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Cat hostile to new housemate.

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Many apologies if this is answered elsewhere (did many google searches couldn't find a thing).

I am new to the forum and absolutely adore cats (especially mine who is the cutest ever-heh but am very worried and at a loss about what to do about her current behavior.

1. Stray cat rescued ~2001 (original owners tossed her after declawing her: jerks.) She was about 1.5 years old.
2. Cat (named TADU: Tactical Allergen Dispersal Unit) very friendly to strangers, sometimes a bit shy, but will come and investigate new people.
3. Husband and I were the only/primary caregivers until 8-2006.
4. One of our friends would often watch her while we were out of town and she was always very happy with him.
5. He ended up being our new housemate in 8-2006 and started to spend a significant amount of time at our home beginning in 5-2006.
6. Around the same time (5-2006), Tadu seemed to become very very scared of him. She doesn't like being on the same floor with him, if he comes near her she will start hissing (which is very odd behavior for her), and exhibits a very strong fear response when I or my husband try to hold/pet her in his presence (tail tucked between legs, furtive glances, running as soon as she is let go). Just recently, we found out that she urinated underneath one of the couches (a hiding place for her when he is in the living room). She has never urinated outside of her box before, so we are worried that she did this because she was afraid of him and felt like she couldn't leave the safety of the couch. <bawling>.
7. I've watched him with Tadu (both before and after her mood change). and while he can be a bit more snuggly than she might like (she can be uppity at times), he has never hurt her and has never raised his voice to her. After her behavior began, we asked if he might have accidentally hurt/traumatized her and he couldn't think of anything. (given his previous experience with watching Tadu and his previous 2 kitties that were taken by the ex, I am inclined to believe him).

Any advice? We have tried our best to give her positive experiences in his presence (he feeds her soft food- a treat, we snuggle and brush her with him nearby, etc). Sometimes, she seems ok with him, and will let him pet her (never more than about 30-45 secs at a time), but it is like as soon as she realized who he was she runs. 90% of the time she will run from him. 9% of the time she can't run so she will start hissing (the remaining 1% she is fine).

I don't want my poor kitty stressed by someone that she used to love and I don't want our new housemate to be ostracized by our little kitty (he absolutely loves cats and is feeling extra deprived since his ex took the cats and is not letting him see them anymore).

help! How do I get her to love him again?

ps. Sorry for the long post. Figured that it was better to give as much situational information as possible up front.
post #2 of 3
Hi, it could be something as silly as his aftershave, or that he wears big shoes in the house (scares my cats all the time), though I do believe he might have disciplined her at some point in the past (and maybe doesn't realize it scared her, or won't admit it). In any case, suggest to him that he start a campaign to ignore her altogether - nothing like 'psychology' for cats - and when she feels more secure, she will make her own approaches, but again he should be very lukewarm about responding, if at all, until enough time has passed (months) that she's (hopefully) forgotten whatever it was that bothered her. But still let her initiate any contact for as long as possible (and tell him to get those shoes off when he's indoors :0)!
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the quick reply! I've tried to tell him to ignore her as well, but he is just a sucker for cats I'll emphasize to him how important it is and, hopefully, he will stick to it
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