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Need more confidence with my cat

(22 Posts)
comfortandjoy Thu 26-Apr-18 23:55:56

I have a lovely 1 year old cat that we got 4 months ago. I have wanted a cat for years as I had one through my childhood. I realise now that I didn’t understand what was involved and that my parents must have done the hard bits.
So now I am the main carer and responsible for him but am failing badly and am feeling ashamed of myself. I have eye drops to put in 3 times a day as he has a big scratch on his eyeball. The cat is now so wary of me and won’t come near me. I have just been following him around with a blanket trying to catch him. Each time he escaped and I’m causing him so much distress. It’s so upsetting for us both .
I am not assertive enough . I’m afraid if I push him too much he’ll turn wild and hiss. I know I need to do this for his eyes but I have let my self get too emotional and nervous. ( anxious to the point of diarrhoea. It was the same getting him into the carrier to actually go to the vets. It took all day .

The vet showed me how to do eye drops and it seemed so simple but he was so submissive there so didn’t attempt to escape.

I feel I am a failure as a cat owner . A middle aged mean who can’t be forceful enough to take control of a cat for its own good.

Was anyone else like this to begin with but became more confident with time?

I love this cat and am so ashamed with myself.

NoSquirrels Fri 27-Apr-18 00:14:42

@comfortandjoy Don't be downhearted! I am a seasoned and experienced cat slave, and I would still be nervous about administering eye drops 3 times a day - blimey, I feel anxious even thinking about it.

Also, if you would like to be reassured on the cat carrier front, I once missed a vet appointment when I couldn't get our lovely boy into the carrier - eventually my then-DP (now DH) came back from work and found both the cat and I shut in the long hall corridor of the flat, at opposite ends, me in tears and Cat eyeing me suspiciously. I tried and tried, but even when I got him near the carrier he managed to turn into some sort of Elastic Octopus Cat with limbs that were simultaneously rigid and unmovable but also splayed in impossible places...

What helped, eventually, was a top-opening carrier (so you can deposit them in then quickly shut the 'roof') not one where you have to post them through the door, and buying one about 3 sizes larger than strictly necessary.

For the eye drops, you do need to just steel yourself, I think. Get LOADS of Dreamies on hand, bribe ceaselessly, and then quick blanket-over-the-top and hold hard. Make sure the bottle is open first!

NoSquirrels Fri 27-Apr-18 00:16:48

Btw, who is the 'we' in this scenario? Do you have back-up from anyone?

comfortandjoy Fri 27-Apr-18 00:21:34

Thanks for responding. I just rang my partner at work who was in a meeting .
I just tried again and he escaped. Now in tears and he’s looking at me like he doesn’t trust me.
My 6 year old cant help and I’m not being a good role model. I have to do it.

comfortandjoy Fri 27-Apr-18 00:24:12

It’s family cat but DP is out of house until 7. The cat was hiding under bed when he left this morning so I said don’t worry go to work I’ll do it. I am off work for school hols.

NoSquirrels Fri 27-Apr-18 00:32:04

he’s looking at me like he doesn’t trust me

That's because he doesn't! Would you? Bigger animal than you attacks you with a blanket and tries to open your sore eye that already hurts and put evil uncomfortable liquid in it. No thanks.

Does your 6 year old like having eye drops? Probably not, huh? I have had to bribe/force my DC into eye drops before now - it is basically the same process as with a cat but swap the bribe from cat treats to chocolate/sweets. Acting confident, knowing it's a job that has to happen and a towel are the common elements. Thankfully DC don't have claws, so that's your added area of danger. But hissing is a cat's equivalent of screaming bloody murder, which my DC have certainly done too...

You're NOT a bad role model. You can tell your 6 year old that you hate making the cat feel scared and that it is upsetting you. Empathy is not a bad thing to model.

NoSquirrels Fri 27-Apr-18 00:33:38

OTOH. If your DP is confident with the cat, then I would just leave it for now and tackle together when he's home. One missed dose won't matter.

NoSquirrels Fri 27-Apr-18 00:36:36

Whatever you do now, just leave it for a bit.

The cat is stressed with you following it. You are stressed so you can't get it done when you've caught the cat.

You can either leave it till your DP is home and 2 of you can do it together, or you can wait until the cat settles somewhere and is relaxed and then you can try again with the element of surprise. But keeping going now is a recipe for disaster, imo.

comfortandjoy Fri 27-Apr-18 02:01:34

I did it finally. Phew.

Your words helped me . Thank you so much for taking the time to write.

I am so relieved but know I have to do it again and again until Tues. Hoping I will grow in confidence - I would love to be a capable cat person by the end of it. I was scared of driving until my 40’s but now go everywhere with confidence.
I might buy some cat treats. These are different to regular cat biscuits aren’t they?

mimibunz Fri 27-Apr-18 02:09:45

So sorry OP. Having been a cat slave forever I can promise you that they tend to forgive easily, especially if you are otherwise kind. And generous with the Dreamies! Please try not to worry. The Bunz is currently judging me because I have a cold and don’t feel like playing with him. grin

Trilogy18 Fri 27-Apr-18 03:17:02

It might help to keep the cat confined to a very small area until the course of eye drops is up if that is possible..

The more you have to chase your cat the more stressful it is for both of you. The ideal would be a separate loo or utility room. Boring for the cat but easier for you both and fine for a few days.

What you are having to do is not easy so don't feel disheartened. Once it is all over your cat will forget very quickly.

comfortandjoy Fri 27-Apr-18 06:39:34

Thank you . Yes he seems to have forgiven me now as he was in here rubbing around me as usual . But now I need to do it again .

And what are these Dreamies you speak of?
Treats? I wonder if they’re sold here in NZ.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Fri 27-Apr-18 06:47:33

For putting in a cat carrier I turn the cat carrier on its end and (ideally) get child to hold steady or do on sofa. Have the door ready, catch cat, put in and close before it has a chance to jump out. Only put one cat at a time in a carrier as otherwise one jumps out when next one put in. We actually usually harness one as she often goes out for walks. You can try holding by scruff of the neck as then they move less, I wouldn't puck adult cat up by the scruff unsupported though.

villainousbroodmare Fri 27-Apr-18 07:00:43

Hi there comfort! I'm a vet and I put drops in cats' eyes daily. It is bloody difficult to do it on your own and more so the more often you have to do it as they get clever and evasive! For this reason I very often hospitalise cats who need drops as I know the owners will battle. So it may be an option to ask your vet to keep the cat for a few days. Alternatively, to pop in daily with the cat (although then you need to wrangle him into a carrier every time). Also ask them if three times a day is truly essential... maybe twice would do. Also second suggestions to keep the cat in one room, and suggest you Google how to wrap a cat in a towel. That's v helpful. It's much easier to work on a table too, with someone to help you. You have to set things up so that you succeed first time... close doors, have towel ready, drops in hand etc. flowers

NoSquirrels Fri 27-Apr-18 07:06:03

Well done comfort!

Toddlerteaplease Fri 27-Apr-18 10:33:18

Both of my very docile cats, one of whom has to take a lot of tablets daily( and is brilliant with them) were a nightmare with eye drops. One of them had a steroid/antibiotic one that distressed her do much I stopped it. ( she'd had an injection of steroids and antibiotics anyway)

Don't beat yourself up Op. you are being a good cat slave and trying your best.

Toddlerteaplease Fri 27-Apr-18 10:36:07

Dreamiest are kitty crack, slightest rustle of the packet and they are putty in your hands!

viccat Fri 27-Apr-18 11:47:39

Dreamies might be called Temptations in NZ, like they are in the US?

Last summer I had to put twice daily eye drops on four 10 week old kittens while their semi-feral mum tried to swipe at me at every opportunity. That was (not) fun. grin

I second the suggestion of a small room - much easier to catch that way. Also if he does hiss, try not to worry. Unless he's a particularly aggressive cat, he will probably just hiss and not do anything. Wear long sleeves if you're worried about claws...

And attitude definitely makes a difference, if you set out to do it with intention it is often easier.

YesItsMeIDontCare Fri 27-Apr-18 11:58:38

I'm in my mid 40s, I've had cats all my life, longest I've ever been without a cat is 6 months. To be totally honest OP you sound a damn sight better than me at medicating your pusscat!!! I can offer no advice (because I'm shit at it), but I'd like to offer a hug of solidarity.

(I had a mooch - British Dreamies are called Temptations in NZ)

Cindie943811A Fri 27-Apr-18 22:12:31

Why not try the Pink Peg trick which is something a vet explained at an NZ cat breeders forum. Get the usual plastic clothes pegs (don’t have to pink!) and place thm on the back of your cats neck - doesn’t hurt. You lift the skin behind the cats left ear (if you’re right handed) and put on 3 pegs in a line moving down towards the back. Cat will then become floppy and docile for a few moments. You have toe quick. Then administer the eye drops or whatever before the effect wear off.
This trick does not work with kittens. My vested to keep my collection of pegs in a drawer at his surgery.
One cat owner reckoned putting a towel around the cats middle has the same effect but I can’t vouch for that.
Good luck.
BTW friend once complained that her cat didn’t like the medication the vet gave her for cat’s sore eyes. I looked at it and told her it was antibiotic paste to be given orally!

comfortandjoy Fri 27-Apr-18 22:58:13

Thank you again for your replies . What a good place this is to talk about cats.
Thanks for all the tips.
Now that it’s the weekend my DP is wrapping him in a blanket while I do the drops . It’s easier and so much less stressful to do with another person .Will have a look for these treats when I’m at the supermarket later.

Teacuphiccup Sat 28-Apr-18 00:19:26

We have our cat carriers out all the time, they use them as beds so when we have to put them in them they aren’t scared of them.

Urgh eyedrops are the worst, our fat lad sometimes squints when he sees us because we had to give him eyedrops three years ago hmm

You’re not a bad cat parent, it’s hard.

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