Cat Rescue Part Three

Be Prepared – They are different

Breeding cats come with little or no history of abuse or neglect, and are usually ‘starved’ for attention, making them wonderful companions once they come out of their shells.  My own experience in adopting a three-year old male Himalayan cat from a breeder illustrates several points worth mentioning here:

$          Muscular development may be impaired, as these cats are generally caged through their entire breeding lives.  My adopted cat was too weak at first to jump from the floor to the sofa.  However, after several weeks of activity, his strength had improved dramatically, and he was easily running and jumping.

$          Socialization is often delayed, because breeders are often too busy to spend a lot of social time with the individual cat.  Most of the breeder’s time is spent in feeding, cleaning, and grooming, and little time is spent in holding, petting, and cuddling.  With my cat, the first thing I noticed was that he was ‘hand shy’.  Every time I put my hand down to pet him, he would back away, as if afraid he was going to be hit.  I compensated for this by spending much more time cuddling and holding, carrying him around with me in my apartment, and making sure to not move towards him too quickly with my hand.  While I cannot say that he ever completely got over this shyness, he did improve dramatically over time.

$          Once they bond with you, separation anxiety is common.  Although they are used to being left alone for hours at a time, it seems that once they get used to having you around all the time, they want you around all the time.  My Himalayan tended to follow me everywhere, slept on my pillow at night, and wanted to be up in my arms whenever I sat down.  Since he was so small, I usually let him be wherever he wanted to be, so long as it didn’t interfere with what I was doing.