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Any way to make my cat more affectionate

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I have a 10 month old female tabby (spayed). She is healthy and playful but does not like to be petted too much. Usually when I'm at my desk she sleeps on the couch and when I'm on the couch she goes on a chair. She seems to like to have her space and never curls up next to anyone to be petted for long periods of time. She usually wants to leave after 15-30 seconds of petting or tries to bite (semi-playfully). Anything I can do?

Thanks,
Gus
post #2 of 8
Hey Gus-
I have a solid black female (spayed, also) named "Chloe". Yes,I use her name. She has big, beautiful copper colored eyes. Her coat is short, very thick, and shiny. The sad part is- she knows it. Chloe appears to have a bad attitude because if you try to pick her up she cries mournfully. She only comes up to me or anyone else on her terms. She won't sit in anyone's lap. But she will lay on the back of the big recliner if someone is in it. She usually will sit somewhere in the room with us and keep her eye on us. She doesn't purr as often as most cats, but that is just her. Chloe really is affectionate and I'm sure your cat is, too. With these independent, aloof and very frustrating cats you have to watch really close. They don't want you to know that they need affection. So they act like they don't need you. Pay real close attention to her when you come home. See if she rubs against your leg and walks behind you to hide her contentment. Whatever it is she does, she needs love but she won't be as vocal about it as some. All you can do is respect her for how she is.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Oh I respect her and love her and all of that. This is just a minor quirk. It's just that last night I was at my girlfriend's aunts house and their cat just came and sat next to us and we were petting her all over and she was loving it. My cat does seem pleased when I come home; she arches her back and walks all around me. Other times I've noticed, she would go up on a table and paw at things on the table and drop them on the floor as to get my attention. So I go up to her and see if she wants to play or if she wants to be petted and she doesn't seem more interested than usual in either
post #4 of 8
Hi Gus and welcome to the forums!

Yeah, I guess cats can be very different from one another (much like people really ) Both of my cats are not what you'd call lap cats.

One of them is very shy and won't let strangers near him (just in case they happen to be "the Vet"...). He usually wouldn't sit contentedly in our lap, but we have noticed a major change in the past few weeks. I have no idea why, but he fell in love with my husband (wait a second, that doesn't sound very good, does it? I am very much in love with my husband - so I can understand why )

Anyway, in the past 3-4 weeks he jumps into hubby's lap and purrs away for hours. If I go to near them he jumps off. Go figure!
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
So I guess the moral of the story is that that's just how this cat is. Is the cat the mirror of its owner? What I'm asking is, is the owner fully responsible for how the cat turns out?
I know I've been guilty in the past in trying to keep the cat from leaving when I was playing with her, and in the process I let her bite me.. so I'm guessing that didn't help either.
post #6 of 8
I don't think these cats are like their owners when they act like that. If that were the case, my Romeo would be just like Chloe. They are like night and day. I picked up Chloe yesterday to hold her and she got all spastic like she does with her back claws spread, squirming, trying to get down. I told her that she was going to let me hold her for just 10 sec. b/c she was my pet.
You might want to try that. Hold your cat for 10 sec. at a time. Then everyday add a few more sec. I find Chloe doesn't squirm like she used to. I know it sounds cruel but there are times I have to pick her up and I would like to do it w/o back claws making holes in my shirt. Besides, Chloe never does anything bad so she often forgets who the owner is. By holding her for 30 sec. a day she knows that she is supposed to obey!
post #7 of 8
I can't speak for the relationship between others but with me and Motoko (2 and a half year old long haired tabby) it's not an owner/pet relationship. I no more 'own' her than she does me, what the two of us have is a type of symbiotic relationship. I feed her give her fresh water and buy/make her toys so we can play, not to mention I'm the all powerful destroyer of the poop and holder of the sacred can opener (she gets wet food as a special treat). In return she gives me lots of love and affection. I don't own her any more than I own my mom or my sister or girlfriend, we love one another and so we both look out for the other in our own way.

I think that a big factor of a cats personality is environment, when I first took her in Motoko was just about a year old and was living as a stray in my apartment complex after her previous owners moved out. She was the victim of severe abuse, having been denied regular feedings and a clean home to live in, not to mention never having been given real love. I also found out that she had been severely and repeatedly beaten with a broom (I still have to move her to another room when I want to sweep up but shes terrified of anyone with a broom)

Given these factors one might think she would be unaffectionate and even hostile to humans but all it took for me to win her over was a bowl of milk and bread and a bit of love. She bonded to be and now won't let me out of her sight, following me from room to room and curling up in my lap as soon as I sit down. Her son Korgoth (turns out she was pregnant when I took her in, and one of the kits was given to my roommate) is like a completely different species. He tends to act more like a dog than a feline, drooling when you give him some love, running headfirst into the sliding glass door to our balcony playing fetch (yes he grabs the toy and drops it at your feet to throw again) and the like.

We gave him constant attention as a kit, holding and petting him constantly to reaffirm his bond with my roommate. As a result Korgoth loves to interact with people, he'll jump right into a strangers lap expecting the same level of love we give him. But on the flip side we have problems with discipline.

While it took us no more than a few weeks to get Motoko to abide by the rules of the house such as, no clawing on the couch no eating people food when we leave it unattended to get a drink from the kitchen, etc etc. We did this with a spray bottle in combination with making a hissing sound when we sprayed them. Motoko stopped breaking the rules and if she does anything wrong a simple hiss will now deter her. Korgoth on the other hand just grew accustomed to being wet and started ignoring us. It took awhile but be finally got him to obey the same set of rules.

My point is that these two cats are worlds apart. Where simple rules of cat psychology may apply to Motoko, Korgoth will eat said psychology book then deposit the remnants in your shoes while you're asleep. Theres no one thing you can do to make them more affectionate other than make yourself available, try to play with them and learn about them. Cats have likes and dislikes just like people, Motoko has a favorite toy (a fuzzy leopard print mouse that can be refilled with catnip) and she won't play with any of the dozens of other toys I got her. It doesn't mean she doesn't want to play with me, she just doesn't want those other toys.

My advice is to try spending some time with the kitty, get to know it and what it may like. I would also recommend you not think of yourself as the cats owner, because I guarantee the cat doesn't think of the situation that way, as best you're a friend and protector, at worst you're some guy who keeps bothering her. Remember, cats are extremely smart and have a better grasp of the situation around them than most people think. Just like people, you can't force a cat to love you, but if you love your cat you can change yourself to be what she wants to love.
post #8 of 8
Oh, it should also be noted, and this may sound obvious but bare with me, cats are a different animal than humans. What I mean is that we have two completely different social systems, a lot of people offend cats without knowing it.

Among humans it's a sign of respect and honesty to look someone dead in the eye when speaking with them (this is especially true of western culture) so avoiding eye contact makes a person seem shifty, like they're up to something. But cats still have feral instinct, which means that the only reason to look another creature in the eye is to gather information prior to making a kill. To many cats a human looking them in the eye or even looking directly at them is a huge threat so it instinctively makes them uncomfortable. A cats peripheral vision is excellent, however they don't understand that in comparison we're blind as moles in the outer edges of our vision. So a cat won't understand why we can't just watch them out of the corner of our eyes.

Some things that I've found that help:

-The slow blink: A non-verbal communication meaning anything from 'I love you' to 'I'm not gonna eat you' (maybe the same thing in kitty-ese)
-The yawn: It's obvious, a predator doesn't yawn when it's about to pounce. Yawning is a sign of relaxation, it means the adrenaline that makes me a formidable hunter isn't doing it's thing.
-The stoner vision: Yep that's right, the baked get the kitty love. Keeping your eyes half closed (as close to fully closed as you can make them, pretend your Ginsberg...) has the same effect as the yawn. A predator needs all the information it can gather before making a kill, so the eyes are all the way open, allowing them to see what they need to judge distance, speed, interception, etc etc.

In the end, a cat would just a soon not have you look at them, but if you try these things you may be able to put her at ease enough to keep her from thinking that you're just keeping her around until the rest of the food runs out.
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