My cat is antisocial to the point of worrisome - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-13-2014, 05:39 AM Thread Starter
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My cat is antisocial to the point of worrisome

Hiya! It's been a long time. We lost one of our cats Spartacus to cancer, and were heartbroken for awhile. Jersey was a lonely only for awhile, and we just recently, the day before Thanksgiving opened our home to Hoilday (so named because we got her around the holidays.) We call her Holly for short.

Anyway, Holly, is pretty social, she comes when you make kissy noises, and will go to people she doesn't know that come over, if they make the noises and lower their hands to the floor.

Jersey however, is severely anti-social with anyone who doesn't live here. Mostly he loves on me, he's my baby. He sleeps on me, curls up in my lap, gets jealous if I give Holly too much attention, and follows me around with Holly right behind from room to room. The worrisome part, is that any time anyone comes over, even people he's seen a million times, he disappears like the devil himself showed up. It's gotten to the point now, where if the bedroom door is shut, and he can't run and hide in there, he meows desperately, until someone opens it for him to hide. I don't know what kind of life he had before he ran into our house, but he immediately took to me, and was terrified of my husband. Now he tolerates my husband, and isn't really afraid of him too much anymore, as long as he doesn't make any sudden movements in the cats direction. Is this normal for most cats? Should I be concerned?
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-13-2014, 05:53 AM
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Hi, I wouldn't worry too much as long as he is happy with you, I got my cat Gizmo at 9 months old (he is now 7) and since day one he has loved me but is terrified of strangers.

If anybody comes to the house (even regular visitors) he runs and hides under the bed and refuses to come out until they have gone, He will not go to anybody yet he follows me about all over the place demanding head scratches and belly rubs.

He is a very happy cat but I've just had to get used to the fact that he will always be terrified of strangers, He was a rescue cat so maybe he was mistreated before I got him? I don't really know.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-13-2014, 05:56 AM
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Most of the time when friends come over, I introduce Charlee as the lump under the bed. She's getting better, but a knock at the door usually sends her under my covers.

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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-13-2014, 12:29 PM
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I have three that will turn the hallway into a racetrack as soon as there's a knock at the door... and heaven help the person in the way!
They will stay hidden till the coast is clear.
If the "guest" stays all day (like a tradesman) then we'll see one of the braver ones trying to stealthily move down the steps and turn into a shadow ninja to try to get a glimpse.

This past Christmas we had my DH's kids over for dinner and stay the night (they're 18.). OMG! you'd have thought the world had come to an end! Belle was so petrified she wasn't coming out even if their favorite treats were on free feed!
Sadie was devastated to the point she was putting on a protest by staying outside in the garden and never coming in... again .. or until mum tricks her with a treat!

B.B. was the only one that handled it alright, but she kept a low profile also.

As soon as everyone left, the girls were all milling around, hoovering up all the new smells like little bloodhounds and harassing me for food. All was back to normal lol


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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-13-2014, 01:10 PM
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Cats are creatures of habit, and, unless exposed to visitors regularly and frequently, the sort of change of routine visitors bring can be stressful for them. I think it depends largely on the attitude of the cat.

As an example, here's how my four cats react to 'strangers':

Jitzu, wants to see them, sniff them, and acts like she wants to be petted...but has had enough of them in about 30 seconds. Not a fan of most people, she has favorites who come over fairly often she seems to 'like'...but I still have to watch her carefully for signs of stress. More than 1 guest for over 2 hours makes her a very grumpy kitty.

Torri is NOT a fan of guests. If we have more than 2 people over she tends to want to go to her room, and even with only one guest she just wants to watch from afar. She has let a few specific people pet her once or twice, but that's after a lot of work on my part.

Doran likes to see who's at the door, get petted once or twice, then that's it...unless they sit on the couch in which case he's right up in their faces. Literally. Head-bumps, purrs, happy paws, the whole nine yards.

Muffin loves everyone. As long as you can pet him you're his best friend. He gives hugs (reaches up to pat your hip), rolls around on the floor in kitty-ecstasy, purrs up a storm, marches around with paws so happy he sometimes falls over, and generally looks like a love-crazy maniac. It's adorable.

Because Muffin is so extremely happy to have guests over I can always redirect a guest who's focused on Jitzu or Torri by handing them Muffin and saying "Here, pet the red one." Works every time.

IME Torri and Doran have the most 'average' cat reactions to people. Standoffish, sometimes affectionate, but on their own time...not a fan of strangers or fast motion, or loud things.

Jitzu and Muffin IME are on the opposite ends of the spectrum. If Jitzu gets overwhelmed she starts scratching people...Muffin is a very odd cat who loves everyone. No discrimination.

...Actually if anything he likes guests better than me and my SO because he thinks they'll let him get away with things, and he hasn't been petted by them before.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-13-2014, 01:39 PM
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I wouldn't say it's anything unusual or to be concerned over, it just sounds like a fearful kitty wanting their safe spot. My past family cat, Sheba, would always hide when visitors came and we got her when she was a kitten. She was just an easily stressed out cat and any noise or anything unusual sent her hiding behind the couch. She actually did start becoming more social and not hiding when she got to the ripe age of 15-18 years old before she passed away.

What was weird is there were only certain people that would come over and she'd LOVE them - going straight up to them and meowing happily. Usually random friends of my sister's that were kind of odd. It's weird how some animals, no matter how fearful, can detect a person they might like and trust without ever meeting them before!
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-13-2014, 01:58 PM
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That's a great point Mandy.

My anxious Torri-cat instantly likes people who have a similar temperament to her: quiet, nervous, shy. She'll gravitate to them, and enjoys their soft and careful pets. It's always a shock to me to see my quiet little shy girl making friends with people, but it's specifically people she seems to feel safe with. She also gets more comfortable after someone has been over 4-5 times, especially if they haven't tried to touch her, or do more than wave from across the room and tell her how cute she is.

Cats need to do some things on their own time
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-13-2014, 02:05 PM
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Got one that usually will come out and be friendly when she feels it is safe and other one I won't see until the people are gone.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-13-2014, 02:32 PM
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We have the mostly shy type as well - recently when I was gone for 4 days the cat sitter never saw Mystique even ONCE. She saw Penny once, and Sunny she would see every day when she opened the door. He would be there waiting, apparently hoping it was us, and as soon as he saw it was her he would take one look and bolt. Too funny - I was pretty sure Mystique and Penny would be no-shows, but I thought he would be okay with someone coming in but he fooled me.

As far as when we are home, Sunny seems to be okay with people being around him but not wanting contact with them. Penny and Mystique are gonzo every time and don't reappear until the people have left.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-13-2014, 02:33 PM
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yeah, i wish it were different, too, but we also have a cat who is very lovable at certain times, but she still doesn't like being approached when she's up and walking around. she always thinks we're going to try to pick her up or trap her somehow unfortunately. no problem picking her up if she happens to already be lying down, but if she's awake and on her feet already, forget it.

OK, not exactly the same as your situation, but perfect example of things that will probably never change no matter how much you show your cat that there's no reason to be afraid.
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