Any suggestions please ?

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by Missysmum2, May 15, 2017.


  1. Missysmum2

    Missysmum2 PetForums Member

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    Any suggestions please for anything that I haven't already tried !

    My Missy has now been with me for the best part of three months; she's a 2 year old DSH tabby who was rescued shortly before her previous owners were about to abandon her as they were due to be evicted. She appears to have settled well into her new home with me despite having tummy problems shortly after arriving ( happy to say all sorted now :)).

    BUT she is still very standoffish and most of the time just ignores me :( (although she goes into ecstasies of delight if a man happens to visit !) She won't let me pet or cuddle her, no furry headbutts,no tummy rubs and no purrs if she does allow me to get close enough to give her chin rubs. The only times I can get anywhere near are when she wants to play or when she wants to be fed. She does jump onto my bed at night and will settle by my feet - but that's it; otherwise she makes it very clear that any attention is unwelcome.

    I have tried leaving her alone and ignoring her; sitting in the same room and talking softly to her (result ? tail swishes and walks out of the room) and lots of interactive playtime but nothing is working and we're no further forward than we were when she arrived.

    As I know little of her back story, other than what I have put above, I am now wondering if she was originally 'feral' and wasn't socialised enough as a kitten. I've had cat companions for the best part of 70 years and have never met one that I haven't been able to bond with (usually within a few days). Sadly it's now getting to the stage where I'm beginning to actively dislike her but I don't want to give up on her.
     
  2. Faye1995

    Faye1995 PetForums Senior

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    I think that's just how some cats are. Some cats are lap cats and some just like you when they're getting fed! It makes me sad that it's making you dislike her though :-(
     
  3. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    Both my cats were siblings and very affectionate.

    My sister has 3 siblings and one is mega affectionate, one mildly so (on his terms) and the other one - absolutely not.

    Some cats just aren't, but that can change as they age.

    Just hang in there! ;)
     
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  4. buffie

    buffie Mentored by Meeko

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    That's cats for you,some love attention others don't.
    She obviously likes and trusts you to sleep in bed with you so just accept her for who she is ,in time she may change but please don't dislike her just for being "different".
     
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  5. Missysmum2

    Missysmum2 PetForums Member

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    It's making me sad too :(

    I live alone (no children, no partner) so my cats have always been a very big part of my life and I've never had one who wasn't affectionate; as I'm retired now I'm home a lot too so am noticing her "I want to be alone" character a lot more than I might if I was still out at work. I just go on hoping that she will change but, frankly (barring a miracle), don't see it happening.
     
  6. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Sometimes cats who are not so people-orientated seem to feel more at ease with a feline companion in their home. Perhaps it relaxes them if the focus of attention is not on them as an only cat.

    Have you considered getting another cat? Perhaps one who is a bit more approachable than Missy. The choice would need to be a good match for Missy, a cat who would be considerate and friendly to her, not pushy or competitive. The staff at a Rescue would be able to tell you which cats generally gravitate towards other cats more than humans.
     
  7. Missysmum2

    Missysmum2 PetForums Member

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    I have been thinking about that - but to be honest I'm really a one-to-one cat person ! Not sure I could handle two or more ! Plus, given that I know little of Missy's interaction with other cats before she was rescued, I've no idea how she would re-act - probably badly given her non-existent relationship with me ! But it is something that I will continue to think about carefully. Due to circumstances outside my control she hasn't yet had her full complement of vaccinations (was put off due to being so ill soon after she arrived) but once she starts going out I'll be interested to see how she interacts with other cats in the immediate neighbourhood (only a couple and both very friendly).
     
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  8. Ceiling Kitty

    Ceiling Kitty Feline Medicine Nerd

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    Time, time and more time are great helps in these cases.

    However, she may never be a cat to enjoy cuddles or tummy rubs (to be fair, few cats do enjoy tummy rubs - I was taught that to touch a cat's belly is a breach of trust!). Which is perfectly okay, except your expectations of the relationship are different (which is also okay).

    If she is not friendly towards the cats outside, don't necessarily use that as a barometer by which to judge her ability to get on with another cat in the household. Cats are very territorial and naturally tend to be wary of/defensive against strange cats.

    Was she from a rescue? Have you spoken to them? She hasn't done anything wrong, but if you are incompatible with one another it could be better to try and place her somewhere better suited and find a new feline companion with a personality that better matches yours.

    Otherwise, one of you is going to have to just accept the differences, and - cats being cats - it probably won't be her!

    I'm sorry you're feeling this way.
     
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  9. Missysmum2

    Missysmum2 PetForums Member

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    Yes, Ceiling Kitty she was from a rescue and I have spoken to them - mainly to do with her tummy problems as she obviously 'caught' whatever it was (coronavirus and/or C.Perfringens whilst she was with her foster carer and I was concerned that other cats in her care may also have been infected). I admit that at one point I had made up my mind to ask them to re-home her elsewhere as we weren't 'gelling' but, to be honest, I don't have the heart to put her through more stress/trauma and can't go through with it - it's not her fault if she hasn't been socialised or taught 'manners' by her previous owners !

    I will be giving her lots more time and hope that things come right eventually - I was just hopeful that someone here could suggest a few other 'tricks' that I haven't already tried:) I know that grooming would probably help but although she's interested in playing with her brush she's not interested in me using it ! I did also wonder if her behaviour is a 'girl cat' trait (I've always had boys before) but reading stories of other member's girl cats on here, that doesn't seem to be a general rule.

    So guess I'm just unlucky and as a good and proper 'slave' will just have to get used to Madam 'doing her own thing' !
     
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  10. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    All the female cats I have had as companions over the years have been more reserved, more self-reliant and less cuddly than the boys. It has always taken me longer to form deep relationships with the girls. But once a girl gives you her loyalty she is yours forever. :)
     
  11. Missysmum2

    Missysmum2 PetForums Member

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    thanks chillminx that's reassuring :)
     
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  12. cows573

    cows573 PetForums Senior

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    I recognise the differences in cats. They all have their own individual personalities just like us! She obviously does care deeply for you by coming to bed with you but many cats will never be lap cats.

    I do think, from the tail twitching and no purring that she is still getting settled in her new home. I think that she will progress from current, but she may never be exactly what you want...

    For me, that is why I love cats! The individuality, the independence, the, even if they don't obviously show it... the utter devotion and love that they have!

    For me, everyone's 'perfect cat' is different and unfortunately, you never know whether they will be that perfect cat whether you have them from birth or re-home them....

    Our most recent addition, absolutely adores me, has been with us just over a month, does allow affection but doesn't initiate it as yet. I only get head butts from my eldest cat within our brood of nine cats....
     
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  13. Princessmimi

    Princessmimi PetForums Newbie

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    Give her more time. I recently welcomed home a three year old girl myself and it's been eight weeks.

    Your baby is already sleeping in your bed and that says trust. I sleep with my door open but my kitty never gets in my bed. I'd love to have her sleeping in my bed.

    Every kitty is different like everyone said. Just enjoy your time as the giver. She'd come around for you soon.
     
  14. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

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    I also think you should give it more time. Perhaps you need to discover a different way of having a relationship with her than cuddles. Is she food orientated at all ?

    If so you could look at clicker training. This allows her to interact on her terms but for a positive reward. Start with teaching her about what the clicker means then go on and get her to interact with a target stick (easily made from a ping-pong ball and plant stick or use a wooden spoon). From there you can develop your repertoire :) Keep the session short and fun.

    https://clickertraining.com/node/23
     
  15. Missysmum2

    Missysmum2 PetForums Member

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    I know she trusts me now and I do hope that she will 'come round' in due course. I've been watching her a lot lately (well I can't touch, so looking is the second best option !) and realise that she appears to have some Bengal traits; her coat is a mix of silver tabby stripes and Bengal swirls/spots and she has a decidedly Bengal body shape - long body and her hind legs being quite a bit longer than her front legs! If she has some Bengal in her heritage then I think that would go some way to explaining her independent behaviour and her 'manic' play times !

    She caught sight of next door's cat in our garden through the bedroom window yesterday (a very friendly, gentle 2 year old white and ginger boy) and was not amused - her tail was doing a fandango and she was pacing up and down the window sill desperate to get out and at him ! Even after he left the garden she stayed there for hours 'on guard' !
     
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  16. Missysmum2

    Missysmum2 PetForums Member

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    thanks Kittih, I had been thinking about trying that :) But although she is food orientated she's also 'selectively' deaf and only hears what she wants to hear, so trying to get her attention is a bit hit and miss at the best of times. I do use Dreamies treats (which she loves !) as I'm trying to train her away from scratching the furniture and scratching her post instead (still a work in progress, but I think she's beginning to catch on !)
     
  17. carly87

    carly87 PetForums VIP

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    This will be an unpopular opinion, but having owned a cat very similar to this, I would say to go with your gut. My very first cat was a carbon copy of this. She was gorgeous at night, cuddling in bed, and great with men who came to call. However, she was untouchable 22 out of every 24 hours, and while she wasn't aggressive, she was like a little butterfly, flittering out of reach and never interacting with me. I too lived on my own with no OH at the time, so the cat was going for long periods with little to no interaction. I tried everything for a solid year to make her more comfy with my touch, or to be comfy for women, but nothing worked. I tried interacting, not interacting, talking softly, completely ignoring, sitting by her when she ate, not sitting, making her be hand fed for all of her food, etc etc. I tried getting her a companion, isolating her in her own room, crating her, giving her free run, really reinforcing the bedtime cuddles... I had behaviourist involvement, vet involvement, breeder involvement... Everything. Nothing worked, and myself and she just got more and more miserable. In the end, she was rehomed to a lovely couple who were happy to have her just as she was. There was a man there who she could cuddle up to whenever she wanted, and she had the woman at night. She is happy as a clam last I heard, and is doing well.

    If it's not working out between you, then I'd highlight this to the rescue, and either work with them to do a home to home adoption to a male, or ask the rescue to ensure that her next home has a man in it. At the end of the day, if she's chirping and rolling and tarting for men, then it follows that she would be happier homed with a man, and we need to consider her happiness as well as our own. This is the same reason that I will very, very occasionally rehome my ex breeding girls, because, at the end of the day, if someone else can make them happier than I can, then it's my responsibility to ensure that they get the best home possible.

    I now have my flack jacket very firmly in place, as I know this won't be a popular standpoint.
     
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  18. Missysmum2

    Missysmum2 PetForums Member

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    Thanks carly87 :)

    Although I have told the rescue that I will be keeping Missy, the longer this goes on the more I think I have made a terrible mistake ! My original intention was to re-home a much older male cat (always had males in the past, she's my 'first' girl) but when I first saw her, I admit, I was swayed by her pretty looks. Because of our slow start bonding, the 'homing' lady from the rescue is intending to come and visit to see how we are getting on at the beginning of June - so if things haven't changed in any way between us by then I will be reconsidering and may very well be taking your advice. As I've said previously my family and friends call me the 'cat whisperer' as I've never met a cat before that I haven't been able to win over within a matter of days.

    I believe that any relationship with any animal should be mutually beneficial, at the moment all the benefits are on her side !
     
  19. carly87

    carly87 PetForums VIP

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    I don't know if they are though! Sure, she gets fed, she gets a hug when she wants it, she has a roof over her head, but she doesn't get to form the relationship that she wants, and she doesn't get to choose who she bonds with. She's not happy with you just yet (important to note I'm never saying never, and I do accept that my situation is very different), so actually, assuming she doesn't want to bond with you, she's probably just as lonely and upset as you are. Imagine being forced into an arranged marriage with a husband you dislike, or being forced to share a house with 1 single housemate who really grates on you. You can't get away, you have no way to change things as it's out of your control. Sure, you still eat, sleep and have a roof over your head, but are you happy? If my Anna was happy living with me and just didn't want attention, then that would have been fine. I wouldn't have liked it, but I would have just got another cat to fulfill my needs, and Anna could have continued living how she wanted. However, she clearly showed that she was unhappy by going mad to cuddle with any male that visited, making it clear she felt started of affection in between their visits. Cats are just like people in that sometimes, the pairing just doesn't gel. It doesn't make either a bad person. It just means that she hasn't chosen you to be her lifelong partner. Simple when you look at it in terms like this really.
     
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  20. cheekyscrip

    cheekyscrip *that 2016 feeling

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    My friend took a little tortie rescued from the park, she was fostered with other cats and seemed to be fine. In her hose she was indifferent o my firend, looking quite sad, untouchable and avoiding her humans...
    In the end I presided her to take super cuddly, affecinate young male , neutered black cat...still a kitten to try if that might work...she was ceptical...but as wanted cuddly cat she gave it a go...
    beginning was the obvious hiting and hissin g spats...but in a week Pixie started being more interested in new kitten, following him, watching, eventualy playing as the kitten really tried hard to be friends...
    Few weeks forward and Pixie became alert, playful and much more friendly towards her humans!!! Now they can touch her, even stroke her...She likes being round them as the kitten loves his humans....
    She is not a lap cat, but he is, and she just sits near, purring...now she is having her paws full, chasing, grooming, looking after her foster son...

    Two happy cats, two happy humans...
    But if that did not work they had agreement with the former foster to keep the kitten and return Pixie...
    So glad it worked out...
    Yes, she is from feral stock, possibly that explains her less human oriented nature...but then sthe kitten is also feral?
    Cats!
    Garfield , my own exotic should be cuddly and he is not, His affection is shown only by sleeping next to me, and generally staying near...I can stroke him , if he is in the mood....but not too long...unless he feels like it...
    He is his own cat, we all love him just as he is...but we have very clingy dog...
     
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