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This feline doesn't fancy moving

Sure, Desi looks calm, but displaced aggression disorder lurks just underneath. There are things we can do to help.

Handout photo

Sure, Desi looks calm, but displaced aggression disorder lurks just underneath. There are things we can do to help. Handout photo

Dear Fisher:

I'm a 10-year-old tabby. I was a feral kitten before I was rescued, and I have a hard time dealing with change. I live with a loving female human and a cat named Scarlett. Six weeks ago, my human started putting stuff in boxes. Last week, I was put in the cage and moved. We were put into a room with big fluffy pillows, food, water, litter box, toys and T-shirts that smelled like our human. When all the moving people were gone, our human opened the door to let us out. I've ventured out a few times, but when I see Scarlett, it's like I don't know who she is and I hiss and growl. I had displaced aggression disorder many years ago and had to take pills and be in a separate part of the apartment for several months. I don't want to have to do that again. What should my human do to help me?

Desi

Wow! Your human made wonderful moving plans for you and Scarlett. It seems she thought of everything to ensure your comfort and peace of mind. But it seems your "other" personality has come out in large order. Once the tiger is unleashed, it takes some time to get it back in the box.

Perhaps you are having some flashbacks to your earlier feral cat environment. Those first eight weeks of kitten life form intricate personality traits that sometimes hide and come out when major changes take place. You might be calling on traits like aggression and avoidance to help you deal with the stress of a new home.

Some ideas for your human include:

• Talk in a soft, high-pitched voice. "Stroking" you with her voice is very soothing and healing.

• Gentle grooming and massage, along with interactive play a couple of times a day, can alleviate stress.

• Holding you closely while touring around the new house will help you get more comfortable with the new environment.

• Your human might want to visit Cats International (catsinternational.org) for tips on re-introducing cats like you and Scarlett to each other.

— Fisher lives in Tampa Bay with her humans and loves to give advice. Send questions and a photo to askfisher@gmail.com or visit ask-fisher.com.

This feline doesn't fancy moving 09/11/08 [Last modified: Thursday, September 11, 2008 1:35pm]

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