We are reserving this page for some of our more "challenging" kitties! They will need extra dedicated adopters who are up to each cat's unique challenges. Whether it's missing toes, old age, special diets, excessive shyness, losing a home or worse. They are a challenge, but especially rewarding for the right owner!
Oh dear......Louise! Poor gal--her previous owner said she would bite and attack people. Because of this, they wanted her euthanized. BUT Louise had also been declawed......we do not know if she started biting before or after she was declawed, as many cats will learn to use their teeth if their claws are removed.
What we quickly discovered--and what the previous owners probably didn't realize--is that Louise is deaf. Can't hear a thing, nadda, 100% deaf. So we've adjusted our expectations accordingly, and immediately tried to figure out ways to communicate with this most confused kitty.
She cannot be an outside cat--ever.
She has unlearned her bad habits to some extent, but is still easily overstimulated and will bite. Not with lethal force, like before, and she "knows" she shouldn't--a quick nip and she runs away.
She is a beautiful brown tabby, shorthair, spayed and vaccinated. She uses the litter box meticulously and keeps herself very clean. She has lovely green eyes.
Please note that we absolutely do NOT recommend declawing under any circumstances. We do not allow our kittens/cats to go to homes that will declaw. Do your own research on the procedure, and most people quickly understand why. The process can cause chronic pain in some cats, and we are hoping that is not the case with Louise. If your furniture is that important to you, please either don't get a cat or do a lot of homework on redirecting cats away from furnishings and onto appropriate toys/scratching posts.
Note: We took Louise in before the Christmas holidays. A couple of days ago, we began to suspect there was something else going on with this gal. She would sleep very soundly, and, once realizing a person was there, would immediately become aggressive. Growling, yowling, swatting and trying to grab people through the cage, trying to leap on people from inside the cage. We did NOT reprimand her in any way, shape or form for these actions. We simply tried to ignore them. No, it is NOT easy to ignore the manic wailings of a cat that wants to kill you, lol!
We initially though she might be in pain from the declawing--we had no medical history, so no idea when it was done or who did it. We put her on medication, but the meds did not seem to be making much difference. So my next idea was a test--and we think our girl may be deaf! This opens up a whole new way of working with her and seeing what we can do
After a week of trying to ignore her attacks, we're seeing a crack in the armor! Louise has now asked for (!!!!!!) --and received--some gentle scritches on her head. She can't handle it for long, and tries to bite if you've overstayed your welcome with your hands on her. But this is HUGE progress for our girl. We're eager to keep it up and hope she continues to get better. We have also begun some tricks and techniques to communicate with her--flicking the lights on and off when we enter the room, for example. We can only hope she's eager to work with us and the aggression will lessen as we become more able to communicate with each other.
Louise has been holding steady. There have been no huge breakthroughs, but on the other hand, she is much calmer than she was even last month. Her progress is going very slowly, but she certainly is learning and we'll take it!
Louise has made huge improvements since we first took her in, but she still has a ways to go. Her tolerance for petting has improved, although she's quick with the teeth if overstimulated. She gets particularly agitated when her food and water bowls are messed with (for cleaning or feeding), but has settled down quite a bit on other things. We have a simple, specific hand signal we give--which to us, anyway, means "We're friends and want to pet you." She does seem to finally understand that, and will now rub against the cage in anticipation. Although it's taken awhile to get to this stage, it's been worth it!
With some of our other adult cats adopted out, we made the big decision to let Louise have the office to herself, cage free. After a couple of unprovoked attacks, she's been very sweet and affectionate. She has picked a spot to nap in, and loves the laser pointer! Most of her aggression now--which is much much less--seems to be based on her wanting affection. She knows the hand signal for petting, and immediately responds with head bumps and body rubs. Too much, however, gets you a slap; too little gets you a bite! We're slowly working with her on this--inappropriate behavior simply means she gets left alone. She seems to be picking up on things much faster now. If we actually knew sign language, I'm sure she would be able to pick things up faster. Oh well, we are making progress and plan to continue. Our next task is a hand signal we made up to try and teach her direction, such as jump on or get down. We plan to use treats initially to get her attention. She does love her goodies!
The goal of all this effort is still to try and get her to a point where she is safe around people and can be adopted--preferably with someone willing to continue her training and dedicated to educating our girl. She's really very sweet and loving a majority of the time now, and we want to keep going on this very positive path!
Louise now seems to have the hang of our crude hand signals, and the fact that they lead to treats isn't lost on her, haha!
Her biggest issue at the moment is still her aggression over her food and water. We strongly suspect her caregiver was scared of her (ok, we get it), and only dared give her food and water when they had to (not cool). Whatever the case, she still wants to attack at feeding time, so we are now hoping that we can use the hand signal for direction to point out treats we've tossed, and clean and fill her food and water while she's distracted. This is a temporary measure until she learns that she is, always, going to be taken care of and there's no need to attack over it. Training replies on the success of each and every small step, and this is another small step in that process. But it will certainly be a big success once Louise has mastered it!
Ordered an automatic cat water fountain in the hopes that constantly available moving water will lessen her anxiety over this issue. We also ordered a large interactive cat toy with lots of unpredictable movement. She needs to lose some weight and although she loves the laser, she also needs some entertainment on her own. Next update will be after we've tried these two items.
If anyone is still following along at this point, just a gentle reminder that we would like to find Louise a permanent, loving home. At this time, we don't consider her safe for children --or anyone else unwilling to potentially take a cat bite or two. We would not recommend she be kept with another cat at this time. We do not want her to attack another cat, and certainly don't want another cat to attack her. She's quite a project for someone with a true interest in animal behavior, and we're happy to discuss her with anyone totally serious about potentially adopting her.
Louise is still here, and we seem to be holding steady with her affections and training. She is much calmer gal than the cat we started with. She likes routine and hanging out by the computer. We purchase toys that have motion or lights or both--toys with chirps or bells obviously don't have any extra appeal for her. She is still up for adoption if the right home comes along, but is safe, content and totally a temperamental diva in the meantime!