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Strange vocalizations... growl and purr?

Tena ParkerTena Parker PittsburghMember Posts: 3,333
edited 11 April, 2010 in Behavior & Training
Jefferson has been with me for about 24 hours now... he was found two days ago living next to the on/off ramp to a I-95 (the intersection with Jefferson st.). He was skinny and pretty banged up (probably cat fights)... he is about a year old. I suspect he, at one point, must have had a family because he knows what the litterbox means... and uses it. Anyhow... the woman who caught him and fully vetted/neutered him is SEVERELY allergic so she was either going to give him to a shelter (hoping that with all the work done he would be adopted)... but it's kitten season so i wasn't sure he'd make it out so i said i'd foster him until he found a home. My home is not ideal, right now he's living in a large dog crate because i have two dogs and he just got neutered yesterday so he has to stay pretty sedentary and he's not super keen on the dogs...he comes out three or four times a day to eat and to hang out with me and get cuddles when i have the dogs crated. Well, he is VERY vocal, he meows when he's hungry, hisses at inanimate objects pretty regularly... and is almost always growling when i hold/pet him.... but while he's growling he's also purring and closing his eyes and leaning into my hand that's petting/scratching him. He's never tried to scratch/bite when growling.. Any ideas to what this means? I've had multiple cats my whole life so i'm familiar with cats but i've never been a foster mom to a young-adult stray ... so i'm not sure what i should make of his growling/random hissing. Any ideas?


  • Dawn HarmanDawn Harman SpeedwellMember Posts: 1,079
    edited 10 April, 2010
    Love his toes! Soot has extra thumbs! As for the growling, he is under a lot of stress right now. This is part of it. He should settle down soon. He may be in some pain also. Sounds like he was dumped and was a Tom cat. The hormones will take a while to go away so he may loud for a while. :? If things get worse, call your vet for help. Wish I could take him.. he looks like a sweetie. Good luck!
  • Lisa DausmanLisa Dausman Member Posts: 5,216
    edited 10 April, 2010
    He has been thru alot in his short life, getting dumped out by his family, most likely due to his behavior at being not neutered, out on his own, prob getting into fights or getting picked on, wondering where his food is, wondering why his family did this to him, getting trapped, going to the vet, getting neutered, now another new family, gee, what are they going to do to me, being put in a crate, the dogs, etc, etc, etc. He is just tramatized, its going to take time for him to adjust. It takes ballpark 10 days, for a normal cat to adjust to a new home, kittens take 14 days, and these are not cats/kittens that have been thru what he has. Its just going to take longer with him, most likely a month. He growls because he is scared, but at the same time, he loves the attention you are giving him, so he purrs, but in the back of his mind, is, is this lady gonna throw me out too? :D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D
  • edited 10 April, 2010
    I agree, it\'s probably his \"stress purr\". Also, he is probably still feeling under the weather from his vet visit, especially considering the vaccinations he got along with his \"grape removal\". Quiet time is probably what he needs most. Is there a room you can let him have to himself (if you trust him not to spray)? Or at least to keep his crate in and shut the door on the dogs? In his pictures, his eyes look very dialated... are they always like that, or do they go down to normal? If they are always dialated, that is usually an indicator of pain or stress.
  • Tena ParkerTena Parker PittsburghMember Posts: 3,333
    edited 10 April, 2010
    Thanks for the feedback..... i figured it was just all the stress craziness in the last 48 hours. Unfortunately i live in a studio apartment so i can't really give him a quiet room... i have the crate covered and both dogs pretty much leave him alone. He's actually graduated to having some free time even when the dogs are around... he must have lived with dogs before... he has been really good around the dogs (when they are sedentary) he walks right up to them and sniffs... if they are standing/moving... he'll either hiss or growl and both dogs back off (they are very cat-savvy). His eyes aren't always that dilated but i think he is in a bit of pain still from the snip-snip but also, he is absolutely COVERED in scabs, a few that looked like they were pretty deep. Plus the pads on his paws have been warn off (one paw is so bad that is has started bleeding a few times)... I dont wonder if he was tossed from a moving car... about 1/3 of his nails have been ground down to almost nothing. Poor little guy.... he hasn't been drinking at all so i've been adding water to his meals so he gets about 1/4 cup of water with his kibble and tuna mixture 3x a day. Hopefully he continues to improve... he is a sweet cat, i think he'll just need time to warm up and heal from stuff.
  • Annalisa Conserti-JonesAnnalisa Conserti-Jones Member Posts: 5,234
    edited 10 April, 2010
    Given what you've said about his health, he won't relax until he's healthier. The fact that he goes near your dogs when they're calm suggests that he's testing the waters as to his absolute safety. I do agree that this means that he lived with dogs before, although I wouldn't be surprised that the dogs in question were not always as peaceful as he is finding yours. It sounds like you are doing everything you can to restore him to health, and I don't doubt that if you succeed, then he's going to prove to be a sweetheart. If you think about it, he could be hissing at you, and openly growling at the dogs, but he's not doing either of those things. That bodes very well for Jackson.
  • Tena ParkerTena Parker PittsburghMember Posts: 3,333
    edited 10 April, 2010
    He hisses at me all the time LOL.. he hisses at EVERYTHING... it's actually really cute... he hissed at the dog's food bowl... he hissed at the dog beds... he hissed at the couch... he hissed at me when i had his food... he randomly hissed when i was petting him (but made zero effort to move away)... he hasn't acted aggressive at all.. just a nervous little boy so he hisses at legitimately mad hissing at me (he's spat at the dogs a few times if they got too close... but they quickly back down) ... He is adoptable... i'm just keeping him until he finds a home (hopefully soon).. i cannot keep him forever... it was either my house or the shelter and i couldn't let that happen since it's kitten season and an adult may not get adopted near all the cute kittens (especially a cat that isn't super flashy looking). I think a nice calm house and he'll quickly turn around... he's already started to play with some toys and LOVES his catnip mouse i bought him! He's just quite the whiner! LOL... but he is a real sweetheart and has such potential.
  • Dawn HarmanDawn Harman SpeedwellMember Posts: 1,079
    edited 10 April, 2010
    Yeah, like you said. He has been through a lot. Did not know about his feet and nails... Poor baby. |:| It will just take time and he will come around. I can just picture him hissing at things.. how cute.Bumpurr is quiet right about things also. Just make sure you pick up any uneaten mixed food as soon as he is finished with it, as it can turn bad quickly. Yes it sounds like you are doing the right things with him! Keep up the great work! =;
  • Tena ParkerTena Parker PittsburghMember Posts: 3,333
    edited 11 April, 2010
    The food gets thrown away as soon as he walks away from it. i didn't no how bad his feet/nails were... i was told they were a little scratched up but i hadn't been pushing the handling buttons with him yet... i take a minute to look at his surgery area, check hydration via his mouth/scruff but i haven't really fiddled with him yet to look at his feet until i saw the one bleeding. i have to give him clavamox twice a day, that's traumatic enough for him LOL
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