I'm hoping someone can give me some advice - I've about had it. This is a long one............
This past summer, at the end of July, we adopted a stray cat - my son found it. We guess it was about 6 months old at the time (so about 1 year old now). My DH never wanted a cat but I took pity on the thing and convinced him to take it in.
She's driving us crazy! She jumps on the counters CONSTANTLY, is very defiant ("make me!") and is basically a little "rhymes with witch". Sure, some of that is to be expected with a cat, but it's not getting any better as time goes on and in some cases, it's getting worse.
As for the counters - our main course of action is spray bottles - she doesn't like being squirted with water and usually stops what she's doing, but often, 2 seconds later, and she's back at it. We've tried saying no and yelling - doesn't work. We've tried calmly picking her up and shutting her in the basement for a "time out" - doesn't work. She's been in the basement 3 times already this morning for jumping on the counters - each time I let her out, she's back on the counter in less than 5 minutes. We try to keep food covered and put away, but when we're cooking or serving dinner, we often have to shut her down there because we can't trust that we can turn our backs for 5 seconds. She's spending an awful lot of time in the basement these days - I feel bad and that's not what I want, but at least it gets her out of our hair and it doesn't hurt her.
She's also started to dart outside after months of showing very little interest in the great outdoors. We had her front paws declawed (I know many are not fans of this practice but for many reasons we felt it was for the best) and we live in an area where coyotes are not uncommon, so we don't want to just let her out. I kind of wish we could let her out - maybe she'd be better behaved when she's inside if she could roam outside all day. We have our little tricks for keeping her from getting out, but she does slip out anyway. It's hard when you have a dog you need to let in and out all day. I can tell she wants to be out there with the dog!
One of the bigger issues........for the most part, she does NOT like to be handled. She'll make motions to nip you (but most of the time does not put teeth on you and even if she does, it's not very hard) if she's not in the mood to be petted (which I've read is not uncommon for cats but it's annoying and makes people nervous). She's come to trust me and doesn't do it so much to me anymore, but she makes other people nervous - and rightly so. We can pick her up if we have to without too much commotion but not in any kind of cuddly way - she's gotten a bit better about it than she was at first, but still can be very feisty if we pick her up. She's horrible when we go to the vet - she hisses and growls and they have to drop a towel over her to hold her down. The vet's office LOVES our dog Bailey, but he's put our cat on the every 3 years plan because she is so uncooperative! I pray she never gets seriously ill or injured - I have no idea how we'd be able to treat her or get a pill down her.
I'm worried about some of the aggressive behavior. She doesn't seem mean, it's more feisty than mean - and the vet agreed (he felt she acted out of fear in his office), even after what she put them through in the office to get her vaccinated. One example of aggressive behavior - she has this very annoying habit of running in and out of your legs as you are trying to feed her. If you accidentally step on her or bump into her - how can you not???? - she bats at you and gets all mad. She'll even bat Bailey in the face if he gets anywhere near her while we're getting her breakfast or dinner around. Like I said - rhymes with witch! It's funny in a way but also very annoying! Then yesterday she did all of that but then also nipped my husband as he reached down to get her bowl. Not acceptable or funny.
If this kind of behavior gets worse or she gets to the point where she actually bites instead of nips, we will be forced to get rid of her - biting is NOT something that is negotiable or something I'm willing to tolerate at all. I feel more comfortable around her now than I did at first and she seems to trust me and doesn't try to nip me very often anymore, but my oldest son still doesn't really trust her and most guests don't either, which is a real shame. I warn most guests to limit their physical contact with her, just in case.
She makes our dog nervous. They get along for the most part but when she gets in her moods, he gets nervous, probably because he can't stand it when we get mad at anything - it makes him nervous if I grumble at my computer! He will often retreat upstairs to get away from her which makes me feel bad for him. He was here first and is the sweetest, nicest dog ever and he should feel comfortable in his own home. On the other hand, he IS a major wus about just about everything and needs to learn to stand up for himself, so part of it is his own fault!
She does have some good points, don't get me wrong. She is very good about using her box. She's not finicky at all - she'll use any kind of box or litter and will eat any kind of food we put in front of her. She can be affectionate and cuddly. She's fun to play with and even though she's not fond of being handled, she's very sociable - she likes to be in the middle of things and around us all the time and will regularly climb up on our laps and cuddle. (But she makes us nervous because she'll sometimes bat at or make motions to nip if we try to move while she's on our lap or if we try to pet her.) She and Bailey have fun chasing the laser pointer around the house - she's not afraid to get right in the middle of any rough play and it can be a lot of fun to watch. Given all of this and how generally sociable she is, it gives me hope that she can be a good pet but then I she'll turn around do what she did to my husband yesterday and that makes me think it's going to get worse, not better.
I feel crappy because so much of the time I don't like her which makes me feel guilty too. I do try with her - I talk nice to her, play with her and can and have felt genuine affection toward her but she always ruins it by doing something to piss me off and then I'm back to not liking her.
I don't see any way out of keeping her, so I really want to try to make this work. Besides the fact that it would devastate my son if we got rid of her, I doubt we'd find anyone to take her in given her personality. I can't shove her off on the ASPCA - given the way she acts at the vet, if she acted the same way there, she'd be signing her own death warrant. I'd like her to have a chance but I'm running out of patience.
I'm just so frustrated! I've always wanted a cat and I know there are good cats out there but this is definitely not what I had in mind. I resent her because my husband has never wanted a cat and I am certain she is the last cat he'll ever allow in this house - she's doing a great job of reminding him of all the reasons he didn't want a cat to begin with.
It's also hard because I'm so used to a dog who wants to please and who is very trainable - I just don't know how to deal with her. She obviously couldn't care less about pleasing us and doesn't respond to any kind if discipline. We can forcefully tell her to get off the counter and she'll just look at us defiantly. She'll even take a lot of spraying and get fairly wet before she'll finally jump down or stop the offending behavior.
I expected some of this of course - young cats will be this way, just as young dogs will - but in some ways she seems to get worse as she gets older, not better! Well, some things have gotten better but the jumping on counters, one example, has gotten much worse.
This is very long and I really appreciate anyone who has had the patience to read it all. I'm venting but also looking for any advice on how we might be able to coexist with this creature. Help!!!