Help! Adopted Cat Is a Terror and a Bad Pet

michaelm101

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My wife has an acquaintance whom she calls a friend. This person is a habitual drunk and substance abuser. She is funded by her well-to-do mother and owns several dogs. Over a year ago, she persuaded my wife to adopt her 10yr old cat, named Mini, whom apparently was raised with dogs and makes growling sounds like dog. It was kind of scary....

We had two cats and two dogs, but within the last 18 months of this, we lost the eldest dog and cat. I was against the proposition, opting instead for a shelter kitten whom Snowball (11lb male dog now 1yrs old), and The Babycat,(now 10 years old, small Siamese type) could "parent" and develop into a fine housecat and companion.

My wife, a sucker for cute & furry creatures (as we all are) insisted on adopting the cat. I agreed and gave her a chance. The cat was large and very overweight and I immediately put her on a diet...

Long story short, this cat is a bully and has been bullying Snowball and The Babycat for almost 2 years now. The bullying became more prevalent and more aggressive upon her "getting fit" as she had lost almost 8 pounds and became extremely agile. She continues to "hiss" at me when I feed her. I have tried my best to befriend her, but no dice. She tolerates me, but has not become my friend. She will often, shrug back and swat my hand after a few seconds of caressing....

She snuggles with my wife and uses her for her body heat, but defiantly swats at my wife when she reprimands her for bad behavior.

For the last 3 weeks, the cat has defecated on the kitchen floor for us to wake-up-to every morning. One day, while I was preparing her home-made food in the kitchen, she defecated right where I was standing.

BTW, our cats have 2 litter boxes that are cleaned twice a day.

I knew this cat was a "bad" animal from the start, but now my wife also thinks so.
I had to convince her that, just like there are innately bad people, there are also innately "bad" animals...

PLEASE HELP!!! Any thoughts are greatly appreciated!
 

IndyJones

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A health issue would be best to rule out first. Is she using the box for pee? Or spraying virtical surfaces? Pooing on the floor could mean pain when going or possably being ambushed at the box. Maybe set a camera on the boxes to see if any ambushing is happening. Does it take effort for her to pass a bowel movement? Could be painful for her.
 

Kris107

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10 years is the senior stage. If there is something going on health wise, this could make the cat even more "on edge" as it could feel weakened and therefore threatened by others. It sounds like she might do better in a more solo environment. Do you have a large room or basement or somewhere that could be set up as her domain?
 
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michaelm101

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A health issue would be best to rule out first. Is she using the box for pee? Or spraying virtical surfaces? Pooing on the floor could mean pain when going or possably being ambushed at the box. Maybe set a camera on the boxes to see if any ambushing is happening. Does it take effort for her to pass a bowel movement? Could be painful for her.
She had a perfect physical 4 months ago. She uses the box, and as stated in the post, she is the bully. That is, she is not ambushed by anyone. She defecates in the litter box in addition to the kitchen floor. She is in no pain during these events.
 
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michaelm101

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10 years is the senior stage. If there is something going on health wise, this could make the cat even more "on edge" as it could feel weakened and therefore threatened by others. It sounds like she might do better in a more solo environment. Do you have a large room or basement or somewhere that could be set up as her domain?
Nothing going on health-wise. She has her own room, and the ability to roam the house as she pleases...
 

IndyJones

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Does she ever slink along the floor? Tail held low avoid eye contact? Im just trying to figure out if she is being defensive or agressive. There is a difference and sometimes defensive behaviour could be interperted as bullying. Agression can stem from fear or insecurity.
 

Furballsmom

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For the last 3 weeks, the cat has defecated on the kitchen floor for us to wake-up-to every morning. One day, while I was preparing her home-made food in the kitchen, she defecated right where I was standing.
Four months ago is definitely long enough that it is worth checking with the veterinarian again regarding this, because something is very wrong.

I knew this cat was a "bad" animal from the start, but now my wife also thinks so.
I had to convince her that, just like there are innately bad people, there are also innately "bad" animals...
Agression can stem from fear or insecurity.
No, there are not innately bad animals, at least not in the feline world because they simply aren't wired that way. It's always a health issue, dental issue or it is, as mentioned above, fear or insecurity. She came from a lousy situation and needs emotional support, not just a diet to help with the physical aspect.

So, whether her behavior prior to the pooping outside the box is on the people she was with before you, or the transition to your household wasn't done in a way that worked for all the cats involved, or she has a health or dental issue going on, I'm extremely sorry and disappointed to hear you "convinced" your wife that the cat is a bad cat.

Besides, I'm not sure you truly believe that anyway, since you are posting here.
 
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michaelm101

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I wished posters would read the bulk of the OP before replying.

I've owned many cats over the years. There is nothing physically wrong with the cat. She does everything a normal cat does. No odd behaviors. BTW, I'm an all animal lover and have volunteered in animal rescue for over 20 years.

I honestly think she is simply a bad-natured cat, or one who has bad character, just like some humans.
There's a reason the former owner did not, and does not want the cat back.

My wife is the lady's sounding board and that lady pulled a fast one on her...
 

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We understand you have experience with cats, but you can't always see this stuff directly -- the behavior is often the first and sometimes only clue that there is a health issue. You have an entirely new issue now, which suggests that the origin is NOT the ongoing behavioral stuff. So the logical thing is another vet visit.

Its totally normal for a senior cat that spent most of its life in a difficult situation to have lingering behavioral issues that are tough to resolve. Normal doesn't mean that the cat isn't a difficult and frustrating pet, and maybe more than your willing to handle. If you can't handle it anymore, it is sometimes possible to find good homes for difficult pets. My brother found a home for a senior cat with diabetes and a similar personality via a rescue/shelter type organization. He just couldn't handle the cat anymore, and I didn't judge him -- he is a good dude. Similarly, I would never judge you. But its quite possible that the defecating issue can be solved.
 

FeebysOwner

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I agree with A ArtNJ , but if you decide rehoming is the way to go, please tell the local rescues you contact all the details that you offered us so that they have a good picture of the history. It also doesn't hurt to tell them that you don't believe this to be health related and let them know when the cat was last examined and what tests were done, just so they know those details as well. It may help them to determine if they might find a foster rather than sticking this poor cat in a shelter kennel. Your work with rescue groups should help.

I don't advocate for re-homing ever, but I really feel like you believe that there is little left to do for this cat in your home.
 

ImaRobot

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I wished posters would read the bulk of the OP before replying.

I've owned many cats over the years. There is nothing physically wrong with the cat. She does everything a normal cat does. No odd behaviors. BTW, I'm an all animal lover and have volunteered in animal rescue for over 20 years.

I honestly think she is simply a bad-natured cat, or one who has bad character, just like some humans.
There's a reason the former owner did not, and does not want the cat back.

My wife is the lady's sounding board and that lady pulled a fast one on her...
The problem here is you're attributing human feelings and emotions to the cat, trying to link some kind of negative human traits to them. From the way you describe the person this cat was adopted from, it's probably likely this senior cat didn't exactly have the most comfortable and loving environment to strive in, and it's probably past trauma that is affecting it's social behavior. Maybe the fact that she grew up with dogs is a sign that maybe she also didn't live comfortably with those dogs, and maybe it's trauma from that is being uprooted by your current dog/s.

I would 100% consider pooping on the floor as odd behavior, especially as it's a recent thing. You being not able to see anything physically wrong isn't exactly proof enough that nothing is wrong. Taking the poor cat to the vet would only serve to help find out what is actually wrong here - If it's an internal health issue, or just a trauma issue. I can't help but feel bad for the cat, it doesn't sound like it came from the best owner but at the same time is coming into a household where it's already pre-determined that she's a bad cat, and a wrong choice. With how much cats can be intune to our emotions and react accordingly, I wonder how much of that has rubbed off on her.

Even all that aside, there are cats that just can't be homed with others and that might possibly just be what's going on here after what she had to live with from a past owner, but that's not because a cat can be "inherently bad." A vet check is a step in the right direction.
 

Hellenww

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To understand she was 10 when you adopted her so 12 or close to it now. In the under 2yrs she's been with you she has lost 8lb. I'd be very surprised if she doesn't have arthritis. If she weren't a grumpy cat and suddenly began pooping in the kitchen would your first thought be behavior issues. Seniors of any species can have a major health issue suddenly.
 

IndyJones

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Im not sure what kind of home she came from but i do know people under the influence of drugs or alcohal can be unpredictable and could it be possable they maybe neglected her or abused her in some way? Perhapse causing her to feel insecure . Her pulling away and swatting you gives hints that she is fearful of humans to a degree maybe feeling "i'm not sure if you are going to hit me, im scared"

Please do not punish her or yell at her if she poos on the floor. That will make the situation worse. Just clean it up.

You could try redirecting her to a toy or scratch post if she behaves agressivly.

Rehoming ahould be an absolute last resort. Animals with behavoiur issues are extremly dificult to place and her age even moreso. Is your thinking behind this she would do better as an only pet?
 

iPappy

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I've had both dogs and cats that become very grumpy and every single time it was something medical, from arthritis to bad blood work to a painful abscessed tooth. I also had a fastidious cat that started pooping in random places. He had painful raging IBD, and that took some work to figure out. I wouldn't give up on this cat without another VERY thorough exam. Make sure the vet knows what is going on.
 

danteshuman

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I’m imagining if my hyper, easily stressed, bonded to just me bottle baby (who has some separation anxiety) suddenly lost me and his home.

So 1 start giving her cbd treats (or maybe talk to the vet about mood stabilizers.)
2 clicker training. So you can bond with her.
3 separate the cats, do site swapping & slow introductions.
4 add 2 more boxes to another room (making it 4 boxes.)
5 you now do all the feeding
6 only pet her if she asks for it
7 consider taking her to the vet for soft paws (rubber claw tips) if scratching is a big issue and you can not regularly trim her claws

It took my boy 1 year to let my mom pet him and he sees her at least 3 weekends a month!!!! He is a Siamese mix. He is 5 and he now lets some people pet him if I’m nearby. We practice the handover. I sit down and talk with someone else (also sitting.)He comes over, I pet him, when he gets all settled on my lap, the other person joins the petting or takes over. You should try the hand off with your wife.

That said I love my problem child. He is a snuggle bug and on me all the time. I hope you develop the same kind of relationship with her!
 

Alldara

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M michaelm101 Hi Michael.

So the cat came from an unstable home. That in itself is likely to cause anxiety issues in a cat. Did you discuss behaviour medication with the vet?

The shrugging back and swatting could be behavioural. She's lived in an unpredictable environment and learned that human behaviour is unpredictable. She's scared. BUT it can also be a sign of arthritis/pain in that area. Please see my paragraph on arthritis below.

The cat is about 12 years old. So for health wise, from one experienced pet owner to another, I'll make some reminders.

At 12 years old, anything can happen healthwise within 3 months. (My senior went from a healthy exam to dealthly illness in 4 months - yes seeing the vet in between as the issue progressed).

Did the vet do senior bloodwork at the last visit? Did that blood panel include hyperthyroid? It can cause behavioural issues. She lost weight VERY fast and cats are notoriously bad at loosing weight. I'd be surprised to hear if she doesn't have hyperthyroidism: Hyperthyroidism in Cats | VCA Animal Hospital | VCA Animal Hospitals

Arthritis, again effects 90% of cats over the age of 12. Very unlikely that she doesn't have it somewhere. Behavioural aggression can be the main symptom. Arthritis pain fluctuates which can explain sometimes going in the box and sometimes outside the box. Poo is the most common to go outside because they have to hold the position longer to poo, on an unstable surface (litter which shifts). Arthritis needs to be confirmed by an x-ray, not just a physical exam from the vet.
Arthritis in Cats | VCA Animal Hospitals

Tooth pain - I'm about to make an assumption here that she's never had a dental. The vet may not be able to see on exam that she has a serious tooth issue causing pain. Nobel for example had two cracked teeth that were not noted on exam, but only once they went to do a dental cleaning and x-ray did they see this. He had some tartar build up in his old age and did his first dental when he was 14 or 15. Even the exam for the pre-dental the cat-only vet did not see the cracked teeth. That was 5 days before his dental surgery.


Lastly, what are your reactions when she poos on the ground or does something behaviourally?

How did you do the introductions of her to your home? Have you considered doing a re-introduction?


So there's a lot of potential issues that could be examined or corrected. Here as a community that's what we do to help one another. Most of us are experienced pet owners so we all know how easy it is to overlook something or not have the most updated information when you're in the thick of it. Don't overlook the wealth of information by being too prideful.
 

lollie

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this cat is a bully and has been bullying Snowball and The Babycat for almost 2 years now.
What kind of introduction did these pets have?


She will often, shrug back and swat my hand after a few seconds of caressing....
Some cats will take very little petting. My own cat gets overstimulated VERY easily and will bite quickly. You have to watch her body language like a hawk. Give this kitty a couple of head strokes (nothing full body) or a head pat and then stop.

One day, while I was preparing her home-made food in the kitchen, she defecated right where I was standing.
She is not doing this to spite you. It is not normal for a cat to potty close to where they eat. If she eats in the kitchen and has gone potty there, something is wrong.
 
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