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Unfortunate Development With Adopted Kitty


Took Oreo (new cat I took in a month ago) to the vet this morning because her right eye was all goobered up and she has been sneezing the last few weeks. I wasn’t too worried since she wasn’t squinting the right eye, didn’t cry out when I wiped the goobers off, she wasn’t rubbing it , eye didn’t look cloudy, she was eating and drinking just fine. But the last few days she’s been more aggressive with Buddy (resident cat. Been my kitty for 14 years) and sneezing more than usual. So I made the appointment even though I don’t have the money to pay for yet another vet visit.

Turns out Oreo has feline herpes. Apparently most stray/feral cats have this virus and it lays dormant until the virus activates and starts replicating which gives the signs of a cold or the flu (but it can progress to make the cat very ill). It can be passed from cat to cat (though not from cat to human) and one of the triggers for the virus is stress *major sigh* And there’s no way to know if she will ever accept having another cat in the house and I can’t afford to go the the vet every month when Oreo has a herpes outbreak. I have had Oreo about a month now and she shows no signs of accepting Buddy and will chase him down when she sees him. There have been a few quiet moments in the evenings when she will sit on the recliner and Buddy will be on the couch and things are good. Until Buddy jumps down and she’ll either hiss and growl or flat out launch herself off the chair and chase him. It’s actually quit comical since Buddy weighs 14 pounds and little Oreo is now at 8 pounds (up one pound since I took her in).

I have had cats all my life and have never had it take more than a few weeks to acclimate cats. I know their behavior and know they REALLY have a hard time with change. I’ve tried to be patient with Oreo and will stomp my foot or snap my fingers when she starts hissing or growling to let her know that behavior isn’t acceptable and praising her when she is being good. Buddy is starting to act anxious now like he’s afraid she’ll be right around the next corner. I don’t want him to be adversely affected by this. I am beginning to wonder if I let her out of her room too soon and if maybe I should have left her in there longer before letting her out into the rest of the house. I will be keeping her in her room for the unforeseeable future, mainly to keep her from passing the virus on to Buddy but also to maybe give her time to be alone until she is ready to accept that Buddy is here to stay.

So what do I do??? I’ve invested $600 thereabouts in this cat already. The thought of giving her to a no kill shelter so they can adopt her out to a home with no other pets has crossed my mind but that also kind of sucks for me as I already put in serious amounts of money and now someone else gets to take her now that she’s had her shots and dental work done and all that. I just don’t know what to do. She’s such a sweet girl and I guess I keep thinking that if she would only give Buddy a chance they could be kitty friends or at the very least tolerate one another without the fighting.

Anyone out there have a similar experience with a stray who eventually acclimated to other cats or is this a lost cause? I want what’s best for Oreo and if she is just too stressed at the thought of sharing me with another cat or of just being around another cat, then maybe it’s best to suck it up and give her to a shelter. I would feel awful though as it would almost feel like a huge breach of trust. She’s bonded with me (sleeps on the bed with me all night when she isn’t chasing Buddy around) and handing her over to a shelter filled with other cats might be too much for her. I’m counting on the wisdom of my readers and friends out there in internet land to give me some advice!

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7 Comments on “Unfortunate Development With Adopted Kitty”

  1. A.M. Donovan January 10, 2014 at 7:37 pm #

    one trick you cna try is to take soemthing that buddy has payed with/slept on/slobbered on and leave it in the room with Oreo. And do the same with Buddy. this will allow them to get used to each other that way. this is slow. Also,, after petting one, go in and pet the other. a large part of the acclimatization issue with animals has to do with them not smelling like the family. They will still have to establish dominance, while that part is no fun, it is normal. Unless you have 2 definite Alpha’s (especially Alpha males!) like me. Then you have ot keep them seperated.

    • drshaywest January 10, 2014 at 7:46 pm #

      I did the sock rubbing thing and both didn’t care on bit when I rubbed them down with a sock that smelled like the other. I guess it’s possible that if Oreo was feeling icky because of the virus, she may have been acting defensive and angry because of that. Hopefully, after the 7 day eye treatment, I can try to introduce Oreo to the house again and maybe it will go better this time

  2. Inion N. Mathair January 13, 2014 at 3:15 am #

    This is really tough Shay cuz every animal is so uniquely different. What works for one might not have any effect on another. Like you, Inion & I are “cat-people” but my husband & son are “dog-people” so we had to find a way for my sons lab to get along with my daughters orange tabby. Or our gray cat Ms. Kitty to get along with my husbands Jack Russell. Where as our lab was easy going & friended our cat Peachy rather quickly. Scooter wouldn’t have one thing to do with Ms. Kitty & even bit her for coming to close to his food once. Nothing serious but he drew blood. It took us two years before Scooter finally gave in & decided to live in peace with Ms. Kitty. And although I could give credit to the good advice we got from friends, our vet the internet research & others. I think what it boiled down to was the combined effort that kept us from giving up. Going with it & refusing to give in to them. So that would be my only advice to give you. Don’t give up. You clearly love them both. You’ve invested not only time but money as well. I would use whatever you can find in the way of techniques. (search on line as well) ask your vet. & keep going with it. This shows the animal that they will not get away with the behavior & that your not going to give in to their bad behavior. Sooner or later the cat will break. If not, you will reach a point where you can look back and say. I’ve done everything in my power & given it my best. If you reach that point. You won’t have any reservations about giving the cat up because you’ll know that you moved Heaven & Earth to make it work & it just wasn’t in the stars! I’m so sorry as this sounds like a lame excuse but it truly is the only one I can give that I believe is earnestly the best way!! Hope everything works out for you & praying for your patience as you are going to need a whole lot of patience my dear!!! lol 😀

    • drshaywest January 13, 2014 at 9:39 am #

      Thanks! ❤ Hit another snag though in that I can't give her the eye drops. Got chewed on and clawed when I tried 😦 Can't afford to take her to the vet twice a day to do it and she won't let anyone else near her if they come into the room. trying to give her the drops was just too much for her so I am not doing it and just hoping she doesn't get an infection (the drops are antibiotics so that won't stop the herpes since it's a virus). She wants out of her room SO bad. She cries so hard and it breaks my heart. But she can't look at the other cat without hissing and howling. When she does that, I close the door and leave her, no matter how much she cries. Then I try again a few hours later. *sigh* Guess this may take more time than I was thinking LOL

      • A.M. Donovan January 14, 2014 at 12:59 pm #

        Have you tried the “burrito” method? Wrap Kitty like a burrito on a towel, lightly sit on said burrito to hold down. Keep both hands free for medicating. towel has to be large and pretty tight. They hate it, but it’s like taking a kid to the dentist.

        • drshaywest January 14, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

          I talked to a vet and she said to forget the drops. They are preventative against other infections and won’t do anything against the virus

          • A.M. Donovan January 14, 2014 at 9:03 pm #

            That will be less painful. 🙂

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