Mr. Toomey and I are still adapting to each other. I have posted a little about some of the issues I’m experiencing since adopting him in November. At first I thought it was aggression, but I think it is how he plays. He was previously adopted and returned (while these people had him, they 4-paw declawed him), their reason was “he bites.” Well, everyone at the shelter attributed that to his being declawed and the family having small children.
Turns out, he does bite. Hard. And a lot. It’s kind of his thing. Usually I can tell when he’s about to do it, and I finally found something that deters him- a dog toy with a squeaky in it (yelling/being alpha, ignoring, squirt bottling all didn’t work). He doesn’t like the noise. But it only works to stop him in that moment and if I have it with me. It doesn’t seem to prevent future bad behavior. I would enjoy playing with him, but it always ends the same way, him getting revved up and launching himself at my arm or face (if I’m sitting). He’s broken the skin a few times, which can be pretty dangerous for me. Luckily, at home first aid has worked so far.
The other thing is his behavior around food. He has a bowl of crunchies all the time, and gets wet food 2x a day, once when I get up and then when I get home from work. When it is time for wet food, he makes an insane production about it. It is seriously like having a screaming baby in the apartment. I don’t have a screaming baby in my life for a very specific reason. I find myself losing my patience and yelling at 5am. I’ve tried the squirt bottle (again) and barricading him out of the kitchen until his plate is ready. Even the squeaky toy doesn’t really faze him here. I find myself not liking him very much in these moments, or myself because I don’t know what to do and it isn’t his fault.
The shelter told me I could bring him back. Unless something really egregious happened, like he chewed my face off in the night (he’s already eaten thru cords, and passive-aggressively throws up- he’s had a physical so nothing medically wrong) I can’t return him. He has sweet moments, so I know it is in him to be good. I just don’t know how to bring out more good and less bad. I’ve never had a cat with behavioral issues before.
I also worry that I adopted too soon. I still grieve for Gus every day. Gus was my soul mate and maybe I am the broken one.