VERY scared aggressive foster cat, help?!

Amanda DavisAmanda Davis Member Posts: 2
edited 1 October, 2014 in Behavior & Training
Hello all, I have been a long time lurker, and I just made my account to hop on here and ask for advice. I have fostered many cats, including two ferals, but this one is not making any progress, and I could use a hand, I would really really like to see her adopted and not put down. I have a 5 year old mixed breed grey calico female. She is fixed. I was told when I agreed to foster her that she was a loving cat who would love to sit on my lap and live the good life away from the cat house she was in, they said all the other cats picked on her and attacked her. I was to foster her until she was adopted. We brought her home, and she has her own room so she could adapt slowly while she got to know us. Day one she didnt come out of her transport carrier except to use the bathroom, didn't eat for two days. We set up the tall cat cage she was living in when we picked her up, and she eventually went back into it and wont leave. both top and bottom doors are open, and a tall cat tree sits by the top exit. We will go in the room with treats and toys and sit down and read out loud, or quietly we tried letting her come to us. Three weeks later, she still just sat in her cage hissing growling and swiping. Lasers, wands, toys, food of any kind, nothing will entice her out. The cat camera shows that she doesnt do much when we are gone either. She is not leading a healthy or happy life right now, and I am concerned for her. She still has not met our cat, Sophie, because I feel that will make it worse. Her fear aggression has stayed strong and I am just at a loss. The shelter doesn't want to take her back because they other cats are horrible to her so she lives in her cage, yet she's doing that all on her own now, even with cat caves and boxes and other hiding places in the room. My husband is at his wits end, he wants to take her back to the shelter, but I know she will be put down quickly because of her biting and scratching when you get near her. I don't want to fail her. Any advice is most welcome! Shes depressed and scared, and I just want her to be happy. Thanks in advance


  • Universal WhispererUniversal Whisperer Member Posts: 595 ✭✭
    edited 30 September, 2014
    This is an article I wrote on the subject. This is the method I use to socialize scared, aggressive, even feral cats. How to help new or fearful cat adjust At first keep the cat in only one room or even better, an extra large plastic airline dog crate with its litter, food, water, a toy or two, and something to sleep on. I cover the crate with a blanket all except for the door so the cat feels like it's in a safe den. I personally prefer the crate method with scared cats because with the crate method, the cat can choose whether she wants to hide in the back of the crate or whether she wants to come to the front and interact with the world outside of the crate. I put the litter pan at the front of the crate, the food (feed dry food) and water dishes at the side or between the litter pan and the cat's bed in the very back of the crate. A folded towel makes a good bed. This way you can clean and change the litter and take care of the cat's food and water without having to disturb the cat. Whenever I'm near the cat, I talk to the cat in a soft gentle voice. After a few days of this, once a day when I'm done taking care of the litter, food, and water, I will talk to the cat and then give her a tablespoon of canned food on a small paper plate as a treat. After giving her the canned food I leave her alone. The treat helps teach the cat that good pleasant things come from you. When the cat begins to act less fearful of you, try to gently pet her on the top of the head and scratch her neck and behind the ears. If she reacts fearfully by hissing or trying to smack at you, slowly back away from the cat and go back to the routine of soft talking and giving canned food treats for a few days before you try to touch the cat again. I've socialized a number of skittish or fearful cats by this method. I've even tamed a number of feral cats by this method. It may take two weeks to two months to socialize a skittish or nervous cat. Taming a feral cat may take much longer. Give your new cat plenty of time and be patient with her!
  • Amanda DavisAmanda Davis Member Posts: 2
    edited 1 October, 2014
    Thank you. I went to the vet today with Sophie and bought feliway, I put it in my fosters room. She still will not leave her cage (a 3 tier cat cage) however for the first time she let me put a real bowl of food and water (instead of a shallow food bowl through the access slot on the bottom) and let me clean her litter without attacking me. I was able to take off my gloves. She let me pet her for the first time as well, for about a minute, then started growling and retreated backwards so I left her alone. I came back with a spoonful of wet food, she has previously ignored any and all treats, even her favorite wet food (according to the rescue shelter) but today she licked a bit of it, then saw my hand on the spoon and took a swipe at me. I took the spoon out and placed it in her food bowl and left it there, she ate a few bites. I don't know if its the feliway, its only been in there for 6 hours... or if maybe, just maybe she is beginning to trust me a bit more, and chose today to be the day. Going back in there twice since, and shes done with me for today... Thank you for the advice, I wrote the above post just so incredibly frustrated and defeated.. Now I am seeing some progress, from absolutely zero to this is a HUGE deal. Any further advice is very welcome! I am giving her space and time. I am a bit more than bothered that the rescue has her on pet finder as adoptable when she clearly is not. Even once she is, she will need to be no kids no other pets... At least right now. We will see. I am just so glad she showed me SOMETHING today. She's not living a healthy or happy life right now.
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