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Unread 07-30-2010   #1 (permalink)
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Default Unanswered: Trying to save a cat

My mother-in-law has a cat that she plans to put to sleep soon and I am anxious to find an alternative to this.

The cat used to be a stray. I took in the stray several years ago, but when I couldn't keep my apartment I placed the cat with my mother-in-law. The cat recently bit my mother-in-law's neighbor and now she wants to put the cat to sleep. I wish I could take the cat back but I am expecting a baby soon and feel the cat cannot be around children. Although she can be a loving cat she has little tolerance for being held or grabbed at.

Everyone I know is aware of what happened so no one wants to take the cat. I am desperate to find an alternative solution to euthanasia and have contacted several organizations and shelters in my area (New York) but get no response or else am told that they won't take the cat and that euthanasia is the only solution. I love the cat and do not want to see her die. Is anyone aware of any organization, particularly in New York, that would take her in and maybe help rehabilitate her? Please help.
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Unread 07-30-2010   #2 (permalink)
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Hello and welcome to the forum!

I wonder what the neighbor was doing to the kitty to make her bite.

Cats bite when they are fearful and defensive. Was this a one time occurrence or is the cat known to be hostile?

What is the cat's (what's her name, I hate saying "the cat"?)

Cats have been raised with children for many years. If this was a rare incidence and the kitty has been normal and fine up until now I think should take her yourself.

We could help you with the socialization and introductions to the baby.

That is my opinion.

For advice I will offer this:

Go to Petfinder.com and find your local area. See if they will let you list her on their site, but find out if they will do the screening process too. Offer a donation, that may help.

I'm glad you are being honest to potential adopters, but it is very important also to screen the home and charge a small adoption fee. Cats are easy and favorite targets for sick-os. And they look for "free to good home" ads for their prey.
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Unread 07-30-2010   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you acerlt. Her name is Mamita, and she has bitten before, but it had been a long time since she had done that.

All I know about the incident is that my mother-in-law went away for a week and asked the neighbor to come in and feed Mamita while she was away. The neighbor sent her two daughters, who are both under 10 years old. My guess is that one of them probably tried to pick her up, which she doesn't respond well to, but I don't know if anyone told those little girls that.

Usually Mamita will give warnings when she is getting agitated and just hiss and swipe, so I wonder what led to her actually biting.

My way of dealing with the cat was to get really good at reading her signals and backing off when she gives those signs that she is getting agitated. I had her for several years and hoped that she would mellow with age. I thought she had actually, but I guess not enough.

I wish I could have socialized her enough to feel confident in having her around small children but I don't. Adults who understand that she is a special case, yes, but children not so much.

I wish I knew someone who loved cats and had a great deal of knowledge about their behaviors and behavioral problems who could either help teach us or take on training her, but I don't. And I can't afford behavioral training either, or I would go that route.
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Unread 07-31-2010   #4 (permalink)
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I can help you socialize her as I have much experience with socializing cats.

However, and I am going to be blunt here, okay?

It takes a lot of work and dedication to socialize a cat. She needs careful handling.You have to invest a lot of thought into how she thinks and why she reacts this way or that way. Be honest here, do you want to invest that time. I would, because the rewards are tremendous. But they can be slow in coming, and as you say, you have a new baby on the way.

One the other hand she HAS lived with you before, and did well with you. Perhaps she did not suffer too much damage and back sliding with your MIL and the neighbors children. Perhaps it wouldn't take so much for her to settle in and be happy in your home, her forever home.

Since you love her and want what's best for her, if you will not, or can not, take her on, and cannot find anyone with the endurance and love and patience and knowledge to do it, it is kinder to have her euthanized, than risk her being dumped on the street, or worse, abused, from being misunderstood.

Because those things happen all too often, and, in my opinion, they are fates worse than death..
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Unread 08-01-2010   #5 (permalink)
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Is there some way you can take the cat for now. I know you said you are pregnant and are afraid for the baby's sake. But if you take Mamita, you will better be able to see for yourself how she behaves. You can also use this time to find a home that will be a good fit for Mamita and her new human. There might be someone who has no children at home and no other pets who is willing to have an independent cat.
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Unread 08-04-2010   #6 (permalink)
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Thank you both, acerlt and AuntKitty. You have both given me a lot to think about.

AuntKitty, I was definitely considering doing just what you suggested, at least until the baby is born. I'm just concerned that I might not be able to find someone by then.

acerlt, I greatly appreciate your offer to help me learn to socialize Mamita, and I do appreciate your being blunt with me. I have to think this through, as you said, and decide if it is something that I can really do given that I have a baby coming, which will be a lot of work in itself.

Thank you both again for your concern and advice. You have no idea how much it has helped in this stressful situation, and you have no idea how much it is appreciated.
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