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Topic: Post-Pet-Adoption-Anxiety. Does it get better?

5 posts, 0 answered
  1. jackf
    jackf avatar
    1 posts
    13 December 2019

    Hi all,
    I adopted a 9 week old rescue kitten 5 days ago, and with my beautiful furry friend also came a giant smack in the face of anxiety and remorse. I have never been a pet owner before, and certainly did not know everything there was to know about how to raise a kitten prior to my adoption. While it is wonderful having a companion sometimes, and she really is a beautiful pet, I feel like my lifestyle has drastically changed and I feel my emotional state crumbling.

    Prior to my pet, I enjoyed living alone in my own (purchased) apartment. I absolutely love my alone time - it helps me unwind and settle myself. I need alone time to feel sane.

    Unfortunately I've realised that this lovely little feline has now taken over that precious alone time, and she constantly needs my attention. I can barely have 30 minutes before she's meowing, or jumping on me, or starting to chew on something she shouldn't be. I attend to her and give her what she needs, but I feel like I've sacrificed my own alone time. As a result I've had constant anxiety over the last several days, lack of sleep, panic, and bouts of depression.

    I imagine that this period is as much an adjustment for the kitten as it is for me, and that takes time. But I don't know if the long-term responsibility will mean I've sacrified something permanently.

    I have considered the heartbreaking option of giving her back, but I don't want this to be the solution. I want to explore everything else first. So, I ask pet owners - Have you experienced this before? Did it improve with time? As kittens grow older, are they more self-sufficient? Can I expect to have some alone time returned to me?

    Thanks in advance,
    Jac

  2. Soberlicious96
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    Soberlicious96 avatar
    519 posts
    13 December 2019 in reply to jackf

    Dear Jackf,

    Welcome To Beyond Blue, and well done for reaching out.

    As a fellow pet owner, and an owner of a number of pets over the course of my life - those being both dogs and cats - I feel I can answer some of these questions for you, hopefully in a positive way, and that will help to ease your anxiety.

    In response to your questions, I would like to answer them with my own experiences;

    Have you experienced this before? Absolutely! In fact I reckon each and every time I have brought home a new pet, I have spent the first few days terrified, afraid that I would stuff up in some major way and ruin everything; from forgetting to feed the pet, to forgetting to provide water, to accidentally locking it in some cupboard somewhere and coming home to find the pet deceased.

    Did it improve with time? Yes, it certainly did. Keeping in mind, it's probably more terrifying for the pet than it is for you. You at least know what is going on and why, but your pet does not. It is therefore quite naturally very daunting at first. They can't tell you what they are feeling, but they most certainly have their own way of showing you. Being very clingy and 'demanding' is a most natural thing at the start. Remember, it's as new for them as it is for you.

    As kittens grow older, are they more self-sufficient? Oh yeah, they sure are! In fact, you'll probably have times when you notice that kitty will want his or her own time as well, and will go hide away somewhere for hours at a time, and you will wonder where they got to! Cats can be very quite and hide under beds, or in cupboards and you won't know. They are definitely a far more independent creature than a dog, by far.

    Can I expect to have some alone time returned to me? Yep, for sure. No doubt about it. Like I said, they tend to also want their alone time too, so fear not, they will leave you wondering where they are some days.

    Finally, for some more hints and tips about how to care for your kitten, follow this link:

    https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/how-do-i-care-for-my-new-kitten/

    I do hope that helps at least a little. And remember to relax a little; once that little furry bundle of joy is curled up in your lap and purring, if anything like me, your heart will melt and all your cares will be purred away!

    Take care, and enjoy your new furry baby. Life will take on a whole new meaning! If you want, you can let me know how things are in a week or so, yeah?

    Anyway, must go. Running our of room now. xo

  3. Hanna3
    Hanna3 avatar
    3081 posts
    14 December 2019 in reply to jackf

    Hi I was really anxious when I first brought my little dog home - now he's 8 years old and I wouldn't be without him. But yes pets are demanding at first and if you haven't had one before you don't always know what to do - Google is great here if you have a problem/question, Google it! There is help for all sorts of pet issues out there.

    It does get heaps better, give yourself and your kitten time, before too long you won't know what you did without your pet. Don't be hard on yourself and remember your pet is adjusting too, so it's not easy for either of you. Believe me it does gets heaps better so you wouldn't be without them!

    1 person found this helpful
  4. Here I am
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    Here I am avatar
    123 posts
    17 December 2019 in reply to jackf

    Cat's are the bomb! I love them. I have both a cat and a dog, and love having animals around.

    Your cat will fit into your lifestyle. Remember that cats are hugely self important creatures; what you see as a demanding cat that is intruding on your space and lifestyle, your cat sees as a blessing - he/she is allowing you the privilege of being in the same room as him/her, petting him/her, feeding him/her, and so on. Your cat (in his/her mind) is doing you a huge favor by letting you live with him/her!

    I keep that in mind whenever my cat struts into the room. When a cat comes to be in the same room as us, he/she is essentially saying, 'you can share this space with me. I don't mind.' rather than 'oh, can I sit with you please?'

    Annoying behaviours can just be signs of unmet need. We tried a scratching post to stop our cat from clawing furniture, but in the end we realised she prefers the small rug that my bass amplifier sits on. Fair compromise. Whenever she would claw the lounge, she'd get chased out of the room, or scared off with a clap and a 'No!' Now when she claws the lounge, she eye-balls us as she does it and waits for the rumble. When she wants food, she pretends she's dying on the ground in front of us and will just flop onto her back and let out a long meow. When she wants a pat, she bites and grabs with her paws (claws in).

    The point is, it takes time to understand your cat's behaviour. At first, all of these things were annoying and it was easy to assume our cat was just naughty or stupid or mean. But when you get to know how cats see us (how your cat sees you), it is a completely different relationship.

    You know things are okay between you and your cat if he/she sits in a room with his/her back to you, and/or sleeps around you. That is complete trust. If that's occurring, everything else can be negotiated.

    Keep in mind too that as a social creature, your cat is potentially trying to find ways to reduce your anxiety. If you feel anxious, he/she feels that and may as a result feel as though their is something threatening his/her safety too. It would never occur to a cat that he/she would be the cause of anxiety. :-)

  5. Here I am
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    Here I am avatar
    123 posts
    17 December 2019 in reply to jackf

    ... and another thing.

    De-sexing is really important. A de-sexed cat is far more sedate and well behaved than one that is not de-sexed.

    1 person found this helpful

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