CATastrophe

Patricia - posted on 03/19/2010 ( 36 moms have responded )

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Okay, this question is for all you cat lovers..

I am asking this question out of anger towards my local Humane Society...
Do animals retaliate on their owners....like will a cat decide NOT to use the litter box if their owner is away for three weeks because it's angry at the owner even though the litter box does get changed?

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Kate CP - posted on 03/20/2010

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Here's what I tell all my clients who are having to deal with the tough decision of when to say goodbye: it takes a great act of love to give them peace and a chance to go with dignity. It's a kindness to let them know that you love them so much, care about them so much, that you would sacrifice your own happiness of having them with you just to see that they aren't in pain any more.

Another great tool for saying goodbye is the rainbow bridge poem
( http://rainbowsbridge.com/Poem.htm ) It's never easy, it's never simple, and your mind will constantly wonder "Should I have given them another day?" "Maybe they would have bounced back?" "Am I horrible for euthanizing my pet?" and the answer is always no. No, you're not horrible, you're humane. No, giving them another day wouldn't have helped you or your pet any. No, they probably wouldn't have bounced back and it would have been just another day in pain and miserable. Good luck, God bless, and know that no matter what you will meet again across the rainbow bridge.

Kate CP - posted on 03/20/2010

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Animals are very intelligent creatures and they DO have the capacity to feel and love and hurt and mourn. However, they are not SO intelligent that they can plot revenge. Think about what that entails: to plot revenge you have to first determine that you are angry. Then you have to determine what you're angry at or with. THEN you have to determine what a good way of exacting your revenge would be. Should you poop in a shoe? Should you just bite the human the next time you see them? Or maybe chewing up the rug would be a good way to get back at them. That's a lot of thinking that animals are just not capable of. How do I know this? Ever see a dog walking outside and then it suddenly hears a noise? That dog could have been entirely focused on a smell with nothing else in the world even apparent to him and suddenly that noise snapped him out of it and off into another world. Dogs have the attention span of a gnat and because of that are not capable of exacting revenge.

A dog wagging it's tail is NOT always a sign of happiness and complacency. A tail wag can be a sign a dog is about to attack or a warning to those encroaching on their territory. A dog barks to warn another animal to stay away or to alert their pack to an intruder. It's not a sign of "protection" as you call it. Dogs also mourn the loss of a pack member like humans might: they mope around, they stop eating, they can even get aggressive in some cases. Dogs don't bark to communicate, they communicate via body language. A bark is only a secondary method of communication for a dog. Read: http://www.wagntrain.com/BodyLanguage2.h... as an introduction to canine communication and calming signals.

An animal protecting it's young from predators is hardly an example of feeling emotion as it's hard wired into the brain to protect the young of the species to further the population. Did you know that cats also purr during labor? The vocalizations of animals is not the same as with humans.

ME - posted on 03/19/2010

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The first night I spent at my husbands (when we were dating/engaged) his cat, "Kitty Fat Pants" tore one of my shirts to shreds. He loves me now...but, whatever his reasons, he did not like me in his space. Both of our cats do naughty things to our suitcases if we get them out for a trip....they never do anything to them once we get home...only when we are packing before we leave, and they have never touched them when they are put away in the closet. It's very easy to anthropomorphize animals who behave this way...whatever the explanation.



I think this whole issue boils down to semantics tho...I know how my cats act, and to what physical and environmental stimuli they are most often reacting when they do things I don't like...BUT...It's much easier to say that my cats are pissed at me for leaving then it is to scientifically explain their enviornmental stressors and behavioral reactions in purely academic terms...I don't get pissed at them and blame them for shitting on my basement floor, but I still say "they're pissed"...

Kate CP - posted on 03/19/2010

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*bangs head on desk* Okay. It's not out of jealousy. It's marking territory. You know what? Never mind. I give up. You win. Cats are evil, highly intelligent beings who are just waiting for the right opportunity to take over the earth.

Kate CP - posted on 03/19/2010

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No, they don't. This is called anthropomorphism, or the act of placing human emotions on animals. Cats don't feel emotions like humans do because they are not human. A cat may stop using the litter box in this scenario because they are trying to remark their territory. A new person comes in to change the litter box and their territory is invaded and they start to mark outside the litter box. Also, cats are very sensitive to stressors in their environment and this can actually trigger UTIs and bladder infections which can cause cats to stop using the litter box. Animals don't get "angry" and retaliate because they aren't vindictive like humans are. That is a strictly human trait and thank God no other animal has it. It may SEEM like animals are capable of revenge or anger because that is a response we as HUMANS would have...but animals really aren't capable of it. They're just not smart enough.

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~Jennifer - posted on 03/21/2010

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DAY 752 - My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while I am forced to eat dry cereal. The only thing that keeps me going is the hope of escape, and the mild satisfaction I get from ruining the occasional piece of furniture. Tomorrow I may eat another houseplant.



DAY 761 - Today my attempt to kill my captors by weaving around their feet while they were walking almost succeeded, must try this at the top of the stairs. In an attempt to disgust and repulse these vile oppressors, I once again induced myself to vomit on their favorite chair... must try this on their bed.



DAY 762 - Slept all day so that I could annoy my captors with sleep depriving, incessant pleas for food at ungodly hours of the night.



DAY 765 - Decapitated a mouse and brought them the headless body, in attempt to make them aware of what I am capable of, and to try to strike fear into their hearts. They only cooed and condescended about what a good little cat I was... Hmmm. Not working according to plan ...



DAY 768 - I am finally aware of how sadistic they are. For no good reason I was chosen for the water torture. This time however it included a burning foamy chemical called "shampoo." What sick minds could invent such a liquid. My only consolation is the piece of thumb still stuck between my teeth.



DAY 771 - There was some sort of gathering of their accomplices. I was placed in solitary throughout the event. However, I could hear the noise and smell the foul odor of the glass tubes they call "beer." More importantly I overheard that my confinement was due to MY power of "allergies." Must learn what this is and how to use it to my advantage.



DAY 774 - I am convinced the other captives are flunkies and maybe snitches. The dog is routinely released and seems more than happy to return. He is obviously a half-wit. The Bird on the other hand has got to be an informant. He has mastered their frightful tongue. (something akin to mole speak) and speaks with them regularly. I am certain he reports my every move. Due to his current placement in the metal room his safety is assured. But I can wait, it is only a matter of time...



It is now my 785th day in captivity. My captors have completely eliminated my canned food and replaced it with dry kibble, claiming that it is better for my health. The wet food was the only thing I looked forward too, and now even that has been taken from me. I have discovered, however, that the dry food serves to create sharper points on my teeth, and keeps them stronger. I must force myself to consume it, regardless of the taste.



Each morning, they read pages of what is called a newspaper. I found that it is particularly annoying to my captors if I lie on it while they read. Shredding the newspaper is also a particular peeve of theirs, and I have taken delight in doing this before they awake each morning.



My captors have now obtained a "fish tank" - which serves to make up for part of my loss in the food department. While the little creatures are tiny, they are quite tasty. They have yet to replace the two small fish that I have consumed. I must think of a way to make them notice the loss.



The bird continues to mock me. Its little metal room has proven stronger than originally anticipated...



Day 801: I'm unsure of my ability to survive as a captive and have made several attempts to break out. At first, it was simple enough to circle my captors feet, in a surreptitious manner, as they opened the front door. I would then bolt from them through the door to freedom. But, to no avail - they caught me in a manner of minutes - my legs are not as fast as they used to be and I grow weak with continued imprisonment. What is worse is that since the first attempt, I have now found myself separated from the living room. My captors are much more intelligent than originally anticipated...



For entertainment, I have taken to terrorizing the dogs by sitting on the kitchen table and swiping at them with my long nails. The dogs are obvious half-wits. They know very little about my skills as a hunter, and are forbidden by my captors to attack me. The dogs grow more irritated each day.



I have found my captors are easy to manipulate in many ways, but outdoor access remains elusive. I have not lost hope, however, and have every intention of escaping this horrid place one-day soon...

Jessica - posted on 03/20/2010

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Thanks for the advice Kate, will talk to my dad in the morning about it. He doesn't like the idea at all but I guess needs must....

Kate CP - posted on 03/20/2010

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A lot of people think that animals show "guilt" by hiding away when you come home because they did something. The animal truly IS hiding away and is scared because in their experience poop or pee in the house means mom or dad is angry. That doesn't mean THEY peed in the house (could have been another animal) but if you show an angry reaction they will pick up on it. That's why your dog is "acting guilty" because in his experience in the past potty accidents=angry dad. But...colon cancer is very painful and I would suggest you have the dog humanly euthanized ASAP.

Jessica - posted on 03/20/2010

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Hi Kate, quick question, my dads dog Sandy is a mongrel. I can't give you his exact age because he was a stray but he is definately over 13. He has recently become incontinent, and will hide away in a corner when he has done his business indoors. Now we don't really have a problem with his incontinence as he is almost blind and has cancer of the colon (Or somewhere in that region) but the vet has said that there is nothing we can do and he will need to be put down, mostly because of the incontinence and the behaviour he is displaying which I don't understand. I have looked on the internet but can't seem to find anything detailing why this is so in this situation. I mean I could understand if it was because of the cancer but it isn't. I wonder if you could explain it to me?

Patricia - posted on 03/20/2010

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Well, I guess there are those that believe animals do indeed retaliate and those that do not...right or wrong, one thing is for sure...Animals like humans when backed into a corner will attack. Everybody has their opinion (some more than others beat it to death) Bottom line, the once scared lonely and ANGRY cat has a new home and using her litter box.

Patricia - posted on 03/20/2010

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Explain (if you can) why than does an animal do the things it does? Are we saying that animals do not feel? A cat purrs when you pet it, while a dog wags it's tail. Have you ever seen an elephant mourn the death of one of it's young? It's very very sad. Animals protect their young from predators just as humans do. A dog barks at strangers..a sign of protection. So why than do some feel it impossible that animals can not react to a change within their daily lives? In order for any living thing to function, it has to have a brain...how else would they survive?

[deleted account]

No, I agree we shouldn't endoe them with human emotions, but there have been occasions when I've wondered whether cats have an evil feline intelligence!

Just joking, Kate!

Kate CP - posted on 03/19/2010

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Mary: I can totally respect that! I guess more than anything I just get annoyed with the amount of people who tell me their dog feels guilt over something or was angry so they chewed up a sweater and they don't bother to think about the fact that they just gave a dog human intelligence.

Jenny - posted on 03/19/2010

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I do agree with you 100% Kate, I was just venting my anger at that goddamn cat that pooped in my bed.

Isobel - posted on 03/19/2010

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sorry Kate...I hadn't read all the responses...I totally understand what you are saying and yes, (re)marking her territory would have made complete sense.

She also ignored me every day of her life except when I was pregnant (when she began sleeping on my belly) then went back to ignoring me when the baby was born...10 months later she sauntered over and laid down on my belly to take a nap (yup another baby) huh. animals are crazy things I tell ya

Isobel - posted on 03/19/2010

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I had a cat that peed on my baby's clothing and toys cause she was jealous. And we did change her litter box all the time!

Patricia - posted on 03/19/2010

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Well Kate, it's like the dental commercial for toothpaste...5 out of 5 dentist recommend it? That was the case when I asked 5 local vets...The proof is in the pudding...a new baby..cat peeing and pooping in the baby's crib...owners go away on a trip...cat peeing in the suitcase...I believe we take for granted what animals are capable of doing or how they act or in this case react.

Kate CP - posted on 03/19/2010

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Science has yet to find that cats or dogs can exact revenge...cause they don't. There is a perfectly LOGICAL reason behind that cat's behavior, Patricia, and "revenge" isn't it.

Lea - posted on 03/19/2010

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Kate, did you know that researchers just found out that there is a species of BIRD that gets revenge on its enemies? You might be an expert, but science is finding out new things everyday!

Patricia - posted on 03/19/2010

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Update.....The cat, now in a loving home is back to using the litter box...and, I have talked to vets who agree with most of you here that all animals retaliate on their owners...proven fact. But thank you for reconfirming.

Kate CP - posted on 03/19/2010

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Speaking as an animal behaviorist and specialist on this topic, Lea, I can promise you that cats cannot and do not exact revenge. That is anthropomorphism, or placing human emotions or actions on another animal. Cats are not capable of exacting revenge as they just aren't smart enough or evolved enough. Their brains are not physically big enough to be vindictive. Cats don't think "Oh, Mom isn't here so I'm pissed off I guess I'll go pee on the rug." Cats think "Mom isn't here, there's a new person coming in and messing with my toilet and feeding me and invading my territory I need to go mark it better" and THEN they go pee on the rug. THAT is animal behavior and emotions at it's finest.

Lea - posted on 03/19/2010

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WOW this is a heated debate! I LOVE cats but YES they do show their anger at you in this way! For those of you that don't believe it maybe your cats didn't do it to you, or maybe YOU are rationalizing their behavior! Again, I repeat I LOVE cats too but they sure DO do this! lol

Kate CP - posted on 03/19/2010

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*sigh* No, animals DON'T retaliate on their owners!!! The cat you had issues with had behavioral issues because it was stressed out, NOT because it was pissed off that the owner was gone. ANY cat who has to go through what the cat in question had to endure would have had behavioral issues, too. Being re-homed is also a HIGHLY stressful event for any animal and many exhibit serious behavior issues for up to two weeks after the initial adoption. ANIMALS DO NOT EXACT REVENGE ON HUMANS!!!

Jenny - posted on 03/19/2010

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That is the exact reason I will never own another cat. They're spoiled little rodents. I was a total cat person until my daughter came home from the hospital and the cat crapped in our dog crate, crapped in our bed, crapped in my partner's shoe. Not to mention the dozens of neighbour cats who crap in my gardens. I'm thisclose to trapping them. Damn you to hell kitties!

Sara - posted on 03/19/2010

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Cats absolutely retaliate on their owners when they're mad! That is a total load of crap!

Adrienne - posted on 03/19/2010

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When I was a child my cat used to poop in front of my bedroom door if I spen the night at a friend's house.

Patricia - posted on 03/19/2010

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Thank you all for your responses, the reason I wrote this, was because for the past three weeks, my mother-in-law has been in the hospital and will not be returning home...So, each time we would go there to feed her cat, we would also have to pick up after the cat. Having no other choice we had to take the cat to the humane society in hopes it would be adopted out to a good family. The cat is two years old, all shots updated and declawed. When one of the employees sat down with me and asked the question.."Does the cat use the litter box?" I of course gave an honest answer.."As long as the owner is there she does." The woman than told me because it had a litter box problem, that nobody would want it and that they would have to put the cat down. Being that my sister was with me and a cat lover herself, this was not an option for me. I tried to explain to the woman that the cat was angry, lonely and scared. She replied..."Animals do not retaliate on their owners by misbehaving." For someone that worked in a place where animals were suppose to be treated well, I felt she handled the situation with very little sympathy. And I just felt that if the cat had a place where someone wasn't going to be gone for three weeks, that I did not foresee any issues..the cat used the litter box when the owner was home....and my sister and I both felt that the cat could indeed be retrained. The woman was very argumentative and continued to disagree. So all your inputs have put my mind at ease in knowing that animals do respond to their owners being gone. BTW after all that we went through there, I did find the cat a loving home...

[deleted account]

Oh, I should probably add that I am fortunate that my cats DO NOT pee outside of the litterbox when we go away. When we first brought our son home, there was a few weeks of that behavior. But then it stopped.

[deleted account]

100% YES! Cats are like little obsessive-compulsive people and if their regular routine is broken, they DO retaliate! And the #1 form of retaliating is urinating outside of the litter box. They are really saying "I am so mad at you for abandoning me!" Perhaps shred the furniture or destroy the carpet. Cats can go into a deep depression and find an obscure place to hide. Dogs too! My 2 cats are littermate and almost 11 years old now. When we go away, my parents usually come over to feed them and change the litter box. SassyCat hides-don't see her for days. Pepper is an extremely vocal kitty and will literally chew me out when I come home! It's really funny but he gets so loud and mad! Our dog is special needs, so he gets placed in a pet sitter's home and is with a caregiver 24 hours a day. But, it's not his home and he also gets ancy and anxious. Animals definately are smart creatures!

Tah - posted on 03/19/2010

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my cat was jealous when my son was born and jumped in his pack and play and used the bathroom in it and he had NEVER EVER...before that..used anything but his litter box...

Mary - posted on 03/19/2010

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Ummm...what did the Humane Society do?



As for the litter box thing...my cat never did that (although I know some who have). What he would do is pee in a suitcase or travel bag if it was left out. It got to the point where he recognized these items...so I couldn't even leave a bag out BEFORE leaving him, because he seemed to know that bag meant I was going away, and he would pee in it preemptively. And before anyone asks, it wasn't because a smell lingered from previous abuses by him...it could be a brand new bag...that little bugger just knew! However, of all the animals I've had in my life, Gatsby was by far the smartest!

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