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Depressed cat??

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
This is weird to me...i've never been in this situation before...

Two weeks ago my fiance and I adopted a stray that had been hanging around our apartment (don't worry...we checked and she doesn't belong to anyone). When we first brought her in she would jump on our laps and be pretty affectionate. She just seemed happy in general.

But within a week that has changed completely. She won't sit on our laps unless we sit her down with us (then she will usually leave anyway). She doesn't always purr when we pet her (but doesn't look very mad, either). Sometimes when we pet her she'll move out of our reach or turn the other way and face the opposite direction. Its not like we're harrasing her all the time for attention...

We've tried playing with her. We talk to her. I don't know what to do. My last cat was very sassy/grouchy, but I never got the feeling that she didn't like me. With this cat...I'm not so sure. I've never had a cat where I felt like it didn't like me.

What the heck should we do?
post #2 of 13
Two things come to mind...

Is she spayed? Maybe she's having hormonal issues.

Also - is there one of you she prefers? The turning the back behavior almost sounds like jealousy. Or I could be way off, LOL!
post #3 of 13
If she is not spayed, perhaps she is starting to get hormonal, and nearing her cycle. Getting her spayed 'may' help her come back around.

If she has only been with you for such a short time, it could be too, that she is still adjusting.

With cats, we need to learn to expect different 'tudes' from them; sometimes they will be really affectionate, and other times, they may just be down right aloof; they aren't dogs, after all, who thrive off of all human interaction!

Two of my kitties normally sleep with us all the time, but they will go through little spurts of time, where they won't sleep with us at all...but prefer the couch, or the top of one of our dog kennel's better. I don't force them to sleep with us, even though it is nice to have that purry furry in the bed all the time! Eventually they start coming back...I think yours will turn around again...
post #4 of 13
My cats have always come to me, then turned their backs and stood for a second, then proceeded to walk away - when they are trying to get me to follow them straight to the kitchen for food. It's how cats tell you to follow them. So try following her next time to see what she wants.
post #5 of 13
Could it be a health issue? I'd check with my vet to be sure. It's not unusual for cats to hide illness. To us that can look like they are avoiding us.
post #6 of 13
I'd definitely have her checked by the vet. Also, if she's gone from being totally outdoors to being indoors that could certainly be an issue for her, although she is safer inside.
post #7 of 13
In general, when a cat exhibits a noticeable behavioral change, it is often a sign of illness.

But you've only had this cat for two weeks, so it's really hard to say whether that's what's actually going on here. Did you bring her to the vet at all when you adopted her two weeks ago? If not, you should certainly make it a point to go --- and I'd say that even if her behavior was perfectly fine. You don't know anything about her history and she could very well have a health issue or two, which of course you'll want to treat sooner rather than later.

Like I said, you don't know what this cat has experienced in her life. Her behavioral change could very well just be her way of getting used to her new surroundings and to you and your fiance. Some cats take longer than others and some cats go about things differently than others --- or than we would like them to. Playing with her (particularly with an interactive wand-type toy like Da Bird) and talking to her are both good ideas, and you should keep doing them. But maybe don't sit her down with you for awhile since it seems that she doesn't care too much for that yet. In general, try not to "force" yourself on her --- I've made that mistake several times and it's accomplished nothing positive. If she moves away after being petted, just leave her alone. Let her come back to you for more petting when she's receptive. And try not to get too frustrated or bothered by her actions. Easier said than done sometimes. But cats can sense tension and your nonverbal messages to her might upset her a little.

It sounds like both of you are doing a good job so far, and I am confident that in short order your relationship with your new cat will be a very happy one. Please keep us updated on the progress that you make.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for the advice. We haven't taken her to the vet yet, but I've made an appointment. We didn't want to take her right away in case she did belong to someone to give them time to claim her.

She is actually acting better today. She was more playful than she's ever been and she jumped on my lap twice today. I think she does just need to more time to adjust and get attached to us.

I think part of the problem is that I suspect her past owner abused her. Once in a while if we walk past her holding something she'll flinch and look scared. Like one time she jumped on the kitchen counter and when i told her "no!" she hunkered down and looked terrified. She was afraid I was going to hit her. Poor thing. Since then we've been very careful to be gentle with her. I guess I've never had a cat who has been abused....I was expecting too much from her too quick.

I think it will just take some time for her to trust us completely and not see us as people who will potentially beat her.
post #9 of 13
maybe just give her a little more time to adjust to her new sourroundings two weeks might still be to early for her to be comfy, just a guess
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
I just wanted to update on this...

So we've had her for a month now. She's started to be a little more playful, but that's not saying much.

We took her to the vet and he said she's about 1-2 years old and very healthy. He couldn't tell if she had been spayed (couldn't find a scar), so we're just supposed to wait and see if she comes into heat.

Anyway, she is still the same way. Not affectionate at all. We pet her and she seems like she enjoys it for a couple minutes...then moves out of reach. It's a noticeable change from when we first brought her in and she was all over our laps purring. Please reassure me that this cat doesn't hate us.
post #11 of 13
my rb cat daisy was discovered by a landlord when he broke into a flat that the previous occupants had left 6 weeks earlier. she was then fed by a neighbour until i adopted her. right from the start daisy was incredibly fickle about showing affection. she would sit on my lap one day and then refuse to have anything to do with me the next. this behaviour continued for the whole 12 and a half years she was with me.

i just figured that as she'd had such a horrible start to life, as your kitty seems to have too, she was well within her rights to be as choosy as she wanted to be. who can tell what is going on in even the most well balanced of cat minds!

she doesn't hate you.
post #12 of 13
Originally Posted by Pippen View Post
I'd definitely have her checked by the vet. Also, if she's gone from being totally outdoors to being indoors that could certainly be an issue for her, although she is safer inside.
This is probably a big part of it. Just give her time to get more used to being inside. Get her some toys and play with her so she has the stimulation - so she isn't too bored. Good luck!
post #13 of 13
Originally Posted by Beck4582 View Post
This is probably a big part of it. Just give her time to get more used to being inside. Get her some toys and play with her so she has the stimulation - so she isn't too bored. Good luck!
I agree.
When we first brought Elliott in he seemed depressed to me.
Although he never showed any signs of wanting to go back outside (good thing, because he wasn't going to get back outside ) he just seemed bored for the first little while.
Then once the girls accepted him and he could play with them and he learned to play with toys...instead of the bugs and birds he played with outside...he was fine.
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