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Possible past abuse

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I've noticed within the last couple of months that if Lexi is on the floor wanting food, or just roaming, and comes to one of us, that she will duck or cringe really low when we try to pet her. She does this each time as if someone is about to hit her. We found her as a stray and this makes me think that someone hit her in the past. We have never hit or abused her for any reason. Anyone else have any ideas?
post #2 of 15
It is possible, but not neccesarily the case, Vash is like that, and we've had him since he was weaned.
Some cats are overly cautious.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arlyn View Post
It is possible, but not neccesarily the case, Vash is like that, and we've had him since he was weaned.
Some cats are overly cautious.
I hadn't thought about that. I don't know if someone owned her and didn't take care of her or just dumped her, but either way, they did not care. It would break my heart if that were the case. There is no way I can know for sure.
post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arlyn View Post
It is possible, but not neccesarily the case, Vash is like that, and we've had him since he was weaned.
Some cats are overly cautious.
My Spooky Bear is the exact same way and I've had him since he was around 4 weeks old. We found him in the barn when it was very cold outside, no momma cat around. We raised him and kept him. Up until he was about 6-8 months old, he loved attention and petting. He was so affectionate, and loved to snuggle. Then one day he decided he couldn't be bothered with us anymore. He cringes every time we reach to pet him. He has NEVER been hit, or mistreated in any way. It's just his personality.
post #5 of 15
Fafeena was literally born on our place. She's 14 years old now. She's never been hit, kicked, or abused. When you reach to pet her, she ducks. It's a natural reaction for quite a few kitties, I think.
post #6 of 15
My little Biscotte, who turned up on my place at 5 months old, was like that - she ran from a hand or cringed if you tried to touch her. It took several months before she would allow herself to be touched by a human. Now she asks for loving and will curl up on me. I have always thought that she must have come from a bad place.
post #7 of 15
Look at it from the cat's point of view - some 'thing' swooping down from above might be a predator - large hawks and owls eat cats and even indoor cats will have an instict to duck away. Good insticts = survival.

I usually hold my hand out and let the cat come to me. Even my own cats appreciate being able to see for themselves that it's a hand and not something that eats cats.
post #8 of 15
Mika is like that also and we know for a fact she's never been abused. I think some cats are just like that. Bijou on the other hand is so laid-back and relaxed - he trusts completely.
post #9 of 15
We adopted our cat Snowball when he was 1 years old. He had the hardest time trusting any males. Whenever my husband would try to pet him, he would duck & would look terrified. We believe he had an abusive male around him before we adopted him.

Now, Snowball trusts both of us equally. Hes our big fluffy muffin!
post #10 of 15
Cats crouch or walk low to the ground when they're nervous, or in an unfamiliar environment, or sometimes during a thunderstorm or earthquake. That body language isn't them trying to avoid a blow.

You probably have a nervous/cautious cat. She may not like petting very much (some cats don't), or just being approached suddenly from above.

If she's new, she may just not be used to you or the home yet. Feeling comfortable in a new home can take many months.
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by emmylou View Post
Cats crouch or walk low to the ground when they're nervous, or in an unfamiliar environment, or sometimes during a thunderstorm or earthquake. That body language isn't them trying to avoid a blow.

You probably have a nervous/cautious cat. She may not like petting very much (some cats don't), or just being approached suddenly from above.

If she's new, she may just not be used to you or the home yet. Feeling comfortable in a new home can take many months.
She has been in our home a year and a half now. The reason I never noticed it earlier is because up until a few months ago she was not brave enough to venture outside my room for long periods of time.
Now that she is more comfortable and roaming in the kitchen more often, when we try to pet her from above, if she is standing on the ground, that is the only time we get that reaction. Otherwise she is very loving, loves to be petted, and is a cuddle bug.
post #12 of 15
Tiny's like that. Dunno whether he was ever abused; he was a stray. But I solve the problem very neatly by just reaching out my hand to him and letting him sniff before I pet--that way he knows it's just me. (He does still duck out sometimes, but that means he's just not in a snuggly mood.)
post #13 of 15
Spencer's like that, but he's been abused (we rescued him from the local Wal-Mart parking lot), so in his case it's understandable. But he has gotten a lot better since he's realized he can trust us..

Gabriel's like that, too, but I have no idea if he was ever abused before I got him. I adopted him from the animal shelter, when he was a kitten, I think he was abused before I got him, but there's no way to know for sure..

Some cats are just more cautious than others though, too...

~KK~
post #14 of 15
If they are nervous coming in from above, move your hand in from below and go for their chest. This is less threatening.

It's true that some cats, regardless of their previous experience, grow more cautious. With age, they sometimes figure out there are, actually, things to be cautious about.

On the other hand, there's RJ, who had been starved, picked up by the police and held as evidence, and bounced through three shelters before we got him. And he's the sweetest little fellow you could ever ask to meet.
post #15 of 15
If your cat has only recently started venturing into the rest of the house, that could explain it. The bedroom is still the cat's safe place, and she's on alert and a little nervous when she's in the other areas.

In a somewhat similar way, my cat often retreats to the bedroom when I'm not home.
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