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Dave would eat his bedding and toys while in Cats Protection care, but with tailored behaviour advice has kicked the habit in his forever home

When his owner became ill and could no longer give him the care he needed, 18-month-old Dave arrived at our Wrexham Adoption Centre in January 2022.

Although he was very friendly, the team at the centre noticed that Dave would become over-stimulated very quickly. He began swiping at people, snatching food and toys, catching fingers and nipping at ankles. He was also overgrooming to the point that he was regularly bringing up fur balls.

white cat standing on grass lawn

Dave’s most unusual behaviour however, was his habit of eating non-edible items; a condition known as pica which can be associated with various medical conditions, as well as potentially boredom and stress.

Dave was eating his bedding, plastic cat toys and rubber mats. None of these behaviours had been reported by his previous owner so it is thought these started while in his pen at the centre.

After member of the team found that Dave had consumed half of a rubber ball toy, he was taken to the vets where he was given medication to induce vomiting and successfully brought up the undigested cat toy with no further issues.

Once the vets had ruled out any medical conditions to explain Dave’s behaviours, the Cats Protection Behaviour team created a tailored behaviour management for him.

human hand holding chewed pink ball with teeth marks in itA toy ball chewed by Dave 

Any chewable items were removed from Dave’s pen and he was given solid plastic feeding puzzles that could not be chewed but helped to slow down his eating and provide mental stimulation to reduce frustration.

Between feeding times, the team spent quality time with Dave, providing additional interactive play sessions to help him release some of his pent-up frustration.

In addition to this, Dave was given some medication daily to help him breakdown any fur he did ingest from grooming himself. Thankfully, by following the personalised behaviour management plan for Dave, his behavioural issues showed improvement.

Dave was adopted in March 2022 but within 24 hours was brought back to the centre after his new owners reported that he had scratched both of them and was blocking them out of rooms.

green mat with chewed edgesA mat chewed by Dave

It became apparent that having early access to the whole property had a detrimental effect on his behaviour, and it was decided that it would be best for Dave to come back into Cats Protection’s care.

Dave was immediately put back onto the behaviour management plan and the behaviours he had demonstrated on his first time in care thankfully did not seem to resurface to the same extent the second time around.

Finally, Dave was adopted again in April 2022. The team were eager to ensure that Dave was going to the right home where he could be provided with lots of opportunities for suitable enrichment and stimulation.

He was adopted by a man and his daughter, who were made fully aware of Dave’s behavioural history. They were very keen to take on board all the advice and support that the team had to offer and provide Dave with a loving home.

white cat asleep on white fleece blanket

A month after going to his new home, the team received a heart-warming update from his new owner: “After meeting Dave at your centre for the first time, my daughter and I knew he was the cat for us even though we were fully informed of the issues Dave was displaying in his behaviour. We felt that with the proper conditions at home, loving attention and understanding, Dave would be less stressed and could then get in touch with his inner cat personality.

“Dave is showing no signs of stress, he’s not chewing anything. Dave is also eating well and only used his new litter tray a couple of time before choosing to do his business outside. He very much comes and goes as he pleases through the cat flap but I make sure he is in and secure overnight.

“Quite frankly, things have gone better than we could have imagined, and we couldn’t be happier that Dave has come to live with us.”

Find lots of help and advice on understanding and managing cat behaviour.

Our partners at Sure Petcare have contributed a total of £100,000 to Cats Protection since we launched our partnership together, an incredible sum which has gone a long way in providing essential veterinary treatment, enrichment supplies and cosy bedding for thousands of cats like Dave.

Sure Petcare offer an exclusive 10% discount to all Cats Protection supporters on Sure Petcare products, and for every purchase made by one of our supporters, Cats Protection receives a contribution.

Find out how you can take advantage of this discount and support cats like Dave at the same time.

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