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Flighty Siberian cat :(

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi all, I've just adopted a senior Siberian cat (7 years old, recently spayed) from a cattery. She is beautiful, but not at all what I expected from a behaviour point of view. Of note, we have a dog who is timid and stays away from cats.

"personality-plus, dog-like temperament, friendly, outgoing and confident"

We've had her for about four weeks now - quarantined her in a room by herself with litterbox (her usual litter brand), food (best cat food available), water (fresh!), bed (plush and warm), scratching post, toys w catnip - door left open so she doesn't feel trapped; gone in to talk to her whenever we could. She would usually be hiding behind the cupboard, shaking so we thought it was the stress of moving to a new place. The shaking has subsided but she is still very very touchy.

Quote: "Senior cats usually adapt better to a new environment compared to younger cats."

Her behaviour is puzzling. I have been trawling the internet for cat expert opinions (articles) and have come to no definite conclusion. She still flees everytime she sees us, has a permanent scowl/glare on her face. But at night, just before I go to sleep, sometimes she comes to see me in the study and sits near my feet. When I pet her, she does the head-butt thing (pushes her head upwards against my palm) and purrs very very softly.

When I come a fraction closer, she flees. Why??? I tried approaching her very very slowly when she was perched on top of the cat tree platform (its a huge platform), and perhaps it was because she was higher than me - she felt less threatened? She rolled over and showed me her belly.

At night, she wanders the house at about 4am and meows incessantly. She often sits outside the bedroom and meows until I come out, but she just runs away and watches me from under the bed/ fridge / table, when I go back to sleep she starts meowing again... driving me nuts!!! There was once I ran after her and she was cornered, instead of hissing or scratching she flopped over to show me her belly and started doing a kneading action with her front paws (in the air) ...

She is confusing me... on the one hand, she acts like she is afraid of me, on the other hand, she is showing signs of contentment (or surrender?) and wanting attention. Why? How do I fix the situation?

By the way, she gets really jealous of the dog on my bed. When she feels like it, she takes the dogs' place on my bed at night - of course, she is never there when I actually wake up - I only see her tail as she is fleeing (and a BIG cat shaped indent in the blankets where the dog usually lays) because she's heard me waking up. Oh, and the dog will be whimpering, sleeping on the floor.

Arghhhhhhhhh what am I doing wrong?? I don't want to own an invisible cat! I thought Sibbys were friendly!
post #2 of 7
A few things here...

I'm assuming by cattery you mean a breeding cattery?
I know it means different things in different countries.

Was it a reputable cattery?
I ask because 7 years is kind of old to retire a queen.

Was it their practice to run the cattery from their home?
If not, she may be unused to a home setting.

In my experience, it takes longer for a senior, set in their routines, to adapt to a change of this magnitude
post #3 of 7
Do you know when she had her last litter?
It will take time for her to adjust.
Older cats take longer then younger cats to get used to new places.
Do you know if she had free run of the cattery or was in cages?
Did she come from a good cattery?
I have seen very bad ones before.
I have a Russian Blue that was scared of everything an everyone when I gort her and now she is very friendly.
I still have scars from her.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
She comes from a reputable cattery - it is well known internationally. I did not however, visit it myself. I think that they retired her late because of the rarity of Siberians in general. New blood would have to come from Russia - or something like that.

She had her last litter 3 months ago.

I was told that she had the full run of the cattery.

Sigh, I am feeling kind of miserable. I really like her, you know that feeling when you feel all warm and fuzzy inside when you hold a baby. She's so vulnerable. But yet she doesn't love me back.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
She has been hissing at my kittens a lot - I thought she would be maternal. I rescued two lovely stray kittens and cleaned them up at the vets. They would be 7 weeks old today.

Should I rehome them?

She seems to hate them, pushes them out of the way when they are snoozing on the couch, growls at them. Quite aggressive.
post #6 of 7
Go at her pace, if she's happy sitting at your feet then just let her be.
Don't chase and run after her.
4 weeks is not a long time, esepcially to an older cat - it could take her months to adjust to the new home.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by missymotus View Post
Go at her pace, if she's happy sitting at your feet then just let her be.
Don't chase and run after her.
4 weeks is not a long time, esepcially to an older cat - it could take her months to adjust to the new home.
Update: she is getting much better. She loves sitting and watching my pet rats drink from their water bottle. I think it was just a major trauma for her being shipped here in a plane, and suddenly being stuck as an indoors cat when she used to have a lovely cat enclosure (outdoors) in the cattery where she lived for 7 years.

I will be buying a new home in the next few months or so, budget willing in this financial climate. Am looking at a lovely house with a giant courtyard, unfortunately places are limited in the inner suburbs and I work in the city. So I guess its

work vs quality time with pets vs money for pets freedom

oh i'll start another thread
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