my male cat came back home, and was confined for a couple of weeks and slow intros were done, everything went back to peaceful cohabitation. Actually, reintroducing two cats that already had a deep bond goes rather quickly but still best to follow slow intros after a frightening situation.

You may be surprised to hear that it is not that all uncommon for rescues/shelters, etc., to have people come back asking for help and support to take their pet back that they relinquished wanting to try again. Usually, in most cases, the rescue will be very willing to work with you on this and give it another try. My feeling is two fold in your situation and don't know if I will be much help in sorting this all out for you. You have both some regret and a deep sense of loss over this, and at the same time, you did try to work this out between the two cats three times - so you are torn in two directions. IF it were me, I may contact the rescue and run this past them in the first place and even get answers as to whether they would be willing to work on this with you. Then, do some research, and I will post some info./links below for you to look over and read. Then, purchase some of those motion detector air blasters to keep the stray cat away. You can even contact your vet for some medication (OR the rescue may even have a shelter vet to help with this) to help along the process. Sometimes, medication is the answer for redirected aggression issues with cats at home to get them back on track to a calm and peaceful coexistence. Medication can help take away the underlying fear and anxiety that may be lingering long after the threat is gone. I also like Jackson Galaxy's Spirit Essences. http://jacksongalaxy.com/spirit-essences/ There are multiple different remedies and many have had great success adding this into their regime on the path to happy cat's at home.

I have to run and just noticed the time BUT will be back later to check in. Just know, that I am not suggesting you go ahead with this. A lot to take on BUT in my mind, I feel that if I have exhausted every possible outcome and still no success then I will be more at peace with my final decision. Sometimes, for me, if I feel this way and can't get things worked out in my mind, then I know I need to do something more to get a resolution. Whether that be taking the cat back OR getting some sort of support and resolution in my decision. It did sound like you tried multiple times to work this out. Just know, that this is very common and you are not alone. Usually the two cat's can co-exists happily again once the threat is removed though.

[article="32493"][/article]

[article="32680"][/article]

[article="32390"][/article]
 
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aislinn

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Gareth, her name is Nola. She's an adorable tortie, mostly black. She is coping well, seemingly relaxed most of the time. I am the one that's not doing well. I am trying to be positive, but the loss cuts like a knife. I try to focus on other things.

Feralvr, your story has gotten my mind spinning. A part of me wants so badly to speak to the rescue, and the other part of me is paralyzed with fear of bringing him back, and ending up in the same situation. I have been praying for guidance, and am hoping I get a clear answer. Truthfully, this rescue is very serious about the cats in their care, and I am not hopeful that they would give me a second chance. I suppose I won't know until I ask. The whole idea is so frightening to me. I will continue to think about what I will do next, and hopefully, the answer will come. If I knew my boy and girl could happily coexist again, I would be the happiest person in the world. Thank you for giving me a glimmer of hope.
 
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