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Dr. Loretta
Dr. Loretta, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 26171
Experience:  I have 30 years of experience as a veterinary practice owner working with cats. I am happy to give you practical information.
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Hello there! Ive loved cats since I was a kid and once I

Customer Question

Hello there!
I've loved cats since I was a kid and once I got older, I got allergy shots and two female short-haired tabby cats. I had these two small, declawed (the ex-girlfriend I adopted the cats with took the lead on this, I would not do it again) girls, Adrianna & Lucianna, for 14 years until Lucianna passed away last year of heart disease just shy of her 15th birthday.

I spent a lot of their lives alone- meaning, I lived by myself in an awesome apartment in NYC, and when a long term relationship would end (4 years, 2 years, 1 year), I would always take time to heal before dating again. For long swaths of my life, it was just the girls and me. Also, as an actor, I've taken my girls all over the country, on national tours, regional gigs aplenty, etc. They've probably flown more than 60 times and they ended up traveling better than I did sometimes! All of which to say is that I'm very close to my cats.

I've been dating my current girlfriend for 4 1/2 years and we've been living together for almost 2. Lucianna took a little to my past girlfriends, but by the time my gf had to leave town for an acting job (8 months of us sharing the same space) Loochie and my gf understood and took to each other. Meanwhile, Adrianna remained distant and defensive against my gf (and everyone else), though consistently very loving to me. I believe, by necessity.

When last year, Lucianna passed while my gf was away, I watched AdriXXXXX XXXXXe into a more loving solo cat. (The two sisters were never the most copacetic siblings, their connection was really through me.) We had a subletter in our apartment during this time, and while Adrianna wasn't super-friendly to him, she did trust him- he played with her and fed her sometimes. I though this boded well.

When my girlfriend returned she tried to connect with Adrianna, but no dice. I mean, Adrianna knows her, sometimes she doesn't hiss or bat at her, but most often she does. She doesn't trust her. In fact, Adrianna has never trusted any human than me for the almost 16 years I've known her...

When she was a kitten, my ex and I had forgotten to take up one tiny pile of boric acid in the bathroom we had put out for the roaches. Adrianna got sick and had to go into the hospital for 3 weeks. In that time, I believe she learned 3 things: her name, how to scream (getting poked and prodded'll teach ya that) and how NOT to trust humans.

So... now I have a wonderful girlfriend who wants to love an animal who has a loving, symbiotic relationship only with me. I believe beings can change, I watched LuciXXXXX XXXXXe... so finally, the simple question is: how can we help Adrianna to change to accept and trust my girlfriend and, frankly, anybody else?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Loretta replied 11 months ago.

Good Morning and welcome. I am Dr. Loretta, a licensed veterinarian and I am happy to answer your question.

Thank you so much for so much detail...I feel like I already know you...and Adrianna.

As you are aware, cats have a very difficult time with change especially as they age. This time , after losing Lucianna, it is even more tough on her. Cats can change but it does take time and patience which I am sure you are willing to do....my fear, though, for you is Adrianna's age. This may make thing even more difficult due to the possibility of dementia and organ compromises.

The first thing you should do is to purchase Feliway and Rescue Remedy at the pet store, These are holistic medications aimed at decreasing anxiety which is why Adrianna feels so afraid and distant. Use this as a diffuser and during this time allow her to investigate your girlfriend...never force her into anything. if she does show up where the 2 of you are, talk to her in a low calming voice which will help her feel safe and help her over her fears.

I would recommend that you have your vet examine Adrianna and run a full blood panel to be sure that some of her issues are not related to pain from arthritis or other metabolic issues. If the Feliway is not enough, they will have a medication called Clomicalm that will decrease her anxiety even more and help her to accept others.

Lastly, it may help to consult a veterinary behaviorist. You can do this as a phone consult and they will have other tips to help Adrianna more comfortable in her environment. You can find one at this LINK. This is not expensive.

Does that make sense to you?

Please let me know if you have ANY other questions. My goal is to give you 100% satisfaction and if you are not yet satisfied, please Reply so I can clarify for you

Sincerely, XXXXX XXXXX

Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Hello Dr. Loretta!

Thanks for your quick response! So more info for ya...

 

I take Adrianna in for a check up several times a year (because we travel so much) and my vet and I have determined that she shows no sign of her sister's heart disease and all her tests show her at average or better than average levels for her age. She does have feline FORLs, so we have to keep an eye on that, but she looked good on May 10th when we had her last check up (and before that in February). But, I will absolutely keep an eye on her health.

 

I also don't see her as uncomfortable in her environment. Being a traveling cat as she is, she was always the one to adjust to the new environment almost instantaneously- as opposed to Looch, who always took a couple days. She loves this apartment and when my girlfriend is not around, working on a job, and alone with me (or with me and a subletter who lives in the second bedroom) Adrianna could not seem happier, calmer, more content and playful.

 

Let's be frank, it has been obvious to me that when there's a woman around, I "play" with her and not Adrianna. She just sees that there's another being I'm spending time with that's NOT her. She definitely is more withdrawn and nervous when my gf's home- and has ALWAYS as long as I've known her with any gf.

 

So yes, I can try the feliway (I used that on tour for Looch who was MUCH more nervous than her sister- to not seemingly much effect), but I believe it's technical. I have never seen Adrianna trust/be comfortable around any other human. I know she's older and it may take time, but how can we help her see-- what can we (my gf and I) do to build up her trust of other humans, starting with my girlfriend?

 

Thanks!

-M

Expert:  Dr. Loretta replied 11 months ago.
HI Michael...

There is obviously a jealousy issue for Adrianna and this is tough to work with....all you can do is try to make Adrianna feel special even when your girlfriend is present as well as other people. This is a long ingrown behavior that Adrianna is showing, Michael and I am not convinced that she will ever change her ways, no matter how hard you try....On the other hand, decreasing any anxiety that she is feeling will make her more apt to accept other humans into her life. She is extremely attached to you, Michael...that is undeniable and making changes will be difficult.

I should have known. Michael that you take Adrianna in routinely for check ups...I would not have expected anything less but on the next visit, ask your vet about xrays for arthritis. Pain from this can make her somewhat grumpy and make trying to make her loving to your girlfriend even more difficult. If she has some arthritis, a medication such as Metacam will ease that discomfort and make her feel better.

just keep trying, Michael...patience is the key allowing Adrianna to pick the time when she becomes more comfortable with your girlfriend and others. The medications, Feliway and Rescue Remedy will help you do this, Michael.

Does that make more sense, Michael?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
These are really good points, though of course, I wish they weren't exactly what I suspected. Xraying for arthritis is a terrific idea and i'll definitely have my vet run that when next he sees her.
I'm heading out for the evening, so let me think on things and get back to you with any further questions that I think you may be able to address. Thanks much!
-M
Expert:  Dr. Loretta replied 11 months ago.
That is great, Michael...I am happy to answer any other questions you may have Michael...I am sure as you discuss this with friends and you "gf", you will come up with other issues that I may be able to help with...

Have a great evening, Michael....I look forward to hearing from you!!

Sincerely, Loretta
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Loretta!


Thanks for giving me a day to contemplate...


 


When Lucianna passed away, it was clear that my hunter, Adrianna, was, above all, bored. She needed a new challenge now that she had no other cat to "hunt." So a few months later I trained her to walk on a leash outside. It's a big challenge (i make sure not to push it too much), but one that I believe she ultimately enjoys (as do I)!


 


Yesterday, I took her out and my girlfriend came with. she didn't walk her, but walked with her and several times she let her be petted by her. Wanted her to pet her. Meaning, it's obvious that Adrianna knows her and trusts her more in unfamiliar environments (I notice this when we travel as well). That was heartening. So my last question... is there anything technically you'd suggest for myself and/or my girlfriend to do to ease things, even slightly, forward? Think my gf should feed Adrianna exclusively? Anything else you'd suggest?


 


Thanks,


-M

Expert:  Dr. Loretta replied 11 months ago.
Hey Michael...so good to hear form you. I was wondering how things were going with your jet setting cat and your "GF".

It is a really positive sign that Adrianna is feeling better around your GF....the best thing I believe that she can do is to give her treats. I am not sure if you have tried Temptations, the cat treats. My cats go crazy for these and when you guys are walking or in the house, have your GF give her treats. Having her feed Adrianna will also help but the treats will bond Adrianna with GF...

Please let me know, Michael how things are going. I do believe that using the Feliway will have a positive effect on Adrianna...and worth trying.

Keep up the great work, Michael...I hope you, GF and your jet set cat have a great day!!
Dr. Loretta, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 26171
Experience: I have 30 years of experience as a veterinary practice owner working with cats. I am happy to give you practical information.
Dr. Loretta and 6 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Loretta replied 11 months ago.

Thank you so much, Michael for your kind rating. It is very much appreciated! Do not hesitate to contact me with any other concerns that you may have about Adrianna and her situation...jet setter cats are tougher than most so I am sure that your GF will bond with her given some time. If you have other questions, please Reply. I am always happy to help!

Have a great day, Michael....Adrianna too!!

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