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New here, need help w/meanie cat

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hi there - I hope you can help me!

A little background:
We've always been dog people, never had any cats. Finally, in Oct '06 we got our first kitty. (she'll be 2 this month) I made sure to ask lots of questions first and found I wanted a female (sis' male kitty sprays - ick!). We gave her a nice home, with an extremely patient and polite doggie, and we speak kindly around her.
But, as much as I love all animals, I think she's got a screw loose.

First, she doesn't meow, which is weird, but I'm okay with it.
She doesn't purr either. Or cuddle. Or rub up against us. Or want anything to do with any human, except on rare moments, she'll lick my arm, but only a couple of licks, then it's a bite and a hit.
She won't go on a couch, chair, or bed that is human-occupied.
She doesn't EVER want to be petted more than once. Even if she's just woken up, and I say a quiet hello to her and touch her, after the second stroke, she either bites, hits, or does the back-foot-bunny-kick. And it hurts!

She's mostly indoors, but if I'm out watering the garden, she and the dog come outside to enjoy the sunshine.

She will come up to me if I'm cooking to put her paws on the counter for food, but I only give her what I know is okay, nutritionally. She won't eat from my hand, but will take a few tastes from something on the floor.

I hold her (like a baby, peeping over the back of mom's shoulder) and at times she'll put up with it, but she's stiff and irritated till I put her down. Then she runs off.

I really want to be a cat mom, but is this kitty a lost cause?
post #2 of 21
Some cats are naturally like that. There is not much you can do, but learn to accept your kitty is like this. Every cat is different...you have to love them for who they are.

Is she spayed?
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
Is she spayed?
Yes, she was spayed around 5½ months (that's what our vet recommended).

I forgot to mention - one time she did like us. We went out of town for a few days and had our neighbor come over to play with her. (so she'd see humans around, pretty much)
When we came home, I picked her up and I heard purring for about 10 seconds. She didn't bite that day, but did the next. We'd keep going away if we could, but that gets expensive!
post #4 of 21
Yeah, I agree with Natalie. Some cats are just like that... I suppose that's where they get the reputation for being aloof and unfriendly.

Truth be told, soooo many cats are loving creatures.... sometimes people choose based on markings instead of personality. In rescue, I encourage people to look outside of their visual checklist. (ie: I want a gray tabby, etc.)
post #5 of 21
Cats do seem to grow more affectionate and cuddly toward their owners as they age, I've noticed. There's hope for your cat, particularly because at 2 years old she's barely out of the adolescent stage... at this point she may be too energetic and playful to want to be held or petted long.

I'd recommend never picking her up, since she clearly doesn't like it. Some cats don't. And the fear that you may pick her up may be keeping her from approaching you more often. Similarly, never go to her to pet her, or pet her any longer than she wants (when you start to see her tail swishing quickly, she's irritated and wants you to stop).

I'd start over fresh, changing your behavior toward her. Try ignoring her completely for a few weeks, and letting her come to you when she wants to. Only pet her if she comes up to you first, and only very briefly. Cats really need to set the pace of interaction they prefer. Once she learns that you're not going to push attention on her that she doesn't want, she may be more affectionate on her own.

It's also possible the dog is bothering her or making her feel insecure around the house. Does he chase her? Does she have any private space she can retreat to where he can't get her?
post #6 of 21
This might sound weird, but have you introduced her to catnip? I took in a stray a few months ago who has a moderately aloof personality but after a roll in catnip she becomes very affectionate. I've had other cats tho that were indifferent to catnip, so it must be an individual thing..

Also, does she interact with the dog at all? We have a young cat (the product of the preggo stray I took in) and this kitty is not much of a people-cat but she loves our dog. She sometimes sleeps with the dog and often nuzzles up against him. Lately tho the dog's been avoiding her because of the heat and she has become more affectionate with the family.
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by emmylou View Post

I'd start over fresh, changing your behavior toward her. Try ignoring her completely for a few weeks, and letting her come to you when she wants to. Only pet her if she comes up to you first, and only very briefly. Cats really need to set the pace of interaction they prefer. Once she learns that you're not going to push attention on her that she doesn't want, she may be more affectionate on her own.
I never thought that would work - what a fantastic idea! I will most definitely begin that tomorrow morning.
Quote:
Originally Posted by emmylou
It's also possible the dog is bothering her or making her feel insecure around the house. Does he chase her?
Our dog is the most submissive, well-tempered sweet girl ever. She never chases the cat, and if the cat walks by her, she just looks, but doesn't bug.
A few times the cat got pretty ornery and hit the dog, but when the dog got up, the cat stopped and acted like it wasn't her. (if that makes sense!)
Quote:
Originally Posted by emmylou
Does she have any private space she can retreat to where he can't get her?
Also, the dog doesn't go into any of our bathrooms, so the cat gets to hang out in there by herself. Most often she's laying in one of the sinks or the bathtub.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rotobay
This might sound weird, but have you introduced her to catnip?
if only catnip would work! I tried it when she turned one (I got her some toys with catnip, and also bought some catnip and made a toy for her) but she doesn't have any reaction to it. Fortunately, the toys didn't go to waste - my sisters cats love them

Thank you so much for your help - I appreciate it so very much!
post #8 of 21
Maybe look into flower essences or Rescue Remedy to help keep her calm and secure feeling. Or a Feliway plug in (more expensive than essences or RR)
post #9 of 21
Feliway plug ins are wonderful.
Also I would look into cat behaviorists. Seriously. I have been told that cats like yours can turn around. Also learning cat communication helps. I learned about what different tail swishes meant, what whisker positions meant and so on.
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks!
Missy, first off, your cats are just plain gorgeous!
I haven't heard of those items - are they an internet thing, or something I could find at a pet shop/ specialty shop?

CC12 - another idea I hadn't considered - although I have learned some from her tail swishes, I've mostly learned from her pupils.

As an update - we've gone 24 hours now with emmylou's ignoring suggestion. So far so good!
post #11 of 21
I wish I could tell you that she will grow out of it, but some cats just don't. They are supreme rulers lol. I have one cat (2yrs) that will not let anyone pick her up except my daughter, and another cat that used to hide out so she could attack my hubby when he walked by. The second is very similar in temperment to yours. She is unpredictable and when we have guests over, I always let them know she is not sociable with people. She hates to be brushed, will let you pet her X amount of times then takes a sample of your skin. On the flip side, when she is outside she runs to get picked up and immediatly cuddles like an infant to me for the walk in, but startles easily. She now will sit in my hubby's lap and has quit stalking him, but she is what she is. I make sure we have alone time away from other cats every night and play with her (the crazy wheel is her favorite). She loves to sit in my lap when I am on the computer, but doesn't like me to initiate first contact. We now have an understanding and she has learned that bites and scratches will be disciplined. If she does this she loses lap time or gets put out of the room. In return I respect her personal space. She really is a wonderful cat and is now 13, but much like there are differences in people's temperment, there are differences in cats. She may mellow with age, but more likely you will both come to an understanding. By the way, she loves kittens when they are under 6 months old and she loves dogs and acts like a perfect cat around them. You might think about getting her a playmate of her own species and intoduce them very slowly and see if that changes the dynamics.
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by goldilocks View Post
Missy, first off, your cats are just plain gorgeous!
I haven't heard of those items - are they an internet thing, or something I could find at a pet shop/ specialty shop?
Thanks

Over here Rescue Remedy and other essences are available at pharmacies (they are for people too) and Feliway from vets, you can also get them online.

http://www.bachflower.com/
http://catfaeries.com/
post #13 of 21
Good luck with the kitty. Like most have already said.... some cats are just like that. I've had about 15 cats in my lifetime. Ironically I've found the girls to be more aloof. BTW if you neuter a boy they very rarely spray. I only had one spayer in my life and it was years ago and I think it's because he was neutered at an older age. I had an aloof girl once named Penny and she did get more affectionate as she got older. So there's still hope.

In the future if you get another kitty a good idea is to get one from a foster home as they can tell you a little about the personality already. That's what I did with my 2 older boys.....the 3rd one just came to our house( stray) lol
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kat89447 View Post
I wish I could tell you that she will grow out of it, but some cats just don't. They are supreme rulers lol.
I think you hit the nail on the head, kat!

Sounds like you've met my little one! I would do anything to get lap time out of her! She won't sit on or near anyone. I have gotten semi close a few times, when she jumps onto my computer chair and sits behind me for a second. She does like being outdoors, but it's kind of hard to get her back in. She ignores us! I keep thinking she'll figure it out by watching the dog, but no luck so far.
Have I also mentioned that she doesn't come when we cal her? It's horrible! I'm forever searching for her. And, even if I'm telling her there's treats involved, she can't be bothered. I have a feeling if we get another animal, most likely it will be another dog.
thank you all so very much for the advice - it is so appreciated!!

PS - this is my Cypress Whitepaws:
post #15 of 21
My female cat can be that way too. Largely it's personality but when she's ready for some loving, she comes and gets it. When she's not around looking for attention I ignore her like someone else suggested. She's very happy that way.

As a pet sitter, I've found that the quickest way to make friends with any animal is to never pet it, reach toward it, hold it or even pay too much attention to it until they first approach me. They feel more confident that way because they're in control of the environment. I've not yet met the animal I couldn't win over (to an extent anyway) by giving them lots of space.

The encouraging news is that cats often do start looking for more affection after the age of 2 so there's still a chance that she'll change. If not, strike a happy balance that suits you both!

P.S. Males might spray (some of them) but I've always found my males to be more attune to me than my females. Maybe that's just me!
post #16 of 21
since she's not a catnip responder, you might try honeysuckle or valerian toys. both are available here: Plain Brown Tabby
post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 
I haven't heard of either of those for kitties, laureen - thanks for the link!!
I'm going to try the honeysuckle wood type first.
After reading about Valerian smelling very much (to humans) as sweaty socks (!), it's no wonder sis' cat keeps his head in my nephew's nasty-smelly shoes!! Maybe I'll get him some valerian.

howtoholdacat - very good advice! And, the cats I've known that were males have generally been much sweeter than girls. I just couldn't get over seeing the mess my sister's cat made. Of course, I shouldn't have worried - her male is also not typical in many other ways (of course, I found that out AFTER I'd gotten my cat!)
post #18 of 21
I feel you! My first kitty was the same way, very aloof and independent. I was so excited to get her and play with her and chased her around which probably made things worse!

Since then I've gotten a fabulous dog. But I still craved a cuddly kitty, and so I got one of those too! (A male, orange tabby ... very affectionate). So now I can appreciate my lil aloof princess for who she is and let her come to me when she wants love. I have the other two who are very affectionate.

So, that's how I solved my issue. I'm also hoping that she might get more affectionate with age. Time will tell, right?
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by goldilocks View Post
Of course, I shouldn't have worried - her male is also not typical in many other ways (of course, I found that out AFTER I'd gotten my cat!)
Isn't that the way it goes sometimes! To be fair, my males beat my female hands down when it comes to destruction of the house. Of course, there are three of them.

The good news is that if you wanted to add another cat at some point, a young male would probably be the easiest to introduce to your existing kitty. You'll (with some luck) have a disciplined female to help keep him in line! And we all know that the males of all species benefit from having a female around!
post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawnalina View Post
(A male, orange tabby ... )
ack! That's exactly what dh has been asking for!!
So much to think about!

Thank you all so very very much!!!
As of today, the ignoring is working pretty well
(I'll let y'all know if the honeysuckle wood worked)
post #21 of 21
Twenty years ago, a year-old stray adopted ME (I was also not a cat person), and we were together for 18 years until she passed away. She was very much like you describe your cat--she did not like to be picked up OR petted--except on her terms.

What I discovered is that she LOVED to be talked to, and that if I were seated in a chair, if she wanted to be petted, she would walk over--and then walk away when she'd had enough.

I really wanted a lap cat, but I accepted her on her terms, and we were very happy together.

My advice would be to back off on any handling of the cat and let the cat train you to meet its needs. I find that they're very good at that--if we pay attention.
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