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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 08:32 AM Thread Starter
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Cat hates my mother

Hi everyone!

I'm hoping someone can give me some advice on how I can help with the relationship between my mom and my kitty.
A little bit of history so you know the background:
Lucy is a 3yo maine coon and is unfortunately not a fan of people.
I think it's kind of our fault because when she was about 6mo we stopped having people over that often and I guess she just got used to it just being the 3 of us (Me, my husband and her).
When we went away for a holiday she was left in the house and a friend would come every day to feed her and play with her but as of 1.5years she started attacking whoever came in when we were not home so that option was out. My mother agreed to have her over at her appt when we go away, so far this has only happened once (about 10 months ago) and while she was a bit shy at the start, by the end of the week she relaxed and would even come and sit on my dad's lap.
Now we have a baby (8mo) in the house and our kitty is surprisingly gentle with the baby and even allows her to touch her sometimes (I'm always careful the baby doesn't hurt her ofc) the problem is that my mother comes over 2x a week to babysit so I can go to work and the cat absolutely detests her.
It has gotten to the point that my mother can't even walk past her because she will attack and try climb up her pants! This is a huge problem because not only do we not have a cat sitter now but my mom is starting to be afraid of our cat:/

I'm not sure what other information is relevant...
I think the pecking order in our house (according to Lucy) goes like this:
1. Husband pack leader
2. cat
3. me
4. baby
Lucy is my cat for sure, she only sits on my lap, sleeps by my feet etc but can sometimes act aggressive towards me eg she will come over, start licking my hair and out of the blue will bite me. I read online that I should should use cat language: hiss and tap her on the head when she does that and have been trying it.
She respects my husband, doesn't love him as much as me (haha) but she would never even think of raising a paw at him.
When we brought our daughter home Lucy got a bit anxious and jealous but we showered her with attention and things are ok now. Besides I think the problem started earlier.
She is a very intelligent creature, easily trainable and seems to understand a lot so I am hoping we can somehow teach her not to act aggressively.

Any ideas about what I should do?
I don't much care if she doesn't like being touched by our guests as long as she loves us but I really need her to, if not like, at least accept my mother:/
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 12:09 PM
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I don't think this is really a "pack leader" thing - your cat simply finds interaction with you more positive and rewarding. The behaviour you describe is not that uncommon amongst bonded cats without being a dominance thing at all.

As far as your mother is concerned, I suggest trying to make her presence as positive as possible - have her feed the cat, disperse treats, play.

This is going to sound really odd but does your mother always wear the same perfume? I have known occasional cats react oddly to some smells.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 01:28 PM
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Maybe try a pheromone infuser or spray when your mother visits. It may calm Lucy down. Use it only when your mom visits and like the previous post says have give the cat her food, treats, etc.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 03:11 PM
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Well I have 2 cats that hate me and I’ve been trying to gain their trust for a couple of years. I have noticed that one of the cats occasionally sleeps next to my legs at night but as soon as I reach down to pet him, he flys out of there so fast you’d think it was just shot.

So anyway I sure would like to know the answer to this question
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 04:46 PM
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Builder, do they really hate you or are they simply semi-feral? Fear may be far more responsible than hatred. I have enver failed to get a feral to respond eventually but it can be a much slower progression.,
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-13-2012, 03:14 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions
Good to know she just loves me and not that she thinks she's my mommy, not the other way around

We tried having my mom give her treats for a few days but maybe we weren't consistent enough. She'd happily accept my mom coming towards her bowl with a can but as soon as she finished giving her food, Lucy would get mad again. Even with her mouth full of what my mom had just given her! Then 5 min later she'd pounce when my mom walked passed her.
I think maybe giving a treat as soon as she walks in the door may work, so Lucy would be happy to see her?

I've not seen pheromone sprays here but I'm sure I could get them online. In your experience, would she always have to have it with my mom around or is it a temporary measure?
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-13-2012, 03:17 AM Thread Starter
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hmm and how about catnip?
We have a bag in our buboard somewhere. I only gave her some a few times because she went nuts over it, like a drug addict, and would spend hours rolling around in it and batting away anyone who came close.
But maybe if my mom gives her a tiny bit as she walks in?
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-13-2012, 12:44 PM
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did this behaviour towards your mom begin after you had the baby? You said your cat is very sweet to you daughter.
I am thinking that when your mom is over, watching the baby; your kitty is thinking that she will either harm or hurt the kiddo...
Lucy may just be trying to express, "this kid is mine", "do not go near her", or "I do not want you in my house!"...or "go away" or "I can take care of the baby. I do not need you here!"
I am saying this cuz Lucy was ok at your moms place.....
I use the Feliway pheromone plug ins.. I get it from Amazon or at the local pet store...
They are like Glade plug ins..I do not smell anything..
Good luck....
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-13-2012, 02:19 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by artiesmom View Post
did this behaviour towards your mom begin after you had the baby? .
hmmm kind of. I mean my mom started to come over a lot more often since the baby. At the begging Lucy was fine but slowly, over time she got worse and worse. At the start she'd tolerate her, then it changed to L hissing if mom got too close, then hissing when mom walked passed and now it's full on pouncing and trying to climb up her leg, claws out.

I'll try bribing her, if the doesn't work, will look for the plugs
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-13-2012, 03:39 PM
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This may be more than what your mom signed up to do, but if she doesn't mind, she could try playing with the cat first thing whenever she comes in to babysit, or maybe when the baby is sleeping.

If she can tire the cat out a bit, it'll release some of that aggressive energy so she might not feel the need to attack your mother, or may be too tired to do so. It'll also start building a positive association for the cat towards your mother.

In order to build up on that positive association some more, your mother should feed the cat and/or give her a treat at some point each time she is around.

You could also try spraying feliway before your mother comes in.
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