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Will she act like this forever?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
This is a female cat, about 2 years old. She is spayed. We have had her for about a year and a half now.

We knew someone that had kittens, and we ended up giving one to my great aunt. After about 6 months, she couldnt care for her anymore, so we took her in. We had a 85 pound golden just until earlier in the week when he died. They never fought, just avoided each other. She would sometimes hide behind a chair and swat at his tail when he walked by. So, definitely wasn't afraid of him. They never fought even once either.

The problem is it is like she is scared of me. And my mom. If you walk towards her, she will run away. Will never come to you if you call her. On the other hand, if she sees I am asleep, she will sleep on my stomach or legs, almost every night. If I wake up and start to pet her, she will let me pet her only for a certain amount of time before she runs away. She will also jump up near my desk if I am on the computer or doing work and lay down about an arms length from me. If I don't touch her, she will stay forever, if I decide to pet her, she will eventually take off.

I don't understand why she is like this. Same way with my mom as well. She was never abused by anyone. The only thing that might of been borderline abuse is when she was spayed and I had to forcefully give her medicine, she didn't like that at all. I mean I have seen friends cats where after 10 minutes they are already my best friend.

Any ideas from the cat behavior specialists out there? Will this cat stay this way forever? Its almost like her deep instincts are of a very wild animal, and not a cat.

post #2 of 9
I've had Seamus nearly two years now, and it took a lot of time and a ton of patience on my part not to force the petting/hand near him issue. In the beginning, he literally wanted nothing to do with me. He would jump on the bed when I was going to bed and check me out, then do his own thing. Then it progressed to him sitting in the next room when I was in the living room. If I tried to go near him, he bolted. Then, I started sitting on the floor with him and letting him come to me. I'd get a little scratch on the head in here and there. One day, he realized it felt kinda nice and sat at my legs wanting scratches. Then I started making him come to me, sitting on the couch and calling "upee". We're at at least a year now and I was only there. At first, I'd just lay the brush near me and let him 'pet' himself with the brush and slowly, and only for a few seconds would I go in with my hand, never to the point that he would run, always left him wanting more. And then he was the one who started wanting more... now, at two years, he comes and cuddles and wants nothing but affection.

Give it time, which is tough given it's been a couple years, but don't push her to her breaking point, it'll get her to want more. Show her it's ok by petting for a few seconds and then stopping before she gets overstimulated and runs. It took me a while to learn that lesson to work at his pace, but now, there are times, especially at night when he lays on top of me, where I could stand to have him go away for a little while
post #3 of 9
Perhaps the "transfer of guardianship" was an issue for her? There's just no real way to know.

With cats, the issue is building trust. I know you've done nothing that would cause her to distrust you. She's obviously more sensitive, and so the focus needs to be on building her trust. This is SUCH an individual thing with cats and they are all completely on their own schedule!

For now, try not to think of your kitty as a pet you want to love. Think of her as a homeless animal for which you are providing. You make sure she has water, food, a clean place to go to the bathroom, medical care if necessary - and leave it at that. Don't try to pet her, don't try to reach out to her - and if she hops up on the bed, ignore her!

If she likes interactive play, like with a wand toy, that's a good thing. Go for it.

And to help her come to associate you with "good" things, get a t-shirt or something really sweaty, and every day leave a couple of treats out on it somewhere for her to find. You can also get another t-shirt good and sweaty and leave it under her food dish.

With one of our scaredy-feral rescues, we found that the quickest way to get him interested in us was to completely ignore him. We didn't look at him, we didn't talk to him - we just let him be in "his" space. It took exactly three days before he was seeking attention from us.

Cats are contrarians. I don't always recommend ignoring cats as a way to get them interested in socializing with people, but it sounds like it might do the trick after a few days or a few weeks with your kitty.

And it sounds like your dog passed away just earlier this week? I'm so sorry to hear it. They might not have been friends - but she may very well be grieving along with you.

I'm so sorry to hear about your golden.

Hope this helps,

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi. Yes, he was 15 years old. He had very bad hip dysplasia and got to the point where he couldn't even stand up by himself. And after we would help him up, he would fall back down. Plus he was in a lot of pain as well, especially the last 3 days of his life. Just laying on the floor crying. His medicine would help him only sleep for a few hours. Took him back to the vet and they said there is nothing they can do. He is too old for surgery, and he has so much muscle and nerve deterioration that he would only rapidly get worse. So decided it was best to put him down, it was horrible. Sometimes I think that might of been the wrong choice, but there was no quality of life for him, just to lay in pain all day.

Thanks for the ideas. I will try to ignore her, but it's hard. Especially now without a dog around. I was thinking of getting another pet, but if she would hang out with me more, I might not. That's why I was wondering if she would be like this forever.

I think the biggest problem is picking her up. She doesn't like it at all. I sometimes like to grab her and hold her like a baby and once in a while she doesn't care, but most of the time she will start to growl. She probably thinks I am going to pick her up, but mostly stopped. Once in a while I can't resist and just grab her. She is really cute.

Another thing is she doesn't eat treats at all. We have tried all kinds. Very picky eater. She gets one package of wet food in the morning and usually just licks the juice up. And then there is dry food available 24/7 for her. She usually crunches on that a little bit here and there. And I put a little bit of milk out for her once in a while. She eats good, but definitely not the type of cat that will finish her food right away. We have tried all kinds of different brands of dry, wet, and treats. But she isn't fat or skinny, probably perfect weight and has a little belly that hangs down. Might be extra skin and not fat.

I was waving a package of wet food in the air to get this pic. She is really smart and if you ask if she is hungry, she starts to lick her lips. Her favorite is definitely the juices of the wet food.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Another thing is she loves to play. We have a stick that has a string with a feather and bells on the end of it. If you scratch the carpet she will get really low and try to creep towards your hand. Then she will start to wiggle her butt and then sprint to your hand, swat it, and then run away.

Does anyone know what it means when she is running and her tail is shaped like a question mark? It gets curved like an upside down U.
post #6 of 9
One of my cats moves away from me if I move toward her, no questions asked. I have to get close, stop moving to her when she beings to move away, then kneel down and get her to come to me. She's not scared. It's almost like a matter of principal with her. Your cat may be the same way. If so, its just a personality issue and after you teach her to come to you (try tuna, works every time ) it won't be much of a problem for you.
post #7 of 9
Some cats are just like that They want to approach YOU is they feel like being petted or cuddled. It could be something that she will get over, but maybe not. All kitties havea different personality, so you really can't compare your friends cats because its like comparing 2 humans..NOONE is the same!

If you think of it that way it makes sense I think just give her space and time and show her love when she wants you to. Thats all you can really do.

I hope she warms up someday
post #8 of 9
I have a cat thats just like this too, he isn't scared of me as such, but he'll always back away if I pay him attention. We recently(ish) got another kitten and it's actually helped. I think he got a little jealous of her because she's always coming up to me for a cuddle, so he started doing it too. He still doesnt like it much if I go to him, but he comes to me often enough for me to accept that as all the attention I'm going to get from him!
Also, whenever we have visitors he's terrified of them, and the vet said to lock him away so that he doesn't see them. Thats also helped because now he gets over the trauma of visitors a lot faster.
I hope you find something Its very rewarding when you get a cuddle of a cat with trust issues. x
post #9 of 9
How long have you had her?

Marley was that way when I got him. He would always run away from me. It took several months for him to come to me and want affection.

Now, he crawls all over me whenever I'm sitting down.

Best of luck to you!
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