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Problems bonding with cat - adopter's regret

Discussion in 'Cat Chat' started by ariadne, Oct 24, 2012.


  1. ariadne

    ariadne PetForums Newbie

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    Hi all,

    New to this forum and posting to ask for honest and hopefully non-judgemental advice. My husband and I thought about adopting a cat for around three years but weren't able to because we were renting. Now we have a house and garden. I have always been a cat person - I adored our family cat and fostered a cat 3 years ago whom I loved too. We finally took the plunge 2 weeks ago and I think I'm regretting it. The one year old cat we have adopted is affectionate (though bites sometimes and without any apparent reason), uses the litter box properly and is not overly destructive - just usual kitty antics with scratching up things mildly, but nothing terrible. I bought her everything she could possibly need, researched the best food and nursed her through an upper respiratory infection last week which started to show itself within two days of adoption. The problem is that I just don't feel for her any of what I have felt for my other pets in the past. Before her I had two rats for two years whom I loved like children and grieved for terribly when they died.

    I don't love this cat; I don't even feel the love coming. I care about her wellbeing and don't want her to be sad or hurt or lonely, but I don't look forward to seeing her like I used to with my other pets. My main concern is to feed her and entertain her and stroke her if she wants it but my heart's not in it. Is it too early to be expecting this bond?

    I feel so sad. I had so looked forward to having a cat and I feel nothing except anxiety and a nagging feeling that I shouldn't have done it, despite the 3 years + of planning it all. The thought of 12-20 years with an animal that I don't feel much for makes me feel very sad.

    Advice so gratefully appreciated.

    - A
     
  2. Jenny1966

    Jenny1966 PetForums VIP

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    :( what a sad post.

    I'm really not sure what to say to be honest ...... I bonded with both my cats the moment they entered my life, and I know I would be lost without them.


    Maybe the fact your cat hasnt been that well has affected how you feel, though the fact you nursed her is a good sign :)


    I think maybe give it a bit more time ...... but in all honesty if it continues like it is, especially as you say you dont love her and you dont look foward to seeing her, then I would seriously consider finding her a home where she will receive the loves she deserves.

    Good luck
     
  3. househens

    househens Guest

    Do you still respond to other cats? You chose this one, so I don't understand. Was it due to the biting? Is the cat seeking you out, and curling up with you, or is it a non cuddly cat? What makes you feel you can't see the affection improving?
     
  4. dougal22

    dougal22 Banned

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    You might be expecting too much too soon. People don't fall in love with other people instantly, so why would you have instant love for a cat? We get to know people and animals, know their ways, their quirks and that's what makes us love them. Love grows, it doesn't have to be an instant thing.

    I have five cats. I love different things about each of them and the degree of my feelings towards them is totally different. One of them completely has my heart. I love him more than anything in the world, I kid you not. I never imagined how intense a person's feelings can be for an animal. Just because I don't feel this overwhelming emotion for the others doesn't mean I don't love them. I do, just not in the same way.

    Time will tell in this instance. Don't give up on her. She needs you now. The love will come, even if it's not all consuming love. There are different types, and TBH, the all consuming love is a bit 'insane' :lol:
     
    MontyMaude likes this.
  5. ariadne

    ariadne PetForums Newbie

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    She curls up with me and is pleased to see me - she just randomly grabs my arm and bites me when lying on me- she did it just 30 seconds ago, not super hard, just enough to be very unpleasant. I squeak loudly and say "No" and she seems to get the message but it does make things a bit stressful not knowing if she's going to bite me again. I think what I am trying to express is that I was expecting to feel an intensity of emotion for her which I felt for other animals in the past and it seems just to not be there. I really want it to come. I think Jenny1966 may be right when she says that the cat's illness early on meant I started to associate her with a very stressful situation - our vet visit was deeply traumatic. I feel she's bored even though I have bought her lots of toys and play with her lots during the day. I've also installed a pet door so she can go out into our garden and see the world, moved chairs next to windows so she can spy on things. I think I just need to give it time. Change is hard for people and cats, I guess. Hopefully she'll get the message about the biting and stop. It may be playful/affectionate, but I definitely don't want to encourage it. Thanks for your replies - they're really helpful.
     
  6. MollyMilo

    MollyMilo PetForums VIP

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    oh how very sad :(

    We had a very similar situation here a few months ago, where a lovely lady was getting siamese kittens and she was so excited! then when they came, it was all a total anticlimax and she couldnt give them the forever home that she thought she could.

    I don't understand though, Did you love her in the rescue home? I fell in love with mine the second i saw them and loved them even though they were not even home yet!
     
  7. JordanRose

    JordanRose Master of the Whingey Cat.

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    I'm sorry to hear you feel this way about your new addition, it's such a shame :(

    As hard as it sounds, I'd give it time. She may not be a 'cuddly' cat at the moment, but having only had her 2 weeks, she'll still be settling in and her character will still be developing.

    I adored Spooks as soon as I met him, and felt he chose me. I work at the shelter where I got him from, and even though I love all of the cats we have in, I've never felt like that about any others. That's how I knew he was mine. (I know it sounds cheesy, but I'm a believer in this...) Would you say your cat chose you, or was it the other way round?

    I also want to let you know that it's not all that uncommon to experience a sense of regret within the first few weeks. We've had people like this at the shelter, and with a bit of perserverence they've bonded and the cats have become much loved family members.

    I hope this is the case for you, it sounds as though you're just overwhelmed at the moment, that should ease in time :) Sending hugs! x
     
  8. Lel

    Lel PetForums Senior

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    Sorry you are in this position. Perhaps the illness has taken the fun out of it.

    Could you tell us how you chose her (or maybe she chose you)? Maybe reflecting on that may help you answer your own question to some extent? :)
     
  9. Jenny1966

    Jenny1966 PetForums VIP

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    Do you know her past history?

    I think the fact that the vet visit was very traumatic speaks volumes. A trip to the vet is never an easy thing even with cats you have had for years :)


    I really do think you need to give it time, it sounds like you have given her everything she needs, and the fact she comes to you for cuddles is really good .... even if at the moment she bites! My Molly does this, but you get to know the signs and move your arm quick :D

    It's still very early days, try and enjoy her :)
     
  10. Jiskefet

    Jiskefet Slave to the Hairy Hikers

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    Why did you pick this particular cat?
    When I pick a cat, I usually hang around at the rescue or shelter for ages, having a meet& greet with all the cats, and seeing which cats respond to me, and which cats I respond to.

    Cats are like people, there are some you feel attracted to straight away, some you have known for years before you form a bond, and some that are simply not your type.


    And it may simply be a matter of expecting too much. You have been looking forward to having a cat so much that you 'need' it to be perfect straight from the start. The sensation of having a cat must live up to all your memories. Only, these memories have become rather rose-colored and gilded over the years, and no flesh-and-blood cat could live up to such an idealized memory.

    Your other pets did not have to live up so such irrealistic expectations, which is why you could bond with them more easily.


    It is the same kind of story you sometimes hear from young mothers, who have been wanting a baby for years. And when they finally have one, it turns out not to be this gigantic pink fluffy cloud they dreamed of. They (subconsciously) imagined everything in their lives would simply fall into place once the baby was there, and of course, it doesn't.

    I had a similar experience with slimming. I felt very bad about being fat, and thought my life would be so much better if I could be slim again. Then I managed to lose 22 kgs, and though I felt a lot better, looked a lot better, and was truly proud of myself, it did not bring me the changes I thought it would. For a lot of other issues in my life still remained
    It took me some time to realize that a lot of feelings and problems I had been subconsciously attributing to my weight problem, didn't stem from it at all, or at least would not disappear together with the weight.

    My low self esteem may in part have been caused by being fat, but being slim did not rid me of it.
     
    #10 Jiskefet, Oct 24, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012
  11. groundhogdaze

    groundhogdaze PetForums Member

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    Cat biting is a sign of affection and play, the one yr old you have is probably still very playful or already displaying affection to you. We took on a 2 yr old who had a few problems and was very stand-offish when we got her. Now she's full of cuddles, affection and fun. She still gives love bites but not hard ones. It takes time to bond, maybe you are making comparisons with past cats too quickly and want her to have their personality? This cat has clearly taken to you very quickly, maybe you should take the time to get used to her personality. I hope it works out for all of you.;)
     
  12. Treaclesmum

    Treaclesmum PetForums VIP

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    It could be that you might be scared deep down that you could lose her, based on the stressful vet visit you had, so you're trying to protect yourself against that?

    I think I was a bit like that at first with Treacle, as we had lost cats before (in old age) and he was a rather weak and sick kitten. You just need time to get to know your cat xx
     
  13. ariadne

    ariadne PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks again for all the reponses. We met her once at the shelter where she was very skittish, but interested in us and did some head rubbing on our hands. We weren't taken to a private room to meet her - we met her in a concrete alleyway between two rows of other cages with cats in, so understandably she found it hard to focus on us. She seemed bright and alert as well as interested to meet us and I knew I wanted to rescue a cat rather than get a kitten. I used to volunteer for a cat adoption project and I know how hard it can be to get cats adopted when there are kittens to choose. So I guess there weren't any fireworks when we met, as it were, just a nervy cat in weird surroundings who nevertheless seemed to have the potential to be affectionate. I wish I could say I rushed the decision to adopt but I didn't - it was a decision years in the making. Maybe it's more that I went into it with so many preconceived ideas it's been counterproductive and has stopped me taking my new girl on her own merits. It's not fair to expect her to be an amalgam of other cats I've loved and lost.
     
  14. spid

    spid PetForums VIP

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    I think you have built the expectations too high and now reality isn't the rose tinted experience you wanted - but it can be - give yourself time and her too.
     
  15. smiler84

    smiler84 PetForums VIP

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    give it time. my experience is a bit different, as i took in a stray kitten - for the first couple of weeks i wasn't sure if i was keeping him (had never planned to have a cat, but couldn't leave him out in the cold and so looked after him while i looked for his 'owners') i felt responsible for him, but i didn't fall in love with him immediately. he was quite a naughty kitten (quite handy with his teeth and claws - i looked like i was self harming for a while :eek: ) and also felt a bit overwhelmed with the responsibility of potentially looking after this naughty little thing for the next 15-20 years. but one night he came and curled up on my lap and i just knew that he was staying with me. i now truly adore him, even though he tries my patience regularly!

    so just give it a bit more time - in my case the love wasn't instant, but it certainly arrived :D
     
  16. ariadne

    ariadne PetForums Newbie

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    Also, you are all such emotionally intelligent and helpful people! Very grateful to have come across such good and insightful advice.
     
  17. Staysee

    Staysee PetForums VIP

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    Not feeling exactly the same, but we recently [on saturday] got our new cat JJ from someone who couldnt give him all he needed.


    So i fell in love with him at her house and coming home, but now he's become a pain and we're having to treat him as if he's a young kitten, not almost a year old. He bites, goes for legs etc but was a complete sweetie at his last slaves and he's a ragdoll so understandably im frustrated that he's not as relaxed as he was.

    But he came from an only cat household where the husband didnt like him and the wife was out at work alot, plus he was in a huge house alone.

    Now he's in a house half the size, has 3 other cats around and 3 humans who want to lavish attention on him whenever they see him....of course he's gonna be feeling overwhelmed and not knowing, we managed to sort his fleas and now we can smooth him, but we gotta be wary about holding him too long or passing him when he's laid down. Its kinda taken the fun out of getting a 'ragdoll' and all i read about them, but both me and my parents know its gonna take time....we saw him at his previous house and he was a real ragdoll, floppy as they come, he's had a HUGE change in living conditions and has gotta learn to trust us, as us to him too.


    Give this kitty some time, it may of been a few weeks, but that isnt long in the grand scheme of things, plus with her illness and sight biting at the very start of her stay it may of put a dampner on that first week or so of bonding that you get with a new cat. You obviously care for her very much if you've nursed her through an illness, also posting this.

    So yeah, time. She loves you already as you've said she curls up to you and is happy too see you, but remember she is her own cat, she isnt gonna be like any of your previous cats or pets, a personality of her own, traits of her own which you'll learn as time goes by and soon enough you'll not remember a time without her.
     
  18. dougal22

    dougal22 Banned

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    You're absolutely right. She's got a personality all of her own.

    It seems to me you're putting adverse pressure on yourself? Expecting to feel a certain way and being let down by yourself because you don't feel the way you feel you should?

    Relax, enjoy spending time with your girl. Don't over analyse, it does you no good, and just try to put her illness behind you. Very tough I know as my 'heart cat' was a very sick boy. But he's not now :D
     
  19. Jiskefet

    Jiskefet Slave to the Hairy Hikers

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    I think you hit the nail on hte head there....

    I have never found a cat that could even come near living up to my first semi-feral kitten Jiskefet...
    Until we had Gaudi.
    But then, I only started truly feeling that way about Gaudi - that he was my soul mate, my little angel, my everything - when I was already worrying he might be seriously ill. And when the diagnosis was confirmed, and we knew we were going to lose him, he was more precious to us than anything in the world....

    Jiskefet had always been more my cat, but hubby had strongly bonded with Gaudi, and he is having 'his jiskefet' in him. However lovely other cats are, they are not and can never be anything like Gaudi....

    I love all my cats, but I know I idealize someof the cats I have lost, and however many cats I have had or will have in my life, I still long to see and hold them.

    Only, by now I have learned that, in time, these new cats, too, will be added to the numbers of heavenly cat spirits I am still searching for in my dreams. In leaving their physical bodies, they have become an integral part of our soul....
     
  20. JordanRose

    JordanRose Master of the Whingey Cat.

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    You sound like you've thought this through an awful lot and I commend you for not giving up straight away. It does sound very much like an anti-climax, and that your expectations have been too high. I think you'll love her very soon, and once that spark arrives it will grow and grow.

    When I brought Spooks home, I had fairly low expectations. I thought he'd hide and be resistant at first and that he'd take a while to settle. Much to my surprise, he settled almost instantly, but I wouldn't have been so disappointed if he hadn't, as I wasn't looking at the situation through rose tinted glasses.

    I really do hope you bond. Good luck! Xx
     
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