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Old 01-04-2012, 11:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Female Cat is Skittish... Personality? or Could it be Something Else?

Juno, our 2 year old female, is VERY skittish. She has been since we brought her home six months ago. She will arch her back downwards when you try to pet her, as if your hand will hurt her if she is touched. She does not like to be held, pet, or any other sort of human contact. She will sit on my boyfriend's lap and follow him around, yet she won't allow him to pet her while she's on his lap.

I'm wondering if this is just her personality, which is fine if it is. But I want to make sure she is confortable. We have another cat, Caesar, who is much bigger, but they seem to enjoy eachother's company. They cuddle, groom eachother, and play (non-aggressively) wrestle all of the time. He is larger, and therefore more dominant, so he is always the first to the food bowl, the one who sleeps on the bed with us, etc. etc.
I'm hoping he isn't too dominative over her, causing her to be skittish towards us. What are the signs that her shyness and avoidance are not due to personality, but instead environmental factors?
I just want her to be as comfortable as possible, even if that means I never get to touch her, or even if it means finding her a new home where she is more comfortable with her surroundings.
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Old 01-04-2012, 11:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Cleo came to me when she was a year old (not a great first year for her, either, from what I understand). She doesn't like to be held or picked up or touched except when she wants her face scratched. It's been four years and that's just the way she is. But I wouldn't trade her for the world. She has to knead my arm every night and fall asleep on my pillow with her paw touching my face or arm.

Juno's relationship with Caesar is great! Some members here would be thrilled if their cats got along that well. I think she'll definitely come around with her humans in time.

The only thing I would keep an eye on, which I also have to do with Charlee, is make sure she gets her share of the food. I feed Charlee, my Hoover, separately most of the time.
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Old 01-04-2012, 11:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The only thing I would keep an eye on, which I also have to do with Charlee, is make sure she gets her share of the food. I feed Charlee, my Hoover, separately most of the time.
Oh I definatley monitor their feeding. I can't leave food out all day (as I've been able to with my parent's cats), because of some reason Caesar, like most people, has an overeating problem. He already is getting quite a swollen "kitty pouche".
Caesar did at first try to stop her from eating, by positioning his body in a way where she couldn't get to the bowls. This was easily solved by seperating the bowls, but now, Caesar manages to cover up his food bowl with kitty toys and goes over and eats hers. It got to a point where kitty play time and eat time had to be seperated. Haha, he's a twit.
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Old 01-04-2012, 11:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Oh. my. gosh. Caesar is a character, isn't he?
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Old 01-05-2012, 12:30 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Oh. my. gosh. Caesar is a character, isn't he?
He certainly is. You don't know how many stray socks i've found in the water dish. Once, I was careless and I left a shirt that needed to be washed on my dresser. Ended up in the litter box. Needless to say I no longer have that shirt.

He will also try to "claw the wall" in order to cover the food. As if he could knock the wall over onto the food bowl. He does this for five minutes or so every single time before he gives up.
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Old 01-05-2012, 01:46 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Milky is an only cat in our home, but still likes trying to claw the floorboards as if he's trying to dig a spot to save his food for later!! Cats are such funny characters!
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Old 01-05-2012, 04:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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What are the signs that her shyness and avoidance are not due to personality, but instead environmental factors?
I just want her to be as comfortable as possible, even if that means I never get to touch her, or even if it means finding her a new home where she is more comfortable with her surroundings.

If her shyness and skittish behavior always happen in the presence of Caesar and not when she is alone with you or your husband, then I would say it is "environmental" or that Caesar is affecting her behavior. If she is skittish/shy with you or hubby alone, then it is her personality. At 2 yrs. old her personality is pretty fixed and that is just the way she is. Some skittish cats like her can mellow out and be more open to touching as she gets older. You should keep trying from time to time to pet her, but not to the point that she is avoiding you. Maybe one day she will surprise you.
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