Am I pushing Hurley too far? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-02-2011, 01:38 PM Thread Starter
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Am I pushing Hurley too far?

I've talked about him in previous posts. He is an adopted feral we took in at 6 months old and he's been with us 3 months. Orange tabby with lots of playfulness.

While he has flashes of brilliance (he'll lay on the couch and let us rub his belly!), he still remains fairly skittish when someone walks towards him at a normal pace. Also, he still "freezes" when he is picked up and he still only approaches affectionately when food is around.

Anyways....

I've been trying a bit of a "trust exercise" with Hurley, and I'm not sure if this is the right approach. Maybe once a week, I will pick him up and bounce him like a baby. Basically I give him a gentle little bounce and let him get a few inches airborne and then always catch him right in my arms.

He really doesn't like it at all and he whines all throughout with his claws out. He doesn't hiss or growl, but he makes it clear that he's not enjoying it. I try to do it very gently and reinforce to him that I will always catch him. I'm not sure if he's afraid of heights or not, but I'm trying to break his fear.

After a few minutes of this, we always have a 15 minute cooldown where I stroke him softly and give him his favorite wet food. By the end of the cooldown his is docile as can be purring and laying next to me.


Should I just stop doing this? I'm not trying to disturb him in any way, I would just like to build his trust so he can be freely held by the children and such when they get old enough to handle him.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-02-2011, 02:05 PM
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Why do you get him 'airborne'? If I did this to either of my cats they would freak. I've never heard of doing this with cats but then I'm fairly new to cats. I hope someoen has some answers for you.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-02-2011, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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Why do you get him 'airborne'? If I did this to either of my cats they would freak. I've never heard of doing this with cats but then I'm fairly new to cats. I hope someoen has some answers for you.
No specific reason other than I want a cat that can completely trust humans if at all possible of course. I just worry that when our children get to that young age they will want to handle him in ways that he is not used to.

It's really a small bump where I just lift him a few inches out of my hands. He doesn't like the "freefall" feeling I think and I'm wondering if I consistently catch him with TLC if he'll break that fear or if it's something that will always bother him.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-02-2011, 03:58 PM
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I don't think any cat would enjoy that or learn to unless I am wrong but I have had a lot of cats growing up and if I did that exercise with any of them they would freak too. If I were you I would stop because instead of that making him trust you it may start making him distrust you and fearful that everytime you or anyone else picks him up that he is going to get that exercise done to him which he doesn't like.

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I just worry that when our children get to that young age they will want to handle him in ways that he is not used to.
I don't mean any disrespect in any way but I think it would be better to try and teach the human child as he/she grows how to gently handle the cat instead of trying to teach the cat how to handle being held by kids.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-02-2011, 04:05 PM
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I agree with the above posts. I don't think tossing your cat up in the air is the way to instill trust. I am surprised you think it's a good idea.

My cats love me and trust me and they would freak.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-02-2011, 05:09 PM Thread Starter
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I don't mean any disrespect in any way but I think it would be better to try and teach the human child as he/she grows how to gently handle the cat instead of trying to teach the cat how to handle being held by kids.
You should realize that any thinking person who is asking how to properly train their cat is going to put that much more effort into training a human child.

I don't mean any disrespect, but I would think it's clear that a four year old child is not going to realize the proper way to hold or play with a cat, this would come with age.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-02-2011, 07:45 PM
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As you suggested, I think you should stop doing that. Chances are that, over time, this exercise will backfire and will make him more distrustful of you.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-02-2011, 07:48 PM
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I don't have any kids (that I know of), but all of my nieces, at age four, certainly knew right from wrong about how to play with a kitty and a puppy.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-02-2011, 08:28 PM
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You should realize that any thinking person who is asking how to properly train their cat is going to put that much more effort into training a human child.

I don't mean any disrespect, but I would think it's clear that a four year old child is not going to realize the proper way to hold or play with a cat, this would come with age.
I do realize that and there is no disrespect taken but I have a cousin who has a 2 year old daughter and we have her over at my mothers house quite a bit. My mother has four cats two who are very loving and go right up to her. The child used to sort of pat or even hit at the cat and my mother, sister, and me would all grab her wrist and show her the right way to pet the cats and now she has it mastered and she is 2. So if I know a child can get it at 2 I like Marie would think by 4 they certainly should have it down, again no disrespect meant.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-02-2011, 09:34 PM
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I think my cat trusts me very much but if I bounce him in the air a little, he's going to be mad...not trusting. I really don't think this is the appropriate way...
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