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 Post subject: Will spaying a 9 year old cat improve her temperament?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 5:05 pm 
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Lactose Intolerant...Literally

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So boring story even more boring my not-so-responsible brother has moved cross country and left us to care for his 9 year old cat who he never bothered to get de-sexed.

We already have two females who get along well with one another. Over the past several weeks they have learned to give her a wide berth as she hisses and growls pretty much every time they have tried to get close to her. One cat avoids her entirely, the other still remains determined to just sniff new cat's bum - which is clearly never going to be allowed. We will be getting her spayed as soon as we can afford, I'm looking for work and our credit cards are maxed out and the debt repayment and basic living expenses are taking everything we have at the moment. Even once I'm back to work debt is going to suck up my first few payments. So it may be well into the new year before we can get her fixed. I've never lived with an intact cat before-which does not help.

The problem is since yesterday she has started randomly attacking our other cats -totally unprovoked - they just happened to be in the vicinity. We shut her in the bedroom for a few hours both times she did this (she has a litter pan, food and water in there), but holy cow it was so stressful and frightening for our cats and for us as well. We keep saying to ourselves surely this will improve once we have her fixed, but how much will it really?

Anyone have experience with this sort of thing?

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 Post subject: Re: Will spaying a 9 year old cat improve her temperament?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 5:51 pm 
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I should add that before we took her, we did have my brother pay for her to be totally checked out by a vet - I was at the visit to ask questions. The vet said she was in excellent health and I followed his advice for introducing the cats slowly.

She is a sweet little cat and like my husband and I very much. My first question to my brother when he asked us to take her was "does she get along with other cats?" Yes was his reply, she has lived with other cats and got along just fine. Before my brother moved cross country I did call him to say I think she's unhappy and would do better in a home without other cats -we had had her for only a week at this point, but the hissing and growling had not improved. He said she was always like that at first with other cats and as long as our cats gave her space (which they were) she would be fine within a week. A few days later and called me from the airport to say "yeah, the thing about her is she really doesn't like other cats." Now he tells me -what a jerk.

After my last post she attacked one of our cats again who once again did not fight back and cowered under the couch. This new cat is all of 2 lbs, our cowering under the couch kitty is about 12 lbs. Our 5 lb kitty chased her into the bedroom (I think pleased to have an excuse to be aggressive with new cat) where she will remain for the rest of the day, we have shut the door.

We are at at loss. Re-homing this cat may be next to impossible. The local shelters and rescue agencies are full to bursting, and everyone we know is unable to take her.

We live in a one bedroom apartment so keeping her separate from the other cats will severely restrict her freedom -it is a large apartment and a large bedroom, but still. We are holding out hope that once we have her spayed she be less well-psychotic, but what if it doesn't help enough, this is what we're afraid of.

sorry for such a long winded post but this has been really stressful.

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 Post subject: Re: Will spaying a 9 year old cat improve her temperament?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 6:47 pm 
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The short answer is maybe but until you do it there's no guarantee. Have you tried Feliway diffusers or a pheromone collar? They can really help with helping cats to get along. Again, not guaranteed. I also recommend reading Pamela Bennett-Johnson's book on helping cats get along, Cat vs. Cat.

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 Post subject: Re: Will spaying a 9 year old cat improve her temperament?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 6:48 pm 
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Has it on Blue Vinyl
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Location: NYC/Schenectady, NY
The short answer is maybe but until you do it there's no guarantee. Have you tried Feliway diffusers or a pheromone collar? They can really help with helping cats to get along. Again, not guaranteed. I also recommend reading Pamela Bennett-Johnson's book on helping cats get along, Cat vs. Cat.

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 Post subject: Re: Will spaying a 9 year old cat improve her temperament?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:05 pm 
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Thank you blondie. Yes, we have been using the feliaway plug-ins, a friend of ours had unused cartridges from when his own cat was unwell. We skimmed through Cat vs Cat a few years ago when we adopted our second cat, but there really were so few problems with the two of them that we didn't read further into the book. I'll see if the library has it as we didn't keep our copy. For now I'll see if I can get a credit increase and get her spayed soon as possible. My husband who is the kindest man ever when it comes to cats is ready to take her to the shelter - something we've never done, it's been that upsetting.

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 Post subject: Re: Will spaying a 9 year old cat improve her temperament?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:46 pm 
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I don't know where you live but you might want to look into a charity that could help you have the cat spayed. Where I live there are a number of places that do low cost spay/neuter.
You can try this search engine for the US of A.

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 Post subject: Re: Will spaying a 9 year old cat improve her temperament?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 8:21 pm 
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Do any of your local shelters offer support? We have Pet Help Partners (fka Pets for Life) here, and you can call them with any behavior related question and get some advice. It might be worth giving them a ring and just asking for some advice. 917-468-2938

And yes, there are lots of places that will do low cost spays.

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 Post subject: Re: Will spaying a 9 year old cat improve her temperament?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 8:45 pm 
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Hi guys, thanks for the replies. We do have a local charity that can subsidize spay/neuter but we do not qualify. It's really set up for pensioners or folks on income assistance or disability - our problem is we are carrying a lot of debt due to the immigration argy bargy.

Thanks for the suggestion Tofulish, I'll give the local shelter a call tomorrow and see if they have advice for us. Since the incident earlier the new kitty has kept to herself in the bedroom so we've been able to leave the door open for her.

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 Post subject: Re: Will spaying a 9 year old cat improve her temperament?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:43 am 
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Just to update: We called the shelter yesterday, but we are already doing everything they suggested. The lady we spoke to was very nice and understanding and thought given our situation re-homing her was a good idea. Yikes! When the rescue people can't see much hope.... They can't take her now, but we're on a 2 month waiting list. I've emailed my brother, hopefully he can send us the money to spay her, or he can take her where he is now living. He hasn't responded, and I'm not holding out hope. Hopefully we can find a good home for her ourselves or things might improve and she can stay with us. We are treating her well, giving her lots of pats and she's eating well. I've become really fond of her, but she's making our other cats miserable and we have to shut her in the bedroom quite often. Really her only behavioural issue is attacking the other cats.

We're going to do everything in our power over the next couple of months to make it work .I'd hate to see her in the shelter, she's a cute little kitty and very affectionate with people, but she is nine and there's lots of competition.

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 Post subject: Re: Will spaying a 9 year old cat improve her temperament?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:25 pm 
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My friends have a female and a male cat, both originally strays. They've been spayed and neutered but that hasn't stopped them detesting each other, my friends have just resigned themselves to having a two-sided house and shouting "close that door!" at visitors.

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 Post subject: Re: Will spaying a 9 year old cat improve her temperament?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 12:51 pm 
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Thanks dropscone. I wish we very much had a larger home so the new kitty could have her own space all the time.

We still have no idea what to do. We had planned on calling a no kill rescue that we used to volunteer with this weekend, and see if they could take her - but those foster homes are so full, and cats who do not like other cats do really poorly. They use the crummy little adoption set ups in local pet stores ,where kids are allowed to bang on the glass and dogs lunge at the poor terrified kitties- it's awful those places.

For the past few days she's been segregated from the other cats all day. I've given her a heating pad, (our bedroom is quite cool), and she loves it! I go in several times a day to turn in on- it has an auto-shut off. She seems calmer, and although she has to share the bedroom with one of the cats at night, there's only been some minor growling and hissing. I wonder getting the bedroom to herself all day has made her happier, or the heating pad. I'm wondering if she has some joint pain and the pad has made her feel better, therefore she is less miserable and more tolerant of the other cat's presence. She's become even more affectionate with me and my husband. Dh, who was dead set on getting her out of the apartment as soon as possible, is now considering giving her a two month trial.

My brother has still not got back to me. I emailed him this morning asking him if he could at least send us the money to have her spayed. But I think I just need to step up the job search so we can pay for it ourselves.

Life with my brother and his kids would have been tough for her. She's nine and we would very much like to provide her with a stable and loving home that she deserves, I'm just not sure we can with the limited space we have. Just too much cat in too little space, and I worry about the mental health of the three if they feel too crowded. There are also so many homeless cats out there, I don't think her chances of finding a home are good though. This has been making me very sad. We'd just like our peaceful home back, but we just can't bring ourselves to re-home this little girl - it feels like cat dumping, and we've never done that.

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