Thursday, September 29, 2011

The joy of being owned by a cat

I use the term deliberately. Moral issues aside (because pet ownership is something very controversial in my opinion) one can never truly own a cat. They are supreme nonconformists. They shape their environment to fit their standards and needs not vice versa.

But they are also loving and caring and one you gain a cat's affection it can be a miraculous thing. One must simply have the patience.

Rufus is now about 7 years old and his age is slowly starting to show. He's more set in his ways and sticking to daily routine has become paramount to him.
 He's endured 3 relocations. In total that's 4 different apartments in the span of 6 years and the last one took quite a toll on his overall condition.

Due to stress and anxiety he started chewing his fur and it took a good couple of months to realize the problem was psychological. The photos in this post are very indicative of what we were dealing with.

Up to that point I had only vaguely heard or read about feline pheromone treatment and discarded it as a bunch of nonsense designed to pick money out of consumers' pockets...
But desperate circumstances call for drastic measures and Mr. C and me decided to get the darn Feliway and try it out. And to my amazement it truly worked!

Not only did Rufus stop chewing his fur, he's entire disposition has improved dramatically. He's more calm, less needy and even playful. His fur has started growing back and the patches of exposed skin are now almost gone.

I'd like to thank everyone who was so kind to leave a comment back in August. I really needed some perspective on this problem and reading your advice has helped me tremendously.
At that time I was so desperate I actually gave Rufi a lampshade collar to physically prevent the chewing. After reading your feedback I instantly knew that was not the solution, it was only making him more miserable. I removed the collar that very same day and Mr. C actually went to town to get some pheromones.
We're now on third refill and have no intention of cutting him off the happy drug just yet.


  1. Rufus really does look healthy now. How wonderful that the problem got solved.
    Moving to a new place can stress an animal more than we might ever know. Awareness of this is really important, but frightening too, and I can´t help stressing now myself about the stress we people cause our pets and animals in general..

  2. It's lovely to see Rufus looking so much better. You are right that a person can never own a cat. They own us - that's for sure!! ;-)

  3. Mette: That's true. I imagine it's like raising a child, you try to do the best you can. But mistakes will always be made. I made a conscious decision 7 years ago not to allow Rufus to go outdoors. This is my first pet that is kept strictly in the apartment and the results of this decision made him a slightly neurotic, unadapted cat that constantly demands my attention. Had he been allowed outside he would have been independent and more "cat like" but he might not be alive today.

    bead addict: My cat is a terrorist ;-P He demands plenty of cuddling and napping and detests when I go out leaving him alllll alone. But I wouldn't change a thing!

  4. I am happy to say that I have been "owned" by some wonderful cats in my lifetime. We did have one that also suffered the trauma of moving too much. Unfortunately, my hubby and daughter are allergic, so no cats in my near future. But that part of my life was much richer for the love of my cats. So glad you found a solution!

  5. Shirley: Having a cat as ill as Rufus has been such a humbling experience. All the emergency trips to the vets and nervously waiting for the outcome are nothing compared to the jolt in the stomach when I see him in pain. No money spent (and the bills certainly were steep) matters in such instance and no amount of consolation can comfort me.
    People who've never had pets can never understand.

  6. Awww,so glad Rufusis on the mend! He looks so happy!

  7. So glad this story turned out well for everyone. What a beautiful kitty.

  8. Mandy: Thanks :-) It was such an immense relief to see Rufus heal.

    Susan: Thanks! It took a while but we finally got it right. We're now Feliway advocates all the way ;-)

  9. Aawwww,...he looks so happy now! And beautiful, too - and so soft!!

  10. Shel: :-) As a strictly indoor cat, his fur has such a soft thin quality. Mr. C always jokes it's for decorative purposes only. Unfortunately it's true and I made him a little sweater to wear when we go to my mum's house where it's infinitely colder:
    Yep, I'm a crazy cat lady ;-)