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Anti-social remedies?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I'm having some trouble with my cat Bella, she seems to be very anti-social. A little background here.

My wife and I have had Bella for about 3 years, she was adopted from a shelter. She was very young when we got her she had trouble with dried cat food etc. She started out being pretty loving, would lay on our laps, pur etc. My wife was home with her for a few weeks as she had the summer off. As far as her sleeping arrangements from day one Bella has gone to bed at night in 'her room' the laundy room where the litter boxes are etc and we would shut the door. We usually give her a treat or will pick her up and take her downstairs(lets my wife, doesn't like me picking her up) for the night, then I let her out in the morning when I get up.

Sometime later and I can't pinpoint a time in particular she became less affectionate towards us, perhaps when my wife was teaching and was nolonger home all day but I'm not sure. Eventually we had her declawed because she was tearing up the house and all of our other efforst had failed, I don't believe her behavior changed from that.

Right now Bella will not sit on either of our laps. She will nuggle only with my wife and only when she is ready in bed or napping then she will crawl under the blanket. I've tried this myself and no luck. This is basically the only time we have heard her pur in 3 years.

She doens't totaly ignore me, she will rub on me a bit when i get home from work and let me pet her. She really enjoys playing with me, more so then my wife. She will 'stalk' me and give my ankle nip which I usually will respond with a loud "No!" then go about what I was doing, she doesn't do this to often and I just consider it a sign she wants to play so I'm not too angry with her.

In the evenings she will sit in a nearby chair while we are on the couch, she likes to be near us if we are in the office etc, just not too near.

As my wife and I are expecting our first child we want to work on our relationship with Bella, do you all have any suggestions? I've thought about ignoring her but right now I usually let her initiate the contact already. This is such a stark constrast to the cat I grew up with Smokey its amazing and I'm just not sure what to do to bring her out of her shell.

Thank you.
post #2 of 8
Unfortunately, the behaviors you describe are not uncommon in cats who have been declawed. This procedure tends to increase aggression as well as other behavior problems. But, since we can't un-do the declawing, what we need to do is to focus on reducing the specific problem behaviors.

Please click here to read a thread about stopping aggression. If you follow the suggestions, you should have success, though remember that declawed cats bite more than other cats -- a behavior that might be difficult to change.

There are several threads which discuss bringing home an infant when you have cats. I'll find those and post links in a minute.
post #3 of 8
Please click here for an article written by the Humane Society of the United States about bringing an infant into a home with pets.

Also, check out the Humane Society web site for lots of great articles about cats. http://hsus.org/
post #4 of 8
how does declawing a cat cause aggression? never heard of
that before
post #5 of 8
Even though most cat lovers cringe at the thought of declawing, there is a lot of evidence that declawing, if there are no complications, has no impact on behavior. Although, I gather from your post that your cat was an adult when you did this? If that's the case, then I would think there could be some adverse reaction, as this would be a horrific trauma: the procedure and THEN to have no claws, when your cat had lived his/her life with claws. It could then follow that s/he would naturally associate both of you with this.

Since you are having a baby, perhaps your cat's lack of affection may not be a concern for you when the baby is born. Both of you will be so focused on the baby, that an affectionate cat could actually be more of a problem than an aloof cat.

I've found that cats love to be made a fuss over. So if you spend some time kinda courting your cat, with sweet, soothing sounds and words, then perhaps offering your cat a treat that you give him/her on your lap. Doing this every day will probably have an impact over time.

Cats are pretty sharp in reading our emotions and themes of our thinking, so reframing the way you perceive your whole persona of your cat is important. Seeing your cat as a happy, loving, sweet creature really helps. Even if you are frustrated with your cat, when you add up the minutes of irritable behavior against times s/he does not irritate you, you come up with .0001% numerically.
post #6 of 8

It depends on many factors. The age of the cat, who did the procedure, how they did it, and how they handled the pain meds afterwards as well as the after care.

To better understand the stance of the board on this issue, most of us believe this is a barbaric practice and should be outlawed. Visit the health forum and click on the static link health issues then click on Declaw. Go to our health section in the main site and read two stories (both personal ones) about Declawing.

Not all the time does it bring out aggression in cats, but a lot of the time it does. Many cats who were declawed by their owners, end up owner surrenders at shelters anyway. Ironic to me, because the cat was declawed to stop behavior problems.

I don't want this to turn into another declaw- anti-declaw thread there are hundreds of those in the archives.

And Newport- have you tried resourcing the Bach Flower remedies? There is an excellent website called Cat Faeries that has a full array of remedies you can order. Aspen, Chicory or Holly might help you out here.
post #7 of 8
I forgot to mention that my cat is declawed......not by me. I adopted her that way. She is as sweet and loving as can be.

She came to me as a love biter, but since I have severe allergies, I could not tolerate that. It took a long time to alter this, maybe because it also took a long time for her to truly trust me. I don't know anything about her past: if her previous owners liked this or if she was punished a lot. When I posted about this, everyone said it was because she was declawed. Now that she doesn't do it, it cannot be because of the declawing.

The thing is that just as there is no such thing as a perfect person, there is probably no such thing as a perfect cat. We tend to overlook our cats' idiosyncracies to call them perfect.
My point is, that if a cat is declawed, it easy to blame that for any undesirable behavior a cat may have. Perhaps the cat would have the same behavior it s/he wasn't declawed.

I know a lot of cat lovers that declaw their cats as kittens, and they have no problems.
post #8 of 8
Thanks for your input. So that we don't lose the focus of this thread, I ask that all future posts and opinions on declawing be put in the declawing discussion thread in Care and Grooming rather than on this thread. I would hate to divert this discussion from Newportdadde's concerns.

Click here for the declawing discussion thread.

Thanks for everyone's cooperation!
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