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Strange New Behavior around my BF

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hey y'all!
I haven't been on in forever... I've been REALLY busy in my last/5th year of college, but I've got a problem with Oliver now...

I've been dating my boyfriend, Ian, now for about 6 months. He and Oliver were never "best friends" as Ian always kinda rough-housed with him (same way my dad does and Oliver has no problem with my dad).... until the last 2 weeks or so, Oliver would usually hide in the closet most of the time Ian was over, but he'd still come out and play/snuggle sometimes.

Well, the last 2 weeks or so have been completely different... there have been 2 times that I've had to leave Oliver and Ian alone - both times, Oliver ended up pooping himself simply at the sight of Ian (the ONLY times Oliver's ever gone outside the litter box, let alone on the spot) one of those times was right after Ian went to nicely and calmly pick up Oliver while sitting on the floor to snuggle and Oliver peed all over him. This is completely out of the ordinary. There have been plenty of times that Ian has picked him up to say "hey, I'm a nice guy, I just like to play" and Oliver's been fine.

Now the past 2 days have been even weirder. Last night, Ian came over for awhile and we were laying on the bed. I picked up Ollie and brought him up with us just to get some scritchies (since the pooing/peeing incidents, Ian hasn't been anything but super nice to Oliver, btw), he was fine when I was holding him. Then I set him to lay on Ian's chest and all we were doing was gently petting him, not forcing him to stay there or anything, and Oliver was crying like he was being tortured! It happened again tonight when Oliver was just laying on the floor and Ian started petting him.

I'm really really worried about this sudden change in attitude and Ian's now really upset that the cat hates him/is afriad of him (apparently) this much. Is this something that's just gonna take a long time of Ian being nice just because Ollie's got kind of a bad impression of him (since he used to rough-house with Oliver a lot) or should I seek professional help in trying to figure this out. Otherwise, Oliver is acting COMPLETELY normal. Eating/drinking, peeing/pooing, cuddling with me.... nothing different except his attitude toward Ian. PLEASE HELP!
post #2 of 18
You might just have to stop trying to 'force' anything between them as it seems to be really hurting Oliver, sensible or not, and you could end up with lots worse bathroom behaviour or who knows what if you keep trying. He obviously has a problem with your BF, or maybe any man who comes around (he probably thinks YOU're his girlfriend after all) and why keep making him 'be nice' when he doesn't feel it? Lots of male cats have big problems with their females 'males' (mine included) and there's no way to make them understand anything different, no matter how nice the men are.
post #3 of 18
Is there any chance your bf was mean to him when you weren't around? He may just not like him for some reason, it might be as simple as the cologne he wears or something else like that.
post #4 of 18
What does "Rough house" mean, playing rough?.
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
Oliver's never had a problem with any other male - even my ex bf of almost 2 years... and there's absolutely no chance Ian did anything mean to him when I wasn't around/looking... and yeah rough house is just playing rough... for example: both my dad and Ian play the "claw game" with him, they'll pretend to grab his head and he'll play back by jumping at their hand and play biting and play bunnykicking... I just don't understand why this is so all of a sudden, when absolutely nothing has changed with Oliver, me or Ian.....
post #6 of 18
Could it be he's been a bit too rough with Oliver and that's why he's avoiding him because he knows what could be coming? I'm not saying he's done it on purpose, but it could be that?.
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Rosiemac View Post
Could it be he's been a bit too rough with Oliver and that's why he's avoiding him because he knows what could be coming? I'm not saying he's done it on purpose, but it could be that?.
That's what I think and have told my boyfriend, but I don't know how to like fix it now.... like I said, since the peeing/pooing incidents Ian's been nothing but super nice to him....
post #8 of 18
I'll be honest with you,When I read your post that set alarm bells ringing for me.
Especially as your cat has never had problems with any other men,Not even your Dad.
From what you've said although your cat hid away(maybe he senses something
bad about BF?)your cat didn't really have a problem with your Bf until two weeks ago...
He was left alone with your cat.His behaviour has only changed since then,
and seriously for an animal to poop or pee at the sight of seeing him then obviously
something has happened which was very terrifying for your cat.
Animals are no different than children in that respect,They don't lie,If a childs
behaviour changed after a new boyfriend was left alone with them to the extent that
they were wetting the bed or getting distressed being touched by them then I would
know something was very wrong.Some children are afraid to speak and animals
can't speak,One of the few givaway signs is a sudden change in behaviour.
I know you said "there's absolutely no chance Ian did anything mean to him when I
wasn't around/looking" but you cannot be 100% sure.Like you said your cat never had
a problem with any other men.
Sometimes people think they know people very well but never truly know them at all.

If your Bf had accidentally hurt your cat then if he was honest he would have told you
but Animals know the difference between being accidentally hurt and deliberately hurt.
I don't see any point taking your cat to a behaviourist unless you can be absolutely
sure he is not being abused,and the only way you can do that is to get proof or
keep the Bf away from him.
Maybe I'm wrong,I hope I am, but it is something that you do need to think about.
post #9 of 18
I hate to say it, and I hope you won't take offense... but I agree with FurryFerals. Painful as it is, I think you really need to consider the possibility that something happened between them that you aren't aware of.

Gosh, I hate to suggest that you introduce this kind of doubt into your relationship with this man -- but it really does sound like a strong possibility that something bad happened. I truly hope we're wrong... but I'm glad FF had the courage to say it, just in case we're right.
post #10 of 18
Your boyfriend doesn't sound like the type that would deliberately harm your cat. But you might want to ask him if he stepped on Oliver's tail, or something accidental like that?

It may be something else, like if your boyfriend has a loud or deep voice that is threatening to Oliver. Essentially he was bullying the cat (though I realize his intentions were harmless), and if he is a strong male presence in the household now, I can see Oliver feeling displaced and scared that he is suddenly the "low man on the totem pole". If that is the case, suggesting that your boyfriend speaks quietly when the cat is around is a really good idea.

I agree with a previous post that forcing the relationship is not going to help things. I would suggest a few weeks period of your boyfriend having no contact with the cat whatsoever, but you can allow Oliver to come to you when the boyfriend is around, if the kitty is comfortable with that. After some time has passed and Oliver is calming down, have your boyfriend walk around with a pocket full of treats and toss Oliver a treat once in a while (make sure it's something really tasty for him!). If that goes well, then he can start quietly talking to the cat and keep up the treats for a while longer. Just make sure that Oliver is the one to initiate contact with your boyfriend as the trust there has been broken and it will only lead to the poor cat getting more and more stressed out.

Good luck... I'm thinking about you here in Canada.
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Tonight has been better... I told Ian to simply completely ignore Oliver for quite a long time whenever he's over and let Oliver decide when it's time to be friends again... he did initially hide behind the water heater when he first got here, but I coaxed him out once Ian got in bed to just watch tv and fall asleep for the night... since then, Ollie has not run away - he did sit under my desk next to me while I did work for awhile... but he soon came out, ate and then jumped up to his usual position on top of the books I'm trying to read in front of my computer... Ian was awake and talking to me during some of this time and Ollie seemed better. I really think the rough-housing simply got to Oliver since that was the majority of the time they spent together, so now he thinks any time Ian comes near him it's to play fight. Ian's got animals of his own and he loves animals in general (Except birds, haha, he's not fond of them), so I HIGHLY doubt there's any deliberate abuse involved (but more that his idea of play has become a type of abuse in Oliver's eyes)... tonight is actually the most Oliver's been out while Ian's been here in quite awhile and he's acting normal - I think it's partly because Ian didn't come up to him at all tonite, so he didn't feel overly threatened. He's been lovey and playing with me and let me refresh his nail caps right in front of the bed where Ian is...

Thank you for all your thoughts and as always more are definitely welcome! With just this small change tonite, I'm feeling quite better and now feel that there's hope that they'll become friends again on Oliver's time and terms
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 

Tonight went really well! Ollie's been coming out of his hiding spots more when Ian's around, but he'll usually just stick around me. Last night, Ian and I were eating dinner and Oliver came out of the closet and rubbed on Ian's hand and let him pet him... then tonite, Oliver came out and was playing with me on the floor. I had him in my lap and Ian came over... he originally took off toward the closet, but stopped and turned around, came back to Ian and I on the floor and rubbed all against him and let Ian pet him for quite awhile! So things are getting close to back to normal.... the other day, I came home (alone) and found Oliver sleeping curled up on the shorts that Ian wears to bed, so it's definitely not a problem with the way Ian smells.... just wanted to keep y'all updated
post #13 of 18
I'm so happy to hear that things are improving! Sounds like everyone is feeling a lot better about the situation now.

Anymore bathroom issues?
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
Nope, no more potty problems! I think this all stemmed from some "accidental" abuse... ie: my boyfriend just sees it as playing, but Ollie sees it as abuse. I've tried explaining to my boyfriend some more about how Oliver sees things and I think he's getting it (he's only ever owned big dogs personally, so that's what he's used to playing with).... the two of them even actually played a little bit of the claw game (ie: pretending to grab Ollie's head nicely and Oliver will put his paws on your hands and pull them off - he looooooooooves playing this game with my dad, I think Ian's just been too rough with it) last nite sucessfully.... soon, I'm gonna have Ian put down Oliver's wet food several times and try having him offer up cookies too - Ollie's a sucker for wet food (finally! little bugger used to not touch it) and cookies!
post #15 of 18
I'm glad things are going better for the both of them. But remember, animals are always a better judgement of character than we are. I would trust their instinct over mine. I hope it continues to improve and that they will learn to trust each other.
BTW, Ollie is a cute boy!
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the compliments on Ollie! Tonight was a good night as well... Oliver again, didn't hide in the closet the whole time and even rubbed up on Ian and took several cookies from him
post #17 of 18
What a relief! I'm so happy to hear that things are working out after all. Thank you for updating us!

Snuggles to Ollie...
post #18 of 18
That's great news! At least Ollies told your bf what he likes and doesn't like
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