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Dr L Simmon
Dr L Simmon, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 8130
Experience:  Veterinarian MVB MRCVS
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I adopted a cat last Friday from SSPCA in Scotland. The cat

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Hi my name is***** adopted a cat last Friday from SSPCA in Scotland. The cat has been abused in some way which we were aware of before we took her on. Currently( despite begin an experienced cat owner) I feel like I am out of my depth. She is aggressive on the stairs and isn’t happy for us( my husband or I to pass her) she is now in hiding just not sure what to do
JA: Hi there. I'll do all I can to help. Does this aggression happen all the time or only sometimes?
Customer: Well we have only had her a week and it seems to be worse in the early to late evenings. She is three years old doesn’t look like she has been socialised very well. The person who had her before us literally flung her outside and she was picked up by the SSPCA she was unable to fend for herself
JA: Have you tried anything so far that helps the cat with her aggression?
Customer: we have been using a feliway plug and if she is good giving her the odd treat to reenfource good behaviour. We weee told initially to put her into an upstairs room to get used to her surroundings which we have continued to do but today has not been the best hissing and aggressive so I have left her alone for now
JA: What's the cat's name?
Customer: Elodie
JA: Is there anything else the Vet should know about Elodie?
Customer: she was seen by a vet before we got her and was deemed in good health
Hello, you are through to Dr Linda, a UK based vet with 10 years of clinical experience.I'm sorry to hear this and appreciate your concern for Elodie.What a difficult situation.If she has been poorly socialised or if she's highly anxious, aggression can occur.As we don't know her history, it's possible she never had adequate human socialisation or even lived indoors when younger.I'd start her on some calming supplements such as Zylkene and would continue with her plug in.Right now, we need to keep her environment calm and predictable. Minimise contact, which will be a source of stress for her.We should ensure she has all of her own resources (bed, cat tree, tray, bowls, toys etc) and has lots of alone time.When she feels more confident, she will choose to approach you. We must not force this.We can play games somewhere she can see, but not too close. For example, dangle a cat toy or point laser. We are inviting her to play but, if she chooses not to, that's OK.I wouldn't give her access to the stairs for now, if she is becoming aggressive on them.I'd seek help from a feline behaviourist and would discuss with your vet if anxiolytic medicine may be appropriate, especially as she settles in.A behaviourist can come to the home to see how Elodie is coping and can provide some tailored information and a programme for going forward.
Customer: replied 19 days ago.
Hi Linda thank you for your reply. We have left Elodie back in her room with the door closed, plenty of food and water, cat toys and a litter tray plus a feliway plug in. Not sure why she has regressed today. We knew she had issues before taking her on but they are a wee bit more than we are used to. All we want is a happier cat who will beloved and accept that that may happen in time. If there is anything else you could suggest we would be great full. She is very timid and scared the least noise sets her off as well. We do not really know her history apart from she was own by a lady who obviously has miss treated her and then had enough of her and put her out. However long that was for I do not know she was picked up by the SSPCA at the end of April and we got her last Friday. Something definitely has happened to her on stairs for her to be aggressive and hissing. She is worse after 5pm mornings are a bit better. We feel that we should leave her be in her safe area for a day or to then go back to introducing her to the rest of the house again in a day or so
It sounds like you are making a huge effort to help her settle in. It isn't unusual for it to take a few months for a cat with her personality type to feel more at home.I agree with leaving her in her safe spot for a while to "empty her stress bucket". In a few days, offer the chance to go to another room but don't force the issue. The door can be left open and she can go if she pleases.Stress levels do tend to peak as the day goes on, as more and more tiny stressful things happen throughout the day e.g. a dog barking outside, a bang on the TV or someone walking past the door.

I do hope that this has been useful and please let me know if there is anything else.

Wishing you every success with Elodie.

Customer: replied 19 days ago.
Hi thank you for all your advice which we have put into practise. Hoping Elodie seems more settled today she seemed better there when I checked on her. I will contact you again if we need any further advice many thanks
Customer: replied 19 days ago.
Hi Linda I just wanted to ask one more question re Elodie as you have been most helpful. She keeps regurgitating her food. That has happened several times. Any idea what we can do to help her? Many thanks Joanne

This could be a sign of an underlying medical issue.

It would help to use a slow feeding bowl and to feed little and often. A sensitivity diet may also be worth trialling.

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