Sometimes things we do with the best of intentions turn into a problematic situation. When the little feral cat turned up on our doorstep in the midst of torrential rain, providing her with food and shelter seemed like the right thing to do. The consequences of this decision have been far-reaching.
Then she had her four kittens whose beginnings I have already shared. She taught them all the skills they would need to survive in the wild but that means that they distrust humans and limit their interaction to the minimum. Only one of them shows a fairly strong desire for human contact and he plays and allows me to touch and stroke him. Over the years we have had several feral cats who arrived pregnant but this little family is in a different dimension as far as behaviour is concerned.
In an attempt to overcome this drawback, we had allowed them to come inside the house. Of course, they loved chasing up and down the stairs and jumping up and down, but it did not really help to make them more sociable or domesticated. After a year mother still will not accept touch, and with one exception neither do the young ones. Of course, this has presented a major challenge for the neutering plans – but that is another story!
Our one remaining indoor cat does not take kindly to this uninvited invasion and protests in no uncertain terms. However, the major concern is for Salma.
She has become increasingly nervous and afraid due to the presence of the cats. She is particularly afraid of their rapid movements and vocalisations. This, I am sure, is exacerbated by the fact that her vision is rather poor which means that she does not see static objects up close but does perceive movement, even at a distance. This visual problem also means that her hearing is highly developed. The cats have taken over her spaces, and she feels threatened. This has even extended to the point that it seems that the only feline free place where she feels relaxed in is the motorhome, and she is reluctant to come out of it even to go for walks.
As her homoeopathic constitutional remedy is pulsatilla, this means that her confidence level is not high and she is likely to feel that she may be relegated. This is on top of a very strong natural tendency in beardies to be generous to other creatures. All my beardies would allow other dogs and cats to eat from their bowls, but previous beardies had different personalities. Simon was bombproof and, although generous, would admit incursions, but only to an extent. Sasha was generous to a fault, but he was able to make friends with all kinds of creatures establishing a collaborative relationship.
So, what can be done to overcome this situation? The first measure taken was to limit the access of the cats to the house. This will give Salma the chance to recover her spaces in the home without fear of invasion.
The other solutions I have at my disposal and which I have started to use are:
- TTouch body wraps; I am putting the X-the-heart wrap on every day. I may vary the configuration depending on her responses.
- Zoopharma sessions; at the last session she chose frankincense, passiflora, violet leaf, ylang ylang and vanilla. She enjoys sharing the space during the sessions with her people as this means a period of time dedicated exclusively to her.
- I have started a new course of her constitutional homoeopathic remedy Pulsatilla – 5 nights starting 12/11.
- TTouch groundwork and also trotting poles which are definitely her favourite thing; she would spend the whole day trotting over them! The Confidence Course should help her rebuild her sense of self-worth.
- Along with trotting poles, the other pastime that she values highly is being groomed. Grooming time is exclusive to her and she loves being pampered on that table.
I hope that this combination of measures will allow her to recover her sense of security and “secure base”.