Signs of a cat being abused in the past?

This is a place to gain some understanding of cat behavior and to assist people in training their cats and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other cat owners and lovers...not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!


I'm a mommy!
Purred: Thu Jun 16, '11 2:26am PST 
Okay, long story short, weird people moved into our neighborhood and had 4+ animals, one dog, three cats. They first dumped the original two cats, Bebe, who we found and kept, and a grey tabby, who disappeared.
They randomly up and left, and abandoned their third cat, Lulu, who we found dehydrated and we kept her.
Lulu seems fine now, honestly, she's spoiled and the queen. But Bebe, she was pregnant. She had kittens, and we kept one.
But ever since we got Bebe, she's been acting odd. She's very jumpy, flinches when we go to pet her, and has very violent mood swings. This has been going on for over a year now, (We got her about July last year.)
She's not sick, we've taken her to the vet. She's a very nice cat most of the time, but her behavior is odd to me. Is it possible she was abused emotionally or physically?


Little mother
Purred: Thu Jun 16, '11 2:48am PST 
It's possible she was, I think they remember and hope it's not going to happen again bless them. Perdita wpuld not be stroked or petted till the last few months, she was with someone else for a week before coming to me at 6 weeks, yes she left her mother at 5 weeks or less. The people didn't want her and I think she was largely ignored or the child picked her up too much.shrug

Angel Hallie- (5-15-96/11-- 7-12)

Please consider- adopting an- older cat!
Purred: Thu Jun 16, '11 7:21pm PST 
With the history you give on the prior owners of these cats, its a safe bet to say she was abused. They obviously didn't have any conscience or sense of responsibility for their pets, the way they dumped them like garbage. If Lulu doesn't show general fear of humans, its very likely her wariness of being petted is due to being hit or kicked. A cat who has been hit with an object such as a broom, will usually show fear when someone in their new environment picks up the same kind of object near the cat. Hopefully there's an especially miserable place in the worst parts of hell for people who abuse cats!

Just take it slow & easy with Lulu. Move slow and easy, talk in a soothing calming voice when you approach her. Don't push her if she seems really afraid. Figure out her fear triggers. Some formerly abused cats for instance, will come up to be petted if their human is lying down on the bed, but show fear when their human is walking toward them or past them. It takes a lot of time and patience sometimes for a cat that's been abused to learn that human hands and feet and objects aren't going to hurt her.

Note too, there is also a difference between walking toward the car and past the cat with your body language etc clearly showing the cat you're not coming after the cat. Purposefully walking toward a cat with intent to catch or pick up the cat looks altogether different to a cat than walking past him or toward him for some other reason.

When I purposefully come walking toward them, my own cats often get suspicious , not because of abuse but because they suspect I'm armed with their Advantage flea drops or the claw clipper or other necessity they don't particularly enjoy!


Purred: Thu Aug 4, '11 8:59am PST 
I apologize that this is so long, but I really wanted to share my Liberty's story. Hopefully you can find hope for your Bebe.

I adopted my Libby from an animal shelter where she had been for over a year (my local shelter will not euthanize, regardless of how long a cat is there). She was 2 years old when the animal shelter took her in. So she is now 3 years old, has been living a year in a shelter full of loving people and cats, and been with me for 4 months. N Although the shelter has never said anything, I am quite sure she was abused before the shelter had her (she is missing a couple randomly placed teeth, which leads me to think she has been kicked for sure).

Libby doesn't ever have violent mood swings, but other than that, seems to be alot like your Bebe. For the first month she wouldn't come near me at all. She spent the first month under my bed, only coming out to pee and eat. But, I have been very patient with her. I never approach her as if going to HER, only walk past her. And like Halllie said above, she has learned the difference between the two. If I am walking TO her, she runs under the bed. If I am walking past her, she will tense, ready to bolt, but as I walk by, she relaxes. Now it has definitely been a practice in patience with her, cuz I really want to pick her up and snuggle her lots (she is a beautiful white fluffy girl). But the patience is really paying off. Its been 4 months, and its all little tiny milestones, but you will see changes. Like, while she won't spend the day in the same room as me, she will sit in the room right next to the one I am in. I spend most of my day at my desk in the office, and she will sleep in the living room right next to the door. And once every day, she will jump on my desk and lay down, waiting for me to pet her. She lasts about 5 minutes, then jumps down. There are even rare mornings, this morning is one, where she will jump on top my bed (she sleeps under it) when she hears I am awake. She will jump up, sit just out of my reach and purr. Then jump off.

I realize this may seem like very little progress. But the time during each day that she comes up to my desk is my absolute favorite moment of the day. And on the rare mornings that she jumps on my bed to say good morning, those are the best ways to wake up!! Just give your Bebe time, and patience, and love and, although it may take time, she will learn to trust that you won't hurt her.

Edited by author Thu Aug 4, '11 9:02am PST



cause thats what- i am a princess
Purred: Thu Aug 4, '11 9:27am PST 
i am very jumpy and freaks out and almost every object like clothes, vaccums, brooms, ect and she would hide except my mom. my moods switch off from being all cuddley and loving to being hissy. only my mom can touch me and hold me. if anyone else hold and if stangers hold me i freak out and try escapse . also i freak out from sudden movements and loud noises. i was a shelter cat. mom was told i had previous owners before mom. but she dosent know how they treated me or anything like that. but mom still loves me anyway. used startle and run away when someone walked past her and when someone walked into room while she was eating. she is getting better that though. try walking toward them and just petting them. that what mom does. walking doesnt always have to mean something bad like nail clipping.

Edited by author Thu Aug 4, '11 9:43am PST


Miss- Elizabeth- Bennett

Looking for Mr.- Darcy
Purred: Thu Aug 4, '11 11:30am PST 
Bless you for taking in these cats and giving them a safe and loving home. I agree with the other posters, it just takes time for an animal to realize they will never be kicked, hit, shouted at, etc. And when they do, it is wonderful to hear the happy purrs, get those headbonks and feel a furry body rubbing against you.

Read my Lizzie's story.....

Keep us posted.

The New Orleans Kitties

wesley- alexis gold

i'm highly- reflective!
Purred: Fri Aug 5, '11 1:34pm PST 
it's possible. it's also possible that your kitty has FHS. Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome. FHS http://www.paws-and-effect.com/html/pawsandeffect8.html>FHS

an d, for some reason i can't get to the link from here...copy & paste, or just google it if you like...

Edited by author Fri Aug 5, '11 1:39pm PST