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Rescue cat reserved but getting cold feet(53 Posts)
Go easy, please –total cat virgin here!
We've never had a cat before and have found a female one who's about 2 and reserved her, but I just don't know if she's right for our family. I've seen her four times now and she has "raised her paw" to me as if to swipe –I don't know if this is just a playful thing though? She's a bit timid and today one of the volunteers said she can be a bit 'crazy', and that she doesn't know if she wants to be loved or not?!
We've wanted a cat for ages (3 DC age 13 down to 8) but I'm thinking we should wait ... no? I have always wanted one that comes right up to you and wraps him/herself round your legs, sits on laps, is placid etc ... but maybe they are the exception rather than the rule?
Or should we persevere and accept she's likely to be a bit spooked in a rescue centre with dozens of other cats around and would be different at home? HELP!!
I think maybe she isn't the right one for you. If you're new to cats, and have children, and particularly want a very affectionate one, then a slightly timid cat is probably not the sort of cat you should get. Yes of course these are the cats that get homes most easily, but there are still plenty of them.
Speak again to the rescue and tell them what you told us. (And if you're anywhere near London pm me - I'm currently fostering one that sounds like exactly what you want).
I think you should keep looking. That cat sounds like she'd be better off with a child-free household who've had experience with cats. You need something a bit more bombproof : )
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Aw, catneuterer, thank you but I'm about 500 miles north of you Yes, Utterly, it said there should be no younger children (i.e. toddler tail-pullers) in the household but maybe it should have ruled out kids at all. She was going up face to face with one of the volunteers for a 'kiss' today though, so I'm torn!
But yes, I think my gut instinct is telling me to keep looking –I think I was trying to make allowances for her being in the centre (and she was dumped on a farm with about 8 other cats so must have had some trauma in the past).
Argh, where are all the lovely affectionate ones??
That's a shame. My message got garbled - I meant the most confident and affectionate cats are the ones that get homes most quickly, but there are still plenty of them.
We have loads of them, but they come in and out quite quickly, whereas the timid ones can hang around in pens for months if not years.
Well, that's good to hear, cat, though maybe there just aren't as many cats in general up here and we'll have to be patient for a while ... kids will be disappointed when I tell them, I know !!
To be honest if you aren't sure I would cancel your reservation on that cat and wait until the right one appears. It may well have been play, especially if there was no hissing, ears back, fluffed out fur etc, but if you aren't sure better safe than sorry especially as you have children. If the rescue staff aren't sure, then it's a big chance you would be taking on a living creature who would also be stressed out by a failed adoption. Stay on their list, and any other cat shelters local to you, and the right cat will turn up one day.
You don't choose a cat, certainly not an adult one, THEY choose YOU, and one day you will be chosen. Possibly not by what you thought you wanted - I ended up with about half the things I'd listed and the opposite of the rest.
Cats like you describe do turn up in rescues. There were a few when I went to be chosen by my pair, but a) I knew they would get snapped up quickly so didn't need me as much as others and b) I was claimed anyway by another cat who was half of a bonded pair, so that was my 2.
Don't be too restrictive on non-essential traits. Cats live much longer now than they used to (18 to 20 isn't uncommon nowadays) and what used to be classed as an older cat is still in it's prime so don't worry that it has to be young. Don't worry about the colour, or size, or whether it's male or female, then you're more likely to find a cat who is the perfect fit for your family.
I’m not an expert (owner of my first cat) but I think it’s probably difficult to tell a cats true personality whilst in a rescue centre. I’d try and get as much information as possible from them and find out a bit more about what they mean by ‘crazy’. Depending how long she should been there they may have an idea about her ‘normal’ behaviour.
I’ve had my cat a year now and when I first went to see him at the rehoming centre and sat quietly in his kennel he put his ears back and hissed at me then tried to bite me. I was almost put off but as he was a black cat and I’d been told they were more difficult to rehoming I took him anyway as I couldn’t bear the thought that he would ‘know’ I’d gone to adopt him but then changed my mind (completely daft I know!)
It took him a few weeks to settle but he is now an amazing cat with loads of personality who follows me round like a dog and loves a fuss.
Have you discussed how you feel with the rest of your family/ asked how they feel about it? Your children are old enough to understand that she will need space and time when she first comes home and it may take a while for her to settle.
Also, if you do decide to take her, and she doesn’t settle in/ isn’t right for your family is there an option for the rehoming centre to take her back? I was told ( blue cross) that if it didn’t work out to contact them and they would take him back to rehome again rather than have an unhappy cat and unhappy owner.
I had a lot of ‘cat anxiety’ between reserving him and finally taking him home as it suddenly dawned on me the commitment I was making. It was honestly the best decision I’ve made though.
Good luck with your decision and even if you decide this cat isn’t the one for you the right one will be out there somewhere.
Rescue cats take time - they aren't great for first time owners unless you are happy to invest in them. But so much more rewarding!
Think of them a bit like an adopted child - you wouldn't expect them to be full of hugs on day 1, you'd need to get the bond first.
IME too neutered males seem to bond faster and be more cuddly than females. I have 3 (and have had 12 over the years). One of my current rescue girls is now incredibly cuddly - but for the first 2 years she did bite and scratch a lot (rescued at 8 years old though). My rescued boys were all much easier!
Just read the other updates ( I was busy writing my epic length post!) my situation was different to yours as I only had myself to consider. I agree that if your gut instinct is to keep looking then you probably should. My gut instinct told me that despite his initial aggression he was the right one for me .... and luckily he is!
In my (admittedly limited) experience, rescue cats can really blossom from how they appear on first meeting. My very timid girl's only interaction with me at the rescue centre was a swiping action with her paw, but three months on and she's probably the gentlest, softest cat I've ever had. It's also so rewarding when she does make those little break-throughs, like jumping up onto the sofa to sit with us, purring and rolling on her back or perching on my lap (if only for a fleeting moment!)
Having said all that, I don't have DCs, so am in quite a different situation to you!
My cat was rescued from a farm as well so very feral when she came.
And I doubt that she will ever be a cuddly cat.
It's taken over two years and she will now be stroked on the head if she's sitting on the arm of the chair. She curls round my legs for food and that's about it.
She vanishes outside if any visitors arrive and is not very happy with children.
She sometimes swipes at me but never has her claws out.
If you're new to cats, I would wait for a cuddly one.
This is all really interesting, thank you. We did dismiss a friendly boy aged 8 because we thought that might be a bit old and had also heard that male cats (even neutered ones) tend to pee and spray your furniture more.
Now I'm wondering if we should have picked him instead ...
We had a neutered boy who only ever did a wee once in the home. He had a UTI poor thing. Cats can live for over 20 years so 8 is about middle aged to me. You have to live with your choice for a long time so you want to get it right.
Mine is a neutered male, 18 months old when I adopted him and he has never sprayed at all. I once shut him in the living room by mistake when I went to work instead of the kitchen ( where he has access to the litter tray and a cat flap) - even then the poor thing didn’t wee inside! I’ve never felt so guilty!
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
The 8-year-old boy sounds like your cat...
We had a neutered male adored between 1-2, and lived until 16/17. He sprayed once (stress-induced UTI from 2 house moves in quick succession). Otherwise he preferred to toilet outside and didn’t like a litter tray, so he was very low-maintenance and extremely cuddly once he’d warmed to us.
We then adopted a 9-month old boy (also merited, has never sprayed, very cuddly from the get-go) and an 8-year-old girl who chose me. She’s cuddly now after 2 years, but took at least 9 months to progress from sitting near me to on me. She has other quirks, but she’s great.
Rescues do behave very differently in pens to at home. But take another look at both of them, and go with your gut instinct.
The boy is reserved by someone else now .
Ah well, back to the drawing board! It's really helpful to hear all your experiences here, though.
Go and have another look at the 8 year old boy... it may help you make a decision .....
Oh boys are lovely, so cuddly.
It’s so hard to tell while they are in the rescue centre, especially with you never having owned a cat before.
My first cat wasn’t very friendly either but we grew to love how anti social he was! It really depends what you are looking for in a cat though.
Do you mind me asking a general location of where you are? You could have a look at a breed rescue maybe. Persians are so chilled, I would recommend them or a ragdoll.
Our first were a mum and son. One cuddled me. The other one cuddled DH. We tried to swap and they objected. They were the ones!
There are so many rescue cats around. Good luck.
My Boycat, the more nervous of the pair (they were Feral until they were one so both VERY skittish) is now very affectionate. He still won't sit on me, and runs away if anyone apart from me is in the house, but he does want cuddles on the bed 3 times a day plus loads on the sofa sitting next to me. He's definitely loads more affectionate than Girlcat.
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