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attached to the wrong person

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I really don't know anything about cats other than they are nothing like dogs so I hope someone can help with this.

My teenage daughter got a kitten from my mother but he seems to have attached himself to me even though I haven't done anything to encourage his affection. Before we moved he spent a lot more time with my daughter but in our new apartment he follows me everywhere and sleeps part of the night with me.

He's not a particularly cuddly fellow and cries pathetically when he's being held; this has been the case since he was tiny (he's now 11 months old). As long as he's not being held he likes affection well enough but as soon as you pick him up he puts his head back with his eyes closed and wails like an infant. My daughter pets him and tries to love him and I've told her that maybe she should try not picking him up, but I'm afraid he's bonded with me - is there anything we can do to make him love her more and me less? She's going to want to take him with her when she moves one day and the way things are I can't see that being a good thing for the cat. Am I right to be concerned?
post #2 of 26
Cats are particular about the way they want to be handled. They don't like being forced into anything so you are correct when you told your daughter not to pick him up or pet him when he prefers not to be.
Tell your daughter to give him treats whenever he approaches her for a cuddle. She should be the only one to take care of his needs - food, water, etc. Always speak to him in a gentle voice and most important, be patient.
There is one thing that bothers me though, I've never had a wailing cat in my arms (unless it is in pain). If they don't want to be held, they usually squirm, push and jump away. Have you asked your vet about it?
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
He has been to the vet, no pain, just a little odd. He's done that since he was tiny and as soon as he's let go he purrs his heart out, just hates being held.

Thanks for the tips, I'll get her to carry treats in her pocket or something, he loves his treats. She and my son do all the cat care. I don't do ANYTHING with the cats other than a quick pet and a scratch behind the ear or under his chin, that's why I'm baffled as to why he appears so taken with me.
post #4 of 26
Cats are usually? mostly? often? contrarians. Have a party - in a room full of people - the cat will zoom staight for the person that hates cats. This is because the person that hates cats does not LOOK at the cat. Looking into a kitties eyes is a sign of aggression. Our pets learn it isn't, of course, but whenever we feel like our cats are neglecting us, instead of seeking them out, we start ignoring them. Works like a charm.

Your daughter should definitely take care of all of kitty's needs, especially cleaning his boxes and feeding him - even if your family free feeds and all she does is fill the food bowl when it needs it.

Definitely stop trying to pick him up. And definitely use food to "bribe" him.

...but also tell her to to not look at him. Look over his head or at his forehead - for now, definitely do not look directly in his eyes.

Other than that - tell her just pay attention to what he wants and force nothing on him. The harder you try, the more they resist. If he's up for playing, play. If not - don't try to make him. If he wants to be petted, pet - but if he runs away or puts his paw on her hand - don't pet and let him go.

...and remind her that one of the things that makes cats so wonderful is that they are so completely CAT - they live life totally on their own terms, and there's no better way to get a cat to want attention from you than by completely ignoring him/her.

Quick last thought.... maybe move his feeding station to her room. If he gets fed meals, maybe she should feed them to him in her room.
post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks, I'll make sure she gets all this information. She now has a bag of treats in her pocket and he is definately paying more attentiont to her. She and her brother take turns doing the cat feeding etc. but we can alter that a bit for when they get thier wet food - Ivan does love food! Unfortunately the food can't move to her bedroom because she also has a sheltie and they are some of the greediest dogs on the planet.
post #6 of 26
You don't say how old your daughter is but I wonder if she isn't as gentle with him as she thinks? Just thinking out loud there but one thing to remember is that a cats world is ruled pretty much by smells.

Maybe he just likes the way you smell more than your daughter or the tone of your voice is calming. Keep doing what you are doing but sometimes cats just pick who they want to hang out with.

Are you home during the day and your daughter is at school? If you are there most of the time he will attach himself to you.

Maybe if she plays with him with catnip scented toys?

Just thinking out loud!
Good Luck!

Mm
post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by yayi View Post
If they don't want to be held, they usually squirm, push and jump away. Have you asked your vet about it?
I actually have a cat (Koko) that wails when you try to hold her. She loves to snuggle, but only on her own terms and only with the people that she chooses. This isn't abnormal, but it is rare.

I agree with others and would add that your daughter needs to find interactive toys like wands and play with her. Make their interactions happy times and the cat will be attracted to her more. My Koko prefers my husband over me in general until it is play or feeding time, then she's all my girl.
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
My daughter is 16, gentle and homeschooled so that's not it. The smell thing is interesting to know.

Something happened today that never happened before and there is no way I'm telling my daughter about it, she'd feel terrible. Ivan was doing his best to come between me and my computer so I scooped him up while I was reading and suddenly realized he was purring and I was still holding him! This is very weird since NO ONE has ever been able to hold him before without being treated to a pitiful wailing! I would be flattered if I didn't feel so bad for my daughter.

I was thinking about the eye contact thing and this is also true with dogs. I was wondering if there weren't more calming signals and like behaviour that I'm doing out of habit as a dog trainer that makes him like me. Is there an old thread or article on cat communication or something I might be able to look up? I found one on a site but when I clicked on the link it took me to an article on cat urine - not quite what I was looking for.
post #9 of 26
I think HE'S chosen YOU.

I have one cat who's a snuggle bug in bed, but she only tolerates being held for about 2.3 seconds before she bolts out of your arms. However, if I'm at the computer and she's not feeling well or she's hungry, she'll climb up on my chest and snuggle and purr away. Go figure!
post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by bean View Post
I was thinking about the eye contact thing and this is also true with dogs. I was wondering if there weren't more calming signals and like behaviour that I'm doing out of habit as a dog trainer that makes him like me. Is there an old thread or article on cat communication or something I might be able to look up? I found one on a site but when I clicked on the link it took me to an article on cat urine - not quite what I was looking for.
There are things all over the place here, and what comes to mind are things that people use to socialize feral cats and the things you do with them to bond. They may work in your situation.

Staring at a cat is threatening, but if you catch a cat's eyes, slowly blink your own. This is a greeting between cats (some of mine will eye blink back at me).

Cats are also threatened by anything that towers over them. Have your daughter get down on her level (e.g. sit on the floor) and play from there.

If your cat sleeps in a particular spot, put something that smells like your daughter in that spot. A t-shirt that has been used for exercise is a good choice.

Do you and your daughter use the same hair shampoo? Perhaps have your daughter switch to yours or you change to a citrus scent (which cats don't usually like).
post #11 of 26
This kitty sounds a lot like Scaredy, the young feral female I rescued from outside a year ago. She may have at one time had a home, but I fed her under a fence for weeks, and she had no "social with people" skills whatsoever.

At this point, Scaredy likes me (her 100% caregiver), tolerates the rest of the family, except for my 17 year old son, whom she despises. He has tried endlessly to make up to her; she's not having it. We tried giving her treats on his t-shirt to get used to his scent; Scaredy wouldn't eat the treats! And from the looks of Scaredy, she loves treats.

I'm not sure it's anything you have done or haven't done - I think this cat just prefers you, for whatever reason. I wouldn't feel guilty about it. But I'm not sure this kitty will be happy leaving with your daughter some day.

In our case, Dusty absolutely LOVES my son, we got him when Matt was 8, as a family cat. But when Matt goes to college next year, Dusty is staying here. Matt will be home, (I hope!) on visits, and will see Dusty then. Would your daughter be at all content knowing she could visit her kitty at your house?

The advice the others gave is very good, maybe in time, the kitty will come to enjoy your daughter's company as much as yours.
post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thank you all very much. My daughter is putting in a good effort so we'll see what happens but I'm afraid that he will be a very unhappy kitty if she were to move and take him. My brother lived with a girl for a while and the cat was technically hers but loved him. When they broke up and he moved out the cat went a little strange and got very aggressive. I just don't want anything like that to happen, he's a very sweet cat.

I thought the shampoo thing was interesting, we do use the same kind, but it's a strong smelling tea tree shampoo - something a cat would like?
He did let my son hold him for a minute yesterday so maybe (hopefully) he's just starting to think the idea of being held is a good thing and will let her do it soon too.
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by bean View Post
Thanks, I'll make sure she gets all this information. She now has a bag of treats in her pocket and he is definately paying more attentiont to her. She and her brother take turns doing the cat feeding etc. but we can alter that a bit for when they get thier wet food - Ivan does love food! Unfortunately the food can't move to her bedroom because she also has a sheltie and they are some of the greediest dogs on the planet.
I would like to add something to this. Cat treats are generally not nutritionally complete. too many treats can either cause a cat to not eat enough of his own food and be malnourished and/or cause obesity.

Instead of treats perhaps have your daughter try carrying kibble pieces.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanietx View Post
I think HE'S chosen YOU.

I have one cat who's a snuggle bug in bed, but she only tolerates being held for about 2.3 seconds before she bolts out of your arms. However, if I'm at the computer and she's not feeling well or she's hungry, she'll climb up on my chest and snuggle and purr away. Go figure!
I agree with this. You have been chosen. You can't force love and animals do choose. You may want to reconsider letting your daughter take Ivan when she leaves home, if he is that attached to you.

Perhaps another kitty for her.
post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 
I know dog food is exactly that, dog food, but could she use that in place of the treats. It's not junk food like most of what's out there and uses real meat, not by products and who knows what all else; or could it still make him sick? It isnt' like she gives him five at a time either, just one here and there. She's grown up with me saying "It's a treat, not a meal!"

I'm only asking because I'm not sure he'll think something he can have for free would be worth the trip. We keep a bowl full for Jasmine, my son's cat, who is a bit of a fraidy cat and doesn't eat as much as she probably should. So far Ivan isn't a bad weight but I'd hate for him to become obese.
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by bean View Post
I know dog food is exactly that, dog food, but could she use that in place of the treats. It's not junk food like most of what's out there and uses real meat, not by products and who knows what all else; or could it still make him sick? It isnt' like she gives him five at a time either, just one here and there. She's grown up with me saying "It's a treat, not a meal!"

I'm only asking because I'm not sure he'll think something he can have for free would be worth the trip. We keep a bowl full for Jasmine, my son's cat, who is a bit of a fraidy cat and doesn't eat as much as she probably should. So far Ivan isn't a bad weight but I'd hate for him to become obese.

In my opinion, cats should not be given dog food, ever. Dogs and cats have very different nutritional needs. The ingredients may seem the same, but the quantities and ratios are not.

If Ivan is ending up only getting about five treats total a day, then I don't think there is any problem. But she should keep track, rather than just carrying the bag, count out a certain number in a baggie and just carry those.

Too many treats, including dog food, can create a problem eater, finickyness, lack of proper nutrition and obesity.

She could always carry a different flavor or brand entirely of nutritionally complete cat kibble, for treats. For instance if Ivan eats Wellness as his main food, give him Innova kibble for treats.

Then it wouldn't matter whether he filled up on treats or his dinner.
post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 
Oh excellent idea! Thank you very much. I have to go over to town today anyhow, I'll pick up some of the cat variety of what I'm feeding the dogs.
post #17 of 26
I have to say that cats crack me up because to some extent cats will do as they please. I think you have gotten a lot of good advice to help the kitty learn that your daughter is the main source of good things.
post #18 of 26
Thread Starter 
Well, my mom wrote me an email this morning saying how terrible she was feeling about taking the four kittens whose mother had taken up residence in their barn to the SPCA. Mom just feels sick when she has animals and doesn't know the people that they're going to. My daughter liked one of them when I helped Mom catch them last weekend and so, since they are just weaning age now, we're going to take one and Ivan (whose name should be and from now on will be spelled Eyvan) will be my cat .

I'm sure in the middle of the night I will wake up screaming "NO! ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?" but until that happens I'm going to tell myself this is a good thing. As it is, I've been assured I still won't have to clean the litter box and they will take care of the cat bills as long as I take care of the dog bills.
post #19 of 26
How many animals are in your home?
post #20 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheylink View Post
How many animals are in your home?
Two border collies, a sheltie and two cats; the kitten will make three cats.
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by bean View Post
Two border collies, a sheltie and two cats; the kitten will make three cats.
I hate to be so blunt......but you already know this isn't a good idea, you already feel responsible and guilt for other pets brought into the home understanding they would be cared for and except the situation...... you need to reevaluate the situation...... whats best for you, the kitten and other cats and dogs, and your children. You have a teen daughter who already has excepted responsibility for a Sheltie, then wants a kitten who for whatever reason clings to you more and your daughter is upset by this, or was........ Then you are encouraged to adopt another kitten who will be yours......last I recall a certain kitty has already adopted you that your daughter adopted.
Here's my point, you definitely know that when you bring a kitten or puppy into your home, you are excepting the responsibility of raising them and providing a safe, healthy environment for the next 10-20 years. Please don't create a situation that you regret. It only takes one more kitten, one more puppy, to create an irreversible situation. Just because you can't insure a happy home for them, doesn't mean someone else won't. Think of all involved, pets, you, children......
post #22 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheylink View Post
I hate to be so blunt......but you already know this isn't a good idea, you already feel responsible and guilt for other pets brought into the home understanding they would be cared for and except the situation...... you need to reevaluate the situation...... whats best for you, the kitten and other cats and dogs, and your children. You have a teen daughter who already has excepted responsibility for a Sheltie, then wants a kitten who for whatever reason clings to you more and your daughter is upset by this, or was........ Then you are encouraged to adopt another kitten who will be yours......last I recall a certain kitty has already adopted you that your daughter adopted.
Here's my point, you definitely know that when you bring a kitten or puppy into your home, you are excepting the responsibility of raising them and providing a safe, healthy environment for the next 10-20 years. Please don't create a situation that you regret. It only takes one more kitten, one more puppy, to create an irreversible situation. Just because you can't insure a happy home for them, doesn't mean someone else won't. Think of all involved, pets, you, children......
Thank you, for your thoughts, there are times when it's better to be blunt so you don't have to apologize.

To alleviate fears: My kids have both worked to make sure they have money to care for their own pets and have been very faithful to do so. They pay for their own school and piano lessons and have also been very generous with other bills that have come in that they were never asked to help pay for but have taken responsibility for what they use by themselves. I'm very proud of them.

We have also been a "houseful of animals" family since the kids were small so having a crowd isn't something new to me, just cats are new to me. The dogs aren't young either and I had planned on getting a cat when they got a little older, I just imagined a Siamese or a Bengal, not a yellow barn cat.
I'm not just taking Eyvan out of a sense of guilt although I do feel horrible - my daughters luck with animals hasn't been that good - no fault of hers. I like the cat and I'd hate to see him distressed in a few years when my daughter moves out and would want to take him. I've seen what it did to the cat who loved my brother when he and his girlfriend broke up and she took the cat.

The reason I said I'll probably wake up screaming in the night is because this is a small place and I know what certain members of my family will say - I hate enduring criticism from family members, warranted or not.

When my daughter got the cat we were living in my parents home - a mutually beneficial arrangement for the time we were there. I sold our home and my parents wanted to travel so invited us to live with them so they could go and have someone to take care of all their animals etc. Eyvan paid as much attention to my daughter there as he did to everybody. Because I slept in a room where the cats couldn't go, I never paid much attention to who liked who but after we were talking about when he was a kitten and how every time I got the camera out he was jumping in front of it and sitting down with a huge grin on and how every time I sat down he was the cat in my lap we suddenly came to the startling conclusion that he was actually my cat long before we ever moved. That's what actually prompted this last decision. I've seen dogs torn away from their owners and that's awful enough, I've heard it's much worse for cats. I really can't do that to him.
post #23 of 26
Something to consider - Some cats have the 'love the one you're with' mentality. George was always my parents' cat. He'd hang out with mom and dad all day long and wouldn't give half a damn about me. After my parents both passed away within a year of each other, George firmly planted himself on my ankles. He was 100% my best pal, following me around everywhere, etc etc. Then my roommate moved in, and ever since, George only cares about me when my roomie's sleeping with the door closed. Other than that, I'm dead to him.

So.. While some cats may wig out over losing their bestpal, some make new ones.
post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foofy Cat Lady View Post
Something to consider - Some cats have the 'love the one you're with' mentality. George was always my parents' cat. He'd hang out with mom and dad all day long and wouldn't give half a damn about me. After my parents both passed away within a year of each other, George firmly planted himself on my ankles. He was 100% my best pal, following me around everywhere, etc etc. Then my roommate moved in, and ever since, George only cares about me when my roomie's sleeping with the door closed. Other than that, I'm dead to him.

So.. While some cats may wig out over losing their bestpal, some make new ones.
However, judging by what the OP has said, Eyvan is not the 'love the one your with' type of cat.

Bean: I think your plan to allow yourself to be adopted by Eyvan, and let your daughter be chosen by another cat, is a terrific solution.
post #25 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks Otto

The baby was to come home on Tuesday but she has arrived today. My daughter is like a new mother. The kitten was sleeping and we were watching a show and she had to jump up every 5-10 minutes to check on the baby! But so far the wee kitty seems to think she's a wonderful person and snuggles in her arms which is something she always wished Eyvan would have done. This is a good match I think and I'm going to be staying FAR away from the kitten!

Both of the other cats know she's in the bedroom but Jasmine is showing no interest; Eyvan on the other hand has set up camp outside the door and was trying to figure out how to open it earlier. We're all thankful for secure latches! Because of how he reacted to the smell of the new kitten on us, I don't think Eyvan would hurt her, but I would hate to find out I was wrong.

Poor Pipsy (the sheltie), she very gently approached the kitten to say hello and was met with a furiously hissing ball of fluff; she couldn't retreat fast enough!

The kitten is living in my daughter's bedroom and I've read an article by the SPCA about introducing new cats into an existing cat household so we're going to be doing this very slowly and trading towels they've slept on and stuff so I hope all goes very smoothly. We're guessing the baby is about eight weeks old so she's so very small yet, how long should we wait after everyone is totally comfortable with each others smells before we let them really meet?
post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by bean View Post
Thanks Otto

The baby was to come home on Tuesday but she has arrived today. My daughter is like a new mother. The kitten was sleeping and we were watching a show and she had to jump up every 5-10 minutes to check on the baby! But so far the wee kitty seems to think she's a wonderful person and snuggles in her arms which is something she always wished Eyvan would have done. This is a good match I think and I'm going to be staying FAR away from the kitten!

Both of the other cats know she's in the bedroom but Jasmine is showing no interest; Eyvan on the other hand has set up camp outside the door and was trying to figure out how to open it earlier. We're all thankful for secure latches! Because of how he reacted to the smell of the new kitten on us, I don't think Eyvan would hurt her, but I would hate to find out I was wrong.

Poor Pipsy (the sheltie), she very gently approached the kitten to say hello and was met with a furiously hissing ball of fluff; she couldn't retreat fast enough!

The kitten is living in my daughter's bedroom and I've read an article by the SPCA about introducing new cats into an existing cat household so we're going to be doing this very slowly and trading towels they've slept on and stuff so I hope all goes very smoothly. We're guessing the baby is about eight weeks old so she's so very small yet, how long should we wait after everyone is totally comfortable with each others smells before we let them really meet?
How precious she sounds! I think this kitten couldn't find more love, and you are so dedicated to providing the best for all, I applaud you .
I would allow time for a secure relationship to develop between her and your daughter, also the kitten needs to feel completely safe and secure in her room. It is actually the best reaction on both sides you could ask for, Pipsy very cautious and respectful while approaching, and the kitten defending her space, Pipsy respecting it. This is a very young kitten, she needs extra attention and guidance. Eyvan's curiosity is expected, and I think it is best to make him wait till he is not so interested. He could be simply interested, he could be slightly jealous, he could care less, but you never know. I would wait till he stops showing so much interest, let your daughter and her kitten bond, make sure Pipsy doesn't feel indifferent, and go from there!
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