Cat hates my boyfriend! - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-26-2013, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
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Cat hates my boyfriend!

My 7 year old cat, Maple, has always been timid around anyone except me. But she always warms up after a few minutes of hiding. She loves being petted and being the center of attention.

I've recently moved my long distance boyfriend into my apartment. Maple had met him before and has behaved, enjoying his pets and attention. The last time they saw each other, she was purring as my boyfriend petted her goodbye. Now, when he entered the apartment with his belongings a little over a month ago, Maple didn't give him the slightest chance. She hissed and ran from him immediately.

Since then, she's escalated to swiping at him and growling. If he even enters the same room as her, she will hiss and growl. His poor hands are covered in scratches. The first time I left the two of them home alone together Maple was so upset that she crawled into a cabinet and stayed in there all day, pooping and peeing on herself.

More confusing is that sometimes she approaches him and rubs against him like she wants attention, and will let him pet her, then will arbitrarily decide he's awful and will hiss and run.

I try to give her tons of attention to make her feel secure, but I don't want to seem like I'm praising her bad behavior. She's never "hated" someone like this before, and her "I love you, no I hate you!" flip-flops are so confusing!

Can anyone shed some light on her actions or help us to help her get past this?
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-26-2013, 05:50 PM
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Is there a slight chance that your boyfriend may have accidentally stepped on, dropped, or hit her?
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-26-2013, 05:53 PM
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Probably plain jealousy. You should have seen how my nephew's old cat treated girlfriends!! Yours sounds an amateur in comparison to Tigger! When he married my sister moved back in with me and my menagerie and he stayed in her house with the cat. It took a lot of hard work to make her even tolerate his wife! Sadly Tigs is now dead but she couldn't have totally deterred his wife as they currently have no less than four kitties!!
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-26-2013, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by youra6 View Post
Is there a slight chance that your boyfriend may have accidentally stepped on, dropped, or hit her?
No, that would have been my first thought too if I hadn't been right there for their first meeting. She sniffed him, hissed loudly, and ran away. Ever since its been a roller coaster ride with Maple at the helm. My boyfriend is desperate for Maple's approval, since he knows how much she means to me. But tonight we're having to buy and apply claw caps on Maple since she's prone to scratching him. I have no idea what might have triggered this hostile reaction, since this is the first time she has flat-out "hated" someone.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-26-2013, 06:01 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Arianwen View Post
Probably plain jealousy. You should have seen how my nephew's old cat treated girlfriends!! Yours sounds an amateur in comparison to Tigger! When he married my sister moved back in with me and my menagerie and he stayed in her house with the cat. It took a lot of hard work to make her even tolerate his wife! Sadly Tigs is now dead but she couldn't have totally deterred his wife as they currently have no less than four kitties!!
I also thought jealousy could be a reason. If so, do you think he should ignore her unless she approaches him or should he try and love her as much as she will tolerate?
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-26-2013, 06:04 PM
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One of my aunt's cats will climb the walls to get attention from my aunt. The two of them are very attached to each other.

I spend a fair bit of time at their house so I'm no stranger to this one cat. However, it isn't unheard of for her to hiss, swat and growl at me. It happens at least once during every visit. So I just leave her alone. If she comes to me and wants pets I'll give them but in small doses or I'll let her rub on me if that is what she wants, otherwise I just ignore the fact that she's there.

Yes, your cat has seen your boyfriend before but he is suddenly now on her turf on a daily basis. This is new and something she needs to adjust to. If I were your boyfriend I'd not make any attempt to pet her until she accepts that he's there and she's ready to take pets from him. Let her come to him and rub on him if she wants but until she tells you it is OK to touch her, I'd just let her adjust at her own pace.

I just brought Chloe home a week and a half ago. I very much wanted to be able to pet her and love on her but she wanted nothing to do with it. So I just let her be and let her come rub on me and sniff me as much as she wanted but made no attempt to try to pet her until she gave me the all clear to do so. And now, she's super glued to me....when she's not sleeping that is.

Chloe: a moody, grey ball of energy
Cooper: a black goofy ball of love



Last edited by misschloe; 03-26-2013 at 06:06 PM.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-26-2013, 06:40 PM
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Have you tried having him be the one to feed her or give her treats? If she associates him with food, it may help her come around a little faster. This worked wonders for my boyfriend and my two cats.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-26-2013, 08:14 PM
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Does he spend time around other animals? Does Maple have an unknown history where he may remind her of someone that hurt her?

Does he move quickly, walk noisily, speak loudly, or act a little rough with her? I know some people that think they're total cat people, walk up to cats they don't know and think it's fine to grab and cuddle them like they've known them for ages. Terrible way to get off on a good foot...

I'd suggest he try spending time around her, not moving much, not looking in her eyes, giving her lots of treats and talking softly. The suggestion that he be the one to feed her is also a very good one.


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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-26-2013, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
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He's very gentle with her. He had no cat experience prior to Maple so I made certain to coach him, telling him to let her sniff him first, then pet later. He's never tried to grab her because I told him Maple hates being picked up. And my other cat, Mahli, simply ADORES my boyfriend. He's very gentle with cats. I do make certain he feeds her because I had the same idea that Maple would relate him to dinner time, but she just growls until he leaves the room then eats once the coast is clear.

Funnily, I DO think she dislikes his voice, as she will tolerate his presence until he talks, then she'll scamper away. Unfortunately, I can't ask him to be completely silent all the time, lol.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-26-2013, 11:00 PM
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Sorry to hear about your troubles. Here is a link to an article on the topic written by Pamela Johnson-Bennett, who is a well-known cat behaviorist. Perhaps it might be helpful:

Cat Aggression. What to do When the Cat hates Your Spouse
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