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Positives and Negatives of Adopting an Abused Cat

Source: PetWave, Updated on July 16, 2015

Before you Adopt

Abused cats often have unknown backgrounds and may be burdened with emotional, physical and medical scars. Adopting an abused animal takes extra time, patience, gentleness and compassion from its new owner. However, a kind, tolerant person can help an abused cat experience love, happiness, companionship and contentment for the rest of its life.

Positives of Adopting an Abused Cat

Because of the difficulties and challenges that can accompany adopting an animal that has been abused, many people are reluctant to take this journey. However, there can be tremendous benefits to bringing an abused cat into your life and being part of its transformation. First of all, helping a cat in need, and watching it blossom, is usually a remarkably rewarding experience for its new owner. There are few richer and more humbling feelings than knowing that you were able to help an animal that has suffered to enjoy life again. Many people devote themselves to saving abused pets for this reason alone. Abused cats often form extremely strong, deep bonds with their new people. Most have an extraordinary capacity to love and trust again and will settle into a new home with relatively few problems, if they are given the chance. People looking for a feline companion that they can lavish with time and affection, and one whose life they can completely transform from bad to beautiful, may want to look into saving a cat from a shelter or rescue.

Negatives of Adopting an Abused Cat

There is no doubt that abused cats can come with behavioral, physical and/or psychological problems caused by the abuse they have suffered. Because they can’t talk, they can’t tell you what they’ve been through. It can take months for all of their issues to surface. Abused animals can be unpredictable. They can be hurt, scared, distrustful, sometimes aggressive and possessive over their personal space. Because they are frightened, traumatized cats may be more prone to biting and scratching when pushed or cornered. In severe cases, abused cats may have obsessive-compulsive disorders, soil areas in the home outside of the litterbox or be destructive of carpets, draperies and furniture. Many of the behavioral problems seen in abused cats can be treated with behavioral modification techniques and/or daily anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medications. Some cats need to be on medication for life, while others can be weaned off the drugs once they settle into their new life and start to make mental and behavioral improvements.

Cats that have been severely abused should only be adopted into certain types of homes. People with noisy households, other pets or young children probably should not adopt a traumatized cat. These cats typically do best in calm, quiet environments where they can be given the space and time they need to heal. Getting these cats used to the world again can take lots of patience and can be frustrating. Unfortunately, many good people do not have the necessary time, households or resources to go down this path. Because these animals have already suffered too much, it is not fair to rescue them from a bad situation only to give up on them if their recovery doesn’t follow a particular preconceived plan.

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