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My needy cat

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Just joined the forum, looks pretty interesting. I have a bit of a problem, and I hope you'll be able to give me some advice.

My wife and I have had cats before in our single lives, and had been talking about getting a cat together. An opportunity came up where we could adopt a rescue cat, neutered, inoculated, litter box trained, and we went for it.

The little fella is called Nigel. The shelter said he was 3 but we think he's younger, maybe 18 months to 2 years (he's got the spindly build and big ears of an adolescent cat). On the whole, he's very well behaved, doesn't bite, scratch, doesn't destroy the apartment.

The problem is he doesn't want to play alone. I will play with him, spend about half an hour in the morning and another half hour just before bed time. He likes me to poke a pipe cleaner through the holes in his cat carrier. But when play time is over and I go and do something else, he follows me around, meowing, and when I approach the room where his box is, he runs to his box, climbs inside and looks out expectantly, waiting for me to get down and play with him again. We've left toys for him on the floor, but unless there's a human on the other end of it, he isn't interested.

Any ideas what I can do to get him to play more independently? I won't stop playing with him, but I obviously can't just drop everything to satisfy his killer instincts!
post #2 of 20
A second cat?

Zoey seemed fairly happy as a single cat, but she loves having Talley around. They chase each other, sleep together and have the pecking order in place (Zoey cuddles at night, Talley during the day).
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Yes, we had thought of that. As I say, we live in an apartment on a busy road. We are keeping him as an indoor cat for now. I'm in all day, but will soon start work. Then we'll move to a house (hopefully with a garden) and will be able to have a second cat. But in the meantime, he'll just have to put up with me during the day.
post #4 of 20
Have you tried those cat videos?
post #5 of 20
How sweet!!! We had the same issue with our kitty wen we first got him, he was six months old and very much in need of our undivided attention. At the time it was fine as I was at home and would spend a lot of time with him but obviously you can't play kitty games 24/7! He would do the same, following me around crying for attention. I hated hearing him cry but I decided that I didn't want to nurture such a demanding nature and found that he was really just attention seeking for comfort I think. Even now he will always be in the same room as one of us! I started chatting to him all the time, so he knew I was there and that he had my attention but I could actually be doing other things too. I agree another cat would be great but right now that is not an option for us either. Now though he is fine, quite a chilled out kitty, he has lots of toys around and he is very nosey which keeps him entertained, I think once Nigel settles in he will calm down more. Good luck
post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
Well, we've only had him here for just over a week, so I suppose he's got a little while to go before he settles in properly.

As i type this, he's walking all over the computer desk, shoving his head in front of the screen, mewing pitifully. If I stand up now, he'll jump down and run to his toys.

Like you, I feel awful ignoring him, but you can't play with him the whole time. What do you think of deliberately ignoring him, so he gets used to the idea that he can't have your attention all the time? The only trouble with this, I think, is that he starts getting into things he shouldn't, like pulling at wires, trying to climb on precarious shelves, shoving himself behind the venetian blinds, making a right mess, and scratching the furniture.
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Well, it's about 3 hours after the last post. He slept for an hour, then started bugging me again. I played with him for about half an hour, running around the apartment with a ping-pong ball on the end of a long shoelace, hoping he would run around and tire himself out. I gave him his lunch, which he ate most of. He's just spent the last 45 minutes or so following me around, meowing, I really don't now what he wants. I've now had to shut him out of the study where I'm trying to do an hour's work, and he's gone quiet. I don't like to do that, after all, he's supposed to be a companion.

I wish he would just hang out if he wants to be with me, rather than demanding attention the whole time. If I ignore him, he gets into things, knowing I'll come running. I'm really starting to stress now, being thankful when he's asleep and dreading it when he starts to stir. I play with him for at least an hour a day, and try and pet him.

Please, will this stop? Will he eventually settle in, stop demanding attention?
Is this a symptom of him being an indoor cat, not being able to go outside?
post #8 of 20
You know, when I think about it my kitty is very vocal, its like he is chatting to me. He jumps up on the couch and looks at me and meows and hangs around. At first I thought he was crying and it made me feel a bit sad but now i know that half the time he is just having a chat! I think he is fine, just establishing himself with you and his new environment. Hehehe, he is looking at me now and meowing!! When i chat to him he likes it, i think i is comforting for him, especially in a soft voice, he loves it and it seems to calm him. I do think that cats have to learn to entertain themselves and they are also quite independent. I really think that he will calm down, try not to worry or stress too much and if you have things that you ndon't want him to knock or ruin, try to keep them in a room that he doesn't have access to. Our leather couch is scratched a lot but i quite like the rustic look!! I know some people would think this is gross but my kitty doesn't really have no go areas, not even the kitchen work tops, i just clean them often. I am sure he will be fine
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
You could be right, Althekitty, sometimes when I speak to him he stops moving around and looks at me expectantly, but not for long, though! I'm beginning to wonder whether it's because he's an indoor cat. All the cats I've had in the past have been able to go outside, and apart from the times when they wanted feeding, were no problem at all. This little fellow seems to need attention all his waking hours.
post #10 of 20
Honestly, it sounds like he would benefit from a companion. Why do you want to wait to get a house before you get another cat? I would get him a friend if at all possible.

Going outside while entertaining is dangerous. A fire can be exciting but we don't let kids play with matches, ya know what I'm saying? For instance, I live in a busy urban area and had a FOX! come running through my apartment building's parking lot when I heading for the door. Yikes. He can eat someone elses cats thank you very much! It makes me sudder to think.

Also, as an example, I got my first cat Fiona she was around 2 but VERY NEEDY. Like yours, she was meowing constantly and wanting to play EVERY waking hour. She would jump on top of the doors that were open to get attention. I had read that it could be from needing a companion. So I got ReeRee who was a few months old at the time. Boy! did everything change. She stopped crying all the time. They played and groomed each other. Kept each other company. When one wasn't around they would go looking for each other.

There are just some cats who need other cats around. Imagine how you might feel surrounded by cats but no human interaction? (I know some people might actually enjoy this)

Just think about it. It can make both you and him much happier.

Also, don't be afraid to set boundries, don't always give into the meows and attention getting. Do you have cat trees and windows he can look out? Get some toys that aren't interactive, like a "cheese chase" -the toy that has a ball going around a track-my cats play with that for HOURS. Also, they have fuzzy mice that can hang from door jambs-my cats love going after those as well.

Good luck! He sounds like he needs alot of love and thats not a bad thing eh?
post #11 of 20
Originally Posted by fifi1puss View Post
Honestly, it sounds like he would benefit from a companion. Why do you want to wait to get a house before you get another cat? I would get him a friend if at all possible.
when i got my 'intentional' kittens, i got a pair. at the time, i was living in a 632 sq.ft. 1 bedroom/1 bath apartment. there was plenty of room for all 3 of us!
i currently live in a 927 sq.ft. house [2 bedroom/1 bath] & i have 5 cats.
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
Yes, I've agreed all along that we really need a second cat. My wife has always said she would have two, but right now, with me between jobs and us living in an upastairs apartment, it's not really possible. I think a second cat would be a solution, based on all of your observations too, and I do feel a little easier.

It's now about 7pm, he slept all afternoon and woke up when my wife got home from work. He's been awake, but not mewing and climbing, just hanging out with us, which is great. I played with him, with his favourite toy at the moment, a golf ball on the end of a long shoelace, attached to an extending Swiffer handle, a home-made fishing-rod toy, he loves it!

Thanks for all your inputs!
post #13 of 20
Just from my own experience, Nigel's "neediness" has nothing to do with being an indoor cat but is part of his personality. My first cat adopted me when she was about a year old, and for the 18+ years we lived together, she was the least needy cat in the world. So long as her food was there and her box clean, she was happy. I played with her before work each day, and she always had toys around the play with on her own, but she was totally independent and never made any demands. My current boy was adopted about 4 months ago, he's five, and he is like your Nigel. He is extremely attached and usually follows me from room to room. Sometimes he'll nap in another room, but often he interrupts his naps to look for me. Both my cats were strays who became indoor cats with me, and their different behavior is entirely from their individual personalities.
post #14 of 20
It definitely sounds to me like he's lonely, but if getting another cat isn't an option right now then it just isn't.

I live in a 1 bedroom apartment with my two boys, and and the one thing I do is just talk to them constantly. Most of the time they are still in the same room with me, but they'll relax and play with each other or cuddle or whatever. Since I'm here by myself (aka nobody is here to call me nuts...) I talk to them about whatever I'm doing. "What do you think Spooky, I'm gonna go make me some dinner. Is that OK with you?" that sort of thing. I use their names a lot so they know I am talking to them, and they seem to enjoy the contact.

You said Nigel runs to his carrier for playtime, as it is where you play with him. Have you tried putting the carrier away in a closet or something where he can't see it? My boys' favorite toy is their "Bird" (DaBird Wand Toy) and if they can see it they are frantic trying to get it or get me to play with them. So when playtime is over I put it away in a closet. Then they usually forget about it (until I go near the closet )

Good luck with him!
post #15 of 20
Nigel sounds like a great kitty. I always said I would only ever have one cat at a time - that was before daughter moved back home with Mika. It took a month before we could allow them to be together unsupervised but now they chase each other through our little house, up and down the cat tree, play hide and seek in the little "houses" on the cat tree, then they lay down together, groom each other and have a nap.

Bijou is still needy in the sense that he has to be in whichever room one of us is relaxing. If hubby is on the computer, Bijou is on his lap. If I'm on my laptop at the table, Bijou has to lay down between my body and the computer with his head resting on my arm and his paw over my hand.

We have a small house as well and honestly I don't find having two cats is any more trouble and not a great deal of extra cost and the benefits outweight any negatives like a little extra for litter and food.

Another thing my hubby did was tie a catnip mouse to the end of the line of a fishing rod. When Bijou wants to play a lot we get the rod down and practice our casting. He'll play until he gets tired out and then settles down for a nap. Because we weren't needing to run around playing with him we don't get tired. It helped us keep up with his energy without tiring ourselves out. Lazy I know - but it works.

ETA: One must always remember to put the rod and reel away at night or we'll hear the whole thing being dragged down the hall on the hardwood floors and have woken to find the fishing rod on our bed on occasion.
post #16 of 20
He could be lonely but there are many single cat households and I wouldn't advise a second cat if your situation does not allow it. My cat is an only cat and he loves our attention, we interact in many different ways, of which do not have to be exhausting! We constantly chat to him, as much as we do each other. He is a great companion to both of us. He is nosey and likes to get everywhere. He is well behaved as he has boundaries, he knows that chewing wires is not good so doesn't do it! We have actually taught him to bring his toys back so we can throw them for him!!! He loves it. He has a ball that you put treats in that he chases round the house and loves. A laser toy which is fab. We play hide and seek, i hide and he looks for me and we jumpp out at each other, so cute. He has a feather attached to a twig which he brought in and he adores it. So much stuff to keep him entertained. Cats are quite independent too and my kitty although gets on well with other kitties (not an aggressive bone in his body) he is quite happy getting all the love and attention. Right now he is being fussed over by botfriend and has now come to me!!!
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
You are probably right. But sometimes I have to wonder. He has been very good the last couple of days, just hanging out, lazing around or playing happily with his pipe cleaners. But today he was really annoying, I found myself shutting the bedroom door on him, he was annoying me so much.

We have venetian blinds in all the windows. Whenever I hear the blinds move, I flinch, knowing he's coming back for another mewing/climbing session. I can't blame the little fella, he's a cat, and behaving like one, but I'm letting him get to me, rule my life. This afternoon I shut myself in the bedroom to have a nap, just to get away from him. He mewed and scraped at the door while I almost cried in the bed. My wife came home and he was as good as gold, all innocent and kept himself to himself. Why can't he be like that with me in the daytime?

We're now looking at renting a house, so hopefully we can let him out to entertain himself.
post #18 of 20

You may need to teach your cat that he can enjoy being independent. My Jingle can be very demanding about play time. He would love it I literally spent the entire day doting on and playing with him. My strategy was to determine what a reasonable amount of time for me would be to play with him and give him that. I then would try to find ways for him to independently entertain himself. You just need to be creative and think of what he would find too enticing to resist. Jingle is a sucker for treats. So I got him a ball with holes in in it that holds treats. I can adjust the size of the holes to make it challenging for him to get a treat. He has to bat it around different ways for a treat to come out. This completely changes his focus from me to getting treats. Cat nip also entertains him. I also usually keep the windows closed with the air conditioning on but in the morning, I will open a window and he will sit there to get the fresh air. I also have another cat that he can play with thinking that would make them less needy but if I'm not careful, they turn into two needy cats!

post #19 of 20
This thread is over 4 years old
post #20 of 20
It's not 4 years old yet! smile.gif
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