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Old 08-14-2008, 03:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default My cat is not cuddly!

Hello All!

My girlfriend and I live together in an apartment and bought a cat in October. We think he was born in August or September, so he is about 1 year old. That would make him about 6 weeks old when we got him. We bought him from Petsmart, a retail pet store in my area. He was brought in as a stray along with his 5 brothers and sisters.

Anyway, he is not and has never been very cuddly. He is not the cat who will sleep on the bed or jump on your lap for some TLC. He doesn't even like treats, and up until now often bit us when we tried to pick him up.

The only time he is affectionate is when we come home from work after he has been alone all day. At that time we are able to pick him up, but only for about 60 seconds before he flops around like a fish and wants to get down. Even when we put him on the couch and pet him, the second we stop, he shoots off like a rocket. And sometimes when we pet him he doesn't seem to like it at all... more of an attitude like "why are you touching me?".

It almost seems like he wants to be a crazy/energetic outdoor cat.

I would like to know if there is anything we can do to calm him a bit and get him to be more affectionate. I'm not sure if he is capable of being changed, but any tips may help.
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Old 08-14-2008, 05:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome, and thanks for adopting a cat thru PetsMart (I foster kittens/cats for PetsMart adoptions).

I think your problem has two parts; one possibly being the way he was raised by you and the other being his age/personality. Please pardon me, because you didn't give enough information and I could very well be wrong about this... When he was a kitten, and all through this first year with you both, did you shower him with affection, petting and playing? ...or did you just let him be, do whatever he wanted, and choose not to be handled by you? His slinking away from your hand sounds like he is trying to avoid your touch, either through not wanting that contact at that moment or it feels strange to him and needs to be done more often to desensitize his nerves to the touch/feel.

The biggest complaint I hear from people are 'cats are so aloof'.
They are if you allow them to be. I get very involved in my cats' lives and people are amazed at how they know their own name and will come when called, either as a group or individually by name of a specific cat that I want to come to me. (and I have a load of cats, 10 currently)

Some cats need to be shown that they can enjoy being held and loved on. When I foster ferals I sort of 'force my attention' on them by holding them as I pet them until they relax and then I let them go. I pet them when they are sleepy, either waking or falling asleep. I pet them when they eat. I hold them. I pick them up and hold them. I pet their heads/backs and scrubble my fingers into their cheek/neck/back muscles like a massage, rub their bellies, do whatever it is that feels good to them. I also bring treats, though you say he doesn't really care for treats. Give small pieces of cooked chicken a try. My cats can't resist it.

The other thing is his age and personality. It sounds like he is a very active young cat, which is normal for his age/gender. Can you engage him in play activities where he interacts with you? I think the best things would be toys you can retain control over, like a leather string you hold/drag/swing and another toy with a wand, string and feathers on the end to encourage leaping into the air. Another favorite is a laser-dot to smoothly run along the floor, walls and furniture for him to chase. He may just need his excess energy worked off before he can relax enough for attention.

Also, at his age, he is very much like a teenage boy who does not want his friends to see his mother kissing him. This could remain the same all his life, but usually I've seen this behavior change as the cat gets a little more age and maturity on them. We adopted a cat this past Spring who was a sweetheart....UNTIL...he picked up his weight and felt better with better nutrition. He was about 12-18mo old when we took him in.
He turned into a TERROR!
Ripping through the house, jumping on all the cats (not in aggression, just wanting them to play) and he leaps on my Husband, using his paws to grab and he bites, Bites, BITES! Granted, he is very 'soft' with his teeth/claws and rarely breaks the skin, but he is just so playful. We've had him for about 6mo now, and I have noticed in the last 6-8wks he is becoming more gentle with me and allowing me to pet him more and more without him bitg me. He still engages my Hubby in rough/tumble, but that is their 'thing' they do together...and he will still slink away from my hand, but my point is, their behavior can change if you are consistent in your behavior.

I hope these stories were helpful for you and your kitty.
Heidi
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Old 08-14-2008, 06:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for your info!

I would say he was definitely raised with a lot of affection. The problem always was that he would try to bite you as soon as you grabbed him. He does not bite as much anymore, which is good. And I agree that the best time to pet was when he was dosey.

We played with him a whole lot when he was a kitten, and now as well. Here are some videos we made of him.

http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=kHHcyHVERPM
http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=Iyfl7J9VVuo

I like your idea with the real chicken instead of treats. That will get his attention.

The vet once told us that he could be mean because he was taken from his mother too soon. Hopefully this is not the case since it could mean he would never change.

I think he will change over time, it may just take a while. He seems to me like a mix between a 2 year old human and a squirrel. Full of energy like "the terrible two's" and crazy and quick and hard to handle like a squirrel.

I'll see how it goes i guess.
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Old 08-14-2008, 07:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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O! M! G! What a fearless, active, playful kitteh you guys have! He is amazing!

I loved the videos! Our first cat, Inky, would fetch like Cooper, and I loved the ninja vid with him and the feet running back/forth.
...and...I think I see what the 'problem' is.
Your vet is right, his being taken from his mother so young is problematical, but the vet is wrong because it doesn't make kittens 'mean', but what it does mean, is the kitten didn't grow up with a parent and/or siblings to wrestle/play with, to bite and get bitten and learn how to play nicely with others. So...when he came to you, you and your gf became his 'play toys', but since you didn't know how to respond like another cat/kitten, he has not learned to temper his playing.

Someone here suggested when a cat/kitten bites you, push your bitten part towards their mouth. This confuses them, because most 'prey' moves away and inspires more chasing/pouncing. Pushing towards them makes them let go and re-evaluate what is happening. Also, when they bite, make a small 'ouch' cry and stop interacting with them. Move away, push the cat off your lap and leave him alone with no attention for a few minutes. He will eventually learn that the unwanted behavior doesn't give him positive results.

Another thing from the videos...he is just very, very active! It may take him a while before he 'slows down' enough for cuddling. Right now, it is all about the playtime!
You've got a great cat! I wanna come play with him.
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Old 08-14-2008, 07:22 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I see. We had another cat here for a week while some friends were away from home and Cooper did very well. I think having another cat was great for him. We had considered getting another cat but I think my girlfriend only wants another because she wants a cuddy cat. I see that as sort or a replacement for her and that is the wrong reason to get another.

Also, we are trying to arrange being afternoon caretakers for the cats at Petsmart one day of the week. If we find a cat we can't resist then we may bring one home.

Cooper doesn't really bite at all anymore. I think he has learned that it is wrong.

He definitely has a whole lot of energy as well. He is usually panting like a dog by the time he settles down.

I'll wait for him to calm a bit and keep at it.
Thanks for your help.
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Old 08-14-2008, 08:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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He's just a ball of energy isn't he! If he is still as active as those videos I understand why he's not much for cuddling. I would just consistently give him that attention, work with him. I'll be honest, it may take a long time...my Maggie was a nut case like him too, she was 8 before she even slightly slowed down and 10 before she began to actively seek out petting or wanting to be held.

One question...has he been neutered? If not that would probably help.
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Old 08-15-2008, 07:47 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cooper83
I see. We had another cat here for a week while some friends were away from home and Cooper did very well. I think having another cat was great for him.
Many people believe that kittens should be adopted in pairs, as this gives them a "play" outlet (they really do have too much energy for mere humans to keep up with!). Having another kitten may indeed help, but make sure you chose carefully, so their personalities are well matched.
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Old 08-15-2008, 12:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Getting a second kitty with a different personality type (cuddly vs. active) sound very workable, since each cat will have a comfortable role in the family as well as being able to be a friend to the other kitty...

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