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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
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 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?
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!!