Sunday, March 14, 2010

Dino the rescue cat

I have rescued many cats and it has always been pretty smooth transitioning a new cat into the mix. I think that is because my previous rescues were either kittens or indoor cats. Dino was a stray cat that began hanging out on my patio Thanksgiving Day 2009. He pretty much showed up and didn't really leave. He would be on the patio in the morning and when I got home from work. He began to trust me and I was able to pet him when I'd take food out to him. Soon, he was expressing an interest in coming indoors. I was not sure about that as the cats of the house were usually hissing at him through the sliding glass door.

Knowing the weather was taking a turn and storms were on the way, I felt I needed to do something. I couldn't stand the thought of just leaving him out in the cold rain, looking in, meowing. I called the vet and scheduled an appointment. I wanted to determine if he had a chip since he did not have a collar or tag. He was a fully intact male and the house cats are all neutered males. The morning of the vet appointment arrived. I grabbed a pet taxi and headed out to the patio. He was there and I opened the carrier and picked him up, attempting, not so successfully, to get him in. He was not happy. He hissed and growled and fought with everything in him. He was so mad that I knew if I let him go, I'd be dead. I fought him and finally won. He was in the carrier, I had beads of sweat on my hairline and my heart pounded the entire commute to the vet's office.

No chip was detected, so I knew he pretty much was a wild stray. He may have lived with people at some point and that might explain why he was rather quick to accept human contact. So, I had him neutered, vaccinated, tested, etc. I picked him up at the end of the day and brought home. Silly me, I thought that just by neutering him, he'd immediately be less wild. I was wrong. He was trying to get to the other rooms with the house cats by jumping up on kitchen counters. Naturally, I was freaking out since he had just had a (surely) not so pleasant procedure. I kept him separated from the guys that night and the following day. Then, the next evening, I thought I'd try to let him out with the house cats.

That exercise didn't go so well. I now realize that getting the wild natural side subdued would take more than 24 hours. He spent who knows how long, depending on his wild instincts to for survival. When he came out from the back room, he approached Louie, and Louie didn't take to kindly to this. Louie is older now and not interested in any interaction with the cats. With all his "charm", Louie managed a massive hiss and growl and Dino retaliated and a minor cat fight was beginning. In an attempt to break this up, I stupidly picked Dino up. He was breathing heavy and very agitated. I tried to calm him as I carried him back to the room he had been kept in. He bit me more than once on the hand. The blood flowed and it began to hurt. The next day I was at the doctor's office getting a tetanus shot and a prescription for antibiotics. Ugh.

After this little incident, I contacted the local humane society and established contact with a pet behaviorist. She has been very helpful with this situation, giving me advice and guidance on the situation. Basically, I have kept Dino separated from the other guys and have swapped out their blankets so that they could get used to the scents. I also feed the house cats on the other side of the door of the room Dino is in (again, getting them used to scents). Dino and Monkey even play (and quite rough) through the space under the doors. I have used Rescue Remedy in their water (not consistently) and now Feliway in hopes of alleviating tension and in hopes of a calm and smooth transition. The pet behaviorist even paid a visit to the house to monitor the interaction. This came about because of my frustration when I attempted to feed them in the same room and the first night, Monkey attacked Dino followed by Dino attacking Petey the second night.

When she monitored the interaction between the guys, she pointed out normal traits of cats and all things considered, they were on their best behavior, if not totally comfortable. Petey was not happy with this contact whatsoever! So, she left and things seemed smooth. Later that night when we were all relaxing in the same room, Dino got crazy and snuck up on Monkey while he was sleeping and attacked. It suddenly seemed like all progress was gone, and I'm feeling like I'm back to square one. I am not sure if this will work. He was a wild stray cat and still has that tendency. I cannot continue to lock the house cats in rooms every day when they're used to having the run of the place. I also cannot keep Dino locked up in a room for his life. Will it get better or do I need to find him a home? Maybe (and I'm thinking it is a pretty good maybe) he needs to be the only cat in a house.

Dino really is an adorable cat. He is very social and loves attention. He purrs, rubs against your legs, sits on your lap, lays on you and is like a mink stole, jumping on your shoulder and wrapping himself around your neck. I want him to have every chance at a happy life and feel that maybe my time with him has been to “foster” him and prepare him for a life safe from the streets in a loving home where he can be the star cat.  Naturally, this breaks my heart as he is so sweet and I am growing attached.  Maybe it can work out here, but either it isn't, or I'm not giving it enough opportunity to work.  Surely, this saga will be continued at a later date.  This story will require updates.

1 comment:

  1. oh, so sorry.. I wish I knew someone who was cat-less and willing to adopt.