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Unfriendly cat - HELP !!

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by Bertie'sMum, Apr 19, 2017.


  1. Bertie'sMum

    Bertie'sMum Obedient Cat Slave

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    I have recently (6 weeks ago) adopted a 2 year old female who was advertised on the rescue centre's website as "friendly". Well, so far, she's anything but friendly !

    She’s definitely not ‘happy’ here with me – she ignores me most of the time, except when she hears me in the kitchen and decides she wants feeding, or at bedtime when she will jump on my bed and settle by my feet for a short while (it’s the only time we have any kind of interaction !). She’s definitely not the ‘friendly’ lap-cat I had hoped for and shows no signs of ever changing. I have tried every trick in the book but she will not tolerant being petted or fussed; even just talking softly to her ends up with tail swishing and her walking into another room away from me. She does like to play and we have regular playtimes throughout the day (I'm retired so at home a lot); I've resorted to bribing with treats; she likes the treats but that's as far it goes ! BUT if, by chance, I have a male visitor (IT technician/gardener etc) then she becomes Missy Flirt and pulls out all the stops to make them notice her, she'll roll over and allow herself to be petted by them but not by me – doesn’t do my ego any good. I've heard of some female cats being a "man's cat" but never really believed it until now ! (I've always had male cats before and never encountered this kind of problem).

    Cats have always been a very large part of my life since I was 5 years old and I have never had a feline friend with whom I didn’t have a good and mutually affectionate relationship.

    I just don't what else to try - any suggestions welcome as I don't want to end up disliking her or feeling that I have to return her to the rescue centre.
     
  2. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    I think you ought to let her be who she is and stop trying to force her to bond with you. Bonding will come in time. She has no reason to trust you yet, 6 weeks is a very short time. Do you know her history? Perhaps she was mistreated by a woman in her previous life.

    Don't force yourself on her. Continue to engage with her on her terms. Play with her often, since she likes that, take her sleeping at your feet for the compliment it is, and let her adjust at her own pace.

    Stop trying to pet her she's told you she doesn't like it for now. She'll let you know when she wants petting.

    One other thought - Cats are very sensitive to smells. Think about your own scent. Are you wearing perfume or other highly scented products? Do you smoke? Smells like that may bother her.
     
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  3. Ceiling Kitty

    Ceiling Kitty Hides away from much through humour...

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    It was over 18 months before my rescue cat ever showed any signs of wanting to sit on my lap. Now I can't get him off me some afternoons.

    I agree with @lorilu. Six weeks is no time at all. I'd give her longer to settle and trust you.

    ETA: you know how people joke that cats always make a beeline for people who don't like cats? It's because, when a cat enters a room, cat lovers immediately talk to the cat, stare at the cat, and may put their hand out to the cat to try and get them to come over. Some cats hate such attention and prefer to keep a low profile, hence if they're going to approach anyone it'll be the non-cat lover, who ignored them.

    It might be that your cat is 'friendly' with random visitors but standoffish with you because she thinks you're always going to want to touch her. I'd leave her alone and not touch her at all unless she seeks attention. In time you may well find she learns that interaction is on her terms and not yours, and feel more comfortable.
     
  4. Bertie'sMum

    Bertie'sMum Obedient Cat Slave

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    History - she was rescued from a young couple who were about to be evicted and had planned on just abandoning her; the rescue centre actually collected her on the morning of the eviction. Apparently the young woman wasn't bothered at all but the young man was very upset (which makes me think she was 'his' cat).

    I rarely use perfume (don't particularly like most of them myself !) and I don't smoke, plus I don't use strongly scented cleaning products either - so don't think it's a smell issue.

    I have given up on trying to pet her as I find it upsetting when she rebuffs me. Until now I've never met a cat that didn't want to become my "best friend" on first meeting - even ones I meet in the street tend to want to follow me home (my family call me the Cats Pied Piper :))
     
  5. Ceiling Kitty

    Ceiling Kitty Hides away from much through humour...

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    That's cats for you! Seriously, don't be upset. Her behaviour is nothing personal.

    I'm also considered a cat person and am told I have a way with them, but TBH I don't often pet them. That includes my own cat. If they come looking for a cuddle then I'm more than happy to oblige, but if my cat's ignoring me then I ignore him.

    Like now. He's not said anything to me all morning. This is him right now - he couldn't care less if I was here or not.

    IMG_20170419_112951.jpg

    No big deal. I'll leave him to it unless he decides he wants to come and 'help' me with the housework in a minute. Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't. :D

    Yet my previous cat was all over me all the time and was always chatting. They're all individuals, just like us.

    I think the fact she comes and sits on your feet at night is a sign of connection in itself. Just give her some time, get to know her and let her get to know you. :)
     
  6. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    I have a cat on my lap purring right now who did not attempt to get on me for the first two years she lived with me. She is 13 now but it took her a very long time to trust me or show affection to me.

    Cats are individuals. There's no point in making comparisons to other cats you have known. Your new family member is who she is, and she will learn to trust you and love you in her own time.

    How does she know you won't abandon her tomorrow, like her last people did? She doesn't. Give her time. xx
     
  7. cava14 una

    cava14 una Anne two black and white boys and a Nortie Tortie

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    My two boys are brothers and I have had them since they were kittens.
    Piper was a cuddle monster from day one while Timothy was much more reserved. I just left him to come in his own time. Now he will come for cuddles and scritches all the time.It only took 4 years!!!
     
  8. Bertie'sMum

    Bertie'sMum Obedient Cat Slave

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    thanks for all your replies - looks like I'm just going to have to wait for her to come round ! From day one I let her explore her new home on her own and gave her time to settle in at her own pace (I didn't expect an instant bonding) but as I said previously I've never before had this kind of a problem with any of my previous cats and there have been a few in the last 65+ years (the longest period I've ever gone without a cat companion was 6 months and that was the worst 6 months of my life !).

    it's only male visitors she's attracted to (brazen hussy :Jawdrop) female visitors get the same treatment as I do ! Perhaps I'd better have a sex change op !!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  9. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Great advice from Ceiling Kitty and Lorilu. :)

    I have always found my female cats (over the years) more reserved at first than the males. They all took longer to trust me than the males did, but over a period of time became very, very loyal to me.

    I've also found the females tend to want interaction on their own terms. This applies to the two females (aged 4) whom I have currently. They do not always welcome me initiating hands-on contact, (though like me chatting to them). Left to decide for themselves when to initiate the contact they are gradually becoming more affectionate to me. A recent development is the more reserved girl suddenly jumps up next to me on the sofa asking for a stroke! :Happy

    As to your girl flirting with male visitors, some cats (male and female) ingratiate themselves with any stranger to the home, and I have noticed male visitors (tradesman or male friends/relatives) tend to come in for this flirty kind of fuss more than female visitors do. Like the cat is saying "I am a nice friendly cat, please be kind to me! ";) The intent is to disarm the visitor. It is one of the weapons in the cat's armoury of survival tactics.

    My experience with mine is that they stopped bothering to ingratiate themselves with visitors once they felt really settled with me, and sometimes this took around a year to 18 mths.
     
    #9 chillminx, Apr 19, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
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  10. Paddypaws

    Paddypaws PetForums VIP

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    I do feel for you to feel so rebuffed especially as she is your only cat. FWIW, my Millie is much the same. She finds me 'convenient' in that I cater to her needs with tasty food and a warm surface to lean into but I cannot say that I ever interpret her actions as containing any ounce of affection.
    However, give her a MAN to show off to and she goes into full on flirt mode, it is almost embarrassing to see. it is ok for me as I have other cats who do show their adoration but I think I would feel lonely if she were my only feline friend.
    I think your best chance to charm her comes with a combination of play and tasty treats.....get yourself a tube of Thrive freeze dried, a Flying Frenzy toy and set about making yourself the most fascinating cat companion possible.
     
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  11. Bertie'sMum

    Bertie'sMum Obedient Cat Slave

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    Thank you Paddypaws you've given me hope :) She does like her Dreamies treats but is not enamoured of flying toys - she's more a "give me a screwed up piece of paper to chase" girl (especially the foil wrapper from an easter egg (only problem is I have to eat the egg first - aaahhhh).

    Missy looks as though butter wouldn't melt in her mouth but she's definitely got a will of steel ! Will admit that your Millie does look the 'flirty' type - such a pretty girl:)

    IMG_20170327_172858.jpg
     
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  12. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    Missy is a beautiful girl! I've had a thought @Missysmum2. What are you feeding her? She's certainly been there long enough that it would be okay to transition her off whatever the shelter was feeding her, unless you already have. Diet plays a pretty large role in behavior and the well being of a cat.

    And another part is a feeding routine. I know you like to give her treats, and she responds to that, but do you also feed on a schedule? Cats really prefer everything happening in a routine way. Meal times are wonderful bonding periods. My cats are raw fed, and as I was watching them tuck in just now I was thinking about what satisfaction I get from watching them enjoy their meals so. And that led me to think about how much enjoyment I, (and they, also I am sure) get out of their little meal time rituals. Each has her own funny ways, it's quite delightful what they can come up with with the right kind of encouragement..

    And then I started thinking about this thread. : )

    You and Missy will enjoy learning new things about each other for many years, and meal times can be a part of that.
     
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  13. Bertie'sMum

    Bertie'sMum Obedient Cat Slave

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    Hi Lorilu

    she was being fed Purina One (chicken & rice) at her foster placement and I've been feeding her Purina One Sensitive (she started up with the runs 3 days after arriving here -initially put down to stress, but fecal tests show she's got clostridium and coronavirus !). I've just started to very slowly switch her to wet food, just 25 grams mixed with her dry food once a day - she apparently likes it as her bowl is cleaned out each time ! Yes, we do have a routine - breakfast when I get up (or rather when SHE gets me up) and then evening meal about 5pm. Some days she pesters me for a 'snack' at lunchtime as well - depends on how much playtime she's had. I've also noticed that she appears to like company when she eats. If I leave the kitchen after putting her food down then she follows me out of the room, but if I stay there she gets on with the business of eating until it's all gone !
     
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  14. Paddypaws

    Paddypaws PetForums VIP

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    You could buy some Zylkene ( get the 450mg 'dog' capsules) and start adding a little to each of her wet meals. It has a soothing and calming effect on the cat. Cystophan is also a popular supplement....designed actually to help with bladder issues but again contains a calming supplement which many cats respond well to. My own shy cat has really blossomed with a tiny bit of Tryptohan added into her diet.
     
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  15. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    That's great! I would give her three wet meals a day, and reduce the number of dreamies. A good probiotic will help her system digest the food, eliminating the loose stool.
     
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  16. Bertie'sMum

    Bertie'sMum Obedient Cat Slave

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    I'm working towards 3x wet food but taking it very slowly as don't want to add to her poo problems by switching too quickly. She finished her stormogyl antibiotics for the clostridium just over a week ago and her stools are now 'firming' up naturally, but if they get 'loose' again I will probably get a probiotic - it's just infortunate that clostridium can hang around in their system for, sometimes, years and keep resurfacing. I'm due to take more fecal samples to the vet for re-testing end of next week and hope the results will show that she's clear.

    p.s. she only gets a very few dreamies, maybe a couple of times a week - they're my 'bargaining chip' so need to keep them as a "special" treat. (they were very good at getting her to take her antibiotics as she got a few after she took her meds without making too much of a fuss !!
     
  17. Paddypaws

    Paddypaws PetForums VIP

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  18. claire8234

    claire8234 PetForums VIP

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    I do understand how you feel and that there is some disappointment that you dont feel there is a bond with your cat. However, as others have said 6 weeks is a very short space of time and some cats take longer to settle than others.

    You may need to accept that your cat is not an affectionate lap cat and that she needs her own space and independance.

    I volunteer at a local cat rescue and we have a lot of cats that are not "cuddly" and they get overlooked, a real shame as we have some fantastic little characters!

    I have always has rescue cats and they have all been so different. Floss used to lie on my pillow at night, tucked under my chin and always sat on my lap

    Our current cat doesnt sit on you - unless he is hungry you are of no importance to him!! He isnt unfriendly and will have the odd chin stroke but he does like to be left alone Its just the way he is and we love him.

    Be patient and dont try too hard x
     
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