Do cats get more affectionate as they get older and "mellow out"? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-30-2011, 04:44 PM Thread Starter
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Do cats get more affectionate as they get older and "mellow out"?

Our kittens are 5 months old, and, since they are kittens, are extremely active and playful. We've had them for a month.

Neither of them is really a lap cat. In fact, Spencer has never sat or laid in either of our laps, although he will sleep right next to us sometimes. Lily can occasionally be VERY affectionate, but she's only ever done it with me. Out of nowhere, she'll jump in my lap, cuddle, look at me and "meow" quietly, and repeatedly head butt my face when I put it close to her. The cuddling session has to be her idea, though! Sometimes we'll wake up and find both of them sleeping between us in our bed. During waking hours, though, they usually like to sleep on the platforms in their cat tree, on the back of the couch, or Spencer sometimes sleeps under the couch. My husband is confused because the cats he had growing up were VERY affectionate, constantly in peoples' laps and loving to be around people. Our cats don't seem to care if we're sitting on the couch - they go for their own sleeping spaces, separate from us.

We're wondering if this is just a kitten thing, and maybe they'll get more affectionate as they get older and mellow out, or if we just have cats who are not incredibly affectionate or not lap cats? We love them either way, obviously, we're just wondering! We haven't been around kittens since we were very young ourselves, so we're not sure how much cat personalities changes as they get older!

Thanks!

Spencer and Katie
and Lily, always in our hearts
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-30-2011, 05:08 PM
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Generally speaking most cats do "mellow out" as they get older. You got your kitties at 4 mos. of age. Cats' relationships with people depend on a lot of things: how much handling did they get as kittens---were people picking them up every day from the time they were born? were they handled and played with before and after weaning? what age were they weaned? if kitty was feral and not well socialized to people from 6-14 wks., it will likely be more wary of people but some will become cuddly but some may never be that way. If they are purebred, most breeds are naturally more affectionate to people, whereas DSH/DLH tend to have more independent personalities---of course there are always exceptions! The kind of cats you describe your husband growing up with sound like cats that had lots of handling when they were very young kittens.

Kittens at 5 mos. old are now in their teenage years and they are busy busy kitties who want to play most of the day unless they're napping or eating. They will start to mature around a year or more. Often it's best to let them come to you on their terms when they want cuddling. A cat can actually be turned off and be less affectionate, if it's always their people grabbing them to be cuddled and kissed and made a fuss over. I'm not saying you should ignore your cats, but do play with them in an interactive way with teaser toys like "Da Bird", and cuddle and kiss them when they're seeking your attention.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-30-2011, 05:24 PM Thread Starter
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catloverami, thanks for the insight and advice! Our kittens actually were raised by humans since they were a day old, which is partially why I was surprised by their behavior. One of my husband's childhood cats, the most affectionate one, was actually the kitten of their other cat, so they raised him from the day he was born...maybe that would explain his super affectionate nature!

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and Lily, always in our hearts
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-30-2011, 06:02 PM
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My Muffs has never been a lap-cat. When I adopted her (at 12 weeks), she hated to be held or petted, and would sleep underneath my bed. She's still not yet a lap cat (I keep hoping!), but she has gotten much more affectionate with age (she's now almost 2). She sometimes sleeps with me and she enjoys being petted.

When I adopted Abby (10 weeks), she was a little cuddle-bug at first. She sat on my lap and crawled all over me. Between about 4 months and a year old, she would still hop on my lap, but she would hop back down after about 10 or 15 seconds, since something would grab her attention and she wanted to play. She was much more interested in playing than in cuddling at that age. She's now 18 months and she will sit on my lap for longer stretches now, and she sometimes hops on my bed at night and cuddles.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-30-2011, 07:14 PM Thread Starter
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Susan - Thank you - that is encouraging!
Ironically, Lily has been more affectionate today (after I posted this) than ever before...she's been in my lap cuddling and purring 3 times already today - a new record for her! (But she never stays long - something always distracts her like a shiny object, her brother, a noise, a shadow, an imaginary mouse...etc...) It's strange that she is the more affectionate of the two right now, since Spencer is MUCH more even tempered and mellow than she is - Lily is always either bouncing off the walls, cuddling, or sleeping. haha. Maybe as she gets older and her "bouncing off the walls" decreases, her cuddling will increase? I can only hope...hahaha

Spencer and Katie
and Lily, always in our hearts
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-30-2011, 11:35 PM
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In our experience, I would also say yes, the older they get the mellower and more affectionate kitties are. Gracie has never been a lap cat - it is actually characteristic of her breed not to be (British Shorthair), but now that she is approaching four years old she is much more relaxed about petting and laps etc.

She has always been very very companionable, don't get me wrong - always nearby, always paying attention to whatever we are doing. It is as if she had to develop a personal bond with each of us first, on her own terms. Now she will climb into a lap if she is in the mood. She slept by herself for her first year with us, too - then by age two she wanted to curl up at the foot of the bed, now she tucks in right next to me or Hubby...

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-30-2011, 11:58 PM
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Thanks, Fran. I like hearing stories such as yours. Muffs slept by herself for the most part during her first year and, lately, she's been sleeping at the foot of the bed. So, I shall hold out hope that in another year or so perhaps she too will cuddle right up at night and might even sit on my lap during the day!
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 01:34 AM
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I'd say yes, from what I've seen.

Some cats are more of a lap cat to start with, others take years to build up to it. I'm not sure if it just takes them calming down to do the trick (especially the case with kittens), or it has to do with needing more time to get used to the idea (especially the case with ferals) or a little of both in some cases. Some cats are never lap cats, like already mentioned some breeds aren't meant to be lap cats like the British Shorthair... but I've always placed my cats on my lap until they got used to the idea, I think some of their rebellion against lap sitting can be countered by how persistent you are, no matter their age, background or breed.


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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 10:45 AM
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Kittens/cuddle

I second (third?) everything that's been said. Keep in mind that 7 months in cat terms is equivalent to being a teenager in human terms. Teenagers explore, test boundaries, start to cut the apron string; and once they are in the early 20s, realize how good they have it and come back to roost, so to speak.
Not unlike cats.
I strongly agree with: let them come to you to be petted, cuddled. And always let them have an easy escape route when they sit on your lap--don't box them in. I learned this from my father, who fed wild squirrels by hand.
PS: Ritz was a semi-feral when she was trapped at approximate six months old. She has definitely mellowed, become more affectionate in the past nine months. Very soon became a lap and bed cat. She will now let me pet her on the belly. Still working on picking her up (human insecurity more than cat insecurity).
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you to everyone - you have all been very helpful!

Spencer is actually in my lap right now! He jumped into it , which he sometimes does, but this time, instead of jumping straight for my laptop (which he is totally obsessed with), he lay down and purred for awhile while I pet him. Now he's happily giving himself a bath. Maybe we really will have two lap cats when they are older! (I can only hope!)

Thanks everyone for the advice about letting them come to us - I've started trying that approach more, and now Spencer's in my lap, so it had fast results I guess. :-D

Spencer and Katie
and Lily, always in our hearts
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