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Is there any hope for my kitty?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi all! We have a cat with really terrible behavior, and after a year of trying to get her to "warm up" to us, she shows almost no signs of improvement. My girlfriend is really tired of having a mean, inaffectionate cat and we recently got another kitten ("Jinx") who is truly the sweetest creature I have ever met! I'm worried about the new kitten becoming prey, because our older cat ("Bazzle") has him terrified

We have had Bazzle for a year now. She has never been very friendly. Since we first got her she has hated being touched, which was tough because when we first got her she was irresistably cute (see?! ). The only way you can pet her is to be extremely slow and let her sniff you first, and you can usually only pet her head once or twice before she runs off. If you touch her back she usually bites you. She usually doesn't instigate the aggression, although I can count at least a dozen times she has snuck up on my girlfriend and bit her legs. Most of the time she just steers clear of contact. When she was a kitty she would actually sleep on our bed, but still not let us touch her. Now she never sleeps with us.

At first when she would bite or claw us, or get into trouble, we would spray her with a water bottle. It did nothing but make her madder. So I started scolding her with a NO, not screaming but stern, and then putting her in our bathroom for about 5 minutes. It hasn't done a thing for her behavior, and she never gets the point - usually going back and doing whatever she was doing wrong over and over and over again. I've spent months being calm and consistent with my methods, even pampering her ridiculously trying to win her trust. I really think she is just scared all the time, but a year later I'm getting incredibly frustrated with her.

I get the impression that she likes us, because she will spend a lot of time in the same room as us, just not near us. When we come home after work she is always at the door (usually trying to run out in the hall), but she'll always rub up against our legs and purr a little bit. The second we go to pet her she runs five feet away and just stares at us though.

I'm concerned now more than ever though. When we brought the new kitten home Bazzle was horrified. She was hissing and went into instant agitated mode. She scared the bejeesus out of poor Jinx and the kitten whines for us whenever we leave the room, out of fear I expect. We have them sperated somewhat inconveniently in our apartment, and the couple times I have brought Jinx near Bazzle she hisses and completely freaks out. I expected her to be upset, but her behaviour has me really terrified for Jinx's safety and personality. Not only did Bazzle hiss and snarl at Jinx, but she full on attacked me when I got near her, and I have the wounds to prove it. Later that night I simply got within four feet of Bazzle and she went into a hissing, snarling fit.

Okay, I know this post is turning into a novel so I'll try and get to my point. Firstly, I want Bazzle to be a good cat. She has me so frustrated sometimes, I simply can't imagine feeding and loving this cat for its entire life, but at the same time having it attack me and run from me constantly.

Secondly, I am worried about our new kitten. Obviously her safety is the biggest concern, and even if Bazzle starts to act more normal around him, who is to say that Bazzle won't tweak out on Jinx if the kitty decides to play or just gets too close? Aside from his physical health, I don't want this cat becoming traumatized because he has to live his kitty life in fear of Bazzle; or even worse, picking up on Bazzle's behaviour. Right now this cat is truly the sweetest thing I've ever seen. We just picked him up two nights ago, and for an entire two hour drive it sat right between me and my girlfriend purring and letting us pet it. It sleeps in our bed, and whines when we leave the room. I woke up this morning with him snoozing on my legs and he started licking me and purring! It was wonderful! He's normal!

If you made it this far I thank you just for putting up with my rant. I'm really at wits end with this cat. I've read the forum FAQs and asked other catowners, and tried everything else under the sun except herbal or prescription treatments. Personally, giving my cat drugs is an absolute last resort, and in my mind a "cop out" more often than not.

I should mention that she isn't fixed yet. We are having her fixed within the next two weeks though. Some people have told me it completely changed their cat's behavior, and some have said it did absolutely nothing. I would be shocked and amazed to see Bazzle come back an affectionate cat, though.

As far as Bazzle is concerned, do you think there is hope? Is there anything else to try that doesn't cost tons of money? Are cats always this violent and angry towards newcomers? Will I ever get to live a normal life again with this ktty around?!

Thanks a ton to anyone who can lend a kind ear to my story, and maybe even a little help.
post #2 of 5
Has your cat been checked by the vet for a back injury? There could be a painful spot there and she doesn't want any one to touch it. Once you clear that, I would try reverse psycology on your older cat. No petting or scritches for a week. (The cats should also NOT be together. It can take months for cats to get along and be friends.)
After the week is up you may pet the cat once on the head. Then you walk away. Keep this up for another week. Third week pull out her favorite snack, offer the snack while petting her. The fourth week give her the snack and one long pet from head to tail.

Some cats are easily over stimulated. Some do not care to be picked up. Put yourself in their place, would you want someone to touch you and pick you up if you don't want them too?

There is an article about introdusing cats here by M.A. Click here
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi DragonLady, thank you for the response. I will ask the vet to check Bazzle for any kind of health problem when we take her in. It isn't only her back though, since she reacts violently to any kind of touching, and she is very active and plays hard without any special attention to her back (as far as I can tell).

I have also tried the reverse psychology method. I have basically ignored her for weeks and tried slowly getting close to her again, and although she seems a *little* nicer if we ignore her, it never seems to last and the point where we can pet her more than once or twice has never come. I am willing to start fresh though, and I will try as you suggested again.

I can certainly understand her not wanting affection forced on her, but after the first few weeks of having her and seeing her reaction to affection, I have always stopped touching her at the first sign of agitation.

I should have mentioned, the only time she is consistently friendly is when she is hungry. She'll come up and purr, meow and stare at me and even rub against my legs. I can pet her while I'm feeding her and while she's eating, but the second she is done I'm 'fair game' again. I can also pet her back when she's eating, which is another reason I don't think she has a sensitivity to that spot. Moreover, I'd guess it was because it's a 'blind spot', and she spooks very easily.

Thanks for the reply and the link. Any other suggestions would be wonderful. I really want her to be happy, and I'm willing to stick it out for another year if that's what it takes.
post #4 of 5
It sounds to me like you want Bazzle to behave in a fashion you want her to behave in. Somehow, I don't think that is going to happen. Petting and picking up is a trait that is foreign to a cat. They don't need to be picked up and held and cuddled, but we need them to let us. Some cats simply do not want to be bothered. Of my whole crew I have 3 who are what I consider lap cats. I don't force my wishes on any of my cats, if they want to jump on my lap they can, if they don't I respect their wishes and leave them be. That is how we coexist here.

Bazzle sounds like a typical cat. She is upset that a new kitten has been brought into her domain and she is telling you she doesn't like it. She sees the kitten taking the place where she should be and that stresses her out even more.

Cats are not like dogs, you can't train them to accept affection. If you force her to stay on your lap she will bite and scratch you because you are no longer her friend, you are a predator. Most cats who have had to be outside for any length of time before being rescued do not like their backs or their tails touched. The prefer to "see" the hand on them and head rubs or neck tickles are just fine with them.

Trying to make her into a model cat will only tend to frustrate you more than you already are. Ignoring her except to see to her needs would be a better bet and once she stops feeling you are persuing her to get your daily pets from her, she will warm up to you quickly.

As for the two of them, try putting some vanilla extract under both their chins and at the base of their tails so they smell "the same."
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Heh, I haven't tried to force any kind of petting on her in almost the entire year we have had her. Like I said, I never force aggression on her. When I say get near her, I don't mean grabbing her and petting her, I mean coming within four feet of her. Sometimes she just runs, but sometimes she gets violent. There are times that I have to touch her, to keep her from going outside, or to move her if she's being stubborn and crawling around in my computer equipment. Is it normal for her to attack me when I need to do this, then? I'm tired of having huge cuts on my hands and wrists from her, I have half a dozen permanent scars now. Sometimes she doesn't mind you being close, and even petting her, but that's pretty much restricted to when whe is eating.

I'm perfectly happy letting Bazz do her own thing, I have been for a year. I guess I can't expect her to ever be affectionate, like you said cats aren't dogs! But I don't think she is your typical cat. I've been around a lot of cats in my life, and she is the most skittish and unfriendly cat I have ever met.

The vanilla idea is good! I think I will try the blanket thing, this also sounds like a good idea.
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