Shelter cat is broken and super depressed

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VAMama

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Cosette has started to cover her deposits in the litter box. But I don't mean tossing a bit of litter to hide the smell. She buries it at the bottom of the box under a pile. I suspect she's hiding it from me. She glares at me the whole time I scoop her box.

We had to remove her to clean the corner today. She had poop splattered on the wall and getting ground into the carpet. I caught her in a good mood, spent several minutes massaging her, and worked up to holding her. She got annoyed but overall it was a success. Each time I talk to her I see less aggression.
 

tabbytom

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Cosette has started to cover her deposits in the litter box. But I don't mean tossing a bit of litter to hide the smell. She buries it at the bottom of the box under a pile. I suspect she's hiding it from me. She glares at me the whole time I scoop her box.

We had to remove her to clean the corner today. She had poop splattered on the wall and getting ground into the carpet. I caught her in a good mood, spent several minutes massaging her, and worked up to holding her. She got annoyed but overall it was a success. Each time I talk to her I see less aggression.
This is normal for cats to cover their business just like covering up their tracks so that other animals won’t know that they have been there.

Yes, continue your conversations with her and I believe that she’s gaining confidence and also feeling your love towards her.

Also today I looked her over to confirm if she's a Russian Blue. She has all the signs.
Photos please!
 

artiemom

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Cosette has started to cover her deposits in the litter box. But I don't mean tossing a bit of litter to hide the smell. She buries it at the bottom of the box under a pile. I suspect she's hiding it from me. She glares at me the whole time I scoop her box.

We had to remove her to clean the corner today. She had poop splattered on the wall and getting ground into the carpet. I caught her in a good mood, spent several minutes massaging her, and worked up to holding her. She got annoyed but overall it was a success. Each time I talk to her I see less aggression.
This is great progress! I love it.. this means she is feeling a bit more relaxed and comfortable with you! Wonderful!!

BTW, my guy, "digs to China" when he poops. Sometimes I go into the bathroom, finding a pile of litter on the floor, in front of his box--- and it is a high sided box.. Usually, there is so much litter around the box, and even in the hall.. He collects it in-between his toes.

Happy Valentine's Day. ❤
 

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Cosette has started to cover her deposits in the litter box. But I don't mean tossing a bit of litter to hide the smell. She buries it at the bottom of the box under a pile.
My female cats are usually meticulous about covering their stool, especially the ones who have had kittens. The boys, not so much... some of them not at all if they're very confident and feeling secure about their status in the herd.
 
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VAMama

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Do you have a litter tracking mat or would that be something that would throw her off?
We put down a blanket and she has no interest in that. She seems to actively step around it. I'd have to remove her from the corner again and add a new change to introduce a mat.
 
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I've ordered CBD for Cosette. She hunkers in the loaf position 24/7. Barely sleeping. She has two gears, either freeze in loaf mode or fight with fangs and claws. No between. She leaves her hiding spot to eat and potty. Nothing else. I can come to check on her hours later, and she's literally in the same position as before.
 

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Sorry I'm late to the party but does she have a cozy box to hide in? Maybe cardboard if she's messing on things. Then you can toss it if you need.

It sounds like she hasn't established a "home base" yet. Cardboard is easy to scent soak.

Do you note any difference with the cat music playing?

If she's okay with it, you can have a few small pet blankets (I get mine from the dollar store). Pet them on her and put them around the room. She's not established this as her home with her scent and is still cowering. So basically you're giving her a jump start with the scent. She also may feel less need to spray.


Have you tested her with catnip?
 
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VAMama

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Yes she has a cardboard box. Catnip has no effect on her. I played music for her a few times; she didn't mind it but there it was no improvement. She's not on any medications. No way I could pet her with blankets. It would have to be something small like a glove. I gave her one blanket in her room, and she thought it was the devil.
 

artiemom

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If Cosette is going crazy with a blanket in her room--- then I fear she was abused.. The blanket is being associated with 'badness;..
You are doing a good job with her..

I do not have any information about CBD oil. I have never used it. I was tempted to, at one point, but I never did. My vet cannot advise me on it. It may work.. but who knows? As long as she is not on any other meds, it is worth a try.

If she was abused, it is going to take a long time for her to regain trust in humans. Just have patience.. I ended going though moths with Geoffrey. I still feel at one point in his life, he was abused, or not treating right. He is afraid of men. and dogs....
 

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Our city shelter was promoting a cat they couldn't give away (3yo shorthair). She would hiss at everyone. After 6 months in the shelter she was at risk to be put down. We adopted her to give her a life. She presently lives in our spare bedroom. She lays on the floor in one corner all day, not making a sound. She doesn't groom herself or anything. No interest in toys. Not enticed by treats. She hisses when we approach her. But when we touch her, she relents and just lays there putting up with it. She will silently let us pet her to appease us. No signs of pleasure. She eats, drinks, and uses the potty -- always when she's alone. I can't use food to bond with her because I think she'd get dehydrated before she moved in front of me. She literally won't move at all. We took her to the vet and they say she's fine. I know she's capable of moving because she fought me over the vet visit. There's no physical reason for her to be so lethargic. I've worked with strays and rescues before, but I've never seen a case this bad.
A friend of mine adopted a cat that no one wanted. It stayed in it's open carrier for weeks... only leaving it to eat and use the litter. She kept the cat in a spare room as she had both other cats and dogs. Every single day, multiple times a day she'd go in and visit the cat. She talked soothing to her, read her books, watched tv, offered treats and would leave a soft sweater or throw in there with her scent on it. Like you, she wanted to give this poor girl a happy life. It took weeks for little positive changes to happen. Months later, the cat is playing a bit with toys and starting to come out of her shell. I think it took nearly a year for her to completely come out of her shell and be one with the family and other pets. Sometimes the cat would go one step back in the process and i remember watching her nearly every day posts on social media. She did everything slow....in baby steps. With lots of love, reassurance, talking and an enormous amount of patience, that once completely shut down kitty is now outgoing, vibrant, loving life and gets along with everyone in the household. She plays well with other cats and gets along well with dogs. I commend you for opening your heart and home to give her the life she deserves. I mean that in the most respectful way! It is a lot of work but she is worth it and you will be blessed with her love and trust. Saving a life entails both health and mind. Be patient with both her and yourself in the process. This is a great place to come for support and knowledge...I'm new to be a member, but not new to the site. I'm so happy she now has you for her angel to help her have her best life. Many blessings to you both!!!! ♡
 
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VAMama

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A bit of encouragement. Early this morning when the house was quiet, we caught her walking around to check out the bedroom. Today I'm going to get a pheromone diffuser. We'll try that for a few days before the CBD arrives. If it does the trick we'll put the CBD on hold.
 

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Excellent sign.

The music doesn't fix the problem. What it does is give a constant background noise so that other noises (from inside and outside your home) are less jaring. It also helps to desensitize the cat to the other noises since they aren't as on-edge. It's called cat-calming music because it doesn't use a lot of high-pitched tones that can hurt their ears or annoy them.
 

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...we caught her walking around to check out the bedroom.
A red letter day! :)

The more confidence she gains, the better. Eventually, her successes will lead to more success, building confidence upon confidence. I suggest leaving her alone, letting her explore on her own terms.

If you want to use a pheromone diffuser, go ahead, but I suggest leaving the CBD as a last resort. I'm not particularly against it but not in favor, either. My reasoning is that the more complexity you add to the situation, the harder it will be to sort things out in the long run.

Treat this situation like a science experiment. When you are performing an experiment, you should only change one variable at a time. Changing two or more variables can lead to confusion because you don't know which change actually effected the outcome.

Think of it like cooking. If you want to spice up the recipe, you could add salt, garlic or paprika. If you add spices one at a time, you can adjust the flavor more accurately than is possible by adding them all at once.

The same principle applies to your cat: Make changes gradually and only one change at a time. If you change more than one thing and something goes haywire, how will you know which things helped or which things hurt?
 
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