Sweet cat with redirected aggression, please help: euthanasia may be the only option.

catluvs

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Hi.
I write this with tears of frustration and sadness coming down my face and the cat in question in my lap.
I have 3 cats, all of whom were littermates. They’re 3 years old. One of my female cats has always been nuts. Her name is Cc (short for crazy cat, or crack cat my brother jokes) and she has very bad redirected aggression. She’s a loving and playful cat who loves her brother and sister.... until she sees another cat, smells another cat, hears another cat, hears a loud noise on the porch and assumes there’s another cat, among many others. While she’s always been “attacky” if a trigger is present, it’s gotten especially crazy within the last year. I pet a stray cat, didn’t get to the bathroom in time, thought I would need stitches after she attacked. Was locked in there for hours. I made a gasping noise because my other cat was trying to eat a piece of tape, I gently tried to wrestle him down to get it out of his mouth, and she attacked both of us. That time she hit a vein and I was bleeding so bad I have stains on my carpet. A neighbors cat was yowling outside last week, it tuned into a knock down drag out cat brawl between the three (due to her heightened state) which included chunks of hair being ripped out, nail husks embedded in backs, and face sores. I had to sit still on my bed and wait until it was over, lest I receive battle wounds, too. This morning, my washer made the screen door rattle, which sent her into attack mode on my boy cat, who was doing nothing. etc. etc. etc. My male cat also has FLUTD, which the vet emphasizes is very much triggered by stress. After she calms down, she’ll go back to her old self and try to be affectionate with them, but they want nothing to do with her now, with good reason.

I’ve tried everything. I’ve tried removing every trigger within my power. I’ve tried playing with them even more than I already do. I’ve tried giving her places to hide. I’m young and live alone, so my house is pretty quiet (I’m scared to breathe too loud). I’ve googled and googled and googled, and have done everything I’ve read/thought of. Took her to the vet, who prescribed liquid Prozac, but I’m having a very hard time getting it administered, since she doesn’t like anything except her dry cat food and cheese (wouldn’t eat the cheese with it, even tried doing it a little at a time).

I’m truly, truly at a loss. I’ve worked a long time to get rid of my panic attacks and have been successful for several years, but now they’re back. I’m scared in my own home. I’m scared to leave for work, afraid a situation will arise that I can’t help diffuse, and my boy cat will pay the price. The vet said she’s legally obligated to suggest euthanasia, but I don’t see how I could ever do that. My heart is broken enough as it is. She also said that she thinks she’d make a good transition as a barn cat, within a program who actually takes care of cats and wants the best for them. I have no idea what to do. All I know is I can’t live like this. It’s fair to no one, not Cc, not my other female cat, and especially not my boy cat, who has a life-threatening illness attributed to stress.

What do I do? Is it possible to rehome her to a single cat household?
 

Willowy

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You can have the Prozac flavored at a compounding pharmacy. I think most of them have samples of the flavors so you can find out which one she likes. If Prozac doesn't work, there are other meds that can be tried. I think medication is the best option; you really can't take the legal risk of her attacking someone else if you rehome her.
 
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catluvs

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You can have the Prozac flavored at a compounding pharmacy. I think most of them have samples of the flavors so you can find out which one she likes. If Prozac doesn't work, there are other meds that can be tried. I think medication is the best option; you really can't take the legal risk of her attacking someone else if you rehome her.
The pharmacist made it tuna flavored :\ I’ve tried putting it in everything, to no success as of yet. I’m scared to try and squirt it in her mouth, afraid that’ll set her off and cause her to distrust me, the only person she really has/loves.
 

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Prozac can also be compounded into a transdermal formulation that you spread on the ear. This form may not have as consistent delivery as the oral solution would, but at this point I'd think it's still worth a try.
 

Willow's Mom

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I have no experience with Prozac.

A small farm might have need of a single barn cat. Sometimes moving Mom and Pop into a retirement community is too expensive and it's less trouble to just call it a "hobby farm" and let them be. Is Cc a good mouser?

I'm in a rural area and people do keep cats for rodent control. It might not be the life you wanted to give Cc, but it is life. The survival instinct is a very strange and beautiful thing. It's easy to say "I would kill myself if X happened!" but when we lose our careers, our homes, and even our families and our freedom we still fight with every ounce of courage we have for the chance to see if things will get better and if life could still have some meaning.

No, you can't live like this. Panic attacks are not something to take lightly and your needs matter too. It won't hurt anything to ask your vet for more information about the program, make a phone call, or look at a website. There might even be some farmers on TCS who can help you find out if the program is legit and a good fit for Cc.
 
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catluvs

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I have no experience with Prozac.

A small farm might have need of a single barn cat. Sometimes moving Mom and Pop into a retirement community is too expensive and it's less trouble to just call it a "hobby farm" and let them be. Is Cc a good mouser?

I'm in a rural area and people do keep cats for rodent control. It might not be the life you wanted to give Cc, but it is life. The survival instinct is a very strange and beautiful thing. It's easy to say "I would kill myself if X happened!" but when we lose our careers, our homes, and even our families and our freedom we still fight with every ounce of courage we have for the chance to see if things will get better and if life could still have some meaning.

No, you can't live like this. Panic attacks are not something to take lightly and your needs matter too. It won't hurt anything to ask your vet for more information about the program, make a phone call, or look at a website. There might even be some farmers on TCS who can help you find out if the program is legit and a good fit for Cc.
I think she’d be a good hunter, but she’s never killed/chased/caught anything because she’s never been outside. I think that may possibly be an attribute to her anxiety, not being able to exercise instinctual cat activities (I don’t really count the cat dancer/toys as real hunting). I feel like most cats are probably fine, especially if they know no other life, but maybe some are just more in tune with their wildness, and are unhappy in a small home. I tend to think of my cats lives in terms of human lives. As my dad says, “stop putting your human thoughts and feelings into your cats head”. I hope everyone wants to give their pets the absolute best possible life, me included, but sometimes I forget that they’re animals, and sometimes animal needs/wants are different from what we think are best. Maybe, just maybe, farm life could be for her. Although my heart would snap in two. Thank you for replying
 

Willow's Mom

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Maybe, just maybe, farm life could be for her. Although my heart would snap in two. Thank you for replying
You'll be fine, whatever decision turns out to be the right one; a broken heart continues to beat. I'm personally "LARPing reincarnation" by starting all over again with a baby kitten but the kids at the Hotel New Hampshire[1] called it "passing those open windows". It gets to be a habit after awhile.

I'm such a dork. This was a "featured thread" so I wasn't paying much attention to it:

[1] The Hotel New Hampshire - Wikipedia
 

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I also have a cat with triggers. Fear can be an overwhelming feeling. Can you try keeping a radio or the tv on to help cover other noises? Sometimes with cats it’s a matter of conditioning them all over again. Desensitizing. Have you used Feliway? What about the products suggested by Jackson Galaxy? There is another TCS member who has used some calming products with great success! Buffster7 Buffster7 Could you please share the name of the products you used?
Please don’t give up. There will be an answer for you and the kitty. In case of problems between the kitties right now, keep a pair of thick gloves nearby and a heavy piece of cardboard to place between the cats or you and the cat as a barrier. It’s better if you don’t try to grab any cat if they are scared or upset. Take a deep breath and hang on. Sometimes it can take some detective work to put the pieces of a puzzle together but an answer to your problems will come. I’ve seen many cases of this sort of thing but no cat that I know of has had to be euthanized as a result. Everyone here will work with you and be here as support as you find a way through this. F FeralHearts Do you have any suggestions to help here?
I would also suggest that your vet thoroughly check this baby for any other underlying health issues. I have often worked with others in similar situations who felt their cat was a “crazy cat” and they found their cat was actually in pain or sick. This could be something you can solve without losing your kitty and with an answer that will stop the extreme reactions that she is having. It’s very easy for a vet to miss things without just the right clues. :alright: Don’t give up!:redheartpump:
 

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Farm life sounds riskier than drugs unfortunately. Once the cat is outside, you lose a lot of control over what happens if the cat gets super stressed by something. Cat could quite easily run away if a smell stresses it out really bad. Just bc we are getting redirected aggression with other cats, doesn't mean that there will be no reaction to foxes, coyotes, the noise of farm equipment or even farm animals. In fact, from your description of redirected aggression from random noises, it seems likely.

The only other option I see is a specialist that is adopting high challenge cats to rehabilitate them. There is no shame in saying that you want to save a cat, but that this particular one is beyond your skill level. Let someone else do it, if you think you can't, and adopt a gentle adult cat from a shelter -- save a life a different way. Maybe you can call the local SPCA and ask if they know anyone like that.
 

rubysmama

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I'm thinking along the same lines as A ArtNJ about the barn cat option, in that because she is triggered by so many different things, being outside would just increase the trigger options and cause her more stress, and more often.

Have you considered getting a 2nd opinion from another vet? Maybe a feline only practice?

If you want to look into cat only vets, here a link to search for one in your area. Just be sure you choose "Feline Only" in the Practice Type Drop Down menu.

Find a Veterinarian and Practice | The Cat Community
 

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I had a similar experience to yours. My torti is anxious and temperamental and tries to control everything. I have a calico cat that is a little challenged with regard to her health and the torti and another cat we have would attack her regularly. The calico was living under siege. Our eventual solution was to divide our home into territories. The calico has the upper floor to herself. We put gates up to ensure separation. So far this has worked out. Is there anyway to to create safe spaces where you are?
We also found a stray that the indoor cats would not accept. We created a space for her in our back porch, made a catio on the deck and put in a cat door for her to be able to go in and out when she wanted. Our family room is located off the back porch. There is a closet backing onto the back porch. We lowered the top shelf and fenced it off from the family room. Built a catwalk to the closet and she visits us when she wants.
There may be some creative ways to separate. At the end of the day, however, your mental health is more important than trying to keep a cat that is probably not happy either.
 
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catluvs

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Why not give her a room of her own, just for her, and utilize some of the things in this to make that space wonderful for her?

How To Make Your Home Bigger (at Least For Your Cats) – Cat Articles
I wish I could do that, but I live in a very tiny house that I rent. They have a large cat tree, and I’m not allowed to hang shelves, so it’s pretty much the best I can do. The empty bedroom are really small, and she just claws up the carpet when I put her in there to calm down. Sometimes, putting her in there seems to heighten her irritation.

Thanks to everyone who’s replied!
 

calicosrspecial

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There is a lot of great advice so far.

It sounds like she is really territorially insecure. You mentioned that you play a lot with her but it doesn't help. Keep trying and feed treats or a meal after. Especially in places where the attacks typically happen.

But also add more things to "own". So anything that she can get her scent on. Cat trees, scratching posts, warm and comfy bedding. Especially in areas where the attacks typically happen. Also, look into adding cat shelving if at all possible (if you have a landlord ask first). We want to have things that can be "owned" and also ways to have "escape" routes and places to go high (to build confidence and feel more secure. Putting dressers, and tables and other things can create ways to get around as well.

I am not a fan of meds but since the stakes are so high here I would keep speaking with vets about solutions.

Also, cats take on our emotions. And I think you mentioned you have had panic attacks in the past. It can become a spiral as a cat acts up then we get more nervous which causes the cat to get worse which makes us get worse. I know it is very hard to control but given you have had success in the past of overcoming panic attacks please try your best to try to keep your emotions as calm, confident and positive as possible.

Also, work on the other cats confidence. I believe a confident cat is less likely to attack or be attacked. How do the other cats walk around? Tail up or down? Walk tall or low? Do they avoid areas or other cats? Step up play with them and feed treats after. Also make sure you give them love (if you can safely). And stay as calm and confident around them.

Also, I am not sure if you live in an apartment or a house but is there a way to implement some feral deterrents? Here is a link to some deterrrents that may help keep other cats away. Humane Deterrents

Let start thinking of her in terms of CC meaning Cutie Cat or Cuddly Cat. Something positive. You mention you were typing the first post with her in your lap. So she has positives. Let's work on this and save her life.

There are so many great posters on this thread and a lot of great advice. And I think we will all be with you through this.
 

Willowy

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Farmers don't exactly want to get attacked by a cat either. And it's unlikely to end well if she does attack the farmer. Besides the fact that housecats don't usually do well as farm cats. Not sure why the vet would suggest that.

Does she freak out if you forcibly medicate her? Most cats can learn to tolerate having the medication put directly in their mouth, especially if treats are given afterward.
 

Furballsmom

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By the way, I meant to mention that there have been threads posted by other members with issues somewhat similar to this.

Have you had a chance to see how she reacts to a pet sitter, or a vets' assistant - in other words someone who's quite familiar with cats? Sometimes a cat that's like this in one situation behaves completely different with someone else.
 
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catluvs

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Farmers don't exactly want to get attacked by a cat either. And it's unlikely to end well if she does attack the farmer. Besides the fact that housecats don't usually do well as farm cats. Not sure why the vet would suggest that.

Does she freak out if you forcibly medicate her? Most cats can learn to tolerate having the medication put directly in their mouth, especially if treats are given afterward.
To be fair, I think there’s a big difference between a cat who may have redirected aggression that has a lot of outside space and stimulation, vs that same cat in a small house who attacks when they feel like they can’t get far away. Since her attacks are mainly towards my other two cats, I just can’t see her attempting or even successfully attacking someone outside. I’m not sure. I agree, though, I would be very worried on how she’d do on a farm.... but I’m at a loss. Just this morning, she attacked my other female cat while she was trying to use the litter box. They have 4 litter boxes spread out in my bedroom/attached bathroom so that I can keep a close eye on my FLUTD boy cat who just had a blockage in November, and there was no trigger happening this time. I just managed to diffuse the situation before it turned into another cat brawl. At this point, I just don’t think she can live with me. I’m contacting a rescue about possibly setting her up in a single cat household, if at all possible, but that idea seems too good to be true, given her history.

I really appreciate all of the advice given so far
 
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catluvs

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By the way, I meant to mention that there have been threads posted by other members with issues somewhat similar to this.

Have you had a chance to see how she reacts to a pet sitter, or a vets' assistant - in other words someone who's quite familiar with cats? Sometimes a cat that's like this in one situation behaves completely different with someone else.
I don’t have many visitors, but she’s typically fine unless my brother shows up (whom she hates, for no reason) and as long as people aren’t wearing loud shoes. However, I haven’t had any visitors since this increased even more dramatically than it’s already been in October. But, at the vet Saturday, she rubbed up against the vet and growled really low for a minute. Then went off to sit by herself while we talked. I just can’t crack this cat, and I’m usually very understand and good about learning why animals behave the way they do.
 
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