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Stressed cat? (Sorry, bit long)

(15 Posts)
Pointlessfan Wed 19-Nov-14 18:20:34

I hope someone can suggest something to help our poor old cat.
We had a baby in March. At first he was jealous but he has seemed fine since she started going to bed in the early evening and he got to sit on my lap again. She is crawling now but doesn't really bother him, he often approaches her for a sniff or sleeps on his bed close to where she plays.
Anyway, all was well until his annual check up and jabs a couple of weeks ago and he has been out of sorts ever since: Sleeping more, not playing with his toys, yowling at night.
The other day we noticed that he flinched when we combed him which he usually loves. Today I noticed really thin fur towards his tail end, just on either side of his spine. The skin feels rough and has little scratches. He also coughed up a fur ball last week but I haven't actually seen him scratching and the occasional fur ball isn't unusual for him.
He is an indoor rescue cat. When we rescued him he had a big bald spot on his tummy from over grooming but he stopped that once settled with us.
I'm now worried that he actually is stressed by the baby although he isn't afraid of her and still gets a lot if fuss. Could the vet visit have stressed him out that much? Could it be something else entirely? Any suggestions appreciated.

Pointlessfan Wed 19-Nov-14 19:52:39


isadorable Wed 19-Nov-14 22:42:59

My old boy of 15 has had to put up with the arrival of my daughter, who is now three. He is a very good natured and kind cat but he's terrified of her as she's pulled his tail on occasion! He's currently curled up purring on my elbow as I type. It took us a lot of adjustment to make sure he has his space and doesn't get too much sticky fingered love from my dd.

At one point in the past, my vet gave me anti anxiety medication for him when he was over grooming after his mum died. I didn't feel it was helping so I didn't continue for long - I got him a new cat friend instead which worked.

I'm not suggesting you do that of course. But I would ask you - how old is he? How long has he been with you? And if he's older, does the check-up involve blood tests? My cat started over grooming again amongst other things like losing interest in us, a couple of years ago and it turned out to be kidney problems. He is a different animal now he's on treatment. Just a thought.

If you're worried, you know him best, why not take him back to the vet's? Is tha a source of stress too?

Pointlessfan Thu 20-Nov-14 07:23:33

Thank you for your reply. He is 13 and has been with us for 4 years. He has always been very attached to me and I was worried about how he'd cope with the baby.
We set up a comfy area for him in the spare room but he's only used it a couple of times, he seems to prefer to be around us even if that means being grabbed by the baby occasionally!
I am reluctant to take him to the vet as he hates the carrier and I don't want to stress him out more but I don't want the problem to get worse or for his skin to get infected. I might just give the vet a call and see what he thinks. I hadn't considered kidney problems, he just had his check up and booster jab last time we went.

isadorable Thu 20-Nov-14 23:13:19

Hi there - it may not be that at all. In our case, I just found out later than I would have done cos I thought he was avoiding us and sulking because of dd when it turned out he was getting ill, so I would now want to discount other causes. Have you tried Feliway? I am never sure if it does help but I think it is worth a go. You sound like you're giving him a lot of attention which is good and he's not disappearing either but I'd definitely get on to the vet. Good luck! Mine used to be a vet refuser too.

Pointlessfan Fri 21-Nov-14 09:33:41

Hi - we used Feliway when DD was first born. No idea if it worked but we didn't bother replacing it when it ran out as he seemed ok with the baby. I am going to get some more though, its worth a try!

isadorable Sat 22-Nov-14 22:34:39

Yes indeed. Let me know how you get on. In the meantime, I thought you might like this photo showing the lengths mine used to go to to escape dd... Things are better now!

Pointlessfan Sun 23-Nov-14 07:48:20

Aw, what a beautiful cat! Thank you. Yesterday DD actually crawled into his bed, while he was in it. He didn't bat an eyelid! She was swiftly removed though!
Update is that we called the vet yesterday and he can see us next week. On Friday night we did his flea spot on treatment as it was due and gently combed him. He seemed a lot happier yesterday. I'm wondering if a flea had got to him. He'll be a happy boy today as DH is roasting a chicken! I'll let you know what the vet says.

Pointlessfan Fri 05-Dec-14 18:12:47

Just remembered that I said I'd update. The vet thinks our poor old boy is stressed by the baby. Well, not the baby herself, more the invasion of his space and the fact he's getting less attention. He gave him a steroid jab plus some tablets to calm his skin where he's been scratching.
We've been trying to encourage the cat to go upstairs out of the way of the baby but vet thinks that will make him feel more left out so we are going to make him feel proper cosy space upstairs with a new scratching post and some food but leave it up to him to decide whether he wants to chill out up there or join in the fun downstairs!
I'd be interested to hear some positive stories about stressed cats getting better!

RubbishMantra Fri 05-Dec-14 18:55:50

Could you give him somewhere high up to escape to? They're called cat platforms, but you can make one for cheaper with a shelf covered in carpet, then just pop it on the wall. If you put a few up, he can jump from one to the other.

That way he can be part of everything on his terms.

Pointlessfan Fri 05-Dec-14 20:17:33

That's a good idea. At the moment he's observing all the action from his perch on the arm of the settee but DD will be able to reach there soon!

timtam23 Fri 05-Dec-14 22:41:02

My cats were both elderly when I had children (they were 12 and 13 when the first baby arrived) so it was a big change for them as they had been used to a very quiet & pampered lifestyle. They didn't get physical signs of stress exactly but they definitely found it hard to be around the children and would usually sleep upstairs on my bed during the day, and once the children were in bed the cats would appear and sit with us for strokes etc. I think the thing they found hardest was the unpredictable nature of small children, the sudden movements and loud noises and the clumsy attempts at "stroking" them.

They are both dead now but certainly my old boy cat ended up tolerating the children pretty well and they were fond of him. My old girl less so, she was quite an aloof cat and very much kept herself to herself for a quiet life. Finding somewhere to be "their" spot was very important, I have always made sure the cats have had a hidey hole away from the kids and ideally high up.

Pointlessfan Mon 08-Dec-14 21:23:27

Our cat is 13 too. Funnily enough he used to sleep on our bed all morning but since DD's arrival he's stayed downstairs with us during the day - is think he likes being around us and seeing what is going on!

isadorable Mon 08-Dec-14 22:11:14

How's he doing? I think it is possibly good that he's interested in what's going on rather than hiding. Is he eating better? Since dd started at school (I'm in France) mine has got so much better stress wise. I work at home and he's asleep next to me just like before she existed...

Pointlessfan Wed 10-Dec-14 08:50:22

Yes the vet said that too and that he'd be more stressed if we make him go somewhere else and he can't be with us. He's been eating well and taking his steroids without any bother so I'm hoping his skin will start to get better.

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