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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear cat people,

We have had cats in our family for years but this is the first time I personally have had the responsibility of raising a kitten myself and I'm not sure how much I'm over-analysing or humanizing my cat's behaviour! I have a few questions which may show my ignorance in cat rearing but my intentions have been good I promise so please go easy on me!

I have an indoor female cat who was 1yr old in June. I got her aged about 8 weeks old and she was one of a litter of two but unfortunately her sibling died aged 2weeks old. I'm gathering from posts that my little cat probably didn't get much in the way of kitten socializing which hasn't been helped by the fact that I've always played with her using my hands as well as toys (I've used a lot to stimulate her as she is indoors and on her own) and we have daily moments where we chase each other about the place. This does mean that our 'play' can move from fun (in my terms) to me being attacked (my terms!) by Lilly and it's hard to easily deter her from this. I've read Luisa's post on aggression (really helpful) and other posts and have been trying to play with toys rather than hands and to stop petting her when she begins to show signs of getting annoyed - I worry though that she does associate this kind of play / behaviour with me as she doesn't do it with others (eg with the couple who looked after her while I was away for 2 weeks recently) but then reacts like this to me as soon as she sees me... as well as purring I must add! My vet said she will see me as play-mate and prey rolled into one!
Any other advise as I'm afraid Lilly will stay / get more aggressive with me if I don't change things soon?

Also, I wondered how best to manage her stress with change. I took her to the lovely couple to cat-sit for me for 2 weeks in Jan and back to the same couple the other week for 2 weeks. When she is there, Lilly is curious and interactive and gradually seeks more attention from them (on her terms) and they love having her. When I bring her back, however, she spends a good few days avoiding me, hiding under the bed and her tail swishes when I try and pet her. IS THIS NORMAL?! Lots of friends with cats (and my mum who has had many cats in her time) tell me that cats can be like this and punish their owners for leaving them! If this is the case I need to suck it up and stop personalizing it and feeling like the world's worst cat owner! (She will sleep on the bed and purr away every night despite ignoring me the rest of the time so it's not all doom and gloom!).

Lilly vomits in every car journey no matter how short and I am wondering whether she associates this distress with me and needs some time to get over it in my home whereas she is distracted by the newness of the cat-sitting place and therefore doesn't seem obviously distressed.

Any thoughts? Apologies for the saga......:rolleyes5:
 

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That's kinda what happened when I used to have my cat looked after when I went on a fortnights holiday. She went and hid for a while and I didn't see her for ages until a day later she remembered me and started acting normally again.
 

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I don't think Lilly will necessarily get more aggressive as she gets older, but her behaviour probably won't change unless you encourage her to change.

Cats are very quick learners, and I have always found that providing they have a good relationship with you (as Lilly clearly does with you) they are sensitive to your need not to be hurt (at least most of the time:D). So, I wouldn't let her play with your hands when she is very excited, as she is less likely to "pull her punches" or sheath her claws. Toys you use at arms length are a better bet, such as wands, rods and little balls for throwing.

A good alternative to letting her play directly with your hand is to use a small soft toy such as this one from Pets at Home, holding it when you play with her:

Baby Bea Kitten Character | Pets at Home

If when she is relaxed and you stroke her, she attacks your hand then blow gently in her face. I also find saying "ouch" with feeling has a restraining effect too, and gradually the cat learns what is acceptable.
 

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What a little sweetie she is!:001_wub:

I meant to add -- if Lilly attacks your hand don't snatch it away, as this would make her feel it is part of the game, and encourage her to do it more. Hold your hand still, or even push it slightly against her mouth and at the same time do the gentle blowing in the face or the "ouching". :)
 

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I don't think Lilly will necessarily get more aggressive as she gets older, but her behaviour probably won't change unless you encourage her to change.

Cats are very quick learners, and I have always found that providing they have a good relationship with you (as Lilly clearly does with you) they are sensitive to your need not to be hurt (at least most of the time:D). So, I wouldn't let her play with your hands when she is very excited, as she is less likely to "pull her punches" or sheath her claws. Toys you use at arms length are a better bet, such as wands, rods and little balls for throwing.

A good alternative to letting her play directly with your hand is to use a small soft toy such as this one from Pets at Home, holding it when you play with her:

Baby Bea Kitten Character | Pets at Home

If when she is relaxed and you stroke her, she attacks your hand then blow gently in her face. I also find saying "ouch" with feeling has a restraining effect too, and gradually the cat learns what is acceptable.
Right...plus you can get those funny gloves with pointed fingers with bells and playthings on the end of each finger. Saves you losing a hand..if you don't mind looking like Edward Scissorhands.

I cat-sit for quite a few people ( I mean people's cats!) and they all say that when they come back from a longish holiday...not just a w/end...their cat is really sulky and doesn't want to know them. Today I went to give the housekeys back to a friend of mine whose cat I cared for since two weeks ago. Went into the drawing room, little Mia ran towards me and called out really loudly and rubbed up against me to be picked up, made a fuss of etc. Her Mum (who has had her for 14 years) was amazed and said that Mia never did that when she came back from holiday. I can only assume that Mia adores her Mum but in her Mum's absence, I am the surrogate who provides her maternal needs, gives her food, a tablet etc. and when she saw me she thought that Mum was about to leave her again. Mum did say that Mia "did not 'chat' to her the way she 'chatted' to me". Maybe it is just something between this particular cat and me...I do love her very much and she is clearly very taken with me. It does make cat-sitting very easy I must say.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Some success folks!
Was stroking the Lilster this morning which she was enjoying but very suddenly she stopped purring, bit me and began scratching my arm with her front and back legs... I kept my arm still and blew in her face - she initially bit and scratched harder but then let go. She jumped off the bed and ran round to attack my ankles but backed off before getting to me when I hissed at her. She then seemed to calm down quicker than she has previously. Hoorah. Will keep going......;) Thanks for the advise!
 
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