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Quickly reaching the end of my tether! Help

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by Clarabella81, Mar 22, 2011.


  1. Clarabella81

    Clarabella81 PetForums Newbie

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    My beautiful rescue cat Sadie has been in our lifes of a few week and despite a few teething problems in the first few days, she has been a sweetie. Or was until today! Very lovely this morning with me and then most of the day with my OH until he refused to give her another treat and made her get down off the kitchen work top. She then hissed at him and made ""growling" noises. He then sprayed her with a little water and Sadie basically went for him. He is very upset about it, says she have serious behavioural problems and her behaviour will never improve. I'm gutted as I'm not an experienced cat owner (he is) and am not sure how to handle this. She is only 18 months and counting her foster family, we are her third owners. Personally I think she just needs some time to learn to trust us, the OH in particular as she is particularly funny round men. She has stolen my heart and any advise or inspiration would be so helpful!

    Sorry for the rant! :(

    Cx
     
  2. Dante

    Dante PetForums VIP

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    I'm trying to think of this in human terms.. If I'd just 'growled' at someone and then they proceeded to spray me with water I think I'd do exactly as your cat did personally! Lol.

    Seems a bit odd to me that he's saying she has serious behavioural problems after one occasion?

    I'm no expert in cat behaviour but I would have thought that by spraying a cat that's quite clearly already uneasy with him, it's just going to make the relationship between Sadie and him worse.. Just my 2 cents.
     
  3. Clarabella81

    Clarabella81 PetForums Newbie

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    The first week she hissed at him every time he moved but recently she has been all over him, sleeping on our bed and very playful. Sadie has clearly had a very hard start to life, already had a litter and was very underweight. His old cat was very much a lap cat and so far my lass isn't but has only been a few weeks. He doesn't trust her but keep trying to get across that she barely knows us and it will take time/effort to build her confidence in us.
     
  4. buffie

    buffie Mentored by Meeko

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    Cant say I'm surprised this poor cat "went for him".To say she has serious behaviour problems is IMO nonsense.If there is anyone with behaviour problems it isnt the cat.What did your OH expect ,he may have had cats before but that does'nt always make someone experienced".Any cat coming into a new environment will take a while settling in ,but this poor cat has had a pretty rough time and will take a while to trust people,being sprayed with water will not have gone very far in encouraging her trust.I suggest that any "corrective" training ,and I use this term very loosly,has to be done by rewarding good behaviour and ignoring "unwanted"behaviour.Any physical/verbal punishment used will have a negative effect.
     
  5. Gem16

    Gem16 PetForums VIP

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    Spraying with water was just asking for trouble when you already have an irritated cat, it annoys me when people basically put a red flag infront of a bull, so to speak, and then act shocked when it retaliates.
    She needs much more time to trust, she is only very young, has had 3 homes and has been with you a few weeks, you would be expecting miracles to have no issues atall really.
    He needs to be alot more patient with her and in no way does it sound like she has severe behavior issues. Can only agree with others suggestions too.
    Good luck! x
     
  6. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    Completely agree with the other posts, your cat has has an unsettled start & will need plenty of time to adjust to her new home despite providing her with everything she needs.

    She issued your OH with a warning that she wasn't happy & yet he chose to antagonise her further, maybe not intentionally but this is how his action was perceived so she felt threatened.

    If she reacts in such a way again I would just walk away.This isn't backing down but simply removing yourself from her to let her know that you are not a threat & ignoring her so not giving her any attention which she obviously likes if she spent most of the day with your OH.

    Honestly, these things always take time. My second dog has a few issues & has taken alot longer than we thought but we are making progress.
     
  7. koekemakranka

    koekemakranka PetForums VIP

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    Agree with the above. It is not so unusual for a new cat to growl. It is merely a warning. There was no reason to spray her IMO.

    Our new kitty sometimes growled at us in the beginning. I took that as a sign that she was frightened and moved away from her. It doesn't mean she is aggressive. In fact, she hasn't a mean bone in her body.

    Make a new start. Tell your OH no more spraying. If she growls, leave her be and don't push the issue. Give her time to build up confidence and trust.
     
  8. Catlover2

    Catlover2 PetForums Member

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    Hi there

    We adopted a stray a year ago now. He still hisses at me now! I just ignore it as it seems to be fear rather than aggression. He is very affectionate and loves to be stroked etc but is not keen on being picked up which is when he usually hisses etc. It's no wonder really, with a bad start like that - it will take her time to adjust. I would think she is just frightened and needs reassurance. It doesn't happen overnight unfortunately, but will be very rewarding when it does;)

    Good Luck!
    ~X~
     
  9. mrswoodwoose

    mrswoodwoose PetForums Member

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    Goodness, I can only agree with most of the sentiments expressed. Your hubby's distrust of her (you said he doesn't trust her) will be picked up by a super sensitive little cat and she won't know why, just that this person is not feeling good around her, which in turn will make her feel uncomfortable.

    I also wonder how he asked her to get off the counter? Often all it takes is a gentle word or gesture, they need to be gently shown what we mean and then they can learn from it.

    Maybe he can be the one to feed her for a few weeks, but just to feed and maybe say a few quite words, not make too much of it, so she understands that he is quiet and gentle and the provider of food? (Let her eat in peace w/o being watched too.)

    Good luck, perhaps a cat care book/dvd is in order for you guys to learn from?
     
  10. Nem-nem

    Nem-nem PetForums Newbie

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    I think your kitty just needs time to settle and since she never had a stable home before, she may not immediately choose whom she would bond with.

    I have a new kitty, too, whom my family adopted from our local shelter. This is her second home after living for 4 years with her former family. Then she was given up because she could not adjust to the couple's newborn baby.

    So far she has chosen my parents and give them lots of snuggles, friendly meows and sleeps on their bed. As for me, the kitty is indifferent towards me. I know cats don't give "real love" but I grew up around cats and I'm used to having friendly, affectionate, purr-at-a-drop-of-a-hat, cats at home.

    But she is still a new kitty and she may just think that I'm a transient. I hope that she decides later that I'm worthy of her love, too, but as for now, I'm not forcing her to give me any affection (still hurts my feelings, but I don't want to be bitten or growled at again) by being passive, talking softly, and leaving the room when she's swishing her tail and dilating her eyes at me as a warning.

    I'm sure if you treat your lovely kitty well (and ask your dear hubby to knock off with the water spraying and stern interaction), she will definitely begin to trust you and might turn out that she's affectionate, too!

    Good luck with your new kitty. Try to get to know her some more and be patient. :)
     
  11. morven

    morven PetForums Newbie

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    Well if someone I trusted sprayed me with water I would hiss at them too! I have a rescued cat and she was very scared of men to begin with...now she is more trusting...give her time and love and don't try to train her like a dog and don't humanise her by referring to behavioural problems...she is a cat...we are human...the way I see it is that it is us that have the behavioural problems...the cats are just plain cool and do what they want when they want....I gave up trying to remove my cat from my bed...now I remove myself from the bed !!
    Good luck and remember...a smile goes farther than a frown...
     
  12. Myanimalmadhouse

    Myanimalmadhouse PetForums VIP

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    Sorry but think your OH is the one with the behaviour issues!

    Rescue cats have nearly always had any trust they had in humans thrown back at them so will need longer to trust a human again.

    Just as your cat is starting to do this your OH sprays water at her and basically detroys EVERY single bit of trust that she's started to have for him!

    If a cat growls or hisses its a way of signalling that they are not happy - if you told someone to back off and they didn't you'd only get more wound up too!

    Cats take time and patience - especially rescue ones that have never had a real bond with humans before. Your OH has to go back to square one and start trying to get your cat to trust him all over again now!
     
  13. thedeans

    thedeans PetForums Senior

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    you mention that your hubby refused to give her a treat and then wanted her off the worksurface??

    I feel that there was a missed opportunity here - he could have shown her the treat and then put it on the floor - that way your cat would get down without your hubby help in order to eat the treat - esp if it was a high value one like a slither of ham or chicken etc
     
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