Rescue centre suggested PTS for my nervous cat

(70 Posts)
SilveryMoon Sun 17-Nov-13 13:14:43

My youngest cat T is about 3 years old. She is the most nervous animal. She came to us about 2 years ago from someone I know who was convinced the cat had killed her birds.
T came from a home with 3 kittens, a dog who'd just had a litter, and 3 children who are quite unruly.
This woman told me that T had never been outside, but she'd had enough of her after she killed the birds (the family were out at the time, so she's got real way of knowing exactly what happened).
I'd been looking for a friend for my older cat O so I told her to bring T round.
T has never really settled. Sometimes she seems ok, she approaches us and allows us to stroke her, but if you so much as move she's out of the room in a flash. She won't eat if there is anyone in the room at the time and she won't sit with any of us. During the day she spends most of her time in a hiding hole and will come out when things are quiet and there's less chnace of anyone moving.
If she is on one side of the room and I move my hand to pick up a drink (for example) she is out of the room instantly.
Along with this, she urinates on my things. Clothes if they are left on the floor, bathroom mats, beds etc. I have had her to the vets a number of times and there is no infection or other medical condition.
She has not been upset (to my knowledge) by the other cat. They do not fight but are quite affectionate to each other.
I recently found out that T did infact go outside quite a bit before coming here (we live in a first floor flat).
I think that if I let her out, she wouldn't come back and even if she did she would not walk past a person holding a door open to get back in. The minute you opened the door she'd run away. I know she would. Well, I wouldn't even be able to get her outside, she'd have to follow me down the stairs (she won't be picked up) and when I call her, although she comes sometimes, she won't if I want something.
She urinates outside the tray (she also does use the tray) every few days. I clean the area with the enzyme stuff or with biological washing powder and it's not always in the same place she does it. I have a feliway plug in, but it doesn't seem to have made much difference.
I'm at the point now where I can't do this for the next 16 years. I get home from wherever I've been and am on my knees sniffing around trying to find the lattest puddle sad
I spoke to a rescue place and the woman there said I need to think about how stressful it might be for T to go there and then be rehomed. And if she continued with the urinating, the next family might take her back, at which point they'd put her to sleep anyway for her own welfare sad
She then said I could let her out or I could request that my vert put her to sleep. She thinks that might be the less stressful option for T.
I really don't know what to do. I have no idea if T is stressed with just us or if she is stressed with life. I have recently been in touch with her previous owner who said she was wild the minute she got her (from a pet shop) and had always urinated in the house (thanks for the warning).

Can I have some opinions?
TIA

What an awful situation to be in. Of course T wouldn't be happier being dead, however this is an intolerable situation for you. And for any other potential rehomers. So if you can't stand it any more then the question becomes would she be better off dead or homeless, and that's a tough one and there I can certainly see the argument for PTS.

There would be a chance of finding a home she's happy with - someone with a covered garden say with a number of ferals and shelter for them, but those homes are rarer than hens' teeth.

I see you've tried Feliway. I would also try having more than one tray = say three. A couple of them being covered ones (less chances of missing) - and with different types of litter in them (gritty stuff/ wood based/ etc).

And just to double check she has been neutered? Unneutered female indoor cats end up psycho.

If that doesn't work then it really comes down to, as you say, whether you can stand another 16 years of it, and that's a decision I would hate to have to make and it's something that no one else can help you with. Other than to say try not to feel guilty if you do decide you can't cope. It's not as if you haven't tried.

SilveryMoon Sun 17-Nov-13 14:01:35

Thank your for your reply. I have 2 litter trays, on covered, one not. It's not really a case of her missing, when I say out of the litter tray, I mean well out, like in my bedroom.
We live in a 2 bed flat (one floor) so there is minimal space for litter trays. Not sure where I could put a 3rd one.
That is the question though, better off dead or homeless. The thing that stops me just letting her out is that I feel I'd be sending her to her death anyway, just a more painful one. The pain and stress of being hit by a car, or not finding food and shelter etc. I know that cats are very intelligent animals, but what if she didn't survive? What if she did get hit and died a slow and painful dealth that could be prevented. But I also know this is what every cat owner faces who has cats that do go out.
This is just so hard. I love her to bits, she comes up all crazy for love in my face when I get into bed and for a time I forget the weeing. Then she does it the following day and I know that I can't have my house smelling like that much longer and having to replace the mattresses this often sad
Thank you for your support and understanding. Does mean a lot

SilveryMoon Sun 17-Nov-13 14:18:06

She has been neutered but only fairly recently. Within the last few months. Did we leave it too long (yes) and did that send her past the point of recovery?
The other cat is so relaxed, he is asleep in his bed (that he moves around) in the middle of the living room whilst the ds's are playing superheros! T is in the corner of my wardrobe

cozietoesie Sun 17-Nov-13 15:36:28

Poor T and poor you.

It sounds to me as if she needs a quiet home as only cat - no DCs or other animals - and an exceedingly tolerant new owner. Have you had a look at the catchat map to see if there are any other rescues nearish to you that might be of assistance?

Awful situation for you.

SilveryMoon Sun 17-Nov-13 16:05:42

Thanks cosie I will have a look. Have spoken to a few rescue centres and they all say there's a couple of months waiting time.
Yes, I agree, she would be better in a home without children and possibly as an only cat, she does get on really well with O, they are in-love! grin
The thing that worries me about a rescue centre is they are obviously really stressful places to be in. I think she'd be petrified sad plus, if she spends her time there hiding, she won't be seen by the public. Then the stress of moving from there to a new home, but who would take a cat with this kind of behaviour issue? I certainly wouldn't have done if I'd known.
She's been here for about 2 years. She is well cared for, my ds's (6yo and 4yo) know not to approach her, to wait until she comes to them, which they do. They keep away from her cupboard and she does approach them and climb all over them during tv time.
She meows and purrs, she rubs her face against us, she has that upright tail with the relaxed flick, but she wees everywhere. I do want to keep her, but I can't help think if I haven't been able to get her to trust me in 2 years, she won't change.
I obviously need to continue thinking about it for a while and looking at all the options for her.

cozietoesie Sun 17-Nov-13 16:22:03

She doesn't sound content - but you know that. And you certainly aren't content. It's incredibly wearing having a cat who constantly pees everywhere and although you may see posters here talking about it in what may seem, at times, to be an offhand way, I think we all realize that. Added to the sheer nuisance, you also always have that nagging feeling that the cat can't be happy to be doing it - and that's demoralizing and depressing as well.

I think I'd try some more rescues - maybe see if you can find one of the smaller ones who might be sympathetic.

Best of luck anyway. And there will always be people on the board to talk to about things if you're having no luck or need to let off steam.

SilveryMoon Sun 17-Nov-13 16:25:57

Thank you so much cozie
I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday and she was shocked and seemed a bit annoyed that I was even considering having her put to sleep sad like it's an easy decision. Like I've just suddenly thought "I can't be bothered with pets anymore, let's just kill her" sad
She thinks I should let her out and at least give her a chance of life as a wild. Personally, I'd rather pts than just open the door and leave her to the survival of the fittest rule, you know?
I will have a look at the link and see if I can find some smaller places.
Thanks again

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 17-Nov-13 19:29:51

Have you heard of zylkene? It's a milk protein for cats that calms them down.

It calms mine down and he's a highly strung cat.

It's available on amazon.

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 17-Nov-13 19:32:27

Do you use ultra clumping litter? Normal litter can be too rough on paws that don't go outside.

You can buy UV lights on amazon that make urine glow so you don't have to sniff for puddles.

Has the vet ruled out infection?

SilveryMoon Sun 17-Nov-13 19:38:57

Thanks Fluffy Yes, the vet has ruled out infection. I use catsan litter. I scope mess out daily and empty and wash out the trays weekly. Sometimes twice a week.
I will look up Zylkene.
I will get some clumping litter too and slowly add it to the current stuff, see if it helps. I used that when I first got big cat, but didn't like being able to feel it on my feet all over the flat

SilveryMoon Sun 17-Nov-13 19:48:58

She does use the litter tray, I've seen her, but will def try a finer litter. She only wees on something else every few days. She has in the past gone for weeks without doing it, I literally have no idea whatsoever why she does it other than that maybe shee is just really unhappy or stressed out.
She never relaxes, I've never seen her sleeping, she is watching everything all of the time. I just feel so sad for her

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 17-Nov-13 19:51:14

Try the zylkene, sounds like a cat that needs to relax.

SilveryMoon Sun 17-Nov-13 19:58:16

Yes, she definitely needs that! grin At first I put it down to being a kitten. I was never quite sure how old she was, she is a very small cat. I was told she was over a year when she came to me, so she went straight onto normal cat food. Her previous owner told me she was eating a supermarket ownbrand which I then bought and did bits of that and bits of the brand I used.
After she'd been here for about a month, her stools were still very loose so I took her to the vet for a check. That's when the vet said that she seemed a very nervous animal, traumatised even.
She's always been a bit nutty, so I started to think maybe she was younger than I was led to believe, but I've had her now for 2 years so she is at least 2.6.
I suspect she had a very very rough start.

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 17-Nov-13 20:05:27

We had a feral tortie who was similar, she was abused and went feral but she did eventually trust us.

SilveryMoon Sun 17-Nov-13 20:22:40

That's good fluffy.
This isn't going to sound how I mean it, and it's not that I want fair-weather pets (well, I do, we all do) I'm just no longer sure we can give T exactly what she needs to live a happy life, you know?
I'm not turning my back on her, it's only been in the last few weeks that I've even started to think about her not being here.
I'm going to give the things you've suggested a go, implement them all and call some places on the link cozie posted, see if they have any options I've not thought about.
I don't want to be the one forcing her to live in an environment that is damaging to her.
thanks again for your advice.

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 17-Nov-13 20:25:59

Give the zylkene a go, it's about £3 for 10 days supply which was long enough for ours when we moved.

Hi I have a former feral who I adopted at 4.5 mths. Previous to that she had been fostered by a family with toddlers & was very nervous when I got her. She would not interact with me for a couple of months & kept her distance. She is now 10 & has gradually learnt to trust me. To this day she is still very nervous & sudden movements & noises spook her. she still won't be picked up but will cuddle up next to me on the sofa & is very much a homebody who strays no further than the back garden. I feel very blessed to have her & she's a very rewarding pet as i'm enormously proud of how far shes come, albeit a slow but steady process! smile
Re the urination.....theres a programme on Animal Planet "My Cat From Hell" hosted by an American cat behaviourist Jackson Galaxy. He swears by using carbon dioxide (co2) based cleaning products as they completely remove the urine etc, hence hopefully breaking the cycle of the cat repeatedly urinating in the same place. If you look on Amazon there's a product called Fizzion with co2 which has very good reviews so maybe worth a shot?
Anyway hope this is of help & good luck! smile xx

Re your question about the neutering too late. Yes at three years old and only just neutered that is, as you know, far too late. Generally when we see the 'psycho' behaviour in unneutered indoor females it shows itself from between 2.5 and 5 years of age, so that could certainly be part of the cause.

However it's never irreversible. It seems to take two to three months for things to calm down again (although we often combine the neutering with 'calming down' drugs - but I'm afraid I don't know which ones).

So it's definitely worth giving it a bit longer for any of that effect to leave her system.

SilveryMoon Sun 17-Nov-13 23:26:54

I didn't know not having her done would send her nuts. Tbh I didn't think about it because she wasn't going out and my male cat hadbeen done. Such an idiot.
I will order the bits you've all suggested and take it from there.
Thanks again for tips and support.

cozietoesie Sun 17-Nov-13 23:32:31

Let us know how it goes.

SilveryMoon Mon 18-Nov-13 06:48:18

Will do. Thank you

killpeppa Mon 18-Nov-13 06:59:38

have you tried tablets,my cat suffers anxiety (yes really) & she is very skittish especially with sudden movements. she also have obsessive tendancies (licking her fur until bald) & was prescribed tablets.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Mon 18-Nov-13 07:00:30

I can't find it now but we used something called cat attract litter (or something similar) for one of our cats and it did help a bit.

SilveryMoon Mon 18-Nov-13 17:36:51

Thanks.
I've just spoken to our vet and she said she's going to see if she can find foster family for her or see if some other vets have some ideas.
She also said that if I chose to, she would put T down.
Today I bought some clumping litter and added a bit in with the current stuff so we'll do a gradual change. I've also ordered some of those milk protein tablets.
She's actually in the room at the moment, at the same time as the rest of us! Keeping her distance though.
How long can I keep her on anxiety/calming tablets for?
I'll see what happens over the next few months. Not going to make any rash decisions.

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