An opinionated feline in Edmonton, Canada who lived with a retired cat behaviourist, Greyce provided behavioral advice to cats in need until her death in July 2014. Because her entries are useful even today, the blog remains posted.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I've Been Kidnapped!

Help me, Greyce! I am an 11-year old tortie who lived with my purrson all my life, even when she got married and had a baby. That's me on the right - right at home! All was well until the baby became a toddler who started to taunt me. I told her to back off, by hissing and growling. Even giving her the occasional swat wouldn't help. So what's my reward? I was kidnapped!

One day when I was minding my own business, I was taken from my home to a smaller place (called an apartment) where there is already another cat in residence. My jailer tried to put me in solitary confinement (in the bedroom) but I managed to escape. I'm camped out under a dining room chair, near by food and litter box. And I won't budge except to eat or use the litter box (which, thank goodness, are nearby).

 The other cat (shown on the left - his name is Filou by the way) lets me have my space but the jailer is something else. She talks a mile a minute and seems stressed. She keeps wanting to approach me! So far I've managed to get her to keep her distance by growling and hissing. But she persists.

I've been here for about a month. I'm scared and I'm angry. Why did this happen to me? Molly 

My Poor Dear Molly, Unfortunately what has happened to you, happens to many of us when a human baby arrives on the scene. It starts with neglect because the human priorities are elsewhere, so they treat you as a piece of furniture and leave you to gather dust. In such situations, matters can only get worse when that baby becomes a toddler. Our small size, plush fur and lashing tail are attractive to toddlers who like nothing more that to grab us unexpectedly, pull on our tender parts and generally make a nuisance of themselves. Compassionate humans employ solutions that benefit all parties: namely the use of supervision when you are in the presence of a toddler (a cardinal rule until the child is MUCH older), the confinement of the toddler (via playpen or baby gates) so that you have places of solitude, and the use of a tall cat tree (so that you have a place to which to escape). From the sounds of it, your former purrson was not the most savvy when it came to the cat-baby mix. And that's the bad news.

Your former human tried to do you a favour; it is called re-homing. And though she may not have done it in the ideal way, it shows that her heart was in the right place.

While my heart goes out to you in your current situation, I want to offer you another point of view. You are not in jail. You are in a new home. Because it would be difficult for you to adjust to such a huge change, you were put in the bedroom so you could adapt slowly and privately. But because you were so scared, you got away. Now Molly, don't you think you'd be better off in the bedroom rather than camping out under that chair?

Here is what I propose: Consult my information sheet, May I Present? A Cat! And then at your earliest convenience, have your new purrson (the one you call your jailer) move you back to the bedroom with your all your purrsonal items. Consider it your sanctuary. Take you time to get used to it. Explore it when you feel ready. And slowly it will start to feel like home.

In time, you can get better acquainted with the resident feline (who seems a reasonable sort of chap). Given a chance you may even become good friends.

As for your jailer, she really is trying to be your friend. But like you, she is quite anxious by this situation. I bet she is making direct eye contact with you, which would set you off. So many humans just don't realize how aggressive this is to us cats. Encourage her to take in and release several deep breaths before she tries to interact with you. This will calm the both of you down. If only she wouldn't try so hard!

So promise me that you will give this new arrangement a chance. Think of it as an adventure - and keep me posted.

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