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Discussion Starter #1
How do you deal with it?

I have been doing TNR with some feral cats nearby, and I rescued a kitten in the summer. I socialized him and he was nearly normal, just still kind of skittish and everything had to be on his terms. He was a total lover, though; he loved sleeping in laps and he purred constantly.

I placed him with my half brother, whose cat died last spring. I was totally upfront about his special needs, and I said that he could come back if it didn't work out. I did a lot of follow-up, with phone calls, emails, and a home visit. My half brother, who I'll call "Mike", kept insisting that everything was good, and that he was coming out of his shell. At the home visit, which was one week after he'd gotten there, he seemed very social and everything was great.

Then tonight "Mike" called and asked me to take him back. He said he's been biting and scratching this entire time. In his words, "he's a biter and a scratcher." Which he totally wasn't with me.

I'm so upset right now. I wish that I'd never taken him off the streets, so he could still be adapted for that life. I absolutely cannot keep him here, especially since I just adopted a dog, and I have no way of placing him. Why did "Mike" wait this long??

I'm so upset, and I feel like I failed him. For all the fosters out there, how do you deal with it when one comes back? What do you do if you have no means of placing her/him? How do you deal with all the horrible emotions?
 

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A good friend of mine does BC rescue and I don't know how she does it. With such a sensitive breed, she has to be very careful who she adopts to, or the dogs come back in much worse shape (mentally and behaviorally) than when she adopted them out. I imagine it's a relatively thankless, heartbreaking job. She also deals in high volume (many rescue dogs at once), which may help some with the emotional roller coaster.

I've thought about doing it myself, but logistically I can't right now - maybe a few years down the line. But I'd only take one at a time.
 

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I had a foster come back after over a year. He left a happy confident out going 6 month old JRT, came back a mature confirmed biter. he had mangled the father's hand. Bitten with punctures on more than one occasion, would guard the daughter's bed and not let her in the room as well as was stranger aggressive.

It was heartbreaking and made me want to cry. They said they were having "a few issues" so we sent them to a good trainer in their area that happens to breed JRTs (so knows a lot about the breed). Seems they never did the homework, argued, never followed through and ended up doing things they say on "the dog whisperer". Sigh.. so basically they taught him to fear and aggress.

It took a lot of work (I had him back for a few months) and he is still not quite right. He lives now with another foster for the rescue permanently.

In your case, can you contact a cat rescue and foster him till they find him a home? Keep him in a separate room or something? Is your dog cat aggressive? I have had cats and dogs before, though not now with the JRTs lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I am afraid of the damage that has been done, as you both mentioned. He was at a formative age, and apparently things have been bad for a while. I don't understand why "Mike" didn't contact me at all about what was going on.

I'm so sorry to hear about your JRT foster that was returned. How heartbreaking that he'll never be normal because of what happened.

In your case, can you contact a cat rescue and foster him till they find him a home? Keep him in a separate room or something? Is your dog cat aggressive? I have had cats and dogs before, though not now with the JRTs lol.
It's possible, but I'm afraid he will be unadoptable. There are so many cats euthanized here. The biggest shelter in the city (and there are many more) takes in over 30 thousands animals a year, mostly cats, and the majority are euthanized. When healthy, normal kittens are being euthanized, how am I going to be able to adopt out a adolescent cat with special needs?

My dog is totally fine with cats, but I'm sure this cat won't be okay with him. During the time he was outside before I caught him, I saw how he reacted to dogs on the street. And one time when he was at my apartment my neighbor's dog barked, and he totally flipped out.

The other, even bigger issue is my cat Richard. He does not tolerate new cats. He's great with my other cats because he grew up with them from his kittenhood, but when he sees new cats he literally tries to kill them. He doesn't hiss or anything, he just goes into silent kill mode. When this guy was a kitten I kept him separate in the living room, but I can't do that long term. Richard also was more tolerant of him (relatively), I think because he was tiny. But he isn't anymore.
 

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I just had a foster dog returned, Charlotte. I fostered her twice before and the reasons she was returned was through no fault of her own. The first family returned her because she is horrible with getting her nails done and she bit the husband when they tried to trim her nails and he insisted she had to go. The next family returned her because their daughter and granddaughter had to move in with them and the granddaughter was so horribly allergic to her that she was hospitalized a few times from the asthma attacks. Charlotte's an old black dog with a quirky personality so she's not going to be the easiest to adopt out. I have a feeling she's going to stay here forever because I'm really taking a liking to her.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well, the kitten -- now mostly cat -- got back here last night and he's acting totally normal. I have to keep him in an XL dog crate while my cats readjust, and when I let him out it can only be while I'm here and awake (because of Richard and the fight potential -- which sounds like a weird band).

He was out for a while last night and he was being totally normal. Walking around, sniffing, not hiding, purring, letting me pet him, etc. No scratches or bites. My first cat, who was not a feral kitten, had more kinks. I'm now wondering whether "Mike" just realized he didn't really want a cat right now.

The whole thing is really stressful because Richard is basically my "heart cat", and I hate to see him unhappy. Which he is, terribly. I had to keep him in my room with the door shut last night because he kept going back to the crate and getting upset all over again.

And it's stressful because I feel like I'm becoming an animal hoarder. Four cats and a dog in a one bedroom apartment. And I don't know what to do! How can I find him a new home after what happened? Could he be happy anywhere else? But he can't stay here.
 

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it sounds actually that the kitten doesn't have too many issues. which means he should be adoptable. I think he could be happy with a new home. sometimes people bring biting on themselves by thinking they can hold and play with cats in ways that make the cats defensive ( I knew one guy who insisted that cats "liked" to be held on their backs - he never quite understood why his cat bit him all the time). but if he's purring, not hiding and letting you pet him, he isn't the one with issues.
 

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I just had a foster dog returned, Charlotte. I fostered her twice before and the reasons she was returned was through no fault of her own. The first family returned her because she is horrible with getting her nails done and she bit the husband when they tried to trim her nails and he insisted she had to go. The next family returned her because their daughter and granddaughter had to move in with them and the granddaughter was so horribly allergic to her that she was hospitalized a few times from the asthma attacks. Charlotte's an old black dog with a quirky personality so she's not going to be the easiest to adopt out. I have a feeling she's going to stay here forever because I'm really taking a liking to her.
You know that kind of pisses me off. I took in a 3 month old Wheaten who had been to two previous homes and is a mill dog. He was not trained, horrible biter, food aggressive, child and animal aggressive... just an all around nut case. I went online and watched youtube videos on counter aggressive work and now he's is only down to food aggression when another dog gets a "treat" and beard clipping... which he's getting SO GOOD at. I have scars on my hands from his ferocious crazy bites. It takes work... but it pays off and some people are just so darn lazy.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
it sounds actually that the kitten doesn't have too many issues. which means he should be adoptable. I think he could be happy with a new home. sometimes people bring biting on themselves by thinking they can hold and play with cats in ways that make the cats defensive ( I knew one guy who insisted that cats "liked" to be held on their backs - he never quite understood why his cat bit him all the time). but if he's purring, not hiding and letting you pet him, he isn't the one with issues.
He really doesn't. He's totally relaxed now, and I trimmed his claws and cleaned his ears without him biting once. I did get scratched, but it was because he was trying to get away, which is totally in the realm of normal. He doesn't hide at all.

I discovered that in addition to his cold he has really bad ear mites. That could have contributed to him being stressed out there. But honestly, I think "Mike" was just acting in a way that put him on the defensive. He's totally great with me, and I have to think that if he was biting "Mike" it was because of something he was doing. I saw that "Mike" was using sort of aggressive body language without even realizing it. And he totally blew off all my tips, like "don't make eye contact, and if you do blink slowly and look away" and "turn your body slightly away from him" and "sit on the floor doing other stuff and let him come to you" and "speak in a soft voice" and "don't lean over him" etc. After a good intro when he's gotten used to you, you can relax and start acting normal.

I think if this cat (he's almost full grown now) does have any special needs, it's that people pay extra attention to their body language while getting to know him. He's totally fine otherwise. I think if I didn't know he was a feral kitten I wouldn't even label him as "special needs".

His acting out may have also been because he was stressed out without any other cats. He loves other cats, and he has excellent manners with them. That's the story I'm going with to the family, just to keep things polite.

I also ordered Revolution for his ear mites. They're really horrendous.

He jumped up onto my lap while I was typing this and is purring away. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Charlotte's an old black dog with a quirky personality so she's not going to be the easiest to adopt out. I have a feeling she's going to stay here forever because I'm really taking a liking to her.
I'm starting to think that might be the case here, too. Really, is four cats that different than three? And two of them are seniors, so it's not like it'll be forever.

Richard has also made tons of progress, probably because he knew him before. He's tolerating his presence without hissing.
 

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I had a foster cat from the shelter that I work at last year about this time. Her name was Sasha.

I had her for about a month and then someone was interested in meeting her. They seemed like the perfect fit! They proceeded to adopt her, all the while this lady was being a little freaky about the possibility of her being sick and getting her dogs sick, to which I told her she was up to date on all of her vaccinations, dewormed 3 times (once with strongid, twice with drontal), Felv/FIV/HW negative and had been around my dogs (who are also UTD and healthy) for a month with no problems. About a week later she called all freaked out telling me that her vet had told her Sasha's (the kitty) fecal was positive for... I believe she said whipworms (could have been hookworms too.. I can't remember) and I was thinking how odd that was that she could be dewormed 3 times and still have something. I told her to pick up the dewormer from her vet and give it to her and that should take care of it. Well she was just too freaked out and with out even telling me dumped the cat back off at the shelter I work for.

So I took Sasha back home. This lady hadn't bothered to get the meds from her vet, so I took her down to my own vet who is top notch, and she had no findings in the fecal, but said it was -possible- she could just not be shedding any in her feces at that time. Anyhow we wormed her again just to be sure (and poor Sasha HATED getting meds). Then I took her home for another 3 months. In January a family came over to our home to meet her and absolutely fell in love. I really loved these people too, they had recently lost a 1 year old ca to FeLV and their daughter really wanted another kitty that she could snuggle with. Sasha was a WORLD CLASS snuggler. Most affectionate cat I've met to date. Anyhow they took her home and almost a year later all is still well. We keep in touch through facebook and they recently posted a photo of her in her halloween outfit. Sasha was a princess for halloween. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
That's a great happy ending! That first woman sounds so strange and horrible. Why is it so common for people to dump pets at the shelter when they have a home they can be returned to at any time? :mad: I hear about this happening all the time. I guess people care more about looking bad than about the life of the animal they no longer want.

Sasha is a cutie, with such interesting ears. I don't think I've ever seen ears that were short and rounded like that. I'm going to have to take some new pictures of this guy to post.
 

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He really doesn't. He's totally relaxed now, and I trimmed his claws and cleaned his ears without him biting once. I did get scratched, but it was because he was trying to get away, which is totally in the realm of normal. He doesn't hide at all.

I discovered that in addition to his cold he has really bad ear mites. That could have contributed to him being stressed out there. But honestly, I think "Mike" was just acting in a way that put him on the defensive. He's totally great with me, and I have to think that if he was biting "Mike" it was because of something he was doing. I saw that "Mike" was using sort of aggressive body language without even realizing it. And he totally blew off all my tips, like "don't make eye contact, and if you do blink slowly and look away" and "turn your body slightly away from him" and "sit on the floor doing other stuff and let him come to you" and "speak in a soft voice" and "don't lean over him" etc. After a good intro when he's gotten used to you, you can relax and start acting normal.

He jumped up onto my lap while I was typing this and is purring away. :)
Some people just really aren't good "cat" friends. It takes a person who is willing not to be a dominant personality. Sounds like this kitty needs a good laid back kitty home. We have both kitties and a dog (the kitties are in charge!) in our home and the dog actually appreciates having a mellower home as well (we adopted her at the age of 6 so she likes her naps ...)
 
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