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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-09-2013, 10:18 PM Thread Starter
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Lap Cats - Born or Made?

When I say 'made', I guess I mean whether this can develop later as a cat comes to know you better. I just lost a 16 yr. old cat Oct. 5th who was a rescue, and he was a lover/lap cat/totally human oriented from day one.

My new cat is a rescue also (10 mo. old), and she is very affectionate when I go to her and pat her, she has a huge purr motor and rolls around on the floor like a dog. But she does not seek me out, nor does she seek out laps at all, or even sit next to me on a couch. She will sleep in bed with me, but sleeps right at the very bottom and won't approach me even when I call her or pat the bed next to me. She stays upstairs all the time, even though my husband and I spend a significant amount of time downstairs in our finished basement.

I was really hoping she would be a lap cat, although she's a sweetie and will be accepted and loved for whoever she is. I guess the question is, have you had experience of cats who didn't show these tendencies in the beginning developing them later when they have more time to bond?
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-09-2013, 10:49 PM
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Yes, I have had three cats--all female--run from me, be very skittish around me and only allow petting sometimes. With Sister I was very shocked the day I brought her home from the vets after she was spayed. She jumped on my lap and started purring and allowed all kinds of petting. She has continued to be very affectionate. MammaCat was very feral and took years before she would get on my lap. She will only do it if I am sitting on the steps. When MammaKitty was first dumped at our farm, she would run when she saw me coming. I certainly couldn't catch her to get her spayed and, of course, in due time she birthed five kittens. Shortly after she started staying around to be fed, then coming to me to be petted. Now, if I sit down she will hop on my lap for a petting session. Very affectionate. Of course, I talk to them a lot. And, I bring treats every so often. Try calling your cat for a treat. Not every time, but if you can get her to come when you call, she is one step closer to being a lap cat. Good luck.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-09-2013, 11:57 PM
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Hrm.... Im not sure, I got MowMOw as a 4 year old and he was already a Velcro cat... I can't be still for more than a few seconds or he'll want me to hold him.

Book came to me @ 5months old and he'd rather not be HELD but he always wants to lay right next to me.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-10-2013, 02:56 AM
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I guess some cats have their preferences. Nubey is a perfect example of a lap cat. He came up to me out of nowhere on the 4th or 5th day we had him, and I'm not sure what I was doing, or how it happened, but he saw me, looked at me, jumped in my lap, purred in my ear, and gave me a big nudge on the face, followed by a lot of kissing. He turned into a lap cat the moment he was interested in me. To have a cat get used to you in less than a whole week's time is something that's nothing short of incredible.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-10-2013, 03:12 AM
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Midas is definitely more of a lap cat now than he used to be since he is indoors only and we have bonded a lot more. He is also older now too (ok, 3 isn't old, but he is certainly not a kitten anymore). Even if he isn't in a lap, he likes to be around me in the evening. Keeping him entertained during the day (his catio has a bird watching station, and he has multiple cat trees) means he is more inclined to seek me out in the evening I feel. He had a busy day adventuring and wants to snuggle down next to his people and dogs.

Also, sitting in a chair at the kitchen table often means he wants to sit on a lap. I am not sure if this is simply routine because he typically naps there and we happen to be in the way, or if he wants a lap (he will switch between my boyfriend's and my laps if we are there long enough even though there are 2 other unoccupied chairs).

Consider maybe putting some grand cat tree in the room you spend the most time in? Maybe she doesn't feel like she has her own space downstairs. Cat shelves, a perch in a window (maybe not possible in a basement), or even just a few cat toys might be nice alternatives if a tree just doesn't fit your decor (though I am a very strong advocate for trees). And Catmamma is right, give an irresistible treat whenever she does come down. She might not be coming down for the right reasons at first, but maybe eventually it will just kind of be routine for her to come check out what you are doing.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-10-2013, 05:54 AM
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I have pondered this question so many times. I believe it depends on the cat. They either are or they are not, and no amount of encouraging it will make them lap cats. I was super bummed for the past 10 years, because neither of my cats were lap cats, my 10 year old female will sit next to you....in fact, she always wants to be near someone. And as she gets older, she has always been my husband's baby, and she will sit in his lap if he has a lap, she is in it. She adores him, but she only does this realyl to him, other than that, she is next to you. My next cat I took in as a stray, he loves to be picked up and loved on, but he will not sit in a lap, ever. The third one was a charm though! We took in Stephano almost a year ago, another stray who wandered into our lives and our heart. This little guy, I was going to foster him until I found him a home, until I found out what a major lap cat he was. I was like "YEAH"!!!! Jackpot!!!! I'm keeping this one!!! He sat on my lap for the first week we took him in and did not move, just purred and slept curled under my neck, I was in heaven! My daughter will be sitting on the ground and he will walk buy, and she will snag him and hug him and put him in her lap, as she is sitting indian style on the floor, and he will just stay there....he goes completely limp and just stays there, it is the cutest thing. I know it is crazy, because common sense would tell you that it hardly matters what kind or color cat you have, but this cat is a black cat, and I have met SO many black kitties that are the world's biggest snugglers. I don't know why that is, I'm just glad that I FINALLY got me a lap cat!!! Always wanted one and was always sad that no one would sit the heck in my lap, especially as much as I spoil those ungrateful little jerks
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-10-2013, 06:56 AM Thread Starter
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Well Mystique is all black so maybe she has potential. I will try the treats though for sure, to encourage her to stay around us more and maybe have it become a habit.

I actually do have a huge cat tree in my basement - it is actually a walk-out with lots of windows and is very bright, and my other cat Penny doesn't really use the tree much so I don't think Mystique would feel it was 'her' territory. It was Punky's favorite spot, my 16 yr. old velcro boy I lost a month ago. There is also a ledge all around the room in front of the windows that is perfect for a cat to perch and watch the outside world, the birds, and maybe a chipmunk or two running by.

When we got Penny from rescue as a 1-yr-old she was very sweet, like Mystique is, and liked pats and scratches, and would purr up a storm. She even immediately allowed us to pat and scratch her belly, which is unusual. However, she was very uncomfortable being picked up and her paws would go stiff and she would be looking for a way down right away. She pretty much kept to herself too unless we went to her, although she loved Punky and hung around him a lot too, and since he was always with us she was too part of the time.

We thought she would change in time, but she never has. She is 8 now and still doesn't like to be picked up or held, and she doesn't ever sit on our laps. She will sit next to us on a chair or couch for brief periods, but that's it. I guess I was seeing the same pattern in Mystique, but we've only had her close to 2 wks. so who knows?
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-10-2013, 08:05 AM
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I have found that over the years they can develop an affinity for a lap. Most of my cats either are or aren't. Maddie, on the other hand, was not a lap cat at all until about a year ago (she is 9 now - adopted at 3). She now seeks me out when I'm sitting and will crawl on my lap and nuzzle her nose into my arm and fall asleep like that.

I think Mystique will come around as she matures.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-10-2013, 08:17 AM
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After reading what Marcia said, I have to agree, sometimes as they age, they do get more likely to want to curl into a lap, like my Beep. She has always loved my husband, but not necessarily been in his lap, just near him, but now, the last year especially, it's the lap every time. I think it's because she hates being cold, partly. And as it gets chillier, she is more likely to want someone to snuggle up to closer. She is really funny, she will get onto my daughter's chest and lay there if she is laying down flat, but she only does this to her really. On cold mornings sometimes, my husband will wake up and if he is sleeping on his side, she is laying on his hip, or his back or his chest, depending on how she is laying, she is there. I just left my room and she is curled up right next to his side right now.

I can imagine how you must be missing having that velcro kitty to love, and you are still heartbroken from losing him

I have read before that sometimes if you get a cat when it is a kitten, and get used to handling it, even while it is still with it's mom and hasn't left her yet, that you have a better chance at having a cat that is going to be a snuggler and used to being held and handled. And from what i have observed, people who get kittens that are from a situation like that, where they have been held a lot, they do seem to be more likely to sit on your lap and be held. Somtimes I pick up my least snuggly kitty, my avatar picture, Taffy....he is actually really, really sweet, but not a lap cat at all, I pick him up though and kiss him and say "you will be snuggled and you will like it!"
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-10-2013, 09:24 AM
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I really think they're born that way. I've fostered several litters of kittens and it's always about 50/50 on whether or not they're lap cats. I had one litter of 4 that I got at 4 weeks and 2 were the biggest snugglers ever and would dump into your lap the second you sat down, while the other 2 were more curious and just wanted to play all of the time and would squirm if you tried to hold them.
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