by Morgen Marshall
Abused cats can be terribly maimed and damaged on the outside. They can even appear quite normal on the outside and all the damage might be emotional.
The emotional damage is harder to repair. A physically damaged cat will still respond positively to a soft voice and touch. They seem to know that the abuse will not continue anymore.
With an emotionally abused cat, you will need to let the cat come to you. Feed and care for it conscientiously. If you have another, more loving cat, the example to the abused cat will be good for it and will serve to draw the cat out.
Screaming, yelling, startling, and indiscriminate use of disciplinary tools, such as a water pistol can cause emotional damaged. Prolonged exposure to this treatment produces a cat that is slow to trust. The cat may turn mean or become lethargic.
If the cat becomes mean, it is actually a good sign. A lethargic cat is harder to reach. The angry cat still cares what happens to it, while the lethargic cat could care less.
The lethargic cat will not play, respond to treats, pats, or a soft voice. Your best bet with the lethargic cat is a companion cat to draw the poor thing out. Eventually, the damaged kitty will ask for a pat or scratch while you are most vulnerable – usually lying in bed or on the toilet. Give confident, gentle snuggling and use a soft voice. Do not make too much of a fuss – but let the cat know you like the new behavior. Move slowly because the cat is still quite traumatized. Once this behavior begins, you are well on your way to a friendly, but still stand-off-ish house cat. It may take a long time, and consistency is the key. Never raise your voice around the cat. It will run. Every instance of veterinary care will be traumatic to it. Try to minimize visits and combine the purposes. Your cat will hide after each visit for as long as it feels upset. Continue to speak softly and care for the cat. It will come out and be friendly eventually. This type of cat has the longest memory for past hurts. If you take on a cat like this, be prepared for a long, intensive period of healing.
The angry or mean cat will run away, fight and scratch. Consistent, gentle treatment and a soft voice are your best bets. If you tame the cat as if it were Feral, you will have the best results. Never trick the cat into a situation where it feels trapped. It will instantly revert to Feral.
Black cats face a serious risk around Halloween. Never leave the cat unattended outside during this time of year. It seems that all the sickos in the world come looking for black cats at this time of year. The unsuspecting and trusting pet black cat may be cat-napped and tortured or killed.
About the Author
A cat lover and trainer invites you to a world of cats. A website dedicated to making the relationship between cats and people harmonious and healthy, For the Love of Cats is a place for people facing difficulties in their relationships with cats to come and find the answers they need and can trust.