stressed cat - how to help?

(10 Posts)
have4goneinsane Sun 23-Mar-14 10:43:48

Jasper has essentially moved in apart from returning to our neighbour for food - he leaves us about 6.30am each morning and is back for when I return from the school run, goes home again about 6.30pm and returns to us again about 8pm.

Every so often he disappears for a couple of days and it turns out he is spreading the love to another neighbour on occasion. His owner is being very pragmatic about it, we have agreed not to feed him, but she is happy that he is feeling less stressed.

In fact we were all agreeing yesterday that since he instituted his new staffing arrangements he was looking much healthier and the pulled patches on his back were looking better ...

... this morning he was in our living room and a big black and white cat who I've only seen once or twice before strolled through the garden. Poor Jasper got in a right flap, growled, howled and then when the other cat had gone retreated into a corner and pulled loads of fur out sad

is there anything we can do to help him?

cozietoesie Sun 23-Mar-14 11:24:06

Make absolutely certain that he knows where is his safe territory. How does he get into your house/his various houses? Strong catflaps?

I'm afraid that other than that I'm a bit pessimistic of doing anything other than maybe water-gunning away the black and white if you see him.

When they get a Nemesis, and they're a sensitive soul, they can really take it permanently to heart and the only thing to be done in my experience is keep the other cat out of their field of vision/field of thought. (eg All I would have to do with Seniorboy is mention The Lodger's name to him and he would start pacing around with a brush tail and looking under furniture. (He hated The Lodger.))

Remind me who he belongs to and where he sleeps?

have4goneinsane Sun 23-Mar-14 21:29:10

he gets into ours through a partially open window - no catflap as we don't officially have a cat and currently don't have the money to put one in.

He belongs to a neighbour 2 doors down but is not impressed by the presence of extra cats and dogs. He came to her as a stray 3 years ago, he's about 13yrs old and has obviously had a bad accident at some point as he can't move his tail and his rear legs are arthritic-y (doesn't stop him getting up on the worktop tho!) He currently sleeps on our bed about 3/5 nights.

DH chased off the black and white last night, unfortunately our garden is a cat corridor - there are about 10 cats that use it as a thorough-fare., fortunately Jasper's favourite stance is asleep on the sofa with his head tucked in so he misses most of the traffic.

It was so distressing watching him just pulling out chunks of fur yesterday.

cozietoesie Sun 23-Mar-14 21:35:32

Ouch. If he's an older boy and a bit arthritic, he may be extra sensitive about other animals because he feels he can't defend himself properly. Poor lad.

How good are relations with the neighbour? Would they extend to seeking information on when he was last vetted ? (In case a vet could ease his arthritis some and help his quality of life. There are some good meds around these days for it.)

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 23-Mar-14 21:41:23

Have you tried zylkene? It's on amazon. It's not a drug, it's a milk protein extract that can be used on humans too.

It chills my cat out but it also gives him a runny bottom so I save it for emergencies like the cattery.

TamzinGrey Sun 23-Mar-14 23:03:13

We've been in the exact same situation as you. Our cat also belonged to a neighbour but wanted to move in with us. She was doing that nasty fur pulling thing, and was also being bullied by a black and white monster. (what is it with these aggressive b&w kitties?

First of all you need to ask your neighbour outright if you can take over ownership of their cat. We spent years plucking up the courage to do this, but once we broached the subject they actually seemed glad to get rid of her (God knows why - she's so perfect). After that we were able to get her checked out by a vet and have her previously undiagnosed thyroid problem treated, which stopped the horrible fur pulling.

We were left with the problem of the big black and white cat who was coming into our garden and attacking her, but we resolved this with a combination of water pistols and mesh panels stapled on top of the fence panels that he was climbing over.

We now have proud ownership of a happy healthy relaxed cat.

Good luck.

cozietoesie Mon 24-Mar-14 06:23:04

Interesting point about the thyroid problem, Tamzin. As I mentioned, have4, I think I'd be trying to have him vetted and a thorough going over might be no bad idea. It's a difficult one for you because he's not your cat so some slightly awkward negotiations would be in order but it's not unknown for ex-strays to 'fall between the cracks' with regard to vet treatment. (They sort of creep up on being resident cats and don't get scheduled.) I wonder whether he's the same?

Best of luck.

have4goneinsane Mon 24-Mar-14 09:41:36

his owner only had him at the vet for his MOT and jabs 4 weeks ago and the vet's keeping an eye on him - his owner is a really good and attentive owner - I feel so sorry for her that he's decided to pretty much move in here sad

I think if it carries on with him living here we will offer to take over responsibility for him even though we don't really have the money at the moment

I guess it's whether there's anything we can do in the meantime to help him de-stress.

cozietoesie Mon 24-Mar-14 09:47:48

It is a bit of a bummer for her but if she has other animals, some cats just prefer a quiet life - especially when they get older. I'm sure she would be pleased simply to know that he's happy. Difficult one though.

You could try a Feliway plug-in, that might chill him out a bit www.feliway.com/uk/

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