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Houseguests who Dislike Cats

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm not sure where this belongs, but... My grandma dislikes cats - she's actually afraid of them. She came over a couple days ago, and Maisey would not leave her alone. She'd rub against her legs, sit beside and stare at her, etc. I've heard cats are not as intimidated by people who ignore them, so that's why they prefer being around these people. My grandma is one of the few people I know that dislikes cats, and usually doesn't come here often. However, she recently moved back to her hometown, and her doctor is up here - she's been having some health issues, and will be coming up more in the near future. Her doctor's office is really close to me, so she and my mom come to visit (when I'm home). Maisey is also a nuisance when any company comes - she craves attention. I lay out all her toys on her favorite rug to keep her occupied, but she's always up in our faces.

I thought about putting her in the bathroom when company comes, esp. my grandma. She has never been confined to a room, though, so I don't know how she'd react. The bathroom is pretty big, and it's the only room in my apt. with a door. Would this be very upsetting to her, or is it a good solution? I don't want her to feel like she's being punished - I'm afraid she'll meow and bat the door to get out. Maybe I could try putting her in there a few mins. a day to get used to it? Or, spend some time in there with her, so she's not as scared? What do you think?
post #2 of 12
I have never really had anyone who disliked them,so I couldn't say what's best in that area, but I have a sis-in-law who is allergic to them, I have alway's had maybe 2 or 3 and I would just tell whoever take a pill before you come lol, I now have 8 so they may need a few of those pills
post #3 of 12
Close the lid in the bathroom (if there are no larger rooms) and keep her in there. Your grandmother (& halfpint's sis-in-law) should be respected. It's not the same as doing it for a day, or longer, but a couple of hours won't hurt. She'll either just curl up and sleep (soft mat in there?), or maybe howl a bit, but she'll live.
post #4 of 12
The reason why cats go to people who (usually) dislike cats is not that they aren't intimiated or anything. It is because these people are usually very quiet around them and don't try to grab them. Cats tend to gravitate to calm people.
So if your grandma woudl come in and talk loudly and make of nuisence of herself to the cat, your can would probably avoid her.
post #5 of 12
yeah, my dad doesn't like cats and if he comes over he will make wierd hissy noises at my cat, and then of course my cat will run away, so that will be the end of it!! LOL. It irritates me.
post #6 of 12
Actually, part of the reason why cats go to the person who dislikes cats is because cat-lovers all stare at the cat, while the person who doesn't like cats will look away in the hopes that the cat won't notice them. To cats, looking away means being polite, whereas staring is hostile and intimidating. Your cat is drawn to your grandmother because to your cat's mind, only your grandma has manners!

Normally, if I were to have guests who didn't like cats, I'd tell them "tough ****" and warn them that my house is my cats' house, too. If you don't like cats, don't come to my house! However, with a grandmother ... well, that's certainly a lot more difficult, isn't it? My own Nana didn't care much for cats, but she lived two hours away and never visited (we always drove up to visit her), so it never became an issue; however, I can't imagine telling my Nana to suck it up and get over it!

My best advice, other than suggesting you shut your cat up in a room while your grandmother visits, would be for you to tell your grandmother to behave just like a "rude" person: stare at the cat! It's not nice or polite in the cat-world, but intense staring is what tends to drive cats away and it just might work. Stare at the cat, don't look away abruptly or blink slowly (welcoming signs, to a kitty), don't stare through the cat (you know, like pretend you can't see the cat), and don't behave nervously or agitatedly, which will just draw the cat's attention.

I hope this helps, and good luck!
post #7 of 12
My father-in-law is terrified of cats (and dogs), so naturally they won't leave him alone. I used to confine Jamie and his predecessors to our bedroom when he visited, but now I don't bother. He's been told often enough to stare at the cat or to approach him, so that Jamie decides to avoid him. I feel that my father-in-law has had enough contact with our pets over the past 25 years that he should have learned how to deal with them, instead of expecting us to "reason" with the pets.
post #8 of 12
Growing up, our cat Frisky was very well behaved. But when my aunts, who hated cats, would visit, she would either jump on their laps and rub on them, or walk across the table. The best was when she walked across the kitchen counter, behind my Mom, so Mom couldn't see to shoo her down. I'm sure the aunts thought we were hillbillies, to have creatures on the kitchen counters! I'm sure it was beyond Frisky thinking they were polite in cat terms. She knew exactly what she was doing. She was always real nice to my Grandma, who didn't "like" cats, but would politely pet her. She left Grandma alone real quick, and never jumped on the table!

Frisky also used to bathe herself after we pet her; I guess we were common street urchins, while she was royalty!

Cats don't like lemon, maybe you can put a citrus spray on the chair where Grandma sits. I agree that you don't alter life for most people, but Grandma's are special!
post #9 of 12
If someone is allergic, then I say put the kitten/cat in another room with the door closed.If they don't like them, I would be polite and tell them you have a cat/kitten and to just ignore them the best they can.If it's a nusience for them,they'll either put up with the cat/kitten or not come around as often.
My Mom does not like cats, but I tell her this is Blaze's home also
post #10 of 12
I've been on both sides of this situation, in a way: I had some experiences in childhood that left me phobic about dogs, and I lived in abject terror of them until just a few years ago. (When I started volunteering at the animal shelter, I ended up spending more time around dogs and coming to understand them better. I always loved them from afar -- but now I'm free of my phobia, so I can love 'em up close, too!)

The point is, during my phobic years, I had a terrible time visiting people's homes or even just going for a walk in the neighborhood -- nobody understood my paralyzing fear of dogs. Some people would actually sic their dogs on me, saying, "Oh, get over it!" even as I was shaking and crying in terror. I knew my fear wasn't normal, and I knew most dogs would never hurt me -- but knowing it intellectually doesn't help a bit when you're dealing with a phobia. The fear is very, very real...and for an older person like your grandmother, it could even be dangerous.

So as much as I adore my babies, I would indeed confine them to another room if necessary to make a human guest comfortable. I wouldn't leave them confined for too long, and I'd go in to see about them as often as I could... but I would do it. For Grandma. :-)
post #11 of 12
I would try a combination of the things above that people have suggested.

1. Yes, put your cat in the bathroom (with litter, bed, food and toys) for a little while each day until she gets used to it and knows it's not a punishment. She'll probably play for a bit then sleep.
2. Explain to your grandma that even though she is afraid of cats, her behaviour is actually encouraging your kitty to want to be around her. Ask her to stare at the cat, reach for it, and try to pick it up/hold/pet it. In 9 out of 10 cases this will make the cat run for it's life (probably yours will be the 10th and your kitty will love it!!!..lol)
3. Try to understand why your grandma is afraid of cats, and perhaps use your kitty to educate her - show her how gentle, soft and loving they can be.

You never know, you might create a new cat lover yet! If these things don't work then you will probably need to just shut kitty away while your grandma is over.

Hope it works out for you.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Ok, I've received opinions from both sides - I understand the basis of both angles. Since my grandma is not terribly frightened of cats (she believes they're possessed by the Devil, and doesn't like them watching her, seriously , I may suggest that she try staring or talking loudly. I'm curious to see if it works - my cat may be the odd one that is not phased. A neighbor at my old apt. complex came over one day - she talks loudly and motions with her arms a lot, but didn't pay attention to the cat. Maisey went to the foot of her chair and laid down and showed her belly. I was surprised, as she rarely does that even for me. I know it's a signal that she really trusts the person, since the belly is a vulnerable area. Very strange.

If the staring doesn't work, I'll try putting her in the bathroom (with her litter and water). Thanks for your input, all!
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