How Much Food To Give A 2 Month Old Kitten How to Identify a Neglected Cat

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How to Identify a Neglected Cat

Many people think that their cat’s behavior is because the cat was abused or abandoned. I want to clear this up for you. Abused cats are rare. Most cats are just wary of strangers. Bad behavior is usually because they were never taught properly or played with aggressively. So how can you identify an abused or abandoned cat? Let’s look at what cat abuse and neglect look like, and then we can talk about cat responses:

Cat abuse can be intentional or unintentional. Unintentional abuse is usually called “neglect” and is addressed by humane societies around the world. There are actually three levels of abuse. Neglect, excessive discipline (excessive use of discipline tools) and intentional abuse. This article addresses neglect, which is the most benign form of abuse.

Description of negligence –

Neglect means not attending to the animal’s primary survival needs: water, food, shelter, rest and hygienic disposal. Then there is the more severe type, where a cat is forced to live in filth, is confined to a cage all the time, or is denied companionship with people or other animals. Many times, this can be caused by not spaying or neutering your pet. Unwanted kittens, or too many cats, are the root cause of almost all such abuse. Sometimes a person is too sick or has allergies. Perhaps a person is trying to keep a cat in an environment that makes it impossible to care for it properly.

I remember many years ago seeing a homeless man walking down the street with his belongings in a shopping cart. Back then it was harder to find homeless people, so he stood out. He pushed the cart with one hand and in the other he had a carrier with a jack. I felt sorry for both of them, but being a child, I didn’t know what to do. The cat was experiencing neglect, but felt a lot of love. The man, I’m sure, didn’t know he was hurting the cat. She just knew she couldn’t let her beloved cat go into a shelter; at that time all the shelters I knew were kill shelters.

An older cat (over a year old) has little chance of getting out of a kill shelter. Most people want a kitten. Adult cats are often given no more than 2 weeks to find a home and are then euthanized. This heartbreaking situation often occurs when people lose their homes, develop allergies, or find they simply don’t want to deal with the discipline and behavior problems that developed in the cat. The number one reason people give up a cat is improper disposal. Next come allergies, followed by the death of the cat’s owner. Some cats are surrendered because the person is moving and can’t find a pet-friendly home.

I understood the man’s feelings of love and concern for his feline companion. I also understood that the cat could not live long in that carrier. There was no safe place for them. No homeless shelter would accept a man with a cat. In this case, I believe the abuse is unintentional: neglect, by description. However, I think both the cat’s and the man’s hearts were in the right place, it’s just that the situation was unfortunate.

In the news, we sometimes hear about cat farms where cats are bred to exhaustion and kept in suboptimal conditions. We’ve heard of people who keep bringing the living creatures into their homes until they outgrow them and can no longer care for them, and the cats become a neighborhood problem. All these situations can produce negligence.

Now, let’s move on to the cat’s response to neglect. How does a cat respond? Why does he do it? By understanding the specific situation and response, we can address the resulting problem behaviors with love, patience, and training.

Effects of negligence

A cat left in a cage with other animals nearby is often skittish and afraid of people. Sometimes he expects food and a clean litter box, but cuddles and attention can make him uncomfortable. These cats often have no privacy issues in the cage, but once free, they are very private about their littering habits. If the cat was kept in a small carrier, it may soil itself or withhold elimination until it is very uncomfortable. He may be dehydrated and need medical attention. The cat will be overweight due to lack of activity. He can be apathetic when offered the game, not knowing what to expect. Electric lights can be something that triggers a fear response in the cat because it means people are coming. In other cases, the dark can be scary at first. Once the cat’s eyes adjust to the light level, everything will be fine, but when the lights are turned off or on, the cat may cry or hiss. In the case of a cat who is kept in the dark, except when people come, he may be afraid all the time that the lights are on, while expecting to be provided with food, water and a clean litter box .

What can we do to help these cats?

These cats do not handle well. The less you try to pet, hold or hug these cats at first, the better. Let the cat come to you. It will be, given the time. Be sure to take care of his comforts: food, water, bed, clean litter, but don’t expect a stuffed cat for a while. This will come when the cat feels it can trust you. He might be afraid of the sound of your feet on the floor. It can work when you enter a room. As time goes by, the cat will stay and just watch you. Another time, you might be able to reach over and offer a scratch behind the ear. Finally, you will be able to do a full hug. Do not try to pick up the cat, but you can pet it and the cat will not run away or feel assaulted. When the cat responds with a purr, an offer of a cheek or an ear, or you can stroke the spine and the cat does not try to run away, you have a cat that is only being cautious with you. Continue until the cat comes to cuddle, which may already be happening. Don’t try to catch the cat yet. If he wants your lap, he’ll come. This cat may still run away from you if discovered on a windowsill, on a dresser, or surprised in the litter box. Say your cat’s name in a conversational tone and the cat will eventually not run away and maybe allow a hit. In the case of the litter box, just say the cat’s name, but never try to hug it in the litter box. If you can provide a privacy screen, the cat can stay in the room.

These cats need socialization. They have to learn to live with others outside of a cage. They need gentle discipline and may not know the meaning of the word “no”. They will love mealtime, but will be scared if you need to walk near their food bowls and run away from the food. Give them time, move slowly and speak softly around them. They need to learn what people are like in a good way.

Once your cat has learned to trust you a little, enough to not run away when you enter a room or even start coming to you, then you can begin to bond with your cat. A tickle stick is your best friend for this. Gently shake the wand to get the tip moving. Your cat will be interested, but may only watch at first. If your cat does, great! When your cat grabs the commercial end of the wand, allow your cat to feel the success by holding the wand steady for a few moments. When the cat lets go, you can start doing it again. The cat will play with you this way for a long time. When the cat gets tired, put the wand out of the way so your cat is forced to play with you, not just the wand. If your cat takes the wand in its mouth and tries to run away with it, offer resistance and don’t let go of the wand. Some cats like to take the wand and hide it under a sofa or in a corner so they can worry for a while. Don’t allow it: the cat needs to play with you, not just the wand. After about ten days of playing with the wand, you will see that your cat is more accepting of its new circumstances. Your cat must assimilate well into the home. There may be people who do not accept, and these people may also play with the cat to promote bonding.

Under no circumstances should you perpetuate abuse or neglect! Any discipline should be done gently and carefully. A water bottle, long a favorite discipline tool, should only be used in the early stages of training, while the cat is learning the word “no.” After that, you shouldn’t need it. Redirection is your best training technique. When your cat gets into or expresses interest in something you don’t want to see him get involved with, redirect his attention to something he is allowed to get involved with or have.

Some of these cats can be trained with a click, but there needs to be a bond with the person first. It will take concentrated training to condition the cat to the clicker. Some cats can be so nervous that even the best treats won’t condition the cat to click. If your cat runs away from the clicker after a week of conditioning, don’t continue. Your cat will never be comfortable with the unexpected noise it makes. It is better to clap and say “no” to stop bad behaviors than to try to train clickers for positive behaviors.

These cats will be very grateful for the good treatment. One expression of this love, biting, may not be acceptable, especially if the cat bites hard and uses canine teeth. Put your hand or finger in the mouth instead of pulling it out so the cat can’t bite and injure you. You can push enough to trigger the gag reflex, but never more. Never injure your cat in response to an injury to yourself. Punching is never acceptable, but holding your hand up flat so your eyebrow whiskers can feel it is acceptable.

If you have to pick up your cat, such as to put it in the carrier or move it to another room, pay attention to the cat’s body. Be sure to hold the cat by the ribs and hind legs at the same time to minimize stress on the cat. If the body is stiff, do not hold the cat to your chest. Let the cat fight, but stay out of the way of the claws. When you place the cat face down (don’t let him jump), stroke his back if you can. Talk to the cat. He will stop a few steps away and look at you. The cat may come to you for a scratch if offered. Always speak gently and lovingly to your cat.

In closing –

With all these warnings and dos and don’ts, you might think that a neglected cat is too much trouble. Not so much, really. It takes a while for them to get used to people, but once they trust you and know you have their best interests at heart, these cats will love you dearly. The early stages with a neglected cat are the most critical. After that, you can find a loving, affectionate and demanding cat. Demanding because he may never want to part with you. Demanding that it be what was denied before, you will like it. Also, you will be loved, very deeply. He will take care of you in his fashion. If you are down or blue, possibly sick, the cat will worry about you and try to find a way to comfort you. These cats are very sensitive to their people. Hypersensitive is a good description. Empathic is another good description of his demeanor. Some cats even approach a symbiotic relationship with their people.

Give love and patience, and love and patience will be returned. You give care and concern and it comes back. A neglected cat is one of the best pets for a single, elderly person. The cat will be attuned to this person in no time. It will give love and affection to ease the loneliness and loss these people sometimes experience. When the person is sick, the cat will understand and be there to comfort, while allowing the person to take care of themselves.

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