failed foster cat acting oddly

(16 Posts)
Wordsaremything Fri 11-Mar-16 19:22:46

Well - rather long back story here. He originally lived next door but one. For very good reasons ( deteriorating health of his mummy) he was re homed not too far away, but ran away. Was miraculously found after eight days straying and brought back to my house. He's been here with me since early December.

I never considered having him long term as I already have three cats one of whom, dear boy cat 1 and lodger cat were sworn enemies outside and fought over territory. So I kept lodger cat in his own room for three weeks, gradually introducing him to my other two girl cats, and with some trepidation to boycat1. To my amazement this went very well, and all cats seem to co-exist quite happily. Then I let lodger cat outside and he began coming and going to my house quite happily.

I also have two dogs who have lived with cats for many years. Lodger cat is wary of them . They're not here all the time though, roughly half the week.

Thing is, lodger cat although seeming relaxed and comfortable, keeps changing his habits far more frequently than cats usually do. At one time he will sleep on my bed, cuddle up at night, then a few days later, he'll spend all his time outside and be reluctant to come in. Then he'll decide sleeping in the bath is fabuloushmm or back in the spare room, or scrunched up in a corner. He will sleep/rest in these places for 24 hours or more. Then he changes again, emerges and sits on laps etc.

He's now back to sitting in the corner. I feed him wherever he settles.

Reading this back the reasons are obvious. He's had so much change in a very short space of time and he is unsettled - despite outward appearances- plus his new home here is now two doors from where it was before, with a frightening interlude in between. Also my daily routine isn't completely predictable.

I just need to be more patient with the poor boy don't I? He's about ten, I think.

Any tips for helping him settle?

QOD Fri 11-Mar-16 19:24:14

My cat has weekly favourites. Fickle

cozietoesie Fri 11-Mar-16 19:37:57

Keep a solid routine if you can and do lots of talking.

It may be his way. I know the The Lodger (mine wink) tends to sleep in a place for a day or two and then move. He's perfectly certain where his home and people are but he just......rotates. It's not caused any inconvenience and seems to suit him best.

(Apart from laundry cupboards. He loves laundry cupboards.)

cozietoesie Fri 11-Mar-16 19:40:05

PS - Sorry. I meant keep a solid routine for him if you can. I appreciate that your own isn't so.

Wordsaremything Fri 11-Mar-16 20:00:04

Thanks for the reply q e d yes fickle thy name is feline!

Hi Cozie. Yes I understood what you meant and I do try to maintain consistency. I also have a friend who pops in to spend time with foster cat, but she's been away for a while and during this time, I think foster cat's restlessness has increased.

What has surprised me us how all the cats have settled together especially foster cat and my alpha male. They really were sworn enemies before (vet visit sworn enemies) but perfectly accept each other now. So much about cats that is mysterious!

cozietoesie Fri 11-Mar-16 20:22:00

He might actually adjust to your 'inconsistencies' if you can eg bring a 'rhythm' to your returns such as always announcing it loudly with the same call, give him food directly.... That sort of thing. Your judgement there.

Oh yes - they're mysterious all right. But also great pragmatists I think? Maybe they decided that fighting was pointless so they'd be better combining? Or maybe one actually demonstrated superiority in the fighting so the other has decided to just relax into the situation? You'll have to watch them over the next while to judge the reason I reckon. smile

Good luck, anyway.

mineofuselessinformation Fri 11-Mar-16 20:48:23

Another one here with a fickle cat (and he's not a foster, but is getting older - somewhere around 16).
He changes his mind about where to sleep, sometimes he will eat his food happily, sometimes will turn his nose up....
As long as, in general, your cat is happy and settled, stop worrying!

Wordsaremything Sat 12-Mar-16 18:09:19

So today he has been out from very early morning. Sitting in neighbour's front garden and in his previous front garden on the bench he used to sit on with his original owner.

I picked him up late afternoon and brought him in here to eat but he doesn't want anything to eat and has retreated to his cramped corner. And unfortunately now he's not stranding up to the dogs one of them ( my lovely old heart dog I'm afraid to say) has started to scare him deliberately sad

Before this he was quite happy to sit in the sitting room with all the others, seemingly totally chilled.

cozietoesie Sat 12-Mar-16 20:22:14

He sounds as if he's been reminded of his past and is grieving a bit. Has he had the opportunity to do that before?

Oh - and can't you stop the dog 'scaring' him? I've always found my own dogs relatively straightforward to control in that way. (Bad behaviour.)

Wordsaremything Sat 12-Mar-16 22:40:45

Re control - it's awkward as my main offender is deaf as a post do can't hear reprimands, it's also hard given house layout to,separate one from another.

No he hasn't had time to grieve. I think that is the key.

cozietoesie Sat 12-Mar-16 23:17:04

Ah. I suspect that he might need to do that then so I'd just continue as you're now doing. I'd think hard about what you can do to keep the dog off him while he's being introspective though.

I take the points about the dog's age and deafness so maybe ask a quick question in The Doghouse board on MN? (I think it's called that.) I know what I would do but then I've had working breeds who were trained to sight commands as well as sound and were ever-watchful for them. Yours may well be different.

Good luck. smile

mineofuselessinformation Sat 12-Mar-16 23:30:26

You could get a stair gate so the cat could retreat to where the dog can't bother it?

cozietoesie Sat 12-Mar-16 23:44:16

True. They don't need to go on stairs after all - doors should be fine for most types.

potap123 Sat 12-Mar-16 23:54:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Wordsaremything Mon 14-Mar-16 08:53:08

A baby gate with a cat flap you say? What a genius idea! Yes it might well be the answer!

potap123 Mon 14-Mar-16 09:32:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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