Shelter cat is broken and super depressed

Alldara

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I agree as well. she likely needs that box as an anchor. She's realized her litter can't be her anchor now. An anchor acts like letting her go off of that area to explore and then to retreat to when it gets too much or she needs a break.
 

iPappy

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I agree as well. she likely needs that box as an anchor. She's realized her litter can't be her anchor now. An anchor acts like letting her go off of that area to explore and then to retreat to when it gets too much or she needs a break.
I agree as well too. A clean box is a much better safe place than the litter box is, too, and will help encourage her to be and stay clean. :)
 
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VAMama

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I'm doing an experiment. I got two more boxes, put them in new corners of the room, and sprinkled her hair inside them. We'll see if she ventures to those corners to claim the boxes.
 

rubysmama

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VAMama VAMama : I'm just seeing your thread now. Welcome to TCS. And thank you for giving Cosette a home and likely saving her life.
She's so lucky to be with someone willing to put in the time and patience she needs. Reading from the beginning, there's definitely been progress already. Looking forward to more updates.
 

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VAMama VAMama : Reading from the beginning, there's definitely been progress already.
:yeah: I've also only just seen this thread and have read through all the posts. Looking at where Cosette was in that first post versus where she is now, you can see real progress. It sounds like the poor baby was in a really bad way, physically and emotionally, when you took her in and saved her life, so her doing things like burying her litter, enjoying having you pet her, and exploring the bedroom less than a month after that is amazing. Even if it only looks like baby steps from your point of view, from hers, the amount she's achieved in such a short time is huge.

Keep doing things gradually, working at her pace while remaining patient and being prepared for setbacks, and I'm confident that she'll learn how to be a cat and enjoy the new lease on life you've given her. Make little goals that are achievable short-term, and before you know it you'll have reached bigger milestones. Cosette may never be the world's most confident or affectionate cat, or she may end up being a complete lovebug who can't get enough of you. You can't tell, but the main point is to let her know she'll be safe and loved for the rest of her life.
 

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I'm doing an experiment. I got two more boxes, put them in new corners of the room, and sprinkled her hair inside them. We'll see if she ventures to those corners to claim the boxes.
Ah! Enrichment! Nice idea! :)

She probably does need to have some things in her room to keep her mind occupied, active and to entice her out of her corner. Then, gradually expand her field of influence until, hopefully, she has the run of the house.

Good thinking! :thumbsup:
 

Danneq

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Honestly, leaving for the vet and then coming back to the same space probably really helped her realize that this is a place that might be permanent. She still won't trust it yet, but doing a scary thing and then having something familiar to return to can make a mean a lot. My Lexi had different issues than Cosette does, but coming back home after a checkup was huge for her.

You're doing great! :heartshape:
 

KittyCat_chitchat

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Honestly, leaving for the vet and then coming back to the same space probably really helped her realize that this is a place that might be permanent. She still won't trust it yet, but doing a scary thing and then having something familiar to return to can make a mean a lot. My Lexi had different issues than Cosette does, but coming back home after a checkup was huge for her.

You're doing great! :heartshape:
:yeah: This. Our cat Ozzie was surrendered to a shelter by people who thought he'd be a health risk to their new baby. He was clearly miserable when we met him. Not completely shut down like Cosette, because he was still reacting to things and bothering to keep himself clean (and to this day he is a very clean cat), but still obviously unhappy. When we first brought him home, he spent weeks hiding in the same corner of his sanctuary room, only coming out to eat, drink, and use the litterbox, and absolutely terrified when you looked in there to check on him, but we gradually earned his trust. He became a very loving boy, but still insecure, and he never got used to the dog we had then and avoided her at all costs, but we kept him because we thought rehoming him again to somewhere dog-free would just traumatise him more (that, and, of course, we love him!). He basically lived in his sanctuary room most of the time and he hated being put into a carrier and taken to the vet. There were so many times when we had to cancel appointments because catching him to get him there was just going to cause too much stress.

Fast forward to last year, when we'd just brought home Cleo, and Ozzie was due for a routine check up. This was at the point in introductions between them where they were in the same room without a barrier for most of the day, but still separated at night. Anyway, when we took him to the vet, he FREAKED, and was so stressed out while there that his paws were drenched in sweat. Then we brought him home and it was like a lightbulb went on in his head. Since then, he's become way less nervy. He's still a pretty sensitive boy, but he's now comfortable in every room in the house (but us not having a dog anymore is probably a factor in that) and is friends with Cleo.

This is speculation, but I think from Ozzie's point of view, his family got something new (the baby) then suddenly put him in a carrier, drove him to the shelter, and left him, and he didn't know what he'd done wrong. It was like us getting something new (Cleo), putting him in a carrier, and driving him to the vet's made him think he wasn't good enough so we were getting rid of him too, and then when we brought him back, he realised he was here to stay. ❤

Obviously the variables were different here, but I thought this story was worth throwing out there.
 

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VAMama VAMama that's a really good idea/experiment!!
KittyCat_chitchat KittyCat_chitchat you make some very solid points IMO. I remember getting Lila home from her first vet appointment and how relieved she seemed, and how she slept so soundly that night. I thought it meant she was tired (I'm sure she was) but I think that relief hit her once she realized if she goes in a carrier, she will be coming back home and won't be dumped off somewhere.
 

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I was just discussing with a friend today how much more affectionate Ghost seems after his half day at the vet. He was put in the kennel of course to await his ultrasound and I don't think he knew he was coming home. He likely thought he was at the shelter again.
Now he bothers to be picked up and cuddled and he's started really coming to bed at night.

Once it "clicks" that it's their forever home, progress moves in leaps and bounds but what makes that click is different per cat.
 
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VAMama

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Lab results are in. Some of her hormones are high. Vet says it's common for cats in extreme stress, but there's also slim chance it could be some random cancer, and now vet wants more labs to rule out cancer. I'm like geez, young cat fresh out of a bad experience at the shelter, no other signs of illness, and high stress hormones can't be justified by that?? Would you front several hundred for this given the situation?
 

iPappy

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Lab results are in. Some of her hormones are high. Vet says it's common for cats in extreme stress, but there's also slim chance it could be some random cancer, and now vet wants more labs to rule out cancer. I'm like geez, young cat fresh out of a bad experience at the shelter, no other signs of illness, and high stress hormones can't be justified by that?? Would you front several hundred for this given the situation?
Reminder that I am not a vet, and am not offering any medical advice.

If she were mine, I would want to know what hormones are high, how high, what the levels are and what the normal ranges are. I would also consider re-testing those levels in several months and see how they look then.
If she were mine, I would assume it's stress related. I don't know what kind of cancer they're thinking it could potentially be, but with how fearful she is my guess is any kind of continuous series of vet appointments or any kind of medicating or treatments done at home by you would not go well.
IIRC cortisol especially can spike when stress happens, and it can take awhile for it to normalize again. She's been through a lot in her short life.
Also, did she explore the new boxes?
 
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VAMama

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I have the results but I'm not well versed. Vet says it's all consistent with stress and dehydration. When we got her she was underweight with dry skin and hair. She's looking better. Cancer sounds unlikely. Vet keeps saying it could sometimes be that. I think vet is trying to cover bases.

She hasn't recovered from the litter setback. For three days she's camped by her potty. I'll see if she explores the new boxes once she's over that. In a weird way I'm glad to see her fighting for her litter. She's trying to assert herself.

I'm very concerned that multiple lab visits plus dental surgery will be too much for her. She's barely put on enough weight to look normal. Hubby and I are thinking delay the labs/surgery for a few more months.
 

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I have the results but I'm not well versed. Vet says it's all consistent with stress and dehydration. When we got her she was underweight with dry skin and hair. She's looking better. Cancer sounds unlikely. Vet keeps saying it could sometimes be that. I think vet is trying to cover bases.

She hasn't recovered from the litter setback. For three days she's camped by her potty. I'll see if she explores the new boxes once she's over that. In a weird way I'm glad to see her fighting for her litter. She's trying to assert herself.

I'm very concerned that multiple lab visits plus dental surgery will be too much for her. She's barely put on enough weight to look normal. Hubby and I are thinking delay the labs/surgery for a few more months.
From what I could see, yes. let her settle down more so that she's not too anxious about things and also let her mind settle down so that she can be at ease to settle in easily. From one transition to another for her may be a little too much. Yes, I agree with your hubby on that.
 

Alldara

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Also not medical advice, but if mine I would delay as well. My thoughts would be that even if it is cancer, a fearful cat wouldn't do well with many appointments and the stress of back and forth might cause me to lose the cat.

I would personally choose to let her settle and do labs and dental in a few months. When Ghost was panting we chose the wait method to see if it cleared post the stress of settling in. And it didn't clear but it did reduce significantly. He was able to handle his vet visit, even though he was a mess. It didn't give him set backs...it actually boosted his confidence that he comes home.
 

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Does she eat canned food at all? I find Indy barly drinks during the day because she gets canned food in the morning. By eavning shes usualy a bit thirsty and will go to her fountain.

Thats the other thing to encourage drinking, a fountain. I would recommend one that bubbles up from underneith for a timid cat since its less splashy. Not the flower ones or spout ones, they can be splashy and loud.

I have a pioneer pet raindrop one myself. Mine is ceramic but it also comes in stainless or plastic (not recommended).
 

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I would personally choose to let her settle and do labs and dental in a few months.
I agree, absolutely! :)

The vet, himself, says that stress and dehydration can play a part. How will you know, for sure, whether her problem is actually something else? The cat needs some time to settle in and calm down before you go poking her anymore.

Trips to the vet are stressful. Won't multiple trips to the vet stress the cat out? Even a normal cat?
 
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VAMama

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She eats wet canned food in the morning and dry kibble at night. A fountain is beyond her at the moment. She doesn't interact with anything other than food dish and toilet. We got her a blanket, pillow, catnip toy, etc. and they've all been ignored.

We've decided to put off all labs and procedures until her behavior improves.
 
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