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My new cat hates us!

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hi,

We recently adopted a cat from a local pet rescue centre – we have had him for 2 ½ weeks. We chose to adopt him in particular because he was so friendly, and were so surprised when we got him home – instead of hiding behind the TV, he was looking around and wanting attention.

Unfortunately, he changed – almost immediately. 2 days after he came home, when I picked him up he wrapped himself around my arm and sank his teeth in. I have learnt to read him a bit better now, but he won’t be picked up – when he first met him he was fine with this. Now he won’t sit with us at all, in fact the only time he will come to us is when we are in bed – he comes to us straight away, then again in the night 2 or 3 times, and finally wakes us in the morning.

He does walk about on the kitchen worktops sometimes, we shout when he does this, and give him a gentle clip round the ear. I also do the same when he attacks my arm as above (he has done this a few times). He also has his ‘episodes’ as others have described when he charges around causing havoc.

As we have only had him a few weeks, we have not lot him out yet, but are planning on doing so this weekend. He spends a lot of time looking out of the windows and I am partly putting his behaviour down to the fact that he wants out – I think he is just going stir crazy. He is on his own in the house all day and must be so bored. While I have been writing this, he has been playing with the shirt my girlfriend has tried to iron. We told him “noâ€, then tried to get his claws off so that we could move the shirt. He tried to bite me, then actually jumped forward and attacked my arm.

My girlfriend is really upset and hacked off with him, and has mentioned taking him back to the rescue home a few times. We both really don’t want to do this, but are not sure that we can cope with him.

Reading through the forums here it seems that we are disciplining him in the wrong way, and we might have got off on the wrong foot with him. If I am disciplining him incorrectly, how should I be doing it? And how do I repair any damage that I may have done? Basically, my main question is… WHY DOES MY CAT HATE ME?
post #2 of 25
Well, I am sure others can give much better advice on dealing with his behavior but I can tell you this much: He doesn't hate you!

I promise he doesn't hate you. It sounds like he's made himself partly at home already and thats a good sign. I've been working with a stray named Honey for a while....she was sweet when she was outside but when I brought her in (against her will) she has gone into hiding. She hisses when I get near and refuses to move from her hiding spot. I've been trying to work with her for months now and made very little progress.

She doesn't hate me but I know she is not fond of me. Sounds like your cat likes you!
post #3 of 25
Your kitty doesn't hate you. First of all the reason he is attacking you is because he is a kitten.

Also, some cats don't like to be picked up. We can only pet our cat Tubee when he wants us to.

Give the kitty sometime to calm down. Don't try to pick he up, but when you walk past he just pet her once and walk away.

As for discipline I can't give you much advice, but someone else will.

Manda

Edit: How old is he? Most of the things you describe sound like kitten playfulness, try playing for 15 minute sessions every couple hours.
post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hi,

He's 11 months old. What is frustrating is that we have seen the affectionate behaviour that we adopted him for.

I feel like I have to re-iterate how affectionate he is when we are in bed as well - he can't get enough attention! We really do hope he's gonna change when we let him outside.
post #5 of 25
If he's that young then he probably just needs more things to do during the day. He's an only cat right? So far he's probably been used to being around cats and now that he's alone during the day he's lonely.

You may want to try to get some environment enrichment toys for him, make sure he has a scratching post and a covered kitty bed he can call his own. My vet recommended switching out his toys and putting them away after play sessions. If you leave toys out they get boring pretty quickly.

Try this: Play with him for 10-15 minutes in the morning and have two play times after you get home. You can try teaching him tricks using treats...things like this will keep his brain occupied and wear down that kitten energy he is still toting around.

As for enrichment toys try these:
http://pawbreakers.com
http://www.esmartcat.com/shopping/Peek_and_Play.htm
http://worldwise.stores.yahoo.net/petproducts1.html


And for play time try some of these tips:
http://cats.about.com/cs/catmanageme...y_with_cat.htm

He's going to be frisky for a while...and you may want to consider getting a second 1 year old cat so they have company. It can REALLY make life more peaceful at home for you too.

Ultimately, that cat you met is STILL there he's just got a lot more energy than he showed at the shelter (more than likely because he was tired). You just have to make sure he doesn't go crazy with needing mental stimulation.

On a sidenote, don't let him outside, it can shorten his lifespan by 3-5 years. I would never let my dog run leashless and it's not a good idea to let a cat do it either....

Good luck!
post #6 of 25
I agree with the above. I think the only problem here is that this kitten needs to be directed toward appropriate play, and enough of it. All good advice above. I'll add one more thing - his biting needs to be discouraged, but not by punishment. Just let him know that it hurts. Kittens normally play-fight with each other and that includes biting. But we humans don't have a layer of fur to protect us from sharp teeth. So he needs to know that biting hurts you. When he bites, react appropriately: react how you normally react when something hurts you. Shout, scream, jump up, whatever. And then immediately discontinue interacting with him. Put him down, get up and walk away. He'll get the message.
post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by coaster View Post
When he bites, react appropriately: react how you normally react when something hurts you. Shout, scream, jump up, whatever. And then immediately discontinue interacting with him. Put him down, get up and walk away. He'll get the message.
OH I second this advice! ^^^^ It'll be a great way to discourage him. Cats don't know the meaning of the word 'no'. >_> I don't think 'no' is in the catly dictionary....

PS: thanks coaster!

EDIT: OH and a few more things:

The most important thing about being a cat owner is trying to understand how cats think. It's easy to apply a human mentality to a lot of the things he does. He's not attacking the shirt out of menace or in an attempt to annoy you but he sees the sleeve waving and wants to play. He doesn't understand that it's not an appropriate toy.

Don't give up yet! Give the guy a chance. Just remember he is a cat, and a cat be be a little like a young child. FULL of crazy energy.
post #8 of 25
He sounds like he's still settling in, which after 2 weeks isn't surprising. The best advice i've had for discipline is a water spray - i know some don't like this method but cats we've had have responded well and slowly but surely learned what's right and what's wrong. Never much upset but a clear message. I wouldn't use physical punishment as it reinforces his physical presence to you ie biting

All the best. I'm sure it will all work out
post #9 of 25
Not knowing his background its hard to say. But swatting him may trigger the response cause it "hurt" him in the past. And since he's not familiar with things and is not attached to you, the LAST thing you want to do is to open the door for him.

There's a good chance of him NOT returning if unsupervised as he has not bonded with you. So if you really want him, keep him inside whether he likes it or not!

2 1/2 weeks is not long enough to bond/evaluate. Try just telling him NO in a stern voice when he tries to bite, or start getting some interactive toys (laser light, string toys) and see if that's better.

Also do you have a good tall treehouse for him to sit/play on and watch things outside?
post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by dauntingfire View Post
The most important thing about being a cat owner is trying to understand how cats think.
And I second THIS advice.
There's some great books out there about cat behavior. You might want to start with "Think Like a Cat" by Pam Johnson-Bennett. Nice segue, Meg.
post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

Thanks for your help so far. As always, Rupert came and sat on us when we went to bed, for what seemed like hours - he certainly came and went as the night went on and sounded so happy (purring) and loved the attention he was getting. He came to wake us when it was breakfast time! I feel that this is important as we have some sort of a bond but I can't get him to be so nice when we aren't in bed!

I made an effort to play with him this morning after breakfast - his new favourite toy is a dressing gown belt - and he seemed a bit happier when we went to him. I'll do the same when we get home.

I'm going to try and discourage him from biting by making it clear he is causing pain, not by punishing. When he jumps on the kitchen worktop, I'll pick him up and put him down, and tell him no, instead of swatting for him.

Finally, letting him out - I will still be letting him out, as I feel quite strongly that cat's are independent outdoor animals, as stated on another post above. Maybe the culture and environments are different in the US to the UK. Either way, I'm going to keep him in another week to try and get a stronger bond going with him, and am considering getting a leash. Isn't there a possibility that cats will just find this humiliating though?

The other thing that I forgot to mention is that Rupert did escape last saturday night, and after a little bit of gentle chasing, I managed to catch him - he was so interested in the flower beds and other cats (there must be at least six in our street) that I grabbed him after five minutes. He allowed me to carry him in no problem.

Again, thanks for all your advice, and any further advice is much appreciated! I am pleasantly surprised already by the prompt answers - this is not a cliquey forum like so many are!
post #12 of 25
Well you don't want to be chasing him around outside So practice him coming to you when you call him - offer a treat everytime. That way when he's outside, he will associate you calling him and getting rewarded

Didn't realize you were not an USAer But I'd still get him to bond more before allowing him out - unless you supervise him for awhile outside. IMO the safest place outside is either on a harness or in a cat enclosure if you must let him out.
post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuaerto View Post
He does walk about on the kitchen worktops sometimes, we shout when he does this, and give him a gentle clip round the ear. I also do the same when he attacks my arm as above (he has done this a few times).
I'm pleased your going to be more patient with him because shouting and clipping him around the ear no matter how gentle it is is one sure way of getting him to hate you and mistrust you

He sounds like he doesn't like to be picked up either so just leave him be unless you want his teeth and claws in you again
post #14 of 25
My cat hates being picked up and he is not to friendly with me ( he luvs my hubbie though) he does not let me pick him up and alot of times when I pet him, he rolls over his tummy and attacks my hands LoL, but it's just his way.
I think he sees me as his playmate ( he has been an only cat for the last 3 years, always inside a small apartment, so he does not have much to entertain him), so when he sees me, he goes into play/attack mode LoL
Now, my Hubbie is his mum, lol, everytime Joe sees my hubbie, he starts purring and rubs on him and climbs all over him! Not me lol

At night, he jumps on the bed and sleep in between us and he is all cuddly with me. Sounds like your cat is like mine! So don't worry! He might see you as his playmate! If so, be ready to get *attacked* by your cat everytime he sees you lol. At beginning, he would cut and bite me so hard, it would bleed. He did not mean to, he just did not know that it hurt, so like people here said, instead of yelling at him or punishing him, I would say OUCH and OW and just groan in pain and my cat learned that he was hurting me, so now, he still plays with me and attacks me, but instead of biting, he just gives me love bites and he still digs his claws on me, but he won't pull them ( thats what really cuts) so he doesn't hurt me.

I think if you show your cat that he is hurting you, instead of punishing him, he will learn that he is hurting you and he won't do it, because, trust me, the last thing the kitties want to do is hurt us! they just don't know they are doing it, so they need to learn the limits of our sensitive skins, lol, they think we have thick fur like they do to protect us
post #15 of 25
stuaerto, I am just so glad we could give you some advice! <3 It may take a little time but you'll get used to him and he'll get used to you. You're doing great and it's wonderful that you're asking questions like this. Thats the sign of a great pet owner!

I didn't realize you were a UKer (doh!) I do know a ton of people in the UK who let their cats out. Ultimately you need to do what you feel is best for your cat. My parents live in the country so their cats are outside most of the day then come in at night.

When I get my kitten I want to train him on a leash so we can go outside together. It's hard to harness train them when they get older but given several months of gentled coaxing it may become easy for them.

(Rupert is a great name btw!)

Edit: Just wanted to add that I was pleasantly surprised by this forum as well. Everyone here is SO kind and helpful! Stick with us and share pictures of your kitty, I know everyone will love seeing him.
post #16 of 25
Can we see a piccie?

You shouldn't let him out for at least another week I think until he's bonded better (will come when you call etc). I'm assuming that he's already neutered as you adopted him. You could consider a harness and leash, but be careful about taking him to busy areas as he may get nervy and dash out under traffic or you could drop the leash. I would have thought a leash in a backgarden or park is fine. Don't ever leave him alone on a leash, I have heard horrible tales about strangulation . If you let him out do it when he's hungry and under supervision, for short periods at a time at first and always bring him in overnight. I think you read my other post? You learn loads on here about different views and what cat life is like round the world

It sounds like Rupert is going to be loads of fun . Highly spirited cats usually enjoy interaction, so I think he's going to love all the toys and games you can think of, maybe some training if you have time? This will help in bonding as well. Do you have a cat tree or activity centre like shelving? This will help, as its more like the stimulation that letting cats outside get. Also you can get (or make out of an egg box) a feeder toy that the cat has to find the dry food in which will keep him busy! Especially if you are not at home during the day. Cat playtime (like us) releases endorphins which make them happy cats

LOL Thats so true Joe !! I'm sure they do think we have protective fur too!! As Joe says IMHO biting/scratching is usually solved in kittens by diverting them with extra play, as kittens are very energetic and are learning catty skills for when they grow up and they need an outlet for all that energy!! Swatting at him makes it a game and he thinks you want him to retaliate, or might make him fearful of you. Let him know he's hurting you and he should stop (persevere as he's just been rescued it may take a bit longer). With our first two rescue cats they were nervous and would not interact at all, no affection for weeks - they did hate us different cats need different ways to settle in but with a little help all usually turn out to be great furry friends!!
post #17 of 25
Thread Starter 
thanks for advice all...

Don't have any pictures yet, (am at work) but my girlfriend has pointed out he looks a lot like the second picture down here - it would also explain a lot!
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuaerto View Post
thanks for advice all...

Don't have any pictures yet, (am at work) but my girlfriend has pointed out he looks a lot like the second picture down here - it would also explain a lot!
ROFL, you have the Beast of Bodmin Exmoor in your home, no WONDER he's crazy!

Well post pics when you can. We'd love to see him.....even if he does eat sheep!
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuaerto View Post
Hi,
We recently adopted a cat from a local pet rescue centre – we have had him for 2 ½ weeks. We chose to adopt him in particular because he was so friendly, and were so surprised when we got him home – instead of hiding behind the TV, he was looking around and wanting attention.
This can tend to happen. Your home is a totally different environment to his previous home, to the rescue. His little world has been turned upside down and as with all animals they all have different personality's. Some take days to adjust, some months.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stuaerto View Post
Unfortunately, he changed – almost immediately. 2 days after he came home, when I picked him up he wrapped himself around my arm and sank his teeth in. I have learnt to read him a bit better now, but he won’t be picked up – when he first met him he was fine with this. Now he won’t sit with us at all, in fact the only time he will come to us is when we are in bed – he comes to us straight away, then again in the night 2 or 3 times, and finally wakes us in the morning.
Ouch!! I have had this happen to me. The cat wasn't mine, It was a friends and I was holding him, and some idiot let the husky in the house, the cat went ballistic and wrapped it self around my arm, bit my wrist, hit bone, but a big cut on the top side of my hand and broke a claw off in my arm! I got a lovely bout of cat scratch fever and earned my self an IV of antibiotics and a arm brace for the week!

Also some cats just don't like being held. The tummy is a very sensitive part of the cat and can over stimulate them really easy. (Hense why they try and eat your hand when you rub their belly, or in my boys case their little "ding dong" comes out!!!!!!) *blink*

Quote:
Originally Posted by stuaerto View Post
He does walk about on the kitchen worktops sometimes, we shout when he does this, and give him a gentle clip round the ear. I also do the same when he attacks my arm as above (he has done this a few times). He also has his ‘episodes’ as others have described when he charges around causing havoc.
This is a pet hate of mine, but a clip is not good, no matter what breed of animal you are. Of course you get frustrated and just want to get through to them. Cats in the kitchen drive me NUTS. I hate it when people let them on the kitchen sides. Alas I've lerned that cats really do not understand the word NO and just look at you as if you have just lost your mind!!
It was recommended to me by my friend who have a number of cats to get what they call "The hand of God" (Mostly cause the cats have no clue where it comes from!!) A spray bottle. Now most 99% of the time water don't even come out the first squirt, just the sound of the air going through the tube is enough to distract them and make them get down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stuaerto View Post
As we have only had him a few weeks, we have not lot him out yet, but are planning on doing so this weekend. He spends a lot of time looking out of the windows and I am partly putting his behaviour down to the fact that he wants out – I think he is just going stir crazy. He is on his own in the house all day and must be so bored. While I have been writing this, he has been playing with the shirt my girlfriend has tried to iron. We told him “no”, then tried to get his claws off so that we could move the shirt. He tried to bite me, then actually jumped forward and attacked my arm.

My girlfriend is really upset and hacked off with him, and has mentioned taking him back to the rescue home a few times. We both really don’t want to do this, but are not sure that we can cope with him.

Reading through the forums here it seems that we are disciplining him in the wrong way, and we might have got off on the wrong foot with him. If I am disciplining him incorrectly, how should I be doing it? And how do I repair any damage that I may have done? Basically, my main question is… WHY DOES MY CAT HATE ME?
I used to work and train Dogs. One of the biggest mistake people made with them was seeing the animals actions as human. They are not. Your cat does not hate you, So please do not think that. It is reacting to your body language and actions to them. The same way dogs do.

You mentioned you do not know anything about it's past. As someone else mentioned on here, a hand coming towards it and a shout could mean in his head that he's going to get abused and hurt. I'd be scared to if a big hand came towards me if I was that small. He can't shout back, he just has claws (ouch!)

Maybe rather then doing this you could get a spray, or another trick I found works (Again cause they do not know where it comes from!) is filling a bottle with buttons, or beads and say when they get up on the side, shake it hard, it makes them jump enough to get down and thing WTH?! They then associate getting up on the side with a bad noise.
You can also get these sprays that are "Supposed" to keep cats away from certain areas. I am very skeptical about those though.

Have you ever tried to clicker train him? I have quite a lot of success with my boys. I am using it to keep them from begging when we eat and it's starting to work. (I have already trained them to sit for treats, so when they jump on the dinner table, I put them down on the floor, request them to sit and when they do, click and they get a treat)

Good luck with kitty and please don't take him back!!

PS: I wanted to add, My boys walk/climb trees on their harness, its a lot of safe fun for owners and cats hehe.
post #20 of 25
A harness with a collar around his neck alone is dangerous for a cat and I wish they wouldn't sell them, but one with that one plus another (attached along the back and with a little leash hook) that goes around in back of his front legs is the 'right' one for walkies. And I don't think the cat thinks about humiliation at all - lots of us use them here (I've done it for a LOT of cats over a LOT of years) and once they get used to them (a couple of days of 10-30 min. wearings indoors sans leash helps) they'll be fine - just expect that he'll walk you, stand around a lot sniffing things, and maybe only eventually 'walk' consistently!
post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larke View Post
A harness with a collar around his neck alone is dangerous for a cat and I wish they wouldn't sell them, but one with that one plus another (attached along the back and with a little leash hook) that goes around in back of his front legs is the 'right' one for walkies. And I don't think the cat thinks about humiliation at all - lots of us use them here (I've done it for a LOT of cats over a LOT of years) and once they get used to them (a couple of days of 10-30 min. wearings indoors sans leash helps) they'll be fine - just expect that he'll walk you, stand around a lot sniffing things, and maybe only eventually 'walk' consistently!
Re harness' I agree. Plus the H harness is very hard to slip, so if something makes them jump outside (Bound to happen the first few times outside) when they flip out, they are not going to escape...

My boys will walk out side,(Or walk me) but as soon as their paws touch the smoothness of the corridors leading to the flat, they flop down and play dead lol.

I dunno if it's cause of the feel of it on their paws, or if they are just pooped from their chasing ants and tree climbing, but it ends up with Mum carrying them up 4 flights of stairs!!
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Okuda
Mostly cause the cats have no clue where it comes from!!) A spray bottle
Only the very first time you use it, IF they don't see you use it. After that, they know very well where it comes from and will run as soon as they see you pick it up.
post #23 of 25
bwahaha! Guess I better get my stealth costume out and hide behind the sofa
post #24 of 25
His affectionate nature is because he wanted to be rescued out of the cage. This is common with cage-bound animals. Once he got into your home and got overwhelmed by all the smells and sounds his guard came up and he feels he has to protect himself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stuaerto View Post
Hi All,

Thanks for your help so far. As always, Rupert came and sat on us when we went to bed, for what seemed like hours - he certainly came and went as the night went on and sounded so happy (purring) and loved the attention he was getting. He came to wake us when it was breakfast time! I feel that this is important as we have some sort of a bond but I can't get him to be so nice when we aren't in bed!

I made an effort to play with him this morning after breakfast - his new favourite toy is a dressing gown belt - and he seemed a bit happier when we went to him. I'll do the same when we get home.

I'm going to try and discourage him from biting by making it clear he is causing pain, not by punishing. When he jumps on the kitchen worktop, I'll pick him up and put him down, and tell him no, instead of swatting for him.

Instead of picking him up which he clearly hates, keep a jar of felt mice on the counter and when he is up there, open the jar, pull out a mouse and toss it on the floor where he can see it. Throw it at an angle because they can't see directly in front of them. When he jumps down, give him one meaty treat and tell him he is good.

Try hissing instead, instead of pulling away from the bite, lean your hand into it, this will startle the cat to drop you from his teeth. I am glad you aren't swatting him anymore, that just causes more problems.

Finally, letting him out - I will still be letting him out, as I feel quite strongly that cat's are independent outdoor animals, as stated on another post above. Maybe the culture and environments are different in the US to the UK. Either way, I'm going to keep him in another week to try and get a stronger bond going with him, and am considering getting a leash. Isn't there a possibility that cats will just find this humiliating though?

Don't think for one minute that this cat is capable of human emotion, they react, they don't think about what they do, reason it out or feel humilitated. Do not let him out without him being neutered first.

The other thing that I forgot to mention is that Rupert did escape last saturday night, and after a little bit of gentle chasing, I managed to catch him - he was so interested in the flower beds and other cats (there must be at least six in our street) that I grabbed him after five minutes. He allowed me to carry him in no problem.

You were lucky, he could have been gone in an instant. Look into cat-proof fencing if you want to let him outside, it is much safer.

Again, thanks for all your advice, and any further advice is much appreciated! I am pleasantly surprised already by the prompt answers - this is not a cliquey forum like so many are!
post #25 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

Things seem a touch better already - he seems a bit more cheerful and a bit less wary. Its obvious we weren't getting it quite right and I hope we haven't made any long-term changes to him.

Thanks for all your help.
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