Please help, re mother-in-law's poor cat 😥(44 Posts)
Please be gentle, this is a horrible situation on all counts.
My lovely mother in law has a much loved cat who is around 14 or so years old (I'm not sure exactly how old she is). The cat is very anxious, I think she was the smallest in a litter and had some sort of fright before mil got her, but I don't know the details and mil can't tell us anything much anymore...
The cat is on waiting lists at a few no kill shelters as unfortunately mil has Alzheimer's and vascular dementia and will get to the point where she can't care for the cat. We considered taking the cat in ourselves but she has never been in happy around dp (mil got the cat after he had moved out for uni, and him being around causes the cat to become stressed and at times aggressive. We think it might be a problem with men in general, related to whatever happened before mil got her, but as dp is the only man cat has been around we can't be sure and mil can't remember) and adding our overly friendly toddler to the mix don't think we are the best home for her.
This was hard enough, but on Friday mil fell down some steps and has broken her leg. We have spent the weekend with her (a 2 hour drive) and she is in a leg cast which she needs to wear for 7 weeks at least and may need surgery to pin it.
Obviously she can't stay at home alone, so she is going today to stay with her brother 40 minutes away.
Meaning the cat will be left alone 😥 I am planning on driving to mil's on my days off from work to change the cat litter, top up dry food, change water etc but obviously this isn't adequate. Mil won't allow anyone she doesn't know into her house (anxiety linked to her health problems) so a cat sitter etc isn't doable as we're not willing to overrule her about her own home, as frustrating as it is. Her brother that she is staying with can't help as he has no car and lives in a very rural area with no public transport to anywhere near mil's house...
We are at a loss. I feel dreadful for the poor cat all alone most days and feel that we need to re-home her much sooner than we originally planned but the shelters she is on the list for are obviously full.
Does anyone have a magic wand they can wave? 😞😞
Try the Cinnamon Trust? They may arrange foster care.
A cattery maybe? Although they are about £10 a day.
Are you in the UK?
Could you try knocking on neighbours doors to see if anyone could put some food down? Outside house if necessary. Garage maybe? Or ring local vets?
I think there are few things you need to do. To add to what must already be a fecking nightmare already.
Firstly take the cat to the vets as certain conditions can make cats nervy.
You can make a decision what to do based on vet check.
If you decide to rehome the cinnamon trust may be able to help. They foster and rehome pets usually with elderly or unwell owners who can no longer care.
If you decide to take on the cat then talk to the vet about feliway. It's a facial pheromone that is very calming for cats. You can get diffusers and they are often very affective.
I know it's a difficult time and rehoming not always easy. Your vet may know of people willing to offer the cat a home.
Best of luck
Thanks all, had not thought of the cinnamon trust so will give them a call.
@LEMtheoriginal cat has been to the vets in the past and given a clean bill of health after a bout of aggression towards dp a few years ago. She had a tooth removed as it was damaged but vet couldn't say if it was like that before the aggression or because of it. Mil also could have shares in feliway but it doesn't help a great deal sadly. It's very sad as she is a lovely affectionate thing when she trusts you, and absolutely dotes on mil.
Thanks again all for the ideas, it is indeed just one extra stress on top of an already mind bending amount, hence needing advice instead of being able to think it through clearly.
Do you have a room that could be the cat's short term until you get everything sorted?
To be fair I meant to say it doesn't always work.
Good luck with it all. My dad had dementia and it's a terrible thing
@custardy sadly not, our house is tiny and barely fits the three of us in it 😐
As heartbreaking as it is to say, if you cant rehome through the cinnamon trust then you may have no option than to PTS. You can just tell MIL you rehomed the cat to a lovely woman and not give details. Its hard but sometimes theres no other choice, so dont feel bad.
Could you move into the house for a bit? You can't really leave a cat alone for days at a time. You could come back to a dead cat.
Not only that but an empty house is a tempting target for criminals in some areas.
Not really @questionablemouse - she lives nearly 2 hours away and we both work. The best I can do is go on my days off.
Obviously I know that's not good enough hence asking on here for advice!
Just bring the cat to your house for a while. A cat doesn't take up much room. I don't understand you saying your house isn't big enough.
There are no obvious solutions to this I am afraid. There is a shortage of space in shelters and simply there aren't enough people wanting to home rescue cats.
I think that in this instance I'd overrule her wishes and search for a cat sitter. Not ideal of course but you don't have to tell her about it because it will only upset her. There are some really fantastic companies with full checks and insurance.
And of course you should overrule her wishes if necessary. Her wishes aren't rational and how will she know anyway?
We can't bring the cat to our house. Our house is tiny, pretty much a 2 up 2 down with small rooms. Add in an excited toddler and my dp who the cat has been aggressive towards in the past, and it's not doable. We want to do our best for this animal, but I'm not risking making her so stressed that she attacks my son. Please remember that we never intended to have responsibility for an animal at this stage in our lives, and mil didn't know she would get Alzheimer', vascular dementia AND beak her leg when she adopted the cat in the first place.
Your only option is to find someone to live in the house with the cat then.
I think you really have to put the cat in a cattery for the short term. There is no way that you can leave the cat for days at a time. It is a really sad situation all round.
Would any of the neighbours be willing to pop in when you can't get up to feed it? I know if any of my neighbour's needed catsitting in those circumstances I'd be happy to help
but I am a crazy cat lady, according to DD1-. Otherwise a catsitter on those dates is probably your best bet. I think a nervous, stressed cat is better at home in their safe space, being visited than put in a cattery which is unfamiliar and potentially stressful, and you don't need to mention it to your MIL. Catsitters have insurance and references so you know nothing untoward will happen.
As a vet nurse I have to agree with the poster who suggested pts. Yes it's drastic but in all honesty there are hundreds of "perfect"cats that can't find homes.
Your MIL cat is stressed and moving from pillar to post will stress her further. It's not a nice decision to have to make but ultimately you are having to consider this alongside everything else. If the cat is so unhappy in your home it attacks your d's then where is her quality of life?
In your shoes I would be phoning cinnamon trust. Maybe cats protection to find a home. I wouldn't consider cattery or rehoming centre for her as she probably be there for at least a very long time.
I certainly wouldn't be judging you if you came to me and asked about pts. In real life hard decisions often have to be made for the right reasons.
Another thing worth considering is shelters outside your area. Shelters in affluent areas aren't as stretched as the rest (assuming you're not in an uber posh area at the moment). Identify your nearest few affluent areas and contact any shelters around there. It may be a long journey to get the cat to them but it would only be the once.
You could bring the cat to yours, make your dp the master of all goodie, tuna, treats, toys aso. She will come around at some point but hug walls and hide under sofas for a week or two. We also had very shy cats, we didn't make a fuss, fed them and talked to them and they became very confident and happy. It can be done, as the cat will stay away and come when ready. Just make sure that dp becomes a positive. Food is a good way to do this, calm and happy voices when she pops her head out of hiding helps, bringing toys for her to play with and keep some cardboard boxes around that she can hide in.
Start with asking neighbours for short term, putting out food might be enough.
QuestionableMouse, I presume you’ve never had to rehome a cat while dealing with a sick elderly relative? I can’t believe you think OP has no option but to find someone to live in the house with the cat. How easy do you think that’s going to be?
I’m so sorry Espresso, it’s so hard. My Mum died in September and I had to rehome her cat as we couldn’t have him. I was lucky as we lived 10 minutes away so we could feed him twice a day but I still didn’t like the idea of him being on his own.
I would suggest asking the neighbours if they can help, even temporarily, as you never know where it might lead. Mum’s cat was adopted by her neighbour and is now living the life of riley!
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