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Our cat doesn't seem to like us

Discussion in 'Cat Chat' started by Fairybells, Nov 6, 2018.


  1. Fairybells

    Fairybells PetForums Junior

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    Our cat Lily is a two year old rescue. She's been with us two months. When we met her at the rescue shelter she walked straight to us and wanted a fuss, even with our kids she was so confident. She chose us. Our kids are 3 & 5 years old. So we brought her home and straight away she settled in and she was so confident and loved hanging around with us. The noisy kids didn't bother her and we thought she was perfect. Soon after we realised she bites and scratches our hands when playing or when she has had enough of being petted. It's been an ongoing thing I've tried to teach her not to do. And it has worked but only with me, she still does it with the kids.
    Anyways since then she's changed, she has started avoiding us, staying in the one room that none of us go in to so that she can have a quiet place. If she's not out she's sleeping in that room. We hardly see her. I've tried to get the kids to feed her treats so that they could become friends but she's not really interested in that either anymore. So I thought ok it's only been two months, she just needs time. Then my mother in law came to visit. Lily was all over her! She went on to her lap and was loving the attention. She never ever comes to my lap! (well once she has). I'm devastated and heartbroken :( I've tried so hard to make friends with her and so have my 5 year old, she was so excited about having this cat. She kept talking about how they'll be best friends etc. Last night Lily scratched her and my daughter cried and asked why does she always do that. It's heartbreaking. I honestly thought it's just new home etc and she needs time but then when I saw how she was like with my mother in law it just got me thinking (and crying) maybe she just doesn't like us.
    She does come to me and she follows me around occasionally but I feel like it's only because I feed her. Honestly, I don't know what I'm hoping to hear or why I'm writing this. Maybe I'm hoping to hear it'll all be ok soon. Maybe some similar experiences? Me and the kids have tried so hard to play with her loads and give her treats to connect with her and yet it seems she wants nothing to do with us. Except when it's 3 am, she comes to wake us up. In the night when the kids are in bed I'd like nothing more than have her sit next to me on the sofa but she won't even do that. Yet she seemed so social when we brought her home, she used to want to play with me every night but not anymore. It feels like she actually is a social and friendly cuddly cat but just not with any of us, because she doesn't like us? She did in the beginning though so why not anymore? I'm so desperate for this to work out, I know it's only been two months but the way she was with my mother in law... She's only met her once before! Sorry for the long post and thanks for reading.
     
  2. lea247

    lea247 PetForums VIP

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    How have you taught her not to bite and kick you? If you have been squirting water at her, shouting loudly or hitting her, please stop. This is won't help your relationship with her as she will just be confused about everything.

    The reason she does this could well be because she didn't spent long enough with her mum and siblings when she was young. She would have learned not to kick and bite from them. Another is that her previous owners could have taught her that playing with arms/legs. Either way, it seems it's up to you to teach her to behave properly.

    Get plenty of kickeroo toys (https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B0...oo+cat+toy&dpPl=1&dpID=417LOcgCWJL&ref=plSrch) and next time she goes to bit and kick you, say "ow!" in quite a high pitched squeek, don't move until she lets go of you. Look out for the signs she will show you with her body that she's had enough (ears back, tail flicking) and leave her alone straight away. This is her way of telling you she's had enough and you need to listen. Make sure your children are watching what you do with her as well, so that they can learn too.

    I also realise that you may just need her to learn it's ok to be stroked again. Try sitting on the floor and let her come to you. Have a wand toy near by, one of those kickeroo toys (just in case!) and maybe some treats as well. Start off by stroking her gently on her head and neck and no where else, if she lets you and see what happens!

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Fairybells

    Fairybells PetForums Junior

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    Hi, thanks for replying! When she bites and kicks I've said a high pitch ow! Every time and it seems to have worked. It's hard to teach the kids to do that though as their reaction is to start crying. I would never squirt water on her or shout etc. I think you are right in saying she was never taught that by siblings or mother, the way she acts is like she was never taught. Thanks for all your advice.
     
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  4. lea247

    lea247 PetForums VIP

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    No problem!

    Well maybe tell the children to leave her alone for a bit, until you've got it sorted and you're sure she got out of the habit.

    They could always stroke her with your hand on top of theirs, so that you can easily pull their hand away if necessary.
     
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  5. Fairybells

    Fairybells PetForums Junior

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    I think I may have to yes, maybe Lily would get more interested in them as well if they ignored her. She's such a lovely cat otherwise and in the beginning she really liked us. Maybe she changed her mind about us!
     
  6. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

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    I think the problem is that you have made so much effort to make friends with her. For many cats less is more. She obviously loves attention but I suspect you have all being trying too hard to make friends. She will also have received conflicting messages so may be frustrated and confused as well as overwhelmed.

    Many cats are taught to play by biting and scratching when they are young. Its cute when a kitten chases a hand or play bites but not when an adult does it. Cats also use biting to tell others that they are crossing boundaries and to back off. My old girl used to bite if I was overdoing the petting especially when she was feeling physically uncomfortable or in pain. She had great inhibition and I suspect so has your cat. She would grab the offending hand between her teeth and hold it. If I held still she would exert enough pressure to hold me but wouldn't break the skin. If I pulled away then I might get scratched or injured. If I gently pulled should would increase the pressure slightly and if I relaxed after a short while she would graciously let go.

    The message my cat and yours were giving is that they want to choose when to have interaction and how much and not have it imposed on them. Give her lots of space. Teach the children that if she is resting or away from the family her space is to be respected. She is only to be petted if she approaches people and asks for it.

    Watch your mother in law. How is she behaving when the cat approaches her for fuss. How does she look at the cat, what is her body language and how does she speak to the cat. I would put a small amount of money on it that she doesn't spend much time encouraging the cat to her and her body language is calm and quiet.

    If your cat sees that you are respecting boundaries she will start approaching you. Do soft eye blinks to show you are friendly but don't positively encourage her over or approach her. If she approaches you calmly extend your fore and middle finger towards the cat. If she rubs against them take note of where on her body she rubs. Extend your fingers again. If she wants a little more fuss she will rub again. if not she will move away or just sit. Don't stroke her without invitation. if she keeps coming back for another self rub against your fingers give her short stroke in the areas she has indicated. don't go further and only repeat a few times then offer the fingers again.

    Learn her body language. Cats are very expressive once you watch closely. The tail is an especially good indicator of when they are getting tense and unhappy. A slight to and from of the very tip means mild anxiety or annoyance. The speed and extent of the tail wag expresses the amount of unhappiness. Learn to stop what ever is annoying as soon as that tail starts to even slightly move side to side. She will then learn you are responding to her signals and wont feel the need to have a go or move away.

    Anxiety is also indicated by stiffening body, turning the head away or to a greater extent turning the back to the anxiety making situation. They will also lip flick with their tongue when anxious.

    If your cat enjoys rough games which she may have been taught to play like that. Wand toys and kickeroos and arm length play are the best approach for bitey scratchy cats. With time she will learn to become gentle but any training which involves telling her off in anyway will add to her confusion stress and anxiety. Show her what is acceptable rather that what you don't like.

    Its only be 8 weeks and she will still be getting used to the household. Busy houses with children are a lot for a cat to adjust to. Let her get used to things at her place. The more hide aways she has and more she is left to make her own choice about asking for cuddles or company the more she will want to want to spend time with you.

    I recommend you have a look at Jackson Galaxys how to videos on you tube.

    I am sure she will settle in soon.
     
    #6 kittih, Nov 6, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
  7. Anita1234

    Anita1234 PetForums Junior

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    I’m sorry about the situation , i don’t have much experience apart from adopting two stray cats but I can see that cats can get overwhelmed with attention , maybe you are trying too hard to be friends with her , I can see my cats getting annoyed at me being too affectionate sometimes. About scratching and biting one of my cat does it but playfully ,nothing g serious I think Like someone said maybe she didn’t learn from her mother and siblings because the other one doesn’t do that ,maybe your cat is kind of overwhelmed that’s why she is spending time alone , I imagine your kids really really want her to be affectionate and cuddly and that’s making her a bit distant from you , watch some Jackson galaxy videos definitely enlightening .
     
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  8. Fairybells

    Fairybells PetForums Junior

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    Thank you all, you've given me some excellent advice here! I'm going to have a think through and have a different approach to this. She was so lovely to begin with and I'm sure that's the type of cat she still is (and I saw thats how she was with my mother in law). Something we have done along the way that has upset her and yes it might be that we are trying too hard. I guess it's the pressure I have to make this work because of the kids. If it was just me then it wouldn't be such a big deal, I so desperately want them all to get along.

    I'll watch some jackson galaxy too, that's a great idea. I had a chat with my daughter earlier about ignoring the cat and she seemed a bit confused but agreed to go along. Thank you all again, it's just nice to get some advice, I've felt so lonely with this issue.
     
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  9. TriTri

    TriTri Standing up for cats

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    Hi @Fairybells, I’m wondering if you cat could be feeling ill? Cats often like to keep themselves to themselves when they are feeling under the weather. Maybe she’s hoping your mother-in-law will make her feel better? Is she definitely just two years old? Is she due a trip to the vet anytime soon?
     
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  10. Fairybells

    Fairybells PetForums Junior

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    The age is approximate, she was a stray cat rescued with her kittens. She's very energetic, almost kitten like. She's also very tiny, everyone always thinks she's still a kitten. It crossed my mind too if she was a bit under the weather but she eats, drinks and uses litter box normal. She's also still energetic.
    I think I might be trying too hard and I think seeing how she was like with my mother in law just got me upset. Up until that point I was quite happy in thinking that she's only been with us for two months and she's still getting to know us and settle in etc. But then when I saw how loving she was with her just made me jealous and upset, hoping she would be like that with me. How silly of me really! :(
     
  11. TriTri

    TriTri Standing up for cats

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    Yes that sounds about right! Never mind! If she is energetic still, eating, drinking, ok in the litter tray, then hopefully she is ok and that’s the main thing. Maybe you don’t sit still and quiet long enough? Put your feet up like your mother-in-law does! See if that works.
     
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  12. Fairybells

    Fairybells PetForums Junior

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    Haha yes, also I have the noisy kids around me especially the youngest one. So who can blame her really :).
     
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  13. TriTri

    TriTri Standing up for cats

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    I heard cats can hear four times as loudly as we do..... did you say screaming kids? :Banghead
     
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  14. Fairybells

    Fairybells PetForums Junior

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    Yes they do get noisy sometimes! :eek: luckily Lily has her own private room where she can hide out. But she's not normally bothered about the noise, any noise, even the fireworks don't bother her.
     
  15. TriTri

    TriTri Standing up for cats

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    Good.
     
  16. Anita1234

    Anita1234 PetForums Junior

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    Sorry if I sound a bit blunt but many cats are not very affectionate and they like things on their own terms, maybe you should think about a dog ,for me dogs are too intense and needy specially when they are puppies
     
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  17. MissMiloKitty

    MissMiloKitty PetForums Senior

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    Cats scratch and bite when playing and they also do it when annoyed. It's natural, normal cat behaviour. You can't teach them not to do it.
    Many cats are aloof and anti social and you have to accept that possibility when adopting a cat. Although some cats are affectionate, they cannot be relied on because even they can change and become aloof or maybe they select one person and ignore everyone else.

    If affection and loyalty is important to you then get a dog.
     
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  18. Fairybells

    Fairybells PetForums Junior

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    I think you may have misunderstood me? Loyalty is not important to me, I've had both dogs and cats in the past. The reason why I wrote this post is because Lily was affectionate and still is as I saw with my mother in law. I just couldn't understand what changed. And yes cats do scratch but I disagree that you couldn't teach them not to scratch. I've let Lily know that it hurts when she scratches me and she has stopped it but only with me.
    Also I can't get a dog because I have a cat, she would not be impressed if I brought a dog home. When I adopted Lily I made a commitment and I'm not going to get rid of her. I wrote this post to get ideas and support.
     
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  19. BritishBilbo

    BritishBilbo I work with cats + I live with cats. I like cats.

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    It may just be you are seeing her true personality. I imagine in rescues time spent with humans is staggered and minimal compared to a normal household, human interaction was probably a treat hence why lily was so forthcoming when you picked her.
    Now she is home and settled you may just be seeing her true personality. I have four Cats and I’ve had them all from kittens.
    One hates being touched and will actively run away from any human interaction but would never harm anyone.
    Another will choose when he wants a fuss, it’s on his terms and god help you if touch him when he doesn’t want it! I’ve been bitten, kicked and borderline skinned from Bilbo’s jykell and Hyde behaviour!

    My other two luckily are fuss pots but one does have a habit of biting and kicking but she’s growing out of it slowly.

    Lily needs time to settle and find her feet, as others have suggested let her come to you I wouldn’t actively seek her out.

    If this is her true personality over time you will learn to love it, I can’t imagine my unsociable boys any other way, their personality is what makes them, them! The kids need to learn she has boundaries and if they go over then they will pay the price.

    If she is an active player then maybe a long wand type toy would be a great place to start bonding again. B&M bargains if you have one near you do a great and inexpensive toy which has a long wand a long string and feather attachment so Lily and your children wouldn’t have to get too close, something like that may be a good start to build the bond between them back up.
     
  20. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

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    Try the hands off approach for now. Just ignore her. I know it's hard to get the kids to understand but if Lily is young and playful one way of developing a relationship between the kids and Lily is with play.

    Get your kids involved in making some home made toys for her. Get a piece of long string and get the kids to tie a few feathers or crinkly strands of feathers on the end. Tie the other end to a stick like a garden cane or plant stick. You now have a very long wand toy.

    Teach the kids the art of using it by flicking out the string gently and slowly pulling it across the ground with a few sudden jerks like they are fishing for cats :) if Lily is in a playful mood she will enjoy chasing the string and she will be far enough away from the noise and unpredictable child hood movements to relax. The kids can also help build some other DIY cat toys like a toilet roll pyramid for hiding treats in or making her a cat lodge from a big box with a hole cut in and decorated. They can use their imaginations to decorate it in anyway they like as long as the items used are cat safe.

    There are lots of catnip mice making projects online eg on Pinterest so that may be a fun project as well.

    For the older kids they could make a long paracord braid (again lots of tutorials online) which when put on a plant cane makes a pretty cat wand toy.

    Another project is a snuffle mat. All the kids can do this one and you can hide cat treats in the fronds and let Lily search them out.

    I think if the kids are involved but in a less hands on way to begin with they will feel like they are having fun with her without a more full on need to touch her.

    It usually takes a couple of months for a rehomed pet to suss stuff out. It the moment she is retreating to get some calm. It may be as said above she doesn't link you with a calm rest and cuddle spot because you are always associated with the kids. Once she has figured out your routine then she will chose her routine for cuddles etc. Just let her do it in her own time. Don't worry she will turn in to the cat you hoped for in time as long as you let her be her own cat.

    Oh and it's common for cats to be all over visitors. There is novelty factor in a new person.
     
    #20 kittih, Nov 7, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018
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