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He Hates Men

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I'm seeing a lot of non-specific topic titles, so searching was almost impossible I apologize if this has been brought up before, but I didn't see anything similar on the first page of topics.

My male cat, who I've had for about a year, hates men. My husband and I have been together for four years, so clearly we were together when we got the kitten. He was about nine weeks old when we first got him.

At the time, we had room mates, and though I know that their treatment of the dog was abhorrent, I don't ever recall them being abusive towards the cats in the least. Neither have I nor my husband done anything that we feel should intimidate our bubby.

When he is disciplined, it is only aural (a loud noise of some sort to distract him) and he's never been struck, pinched, or pulled in any way whatsoever, including being picked up by the scruff of his neck.

Things are beginning to get better -- he doesn't hide now when my DH is home from work. However, he will hide whenever he hears a male voice nearby, and he doesn't dare venture outside for fear of seeing a man (I take him out on a leash to prevent him from running into the road).

I've been around cats my entire life and have *never* seen anything like this. Does anybody have experience with something like this, or advice? Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 20
Hi there

I don't know if this is much help but my mum's male cat who is very friendly and affectionate gets terrified if there are ever strange men in the house and I think it's because my aunt's husband was doing work there a couple of years ago by himself and must have kicked him or something. He hates cats and lets his feelings known. I was and still am disgusted at him. The poor cat hisses if he ever comes near the house and this is one cat who is not known to hiss at all normally.

That is why I'd be very suspicious of your ex room-mates especially if they demonstrated cruelty to other animals. I can't give you much advice on how to change this situation as cats don't forget things like this. At least he now trusts your partner!
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
I wouldn't say that he "trusts" him, but he'll come out of hiding when he's around, so it's a definite improvement. DH is very loving and friendly with him, and still nothing doing. It's quite disappointing that Whisper (the kitty) will only come around him when he's asleep *sigh*.

I do have to wonder if our room mates didn't do something cruel to him though. The dog was something to be played with and put away when they were done with him (if we were out and couldn't keep an eye out for this kind of behavior) and I know that the male roommate used to smack the dog.

I'm not sure whether or not he was ever cruel to any of the cats (they had two and we had one) but it's definitely something I worry about now.

I'm just hoping that we can "rehabilitate" him so that he doesn't wind up becoming feral inside the house.

For the record, my concern here is the emotional and mental health of the cat, not my husband's feelings. Whisper's health has top priority here.
post #4 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghosthunterbeck View Post
For the record, my concern here is the emotional and mental health of the cat, not my husband's feelings. Whisper's health has top priority here.
I wouldn't have called that into question at all. Nobody likes to see their kitty upset or afraid. Sorry again I can't give you more advice.
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
I didn't think you were... I just feel that it's important when talking about pet behavior to get that out there. There are some people who want to change their pets' behavior for selfish reasons. If Whisper never got along with DH, it would be fine with me if he was *healthy* but his reactions are self-defeating.
post #6 of 20
A couple of ideas. You can look into Feliway diffusers as they help with anxiety.

Also, have your husband feed the cat and offer him treats. He can sit quietly near the cat and allow the cat to come as close to him as possible. Always be calm and slow with Whisper.

As for strangers, I'm not any help here because I have one cat Much who hides anytime any strangers are in the house. I have accepted that is her way of dealing with it.
post #7 of 20
Even if Whisper was not maltreated, just the fact that he heard or seen a person (in this case a man) be cruel to another animal has its effect.
My neighbor used to be quite mean when he scolded his dogs (thankfully he has no more pets) and my cats heard him everytime. Because they go outside, I have noticed they avoid his property and are more wary of men than women.
To help Whisper, I suggest that discipline be done only by you. Your husband should be identified with nice things only like feedings, treats, playtime, petting, etc. In no time Whisper will be DH's best buddy.
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much!

Whisper is actually one of the best-behaved cats I've ever owned. His only issue is hiding inside the box springs of our bed. He doesn't spray around the house (he hasn't been neutered yet -- we want to wipe out his 1 yr vaxs and neutering at the same time to save some $). Discipline is extremely rare for him any more. He works hard to be what we want him to be.

One thing I've already done is to move the food bowl into the living room. We had been keeping it in the office (where I am now and where I spend a lot of my time) but moving it into the living room forces him to come around my husband if he wants to eat during the day. For awhile he didn't eat at all because he was afraid to come downstairs, but that has improved and he's getting his weight back up (we moved, the anxiety didn't help with the eating problem).

He is very cautious about the food, as though he thinks that he's not supposed to have it, and he looks to my husband as though for permission before eating. It would be cute if it wasn't so sad!

We'll have to try the treats. We haven't found anything yet that he particularly likes, but I think that if we went with bits of chicken or something like that, it might just work! Thanks!
post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghosthunterbeck View Post
but I think that if we went with bits of chicken or something like that, it might just work! Thanks!
Kentucky Fried Chicken is supposed to be irresistible to cats.
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
LOL! Go figure, I hate it! But I do remember him eating fried chicken before... That might just work the next time my husband gets some. Or it might give him a reason to get some KFC... Herm... Good idea!

Again, I really appreciate it. I'm going to try the "treats" solution and see if it helps us some. They're civil with one another, and I'm not *quite* expecting "friendly" but I'd like to make some more progress here.

This is a great place!
post #11 of 20
It might not be important how he got that way. What's important is changing his perceptions.

Does your husband have a beard? Many cats have bad reactions to beards, especially partial beards, such as goatees.

http://scienceblogs.com/grrlscientis...bearded_me.php

You were doing the right thing with the food. Whisper needs to have good things happen around your husband and he will associate him with good things. What are some of Whisper's favorite things, and can your husband do those with him?

Cats are very slow to let go of traumatic experiences, just as we are. Cat's brains are actually very similar to ours, especially the way memories and emotional impressions connect up in the various areas of the brain.

For instance, my Norwegian Forest Cat mix, James Bond, was always friendly with my husband, but his extremely cautious nature made him slow to warm up to him and become a buddy. My husband fed them, planted kitty grass, and was happy to play with their toys, but Mr. Bond was still slow to warm up.

What tipped the scales was when my husband badly sprained his foot and was stuck in his chair most of the time. Every morning, before I left for work, I would tell Mr. Bond that DH was sick and he should be nice to him.

By the end of a month, when DH's foot was mostly healed, Mr. Bond had become a buddy.

Try this same tactic. Ask your husband to get down on the floor, to have the least threatening profile. You can come over to him and get down on the floor with him, and see if Whisper is interested. Eventually he will come over, because curiosity is so strong, and then the two of you can pet him and fuss over him.

Is there a couch where you can sit down with Whisper, and have your husband sit at the other end, so Whisper can watch him from the safety of your arms? If you watch TV, this can be a good way for all three of you to have a nice time together.

Keep at it, try to have your husband act vulnerable, and this will make him less threatening to Whisper.
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Werebear View Post
It might not be important how he got that way. What's important is changing his perceptions.

Does your husband have a beard? Many cats have bad reactions to beards, especially partial beards, such as goatees.

http://scienceblogs.com/grrlscientis...bearded_me.php
Well, gee, don't I feel stupid now? It NEVER occurred to me to think that it could be something as simple as my DH's beard! And that it didn't occur to me is even more bizarre because I've had a dog who hated bald men, so I suppose that something like this only makes sense!

The fact is that I was afraid to have him *change* anything for fear that the cat would react negatively to the change. I will have him shave his *goatee* tonight or tomorrow and see if we don't have any luck with that. Thanks!

Quote:

You were doing the right thing with the food. Whisper needs to have good things happen around your husband and he will associate him with good things. What are some of Whisper's favorite things, and can your husband do those with him?
In as much as I can tell, Whisper's favorite thing to do is to take care of "his" girls. That would be me and Reagan. He is, at this point, almost always with one of us, following us around, washing Reagan, or comforting me when I'm having any kind of pains.

I'm not sure if it's because we're female or because we're the ones he sees as family.

On the other hand, he does seem to enjoy some catnip. I might have to suggest getting a cat teaser and infusing it with catnip to see if he can't get Whisper's attention that way, or possible get him a bit "high" before trying to interact with him.

<snip>

Quote:
Try this same tactic. Ask your husband to get down on the floor, to have the least threatening profile. You can come over to him and get down on the floor with him, and see if Whisper is interested. Eventually he will come over, because curiosity is so strong, and then the two of you can pet him and fuss over him.

Is there a couch where you can sit down with Whisper, and have your husband sit at the other end, so Whisper can watch him from the safety of your arms? If you watch TV, this can be a good way for all three of you to have a nice time together.

Keep at it, try to have your husband act vulnerable, and this will make him less threatening to Whisper.
Whisper isn't much of a lap cat, so I can see there being something of a problem here. However, he will get into bed with *both* of us if he knows that my husband is asleep (and therefore not a threat) so I think that a modified version of this concept could work well for us. I usually get scratched if I try to hold him too close to either the dog or my husband, and he gets alone fine with the dog!
post #13 of 20
hm, well it took my wife;s cat several months before he stopped hiding from me,
and now he will get in my lap and stuff. it took time.

There is also the chance that he is like my female cat heyu.. She wont allow anyone to touch her but me. if someone does she side steps it, or runs away. some cats are just one person animals.
post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
Does a cat being a "one person cat" tend to relate at all to the cat's breed? Whisper is at least half ragdoll, we don't know anything more than that, but mother was a ragdoll, and they are known for their friendliness, so I'm not sure that makes complete sense to me in terms of breed (though there are always exceptions).

If you're right, however, then I don't need to worry about him being an indoor feral, which has happened to us before -- one of our cats turned on everybody but me, and would literally attack anybody else who came near her
post #15 of 20
heyu is just your normal american DSH cat. she not mean to people or anything just ignores them unless they want to touch her. Then she moves out of reach. she has gotten alot better in 2 years about not hiding from some people. New people she still hides.

as for the breed question, i really dont know anything.
post #16 of 20
Quote:
I will have him shave his *goatee* tonight or tomorrow and see if we don't have any luck with that. Thanks!
Gee, that's quite accommodating of him! Bless you all!
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
I want my family happy, and if Mama ain't happy ain't *nobody* happy

Seriously though, Whisper is my little guy, my best friend, my feline soul mate. I want him to be happy!
post #18 of 20
For instance, Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats tend that way, though Ragdolls, not so much.

But any cat can be an Only Cat. It's more personality and their ability to make friends easily which combine to make them that way.

James Bond, my Wegie mix, took four years to decide Dear Husband was cuddle-worthy. He was always friendly, but now he's almost as fond of DH as he is of me.
post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
I think that things are getting better for Whisper. He's curling up with DH at night now in bed, which is a step in the right direction. I've determined that I believe he really does love my DH, but isn't quite ready to trust.

He's only a year old, and has *time* to make further progress. He's also not completely set in his ways. Hubby's making an effort, and I really do believe that the kitty is too.

He just is now *clinging* to me all the time again. I'm not sure why, he plays fine with Reagan and even sometimes with the dog. He just doesn't like his momma to be out of his sight.

But cats have a sense about their humans, and his human is due to give birth in six weeks
post #20 of 20
Shadow is like that too, she doesnt like men too much,only man she really liked enough to wonder why he didnt stay was my Pastor
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