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Postby pitbullmamaliz » February 24th, 2011, 8:00 pm

What Would Pit Bull Talk Do? I need help and advice.

I have had my cat, Niobe, AKA The Piss, since she was just a wee babe. She's about 6 1/2 years old now. She's always been very skittish - she bolts if I move too quickly, or take a deep breath, or look at her wrong, or...you get the picture. When I moved into this house, I didn't see her for about 10 days. She was eating and using her catbox, so I knew she was alive, but I certainly didn't see her. She hides if company comes over, even people she's known since she was a kitten. She hates Inara - hissing, growling and swatting if she comes remotely close, even though Inara ignores her for the most part. She is occasionally cuddly, usually a few minutes each day she'll be really lovey - jumping onto my lap and purring like crazy. Until I sniff or sneeze or blink too loudly, and then she's gone. Often she will randomly pee on my belongings, which is really awesome (no infection, she's been checked).

She's always been anxious and miserable, but a couple months ago she started licking her back. I thought it was just dry skin due to the cold, dry air. However, I came home last Friday and she had licked a bald stripe along her back and it was red and irritated. So I took her to the vet on Saturday morning and she had licked herself into a skin infection. The vet gave her a shot that had a long-lasting antibiotic and a skin soother. Because her licking was anxiety-based, she also gave me a hormone balancer to help her for a month.

Here's where I need help and advice. I don't know what to do. The Piss is very obviously miserable and anxious. Always has been - nothing has changed. But now she's causing herself physical harm due to the stress. Here are the options, as I see them:

1. Keep her but find an anti-depressant or something that she can take for the rest of her life. Downside? I've gotta be honest that the thought of trying to give her a pill every day for the rest of her life makes me want to break out in hives.

2. Rehome her. It would take the perfect home: single, preferably elderly (they move slowly), no visitors, no other animals, immaculately clean (she pees on cloth/fabric items that are on the floor). I wouldn't charge a rehoming fee and I would make the person swear on their life to give her back to me if they EVER changed their mind. Downside? I'll always worry that the person will decide to get rid of her and take her to the pound, where she'll be terrified before being euthed.

3. Euthanize her. If it's going to be done, I want to be there taking responsibility. Downside? Pretty obvious.

I'm really torn. I'm not the kind of person to "get rid of" animals when they don't fit my lifestyle. But when she's miserable enough to cause herself harm something has to be done. I'd love any feedback or suggestions.
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Postby BullyLady » February 24th, 2011, 8:13 pm

I don't have any over all input, it's too personal of a decision for that. But in the topic of rehoming: If you do that, and if you are anything like me, pick someone who will let you keep in touch. Rehoming Sirius taught me that if I'm ever in a situation where I feel that I can't keep an animal, for whatever reason, I will euthanize. The only thing that makes Sirius being gone bearable for me is that Chris and April keep me updated and have pictures on their Facebook. When he was with the other lady (*coughbitchcough*) I would worry myself into a complete frenzy wondering how he was, I could never do that again.
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Postby FAB dogs » February 24th, 2011, 8:33 pm

Sounds like my Dodger - she goes through bouts of compulsive grooming until she's almost bald. She also has issues/attitude with people, the dogs, the other cats, etc.

I've had good luck with DAP diffusers for the dogs. Have you considered one for felines?

http://www.4petsusa.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=2207

Couldn't hurt and might help a little?
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » February 24th, 2011, 8:37 pm

Tried DAP. No difference. :neutral:
"Remember - every time your dog gets somewhere on a tight leash *a fairy dies and it's all your fault.* Think of the fairies." http://www.positivepetzine.com"

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Postby TheRedQueen » February 24th, 2011, 8:42 pm

I cat-sit a cat that is on Prozac for her inappropriate peeing...she gets a capsule sprinkled into her wet food in the morning...which she eats, sorta. Then she gets the preferred dry once she's eaten her wet food. Pretty simple, without having to pill the cat. (and it's cheap)

just an FYI
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » February 24th, 2011, 10:29 pm

Has the family noticed a difference with the Prozac, do you know?
"Remember - every time your dog gets somewhere on a tight leash *a fairy dies and it's all your fault.* Think of the fairies." http://www.positivepetzine.com"

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Postby TheRedQueen » February 24th, 2011, 10:40 pm

pitbullmamaliz wrote:Has the family noticed a difference with the Prozac, do you know?


yes, she swears by it...she went on and on for about 15 minutes about how they could live with the cat now. She was inherited from neighbors that mistreated her (locked in un-heated/un-cooled garage with no litter box and little food)...and she pees on their floors, (just bare hardwood), as well as soft things. The prozac keeps her from peeing...except in her litter box (which is filled with Cat Attract, and cleaned often).

They swore by it...and kept telling me to recommend it to my friend (the cat I had for a year)...lol

And it's cheap n' generic. She basically told me it was prozac or euthanasia...and so far, so good.
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Postby plebayo » February 24th, 2011, 11:00 pm

TheRedQueen wrote:
pitbullmamaliz wrote:Has the family noticed a difference with the Prozac, do you know?


yes, she swears by it...she went on and on for about 15 minutes about how they could live with the cat now. She was inherited from neighbors that mistreated her (locked in un-heated/un-cooled garage with no litter box and little food)...and she pees on their floors, (just bare hardwood), as well as soft things. The prozac keeps her from peeing...except in her litter box (which is filled with Cat Attract, and cleaned often).

They swore by it...and kept telling me to recommend it to my friend (the cat I had for a year)...lol

And it's cheap n' generic. She basically told me it was prozac or euthanasia...and so far, so good.


We have client's who swear by it as well. I would go with option #1, you can get the medication compounded so you could potentially put it in wet food... there's also a new one called Reconcile that is supposed to be really good anti-anxiety medication.

If the medication doesn't work I would consider euthanasia. I find it unlikely that the cat will not be stressed in another home not to mention it would be hard to find someone who wants a cat they can't touch and not have any other animals they can interact with. Plus she might hurt herself just from having to move into another home :|
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Postby iluvk9 » February 25th, 2011, 7:41 am

I will answer, as if it was my cat, Bo. It may not be the popular answer, but I am sure those who "know" me will understand where I am coming from.

I would not rehome because I would feel like I am giving, even a WILLING person, a big problem. I just don't think that is fair to anyone, cat included. I give all my animals human emotions.

I would not euthanize her. I would personally feel guilt for years, wondering if I did the right thing for my cat or just wanted to make my life easier. When I take in any animal, I know it is for better or worse, medical bills, training the best I can, or dealing with a cat that STILL won't poop in his box or a dog that had me wearing gloves and a baseball catcher's mask so he couldn't bite me.

You mentioned her medical problems of the skin licking and the peeing on your stuff. I would work that angle.

While I tease about Bo being a weirdo, he is still my cat, who I rescued. I gave him to my Mom. Mom passed and I inherited him. A cat loving friend offered to adopt him, but I couldn't do it to him because when I adopt an animal, it is for keeps.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » February 25th, 2011, 7:46 am

I'm not even so much worried about the peeing outside the box. I've dealt with that for 6 1/2 years. I just manage it.

I'm more concerned about her emotional state - the constant anxiety. I will talk to my vet about Prozac after we're done with this hormone balancer (she has a month's worth of pills). If the Prozac can help her be a bit happier then I'll do that.

Joyce, the thought of rehoming her or euthing her kills me - I'm not the person who "gets rid of" problem animals. Like you, I really don't think I could rehome her. It's not fair to her or another family. However, I do think at some point it may be more humane to euth her than let her be miserable and anxious for the rest of her life (what, 12-15 more years?).

I'll try the Prozac - thank you all for your input!
"Remember - every time your dog gets somewhere on a tight leash *a fairy dies and it's all your fault.* Think of the fairies." http://www.positivepetzine.com"

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Postby iluvk9 » February 25th, 2011, 7:49 am

Don't kid yourself...Like Lenny will live until 18, your cat will live until 31. 8)
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Postby TheRedQueen » February 25th, 2011, 8:54 am

If it's not a quality life, try drugs, if drugs don't work...euthanize.
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Postby iluvk9 » February 25th, 2011, 10:35 am

TheRedQueen wrote:If it's not a quality life, try drugs, if drugs don't work...euthanize.


I think quality of life depends on the humans perception of it.
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Postby copperlegend » February 25th, 2011, 10:39 am

TheRedQueen wrote:If it's not a quality life, try drugs, if drugs don't work...euthanize.


This, if it were my cat.
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Postby iluvk9 » February 25th, 2011, 10:43 am

I think people, in general, are too quick to get rid of, euthanize or rehome if an animal becomes something other than what they expected.
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Postby madremissy » February 25th, 2011, 10:49 am

I am sure I am opening a can of worms here but I really would like to know. I am no animal behavior expert so I am curious.

What is the difference in managing a dog with fear issues, (of course one that doesn't redirect those issues to a human) than a cat that has fear issues? I know you are worried about the quality of life but (I may have missed this part) if she is not hurting others or herself why would you euthanize.

There have been so many issues with dogs and "managing" their behaviors. So many have to crate and rotate and that takes a lot of effort and patience. So why not be able to manage a cat who just doesn't like to come out. If her health is ok and she is not hurting anyone why euthanize?
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Postby mnp13 » February 25th, 2011, 10:54 am

Missy - she is now hurting herself. I think that's what was the " line" for Liz.
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Postby plebayo » February 25th, 2011, 11:04 am

madremissy wrote: If her health is ok and she is not hurting anyone why euthanize?


The cat is hurting itself due to anxiety. I'm looking at it from the well being of the cat. You really can't "manage" the cat licking itself. The only thing she could do other than drugs is put a cone on the cat, and again, it comes down to quality of life. If I had a cat who was anxious to the point of self harm, I would try drugs and if that didn't work think about euthanasia. The cat isn't living a good life if it is so freaked out it over grooms itself - at least in my opinion. I know someone who has a cat that has a similar problem and the cat lives in a cone most of the time. The cat is used to it and doesn't care, but I don't think having to wear a cone forever is really fair, especially when the cat has the compulsion to over groom and now it can't even full fill that need - it's like an itch you can't scratch basically.

Anyway, that is why I said if drugs don't work euthanasia should be considered.
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Postby TheRedQueen » February 25th, 2011, 11:08 am

mnp13 wrote:Missy - she is now hurting herself. I think that's what was the " line" for Liz.


I'm not trying to be flippant here...this is a cat that has serious issues...if she's at the point of self-mutilation, her quality of life can't be good...regardless of who is looking at this.

I understand the responsibility aspect of pet ownership, and this to me falls under that category...if I cannot make the animal happy, then it's up to me to do something about it. As I said, try the drugs first...and no, I'm not one to shoot up every animal with drugs just to make it function...behavior modification has to happen also. But Liz has put a lot of time into this cat, and tried many things...peeing inappropriately is one thing, but maiming herself is a whole different ball of wax. Cats are very different from dogs, to to compare the two is like apples and oranges.

One thing I came away with from the Suzanne Clothier seminar from this past weekend was...we have to question our animals. "How are you?" "What can I do to make this better for you?" And we really have to listen to the answers, because they'll tell us. I do this a lot with my animals...which is why I'm thinking about rehoming two of the rabbits I have, because I *can't* make things better for them right now. What if Liz runs out of things to do to make things better for Niobe?
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Postby madremissy » February 25th, 2011, 11:39 am

Erin, I am in no way judging the situation. I just had some questions about the situation in general. Please don't get so defensive. You should know by now that I am not a judgemental person and I would support anyone dealing with their own animals. Lord knows I am not perfect with mine.

I guess since I deal with Sammy licking himself all the time (and yes he has caused skin infections with it), I really didn't think is was "hurting" himself. He is just a nervous dog and I manage it with medication. When he is doing it, I try to distract his attention away and get his mind on something else. I guess since his is constantly around me I can manage it better than trying to watch a cat that hides most of the time.

I realize that cats and dogs are different, but dealing with the situation is what I had questioned. Not questioned Liz about her possible decision but actually a question in general.

So many threads on this board have been about dealing with the situation at hand, so I was asking what makes this different. I was trying to ask questions so I could learn more.

I apologize Liz if you thought I sounded unsupportive.
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