Please Help

Discussion in 'Cat and Pet Forum' started by ~Tucker&Me~, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. ~Tucker&Me~

    ~Tucker&Me~ and Spy.

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    We are at the end of our rope and need help.

    My grandma received a cat through one of those senior people and animal match-up programs. Basically, the idea was that she would care for and house the animal and the program would pay for his medical expenses (and I think food too, but she buys it anyway). There are several issues going on and we are desperate for any help you can offer.

    The cat has attacked her, quite viciously and without any obvious triggers. It attacked her for the 4th time two days ago and left her with bite and scratch marks all on her arm. She didn't need stitches but it left my grandmother shaking and scared, to the point that she called my mother crying. My grandma thinks the attacks happen because the cat wants something and she isn't giving him it but she admits that she can't seem to figure out when it will happen and he seems to attack her at random.

    The cat has eating issues that have never been resolved. He frequently throws up 5-10 minutes after a meal, and has chronic diarrhea. She has tried slowing him down while he is eating (and he does seem to gobble a little but nothing that extreme), and at one point the vet prescribed him antibiotics for a gut infection. He has also been fed a variety of different foods with no luck. My grandma now feels obligated to feed him very small amounts multiple times throughout the day, and is still frequently cleaning up vomit and occasionally diarrhea (keep in mind her apartment is virtually all carpet).

    This cat also has hygiene issues. He doesn't bathe himself very much and seems to always have crusty gross bits (I am assuming litter and fecal matter/urine) stuck to his hindquarters and tail. He is a long-haired cat (though not of the super bushy variety, if that makes sense).

    His hygiene issues in conjunction with his chronic vomiting and diarrhea is now making me concerned for my grandmother's health. She is getting older and her eyesight isn't as good, it's difficult for her to clean up his messes so frequently and he lays all over her bed and couches with the crusty bits stuck to him. I am at the point where I feel like it is quite unsanitary and yet nothing we do seems to curb the upset stomach or initiate some self cleaning routines.

    My grandmother is quite certain that the program will not pay for any more vet visits to diagnose these problems but she is miserable. She loves the cat but lives in constant fear of the next time he gets 'upset' and attacks her, and he really is an unhygienic animal. We are in a really awkward situation where we don't really own or have rights over the animal (as he technically belongs to the program) but we are living with him and I feel that the challenges with this cat are really wearing on my grandmother. I am posting this in the hopes that someone may have experienced similar symptoms or have lived with some of these issues and can offer insight. I know my grandmother loves him but the work and fear is overwhelming her. If there is some medical tests we can do to figure this out I may be able to scrounge the money together to do it but they have already done quite a bit of diagnostics on him in regards to his tummy issues and nothing changed for the better. She has had him for 3 or 4 years now and while she loves him dearly, she is getting really tired of the work and the attacks.

    Help? :(
     
  2. Southpaw

    Southpaw orange iguanas.

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    The vomiting and diarrhea has me leaning towards IBD. To definitively diagnose it I believe at least an ultrasound would be needed, but in my cat's case we diagnosed it based on the absence of any other disease. Basically, urinalysis/fecal/and blood work were all perfectly normal, so IBD was pretty much the only other logical explanation and I opted to just treat him as such, instead of doing any more extensive and expensive testing.

    He is being wonderfully managed on a raw diet but I understand that is probably in no way feasible for your grandma! Wonder if she could do freeze-dried, or a dehydrated like The Honest Kitchen? Guess I don't know what all has been tried but maybe even a good, grain-free canned diet? Has the vet ever suggested a prescription diet (no they're not the best but sometimes you just need something that works, and I think this is one of those times)?

    Is he overweight? Can't imagine a cat letting themselves get that dirty unless they are physically incapable of grooming. It would help if the diarrhea were under control. How often are you able to see the cat? Would it help if he were shaved a bit back there, so that there wasn't hair for feces and whatnot to get stuck to?

    No idea about the biting :(
     
  3. Fran101

    Fran101 Resident fainting goat

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    I would contact the program. I know your grandma must love him but this isn't a good situation for either of them :( Between the health AND temperament issues that would be a lot for a young person to deal with let alone an elderly person.. these pets are supposed to alleviate stress not create more!

    I would contact the program.. if they refuse to pay for any more vet visits or more testing on what could be causing all this.. I would really consider talking to them about euthanizing the cat or taking the cat back and seeing for themselves.
    Nobody should be afraid of their own pet and with the extra health issues i'd be worried that the cat will continue to decline health wise if something major isn't done to fix the problems.
     
  4. Xandra

    Xandra Active Member

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    This. What a sad situation :( Your poor grandma.
     
  5. misfitz

    misfitz Ruddy Buttinski

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    I wonder if the cat wasn't originally more feral than the rescue thought? Does he go outside or is he an indoor only kitty? If he spent most of his life outdoors and is now confined to the house, and isn't super trusting of people, then lack of exercise/stimulation combined with fear could explain the biting. The digestive issues could be caused by stress. Although after 3 years you'd think he would have adjusted at least some.

    Sorry that probably isn't very helpful :( But that was my first thought, that the cat isn't 100% tame.
     
  6. -bogart-

    -bogart- Member of WHODAT Nation.

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    send it back. no qualms , it is a match progam that did freaking horrid , your grandmother does not need this and should NEVER fear an animal she is feeding. She may not be hard enough to do it herself , but if I was you I would so defiantly take him back.

    The cat is not happy and she is not happy why prolong the misery and possible hurt your grandma and the cat?
     
  7. noludoru

    noludoru Bored Now.

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    What Fran said. This is not something your grandma can or should deal with. If it was her cat, I would suggest euthanasia, but the cat has a rescue to fall back on, so a second chance is possible. But that second chance needs to be with someone who can handle him. There are tons of clean, compliant, sweet cats in rescue - she needs one of those.
     
  8. ~Tucker&Me~

    ~Tucker&Me~ and Spy.

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    As far as I remember, the diagnostics didn't produce anything conclusive. I could take him in for an ultrasound but I have a feeling that would cost me a lot... I could look into it though. At least if we had proof there was something definitive the rescue may take his issues more seriously and assist with the cost of medications.

    My grandma cannot afford the high quality stuff, and unfortunately I think freeze-dried would be far too expensive for her. I am hesitant to suggest raw because the last thing I want is her handling a lot of raw meat and him throwing it up in her house... I bought the high quality food for her for a while (only stopped a few weeks ago as I no longer get a staff discount after I left my job) and she did mention that she thinks he has been acting more aggressively now that he is on the crappy food. I will probably pay to put him back on good quality stuff but he has been on it before and still had the upset tummy issues. He also won't eat anything without fish and that isn't pate :rolleyes:

    He used to be overweight but has since slimmed down to a good size. I have thought about getting him shaved, I guess I could look into that.

    She is very torn. She worries about what will happen to the cat if she returns it. Tbh I think she would almost rather put him down than send him back because it will be upsetting for him to get uprooted again, the rescue still won't pay for his medical expenses (keep in mind this program is designed for low-income seniors so the recipient likely won't be able to afford it either), and she will just put some other poor old lady in her position. She also doesn't think the rescue will allow her to put him down. Frustrating all around :(

    We don't know much at all about his background, and I don't think they gave us any info really. He is an indoor only cat that lives in her apartment, which is small. She plays with him with toys but other than that he doesn't get a whole lot of exercise. I would be surprised if he was feral though because he is a very pushy and affectionate cat the other 90% of the time. Like he comes running to the door to greet guests and jumps right in their laps for petting... He's actually very sweet and outgoing. I think that's why the aggression is so confusing, he is genuinely SUCH a nice cat the rest of the time :confused:

    I get what you are saying but I just don't think it's that simple. My grandma is lonely and this cat is the light of her life lol. I am really unhappy with the program (there are a few other factors in play that I don't want to post publicly) and the last thing she wants to do is send him back to the coordinator. I think she would prefer to actually put the animal to sleep first, which she isn't authorized to do. She doesn't want to give him up because she loves him so I am desperately hoping to find some solutions before we have to make a final decision like that.

    Thanks for the feedback everyone, it is much appreciated :)
     
  9. ~Tucker&Me~

    ~Tucker&Me~ and Spy.

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    The rescue will not pay for more treatment and they match up low income seniors to senior cats, so his chances of getting more medical treatment is pretty low. She actually has said that once this cat passes away or something happens she doesn't think she can deal with having another. This makes me very, very sad because I know she is quite lonely :(
     
  10. sassafras

    sassafras mushinois

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    When cats attack "at random" I almost always think of displaced aggression first. That is, something else is making him pissed off but your grandma happens to be in his way. It may be impossible to figure out exactly what's setting him off as it could be a sound, a sight out the windows, or god only knows what going on.

    For short term emergency management, I would get him a "sanitary" clip - just shave off all his butt/pantaloon hair so at least he's not crusty. And get a Feliway diffuser to help him chill out a little bit. Those things should at least help a little until you can get a more permanent solution figured out with the rescue/vet situation.
     
  11. yoko

    yoko New Member

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    I'm not really a cat person so I don't know too much about them.

    But could you go over and help put some soft paws on him? It won't help with the biting but it would definitely help with the scratching.
     
  12. ~Tucker&Me~

    ~Tucker&Me~ and Spy.

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    I never even considered that, so thank you. Have you heard good things about the diffusers? I know they are quite expensive as we used to sell them in my store but I always sort of doubted their effectiveness. If you have heard they work though I would definitely be willing to try that.

    Soft paws, good idea. I think he bit her last time but she definitely has scratches too so if that improves things we are willing to try it. Even a few things so at least he quits attacking (and doing damage) would make a world of difference.
     
  13. sassafras

    sassafras mushinois

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    They don't always work, but IME they work more often than not. Often enough to make it worth trying.
     
  14. BigDogBuford

    BigDogBuford New Member

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    Can bites can be quite dangerous so make sure your gran is looking after herself. What a horrid situation for all involved. It does sound like a poor fit for everyone.
     
  15. ~Tucker&Me~

    ~Tucker&Me~ and Spy.

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    When she called crying after the last one I went over and cleaned up the marks with hydrogen peroxide and polysporin. I have heard they can be dangerous so I did the best I could to prevent infection and it seems to be healing ok without signs of anything going awry. We will keep an eye on it though, thanks for the heads up. Hopefully we can figure something out so she doesn't have to worry about it happening again.
     
  16. BigDogBuford

    BigDogBuford New Member

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    I'm no doctor but a good dead sea salt soak can work really well for animal bites. As hot of water as is tolerable and a good pinch of dead sea salts (or Epsom salt) for 15-20 minutes is good at drawing out the nasty stuff. Any red streaks, fever etc should mean a prompt trip to the doc though.
     
  17. Kilter

    Kilter New Member

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    I would certainly contact the agency and let them know your concerns first of all. Sounds like a bad matchup if the cat is aggressive, and the fecal matter is not a good thing for the bed etc...

    They may also be able to put you in contact with a diffuser and a groomer at a reduced cost too.
     
  18. Fran27

    Fran27 New Member

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    I'd contact the rescue right away. My mom got bitten by a cat once and it got very infected and she couldn't use her hand for a few months. You really don't want to take the risk at her age (and I'd definitely keep an eye on her wounds and be ready to go to the doctor to get her some antibiotics).
     
  19. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    Just a heads up, if your grandma is diabetic she shouldn't use epsom salts. Otherwise they are great for cat bites.

    It sounds like her cat is a relative of mine. :(

    Inappropriate vomiting and bathroom habits... We finally had no choice but to make her an outside cat. She'd pee in my lap, poop on my shoes while I was wearing them, once she decided to puke on Samuel's stomach. Of ALL the surfaces in the house to puke on, whhhyyy did it have to be the baby?!?

    It was so unhygienic, and unfortunately we never did figure out why or how to stop the behavior. So she's outside and it's so much better not having to deal with gross excremental stuff from the cat inside our house. I'm sorry this isn't that helpful to your gran, but it was the only solution we found.

    Our cat also randomly attacks me. She's mellowed out a lot, but it was really bad for the first three years and she inflicted some really nasty injuries. She's fine with the kids though. I think her being outside really helped, because it was almost like she felt trapped indoors and when she got nervous she'd just freak out, fly out behind something and bit me. Ever since she's been an outdoor cat if I'm nearby and she has a weird episode she just ends up fleeing, and later is fine.

    She also has horrible hygiene. It's been that way since she was a kitten. Her tail is crusty and eww. I won't go into more details but it grossed me out when she'd lay on the bed or other furniture. We never figured out how to help her be cleaner. And she's even a short hair.

    This is really hard, but I think Fran is right. The rescue needs to take responsibility for making such a poor placement. It's putting your grandma's health at risk.

    She probably would benefit from having a more balanced, normal cat. To prevent it from happening again, you could maybe find one for her and you or someone in your family could foster it for her in your home for a while to make sure there are no weird medical issues, dangerous behavioral issues, and that the cat has normal cat hygiene.
     

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