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Old 11-25-2011, 09:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Kitten just won't cuddle

Hi all,

I've been really confused by my kitten's behaviour. I've never owned a kitten so I don't know if she's just going through a phase, if she's afraid of me, or what exactly the problem is.

When I first got my kitten she was about 10 weeks old. She would spend all her time ON me. On my lap, or on my shoulder. When I watched tv, she lay on the couch with me. When I went to bed, she would go under the sheets with me.

The first thing to go was the bed. She joins me at night, every night, but there is only one place she will sleep: Under the bed. I have tried everything to coax her out from under the bed, but it does me no good. I can get her onto my bed if I play with her on it, or I entice her with a treat, but as soon as the socializing stops, she is back under the bed.

Then the couch was next to go. She will play and jump up on the couch when she is playing, but she will not lie on the couch with me anymore. She used to lie on me, and snuggle a lot. Then she would lay beside me, snuggling beside my legs or something, and eventually see her way to me.

Now, she will go lay down about 20 feet from the couch, on a piece of carpet, and sleep there. Same deal as the bed, I cannot entice her.

The last thing I have now is when she sleeps by my monitor. She is there right now. When I am at the computer she jumps up onto a blanket I leave there for her. She used to jump into my lap and go for that spot, but now it's the blanket. Sometimes I can pick her up with the blanket and leave it in my lap and she will stay there, but she never chooses my lap. Petting in general seems to be something she doesn't particular receive well. Usually petting her results in her getting up and walking 5 feet and sitting down again, unless she's on her blanket.

She is just under 5 months old now. Why won't she spend anymore time on the couch/bed/my lap with me, and is there anything I can do to win back her affection? Is this just a phase that she will grow out of, or am I stuck with a cat that follows me everywhere, but will only go on my lap if there's a chance she thinks she will get a treat (she always tries to mooch my dinner from me, even though I've never given her a scrap)?

The only genuine affection I seem to get from her anymore, where she actively cuddles with me is for about a minute, when I get home from work. At this point I can pick her up and she will purr a lot and rub her head against me a lot. Otherwise, yeah.

I'll be honest, I got a cat because I like to cuddle with cats, not see one stare at me and watch everything I do without showing affection 95% of the time.
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Old 11-25-2011, 10:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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What can I say? She's going through the obstinate teenage years and is equivalent to a 13-15 yr. old child who is coming into herself and maybe sexual urges. Has she been spayed yet? If not, that's #1 on your list. Since she was very affectionate with you in the beginning, I think it's just a phase and she will come out of it in a few months. However, I'm curious that she goes under the bed, and am wondering if you rolled on her in your sleep or somehow hurt her, and now she doesn't trust being in bed with you. That could explain why she's reluctant to be close to you now. Is she a tortie? Some can be quite independent and don't especially liked being picked up or fussed over a lot, but like to receive affection on their own terms. I guess it's going to be a wait and see mostly. But if you sit on the floor and play games with her, like dragging a cord around you and through your lap, she might decide to sit on you when you don't have a treat. Let's face it cats can be difficult to figure out; that's part of their mystery.
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Old 11-25-2011, 11:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I would not be surprised if I injured her in the bed, because I do move around a lot and stuff, so maybe she's not comfortable there. I can live with her not snuggling with me in bed. That still shouldn't have had an effect on her behaviour everywhere else. She's very relaxed around me. I can pretty much pick her up whenever I want with no problems, but she just isn't too affectionate. She has some aggression problems where she bites a bit too much and sometimes gets really riled up, but generally, like I said, she goes everywhere I go, so I don't see her not wanting my company. She has NO ISSUES jumping on my lap or walking over my legs or whatever when she is playing, getting treats or really curious about something I'm doing. She just doesn't cuddle.

She is not spayed yet, but I was told by my vet that she shouldn't be spayed until 6 months. Her breed is a LaPerm, which I believe is most closely associated with Rex? I'm not a cat expert, sorry. That's why I rely on this forum for help.

I really hope it's a phase, but the fact that she still sleeps in the same room as me, just doesn't cuddle WITH me, worries me that it's not. Is it common among cats around this age? She's has never hissed, snarled or growled at me. I have made her afraid of me earlier on through mistakes of my own, which I regret (I just didn't know bettr), but her fear was always short term, and her growing distance has increased a lot after my early mistakes.

Last edited by marie73; 11-26-2011 at 12:32 AM.
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Old 11-25-2011, 11:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yeah I agree with catloverami - sounds like your kitten has hit her teenage stage She's a grown up cat now, with important things to do and places to go. Far too busy to snuggle with her momma, except on her own schedule. She'll probably grow out of it - although to be fair, my Sassy is 14 and she's STILL stuck in her obnoxious teenager phase. The only time she was ever very snuggly was for a few months when she was a young kitten. I've had her for 14 years and she's never slept on anyone's lap. She won't sleep on the bed with me - although sometimes she will lay by my feet for a little while before she goes to find somewhere else to sleep. She's intensely fussy and very independent, but her abundant personality is what makes everyone love her so much. And even though she doesn't particularly like to be smothered she has her own ways of showing her affection and trust, although they're kinda subtle.

So I guess I just want to say if your cat never goes back to being a lap cat, just know it's not a sign she doesn't love and trust you. Just, they each have their own quirks and personalities, and some just naturally aren't very snuggly.

One thing you could try if she seems to not enjoy much petting is cut back on how much you pet her. Cats can get TOO much petting, and when they get over stimulated they need their own space. Try letting her just hang out close to you without always petting her. My Sassy always asks to be pet with her body language when she wants attention, and sometimes she wants to just be close to me without being touched. And that's ok. It doesn't sound to me like your cat is just looking for food from you - your kitten will sit in your lap occasionally, sleeps under your bed (close to you, where she can hear and smell you - she wants to be near you but still needs her space), and greets you happily when you return home. She's showing her affection in her own way
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Old 11-25-2011, 11:23 PM   #5 (permalink)
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It's good advice thank you. I'm a little needy I admit. But sometimes it's easy to feel rejected by my kitten.

Also, I'm a daddy, not a momma. Sometimes I've wondered how much space I should give her. You mention to not overpet her. I wasn't sure if not giving her affection would make her grow MORE distant from me so I try to pet her and please her a lot. But maybe I should just lay off.

Last edited by marie73; 11-26-2011 at 12:32 AM.
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Old 11-25-2011, 11:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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savoirfaire, I think you have my cat's twin! When she was little she would even sleep on my head but now (almost a year and a half old) she sleeps elsewhere. She is also persnickety and gets overstimulated easily which leads to biting, but she gives me fair warning so if I get bitten it's really my fault.

I think a lot of factors went into this change of behavior: she starting growing up and becoming more independent, we moved into a smaller apartment that is much more quiet, my boyfriend moved in with me so there isn't much room on the bed at night anymore, and she is going through her jerky teenage phase.

Of course, she is a calico who was up for adoption way too young so I'm also fighting against Mother Nature here! LOL.

I don't really have any insight, just sympathy since we are going through the same thing! It is frustrating because I wanted a cat to cuddle with, but she only does that if she's hungry. (Which my boyfriend says is karma because I do the same thing! Ha ha.) However, I think she shows affection in her own way. For example she will follow me from room to room especially if I'm the only one home. She likes to be in the vicinity but not in your lap. She is also very energetic and LOVES to play with us. And she loves to talk. And talk. And talk. And talk.
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Old 11-25-2011, 11:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Mine only meows if I'm around her litter box or in the kitchen . But yeah she follows me everywhere all the time. If I left the computer right now
her head would immediately perk up and she would leave her blanket.

It's comforting for me just knowing other people have similar behaving cats. thanks.

Last edited by marie73; 11-26-2011 at 12:33 AM.
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Old 11-25-2011, 11:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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My Samantha was a wonderful cat and we spent 15 1/2 of her 16 years together.
We spent almost ever night before I went to sleep together on my bed, she would spend hours lying beside me as I watched TV in bed but as soon as I got ready to go to sleep she would leave the bed for one of her spots.
Now during the day she would often sleep on my bed just not when I was sleeping.
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Old 11-26-2011, 03:26 AM   #9 (permalink)
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my Libby is kind of like that. I got her at 1.5 years, so I'm not sure what she was like as a kitten, but she's definitely not a lap cat. She's still very social in her own way (she's chatty, she likes being in the same room as the "action", but she's usually laying on the floor, or a kitchen chair (she loves sleeping on kitchen chairs), and never on my lap (I don't think she's ever sat in my lap) or on the couch beside me.

She does like cuddles for a few minutes when I pick her up (but I got that out of her gradually by picking her up, and taking her to the window so she can "look out"..it started as just that, but it's grown into our "snuggly time"..she doesn't stay too long, just a few mins, but I get some kisses out of her that way

She runs to the door when I get home, follows me around, rubs up against my legs etc, so I know she loves me, she's just not one of those "all over you" cats... (which I kinda love actually). She is a Tortie (I never knew until now that that kind of independence was a breed thing!).

Ditto with sleep time. For the first 6 months, she liked being in the room, but would almost always sleep on the floor. Sometimes at the foot of the bed, but that's it.

Lately with the cooler weather, she's been snuggling a bit at bedtime, and then moving to sleep beside my feet.

I actually feel very loved by her (that she always likes being around), I think it's adorable. You should too!!! Your kitty loves being with you! A lot of cats hide in other rooms, and sleep in dens etc.

It's probably just a phase. Respect her space, pick her up once in awhile for love (try the window thing!), but don't force it
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Old 11-26-2011, 02:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Oops! Sorry about that, it's darn hard to tell gender over the internet most of the time Anyway if your cat follows you everywhere it sure sounds like she's gonna turn into a real daddy's girl - she can't let you out of her sight!

But yeah, cats can definitely get too much affection, and offering more than they can take doesn't really help. Sassy can't take much petting all at once, and unfortunately it's something most people just can't pick up on. I make sure to give her space, and I wait to get her permission before touching her (just kind hold out my hand and let her sniff it, and if she comes closer or brushes against me she wants pet, and if she moves away she needs a little space at that moment). She avoids people who touch her after she tells them to stop (like my little brother ) and only hangs out with people who respect her space.

Like right now she's taking a little nap on the foot of my bed, after asking me for a few minutes of petting. When she didn't want to be touched anymore she went and lay down about two feet away from me. But the big thing is, she didn't just leave after she was done. She's sleeping near me instead of her bed out in the hall, or her comfy bed by the window across the room, or her favorite chair downstairs. She's choosing to be close to me instead, even though I've got the light on and I'm listening to music. So to me it doesn't matter that she's not touching me, because she's still being affectionate in her own way.
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