Author Topic: Cat Depression?  (Read 566 times)

Offline ToothlessGeorge

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Cat Depression?
« on: September 03, 2011, 12:46:20 AM »
Hello Everyone!

Going to be doing an intro post soon, but I have a question first.

I got my cat George a bit over a month ago. He's wonderful. Playful, energetic, and just affectionate enough. I absolutely love him.

However, my girlfriend's been working quite a bit lately, and I'm trying really hard to get a job so we're both out and about more than we were originally. He was being more vocal and seemed really bored and lonely when we'd get back. So, we decided to get him a friend to keep him company. We went back to the shelter and asked if there was anyone who he particularly got along with. We were excited to learn that it was Vixie, the girl cat who was our second choice. We were told that they were often found snuggling together at the top f cat trees. She's theoretically 7 years younger than him, but he was always so crazy and playful I assumed that the estimation must be incorrect, or that even if it was correct it'd be ok.

So we brought her home, with quite a bit of tense feeling on both sides. Lots of growling from Vixie. After some stern reproaches on both sides and separating/distracting them, they finally managed to settle into a kind of calm toleration of one another. It's been a few days, and since then the two cats seem a lot better with one another. Definitely not chummy, but comfortable with one another.

The big problem is George. Since bringing Vixie home he's slowed down immensely. He's reluctant to play, but when he does it's like the old George is back. He sleeps too much and eats more than he used to. He's always giving us the sad eyes and holds his ears down. Not flat like he's angry, just low like he's sad. Whenever I hold or play with Vixie he watches us sadly, but when I try to hold or pet him, he refuses to let me.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I think I'm going to call the shelter and ask if they have any advice for me. My girlfriend loves Vixie, and I'd really like to not have to return her... She's such a sweetie and so affectionate. A wonderful balance of personalities if we could just get Georgie back to normal... I've done some reading online that recommends touch therapy but he won't let me touch him. There are also suggestions to play with him more, but he doesn't really respond well, and Vixie often wants to join in which turns him off. I've considered separating them for one on one time with my man, but I'm worried that it'll make it hard to re-integrate them again... Anyone had an issue like this before? Is there anything I can do? I miss my kitty man.

Offline Marybelle

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Re: Cat Depression?
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2011, 01:21:03 PM »
How about short term separations?  Can you put her in another room and focus solely on him for a period of time?  It sounds like he needs some reassurance that you're not trying to replace him.  If he's not inclined to let you touch him, I'd sit on the floor and let him approach you, however long it takes, and then see if he'll let you engage him in some play or petting.  It would probably be best if you didn't smell like Vixie (i.e. have your girlfriend remove Vixie from the room, rather than doing it yourself, or do some major washing up afterward). 

Offline nakedrats

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Re: Cat Depression?
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2011, 10:46:53 AM »

I'd also look out for domoinance issues between the cats, especially Vixie pushing around George.  Usually when we get a new foster cat, the new one is the one that acts unhappy and nervous and doesn't want to get petted.  They don't have any territory yet, and they are stuck trying to integrate with the resident cat.  Occasionally, we'll bring in a strong personality, and then the resident cat is stuck trying to figure out how the newcomer suddenly "owns" the entire house.   Introductions can be pretty stressful for a cat, and it sounds like George is feeling the effects of having his whole world turned on it's head by this new female.

 I'd suggest investing in a feline calming product along with giving George some free time.  Feliway works for some cats, I've had good success with Sentry's cat pheromone collars myself, and there are various homeopathic products that can be added to food, or if nothing else helps, calming medication from a vet.  I like the collars, because they work for a long time and stick with the cat wherever it goes (unlike a spray or diffuser).  Combine a calming product with some separation time, like Marybelle suggested, so that George can relax and catch up on his sleep and cuddle time with his people while he's working on adapting to the newcomer.