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"Kitty cat nervous disorder?" Topic

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Great War Ace Inactive Member02 Mar 2015 9:04 a.m. PST

We had "Buster" around our house since he was less than a year old, a stray brought home by our young teenaged daughter. I acquiesced and the cat stayed. The girls named him "Oliver", and I "Buster", on the very first day. Here he is in his glory:


Imagine him now, with all of his ruff around his neck GONE! Bare, scabby skin from his collar bones all the way up to the base of his ears and lower lips. It happened in this sequence of mistakes and events:

Early last November our daughter moved with her girlfriend into an apartment. Buster was fetched and moved in, as our daughter had promised she would do when she finally got her own place. The girlfriend has two dogs, a medium sized one and a small one. Buster seemed to adapt well enough. Stories of how the three pets related were positive and mostly funny. Our daughter showed us video clips of them playing/chasing around, and of Buster actually sleeping partially on top of "Prozac", the larger dog. Everything seemed to be progressing fine.

Christmas came, and our older daughter came with her boyfriend and their dog, "Simon", to visit and stayed at her younger sister's place. When they would go out and leave the four pets alone, the two resident dogs were locked in the bedroom, but Buster and Simon were left in the general livingroom area together. Simon was aggressive and mean. Buster had to negotiate his space in order to get from his high places to his food and litter box in the closet. Our daughter knew that her cat could take care of himself, having roughed up much larger dogs than Simon back in the day. She thought nothing of the situation that the humans had combined to create.

At this same time, a collar had been put on Buster to ID him as a pet to the other tenants, and not a stray.

The two changes have seemed work a tipping point in the cat's attitude: he started at once to scratch and claw at his neck, even once the collar was removed. In the absence of the departed Simon, no change has occurred. He was there for less than a week, and most of the time the owners were around. Buster was only left alone with Simon for a few times over a short span of less than a week. But in the next two months he had clawed/scratched/licked off all of his hair and opened his neck to raw wounds. The girls have put an improvised "collar of shame" (made out of cloth) on Buster to protect his wounds and allow them to heal. But he responded by getting at anything nearby with his tongue and claws until he's an utter sight, as I described above.

If anyone reading this has any suggestions for healing we'd all be grateful. Otherwise, your sympathy is enough.

The next steps our daughter has mentioned taking seem loopy and very unimpressive: "aroma therapy", drugs to alter the cat's mood/disposition, in other words, shots in the dark and expensive, desperate ones at that. Bleh….

TNE230002 Mar 2015 9:55 a.m. PST

Simon was removed
his scent remains

the only suggestion I have
bring him for a visit back at your place for a few days
see if his mood improves

if it does then let him stay until he heals

then try to get him used to the collar

then you can try to reintroduce him to your daughters place

Great War Ace Inactive Member02 Mar 2015 10:10 a.m. PST

Scent! Duh! Of course Simon's "memory" is kept alive by things that stupid humans have no cognizance of. Thanks for the suggestions….

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP02 Mar 2015 10:46 a.m. PST

A vet can prescribe a medication to help Buster calm
down. Our youngest cat had the same issue with a resident
dog AND THE SCENT 3 years ago. When the dog was removed
(to daughter's residence, strangely enough) the vet said
the same thing TNE2300 did and prescribed this calming

We used it in conjunction with vigorous cleaning to rid
the house of Puddles' (dog) scent.

After a while, the cat stopped clawing and scratching
and licking herself took a few months, though. She
is OK today, but growls when neighbors' dogs bark.

The product is called 'Composure' (trademarked) and is
a compound of L-Theanine and Thiamine.

Normal dosage is one pill/day (we chopped it up into
wet food) but the package says dosage can be increased
up to 3/day in times of increased stress, but your vet
would be the best source of info as to dosage.

Buster was a very handsome cat, and I hope he recovers
his equanimity !

Personal logo Sue Kes Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member02 Mar 2015 12:51 p.m. PST

Can you take Buster back into your home? If so, with the tratment already suggested, I think he will heal well, although it might take some time and he is likely always to be nervous of strange dogs. If he has to stay with your daughter, the drug will certainly help and she should do everything she can to rid her apartment of the scent of the dog – without making too many physical changes, as Buster will be ultra sensitive to them. And don't keep him there if that or any other strange dog visits again, or his stress reaction could be worse.

Either way, I strongly suggest that you or she uses Feliway to help him. It's based on a natural hormone to combat stress produced by cats and one of the few "alternate" treatments for stress I would recommend, as I know it does work. It's a prescription treatment, from the vet, and you can get a spray, and use it liberally all over the place, or as a diffuser which works through a plug-in system – more costly, but more effective. If you're in the US, I know it's available over there but it might be called something different – ask your vet.

Honestly, I think the best solution would be for him to return to your home, get treated for both the stress and the physical damage, and stay there. And not wear a collar – he certainly can't wear one until his neck is healed up or it's likely to ulcerate and could become infected.

Talk to the vet you have most faith in.

Personal logo Sue Kes Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member02 Mar 2015 12:54 p.m. PST

And please, please, can all of us who know cats try to get cat owners to realise "he's good with dogs" only means "he's good with the dog we live with" – every other dog is a threat, and especially when it invades the cat's territory.

I'm sorry your daughter has had to learn this the hard way.

Great War Ace Inactive Member02 Mar 2015 1:05 p.m. PST

Man oh man, you guys sound wise. I only wish that my daughter (any of us) had had a clue. Bringing Simon in was almost certainly the cause of all this. Now, possibly (probably?) Buster is just weirded out by the other two dogs as well but doesn't manifest anything more than this "nervous tick" behavior, which is threatening his life as much as it has destroyed his handsome looks.

Yes, yes, yes! We can take the kitty cat back, for as long as it takes. And keep him here if that is what it takes. I know our daughter will be happy to have him back here, as he was, rather than any amount of making do with a less than happy cat where she lives.

I've given her the link to this thread and she can read up on these good suggestions.

"In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall the truth be established." And I've already received that many. Thanks you guys!…

Great War Ace Inactive Member03 Mar 2015 1:07 p.m. PST

Our daughter has decided to continue keeping the kitty cat at her apartment, unless or until he worsens and she loses hope of his recovery continuing to live there. I understand her reluctance to make any changes, after his months of living there already. She is grateful that we are willing to let him come back here to get well, and that she can depend on that desperate option if necessary.

The suggestions offered here encouraged her to try the aroma therapy and other calming substances.

She said that coincidental to her news two days ago, Buster (everybody calls him Oliver except me) has started acting more acclimated again. He seems more relaxed, and is finally showing some playful moments, brief though they are still. He has a favorite sleeping spot on her rocking chair. She said that he hasn't really settled on a place of his own before this.

I will return to this thread later with any further developments.

Alfred Adler does the Hobby Inactive Member06 Mar 2015 12:44 a.m. PST

That's a great pic! ;)

Hey, I recognized some figs-I think- Are those Bowmen in skirmish Essex? lol

Great War Ace Inactive Member06 Mar 2015 9:20 a.m. PST

Old Glory, with a couple of something else in there too, but I can't remember what they are….

Great War Ace Inactive Member08 Mar 2015 9:30 p.m. PST

The invalid, in his staked out territory, the rocking chair.


jpattern210 Mar 2015 10:55 a.m. PST

Poor guy!

MarescialloDiCampo19 Mar 2015 11:32 a.m. PST

Not a happy cat…

Old Slow Trot Inactive Member20 Mar 2015 6:32 a.m. PST

Hoping Buster and company will be OK.

Great War Ace Inactive Member21 Mar 2015 8:23 a.m. PST

*SIGH*! "Company" keeps trying to draw him out with attention and affection. But he'll often as not stare at them and then turn away. In his kitty cat brain, I am sure that he associates all of this negative change since the move with the stupid hairless bipeds who have taken over his life. We, my wife and I, were at least neutral presences, who opened and closed his door to the outside world when he wanted us to (more or less "on time", at times he would have to wait, because we would not allow ourselves to be dictated to by the whims of a cat), kept his food and water sources full, and betimes even played with him a bit, etc. Now, he's clawed his neck raw, has to live cheek to jowl with two dogs, and the memory of a third dog lingering about the place, and two women who come and go with their busy lives and weird friends, etc. Life there is sure more busy and distracting. But possibly that is the exact opposite of what "Buster" naturally wants? Don't know. My daughter is intent on him healing there, instead of bringing him back to our house. I respect that, and part of me is relieved to not be burdened with the responsibility of taking care of a kitty cat again, especially a sick one! And that part of me feels guilty too….

TNE230021 Mar 2015 11:25 p.m. PST

"We, my wife and I, were at least neutral presences, who opened and closed his door to the outside world when he wanted us to…etc"

Dogs have Owners
Cats have Staff

Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP30 Mar 2015 5:26 p.m. PST

Does the cat have his own spaces?

Cats tend to get quite anxious when they feel they have nowhere to escape.
Our two cats fought a lot at our old apartment. Now that we have more space, they get along great: All it took was a few extra feet.

Maybe have them set up his sleeping stuff and a food bowl in a secluded room where noone else goes and keep the other animals out?

Also, ensure he has enough places where he can jump up and perch.

Great War Ace Inactive Member31 Mar 2015 7:46 a.m. PST

Thanks Weasel.

Yes, his food and water and litter box are all in a closet that the dogs don't go into. And before even bringing him into the apartment, my daughter built a bunch of shelves around the walls so that he could negotiate around the room above the dogs. She further modified them to make access easier and safer by putting carpet on them. But, from the getgo, Buster hardly uses the shelves, preferring to mix it up on the floor and furniture. As I noted above, he has taken over the rocking chair as his own spot.

However, compared to the wide open spaces he has enjoyed his whole life, being suddenly confined to an apartment, with two dogs, then three (the psycho visitor over Xmas), must play into this a great deal. No matter how many of his "own spaces" he has, relative to what he was accustomed to it must be like a narrow prison cell? Don't know….

Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP02 Apr 2015 2:16 p.m. PST

Yah, that can be hard to predict. Cats are notoriously finicky.

Like I said, we got a few more square footage when we moved but that was all that was needed to get the cat fights to stop. (mostly).

Is he getting much less attention all of a sudden? Cats do get jealous and anxious if they feel they are being replaced.
It may be worth for the humans to take some extra time each day to spend just with him and make sure he has toys that are just for him.

Great War Ace Inactive Member03 Apr 2015 7:03 a.m. PST

Here the "finicky" raises its head again. What is "attention" to a cat? When Buster lived here he got very little "hands on" attention. We catered to his minimal needs: changed his water daily, kept his food tower full, let him in, let him out, etc. Otherwise he had the neighborhood as his playground, and part of our basement as his refuge from literally every other living thing, including us 95% of the time, and even then we would be just passing through, and likely as not do no more than say, "Hi there". NOW, since November last year, he's in a teensy apartment, with his food, water and litter box off limits to "the dogs", with shelves (that he hardly uses) placed strategically around the walls, two dogs, two women, and no outside excursions. The two women make a point of giving "Oliver" lots of attention, when they are home. Does he welcome this attention? Or does he consider it harassment? Only the kitty gods know for sure. But evidence indicates that Buster is one dissatisfied kitty cat, for whatever complex of reasons….

zippyfusenet Inactive Member05 Apr 2015 5:48 p.m. PST

Did Buster use to be an indoor/outdoor cat, and is now confined to an apartment? That could be a big problem. Yes, cats need space and cats need to roam. It sounds like there isn't room in that apartment for two people, two dogs and Buster.

Great War Ace Inactive Member06 Apr 2015 4:11 p.m. PST

He was very much an outdoors cat, and indoors whenever he wanted to. In good weather, he'd spend most of his time outdoors for several days in a row, then suddenly he'd just veg inside for over a day "sleeping it off", whatever it is that cats sleep off (sometimes injuries, or feeling peckish, or just because?).

In his new place my daughter tried to allow him some outside time, but its an apartment, and he is so friendly he was at risk being picked up by neighbors as a "stray", and lost thereby. So, my daughter hit on the collar thing, so that nobody would mistake him for a stray. That's when the trouble with the neck irritation started up. By the time the collar was removed, it was too late.

My daughter says that even if/when he recovers, she won't dare let him outside unescorted, because there are too many spiff cars, and Buster loves to get up on cars and veg. He ruined the paint surface on my mini van, for instance.

Hopefully he'll adapt. But it pains me to think of how unsatisfied he must be. I don't want him back here. Except if my daughter gives up on him ever adapting to there. I wouldn't be able to say "no" to his return if she asked us.

And of course, when I have repainted my van, that is when she'll ask. Not until then, of course….

Great War Ace Inactive Member02 Aug 2015 9:31 p.m. PST

That's never going to happen. "Buster" (Oliver, to my girls) was put down today. My tearful daughter called to tell me that she found him this morning too weak to move himself and he peed himself in addition. The vet tested him and found his blood counts all messed up: leukemia. She told my daughter that "Oliver" probably had leukemia for many years, being an outside cat, which is a very common ailment for that lifestyle. His immune system compensated as long as it could.

My daughter gave her kitty cat as good a life as she could put together and spent a lot of money trying to make him well. He had gotten to the point where the "collar of shame" was no longer necessary and his hair was growing back in nicely. He played with the two resident dogs, enjoying pestering them, lounging around lording in over the place (including the kitchen counter while meals were being prepared, etc.), sleeping with his two hairless, biped female "staff", etc. He had been fixed up with shelves to isolate himself on if he wanted some alone time, and the ability to go inside or outside into a secured backyard that was small but pleasant. But he was on three medications for different things, and I think that the total stress of the move last fall and the medications to try and cure him of his neurotic scratching overtaxed his immune system and the leukemia rapidly got the upper hand. So, no more kitty cat. He will be missed.

(Btw, as I posted elsewhere, my repainted minivan is not free from kitty cat paw prints, even with my daughter's cat gone from here: neighborhood cats continue to find the dark surface irresistible. Today I saw paw prints in the dust for the fourth time. At least it isn't a daily occurrence!…)

tkdguy02 Aug 2015 11:46 p.m. PST

So sorry to hear that. My condolences to the whole family.

Bismarck04 Aug 2015 11:13 a.m. PST

i am sorry for your loss. my sympathies to you all. sorry you all had such a struggle. you guys did all that you could.

TNE230004 Aug 2015 6:32 p.m. PST

my condolences as well

Great War Ace Inactive Member07 Aug 2015 5:06 p.m. PST


Enjoy an almost perfect video to remember a kitty cat by. Note the wargamer features that "co-star" in this award-worthy production…. ;)

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