Hurricane KatrinaHurricanes and Typhoons

Taking In a Cat Traumatized By Hurricane Katrina

I need some advice on what I need to do with my friends pet. I offered to take her in. My friend and his cat are enroute on the way up here from New Orleans.


His cat has been thru a lot since Hurricane Katrina. No food or water for however many days, stuck in a hot abandoned Vet. Hospital etc. etc.

So the cat is going to be a little traumatized after that and traveling with three adults in one truck over a thousands miles away, with no carrier.

My question is, what do I need to do to make his cat comfortable, as she may be here for a while. And how can I make my animals comfortable with her being here?

Also, my friend told me that his cat urinates on his girlfriend's clothes. How can I train the cat to not urinate in my house?

And will my cat pick up that nasty habit from this cat? I am terribly concerned, as my cat has never urinated nor defecated outside of her little box... ever. I do not want my cat to pick up this habit from my friends cat.

I am very worried about this. The one thing I do not like, is cat urine. I can handle anything a cat throws at me, but not urine on my clothes.

Thank you kindly,
Ms. Luna

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September 10, 20050 found this helpful

First, the cat should be seen by a vet. If s/he is undernourished and/or dehydrated s/he needs medical help. (You didn't say if the cat is male or female.) Also, the vet may be able to help with the urination problem.

When s/he first gets to your house make sure that s/he has a room with food/water/litterbox/a piece of clothing with a familiar scent all to herself/himself. Do NOT introduce the two cats to each other right away. Take it slow and easy. Good luck!

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September 10, 20050 found this helpful

I wish I could offer you some advice - I'm more a dog person than cat - my cat is an outside doll. I did just want to say how generous you are and God Bless You for helping your friend and his pet after this tragedy.


I'm sure things will work out just fine and pray your pets won't be impacted negatively. It just wouldn't be fair after your unselfish kindness! How wonderful to have a friend like you!

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September 10, 20050 found this helpful

I have had many cats over the years, and it is my experience that if there is nothing physically wrong with the cat then i suspect that the cat is just plain mad!!! and I don't blame the cat. Katrina not only traumatized many people, but also our many loved pets.. I imagine the cat was urinating on the girlfriends clothes is because this cat was jealous/mad at the girl who was taking time away from it's owner.. Just make sure to keep the litter box clean and near the cat, and give it lots and lots of love.. Good luck and what a blessing you are to the animal survivors of Katrina.....

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By Naderbug (Guest Post)
September 11, 20050 found this helpful

Cats urinate on people's clothes when they have a bladder infection. There could be crystals in her urine, which are very painful. By peeing on a person's clothing, it is showing its discomfort and trying to get you to understand.


I doubt your cat will pick up any "habits" as more than likely, neither will like the other at first. I agree with the above posters -- keep the two cats seperate for a while and slowly ease them into each other.

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By Sarah_bellum (Guest Post)
September 11, 20050 found this helpful

My mother-in-law has a cat that is very agressive and likes to pee on everything! She bought this kitty litter with some kind of chemical in it that encourages kitty to pee there. She has not had problems since. You might want to get some of this and thwart any problems before they start, that way if the stressed out kitty forgets she is a guest, she will remember to go in the box.

P.S. I have a stressed out agressive cat I rescued from a puppy mill. He was peeing and fighting with everyone, humans and animals alike. The vet gave him Haldol and he seems much happier and does not pee. After his adjustment to us, I was able to ween him off of the Haldol and he is doing just fine. You might want to consider this too.

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September 11, 20050 found this helpful

Lots of good advice here. I've had lots of cats and have dealt with many situations.


The first thing I would do is give the cat a room or space of its own. Let it be in the bathroom, spare room or laundry room so it can feel safe.

If it seems to be peeing places other than the cat box, it could be a urinary infection. Make sure that there is plenty of fresh water available and feed it food for animals with urinary problems. If you do notice any crystalizing of the urine, take it to the vet immediately.

Because she has probably been dehydrated and is obviously stressed (from the bad treatment for days and then the trip), give it some time and lots of loving patience.

Make sure there is nothing in the room to pee on (rugs, towels, clothing within reach) except the cat box. Make sure to keep it clean.

Go in and spend some alone time with her, pet her and reassure her that she is safe. If she hisses at you or growls, just talk to her in a loving voice and take your time touching her. Usually cats, once they feel safe, will feel better in a few days. I'd introduce her to your cat very gradually.


Thanks for helping your friend and cat. There is so much help needed right now. Please keep us posted how it is going.

Susan from ThriftyFun

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By (Guest Post)
September 12, 20050 found this helpful

Keep your animals separated until your friend's cat seems comfortable. I didn't want to confine my cats when I had a friend come to stay with her cat. I learned the hard way that it's better to keep your friends cat confined to one or two rooms and your pets confined in another part of your home!

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By Ann (Guest Post)
September 12, 20050 found this helpful

First, you are so kind to do this for your friend. I don't have a solution but would be concerned about the peeing on clothes. From my experience, your cats may try to start marking their territory with their pee. That is why that cat pees on the girlfriends clothes - letting the girlfriend know that the owner belongs to the cat and not the girlfriend!

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By Deborah (Guest Post)
September 13, 20050 found this helpful

One of the most important things you need to do is make sure the cat does not get outside. Cats have a strong sense of "place" and this cat may have an urge to find its way back home. There is much in the literature to support this. In fact, here in Memphis, a friend of my sister escaped ahead of Hurricane Katrina and was able to get her dog out but not her cat. After the hurricane she went back to her destroyed home and found her cat! It was a miracle. But now her heart is broken because when she returned to Memphis, where she has a found temporary home, someone accidentally let the cat out and now she's disaappeared. Cats have been known to travel over a 1,000 miles to find their way back "home." Please take care of this little kitty. My husband and I have 10 cats and we are now getting together a disaster plan in the event anything (like an earthquake) should strike here. Good luck.

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September 14, 20050 found this helpful

If you have a problem w/ urine on clothing or similar items, soak the items in a bucket containing white vinegar just enough to cover the item. You can dilute it w/ a little water, but not too much, stronger the better. This will help neutralize the urine. Then wash in the longest machine cycle w/ a nice smelling detergent. Hot water not necessary & might help "set" any odors into the fabrics. Machine dry clothing or bedding. Hang to dry other items such as backpacks, rubber backed rugs, etc. Good Luck!

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By Becki in Indiana (Guest Post)
September 14, 20050 found this helpful

What a great thing you are doing, offering to take in this cat! On behalf of animal lovers everywhere, THANK YOU!

This cat needs a place of its own where it can feel secure -- even if it's just a cardboard box in a quiet room. Put something in the box that it can nest in -- like a T-shirt your friend has worn, so his scent is on it. This will be reassuring to the cat.

I agree that your cat is unlikely to start peeing outside the litter box -- I don't think cats are very susceptible to peer pressure, unlike teenagers! I would go very slow on introducing the cats to each other, though.

Best of luck -- and thanks again for doing this!

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September 19, 20050 found this helpful

Cat person here;THANK YOU for helping kitty. Yes
kitty needs own space to understand she is not going to be left again. The pee on girlfriend's stuff is; sheer dislike of girlfriend "he" belongs to kitty not some silly girl. I belive this to be true as my
cat did this to my husband's stuff at first then she
realized he was there to stay, she loved him more
than me. My friend's dog did poop on carpet if
boyfriend came over (guy turned out to be a JERK)so I think they sense sometimes.
Let kitty come around in own time and all will get along.
We have a Jack Russell Terrier who was left alone
in a vacant home in a locked kennel no food or water for 10 days she weighed 9 pounds in Dec 04
when I got her. My husband took one look at her
and said"YES" the best pet we have ever had. I believe she is so grateful for home with love that
she is so good, bery mellow and a real lap dog and
we got her a puppy in March a yorkie and they are
so good. Our Jack Russell now weighs 15 pounds and VET says she is great. She was fixed when we found her, has never pee'd in house,sleeps in bed with us and is easy to kennel when we leave for a
few hours. We did not use kennel for a few months
til she knew she could trust us. plus we took and still take her and yorkie everywhere when possible.
Animal bounce back and your guest pet will too, it takes a little time and love. Just knowing your pets
are around may reassure the kitty too.
Good luck let us know...

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