Bless you for caring so much about this little problem child!  While I
hate to "hope" that an animal was abused, I do hope that his problems,
whatever they turn out to be, ARE finite and treatable.  You know, if
these folks are really old, maybe they just aren't "up" on current
thinking on kitty behavior.  My housemate's mother got a cat and
couldn't really accept that this particular cat's personality was not to
be a cuddler, and she steadfastly tried to *train* the cat to be a
cuddler and then resented it when she wasn't.  She wasn't cruel to her
or anything, but I think Kitty was much happier later when living with
my housemate, who respected her right to express affection on her own
terms.  Maybe these adoptive folks just couldn't cope with this boy's
little quirks and tried to punish him as if he were a <whispers> dog or
something.  I guess I'm glad, at least, that they realized they were in
over their heads and relinquished him rather than some other
alternatives.  If it turns out that he's not irreversibly sick, I'm sure
you'll be able to resocialize him (possibly with a little pharmaceutical
help); maybe when he's calmed down and his poor toes don't hurt so much,
he'll rediscover playing.  I hope so.  (We socialized a near-feral who'd
been on her own in her early months, and we didn't know how we'd ever
teach her the concept of play -- but she learned, and is probably the
most playful of the bunch.)

Best of luck to you and the little guy!

Diane R.
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