Is being a one-person cat a problem? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 04:15 AM Thread Starter
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Is being a one-person cat a problem?

I'm having a situation I'd like some advice about.

My foster cat, Cullen, is very attached to me and has bonded very well with his foster brothers. However, he remains extremely terrified of all humans who are not me. (To the point where he hides if he thinks there's even the possibility someone will come into the apartment.) This hasn't changed at all in the two months I've been fostering him, nor in the four months he was at the shelter. I realize it hasn't been that much time, but clearly at the very least it's not something with an easy fix.

From my own perspective, ideally I would just keep Cullen. I'm prepared to take care of him long-term, and he fits in well with the family. There isn't any real reason he couldn't become a permanent addition, and the shelter would be happy with that outcome.

The only thing that gives me pause is that if he stays here, there's no reason for him to socialize to any humans besides me. I'm a single adult, at least for the foreseeable future, and while I have people over from time to time it's not on a daily basis or anything.

So I'm just wondering... how much does that actually matter? If Cullen has a home where he's happy and will be cared for for the rest of his life, is it a problem if he only likes one person? Or am I hindering him from making progress if I keep him? Is it unhealthy?

Just curious about opinions.


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Last edited by Blakeney Green; 12-12-2014 at 04:18 AM.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 06:40 AM
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It doesn't matter if he's a one-person cat. You're the only one he trusts. The chances of Cullen getting adopted by anyone else are very low due to his fear issues.
I had several ferals turned house cats that would flee from company as if for their lives. Even the worst of these mellowed a bit over the years.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 07:04 AM
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He could get adopted by someone else and be just fine in time, really. The problem is finding the person that is willing to spend the time and energy with a super shy cat until he DOES bond with them. It could take weeks or even months. My Abby took 11 months before she was completely comfortable with me, but once that happened she was awesome.

We get them in the shelter all the time - those that cower in their cage corners and are petrified when someone pays any attention to them, but sometimes super special someone comes in that recognizes the diamond in the rough and takes them home without worry of the process..... Sometimes. You may not even want to put him through the transition process. I would certainly understand that.

I'd say keep him if you can and hope for the best when/if you meet that special someone that you want to spend significant time with.

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 07:14 AM
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It sounds like you have done a good job of caring for your adoptees. And, the fact that they socialize well is probably from the good job you do.

As for Cullen, where does he go to 'hide'? In the same place all the time? If so or if not, is there a place like in a closet that you can convert a small area for him to retreat to? Or perhaps a spot up high as some cats like the safety of being up somewhere. If you do that, well, he is happy. And, I'm sure his ears are tuned to what is going on in the other area of the apartment when you have company.

What do the other cats do? Once they check out your friends? Do the three group together in another room? Cullen may never accept others but over time I would guess he would be less wary of strangers. Good luck
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 09:45 AM
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My cat Rascal hated all strangers, including my roommate, for years. He has really come around with age

I do think Cullen will do fine with just you.


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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 10:38 AM
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I'm going to agree with the others here. If Cullen were a child lol, then that would be a different story and you would have to worry about this not being okay developmentally. I don't think cats suffer from not being socialized to other people, as long as they have 'their' person, and as long as he will eat and drink when you are not there because there are times when you won't be able to be there/have to travel, etc.

I think it sounds like Cullen is a definite foster failure - yay!
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 12:00 PM
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I have a foster failure who was the same way and about two months ago I was thinking the same worries as you are now. I am married though my husband is rarely at home for more than sleep and a quick dinner so the cat is only now starting to be affectionate with him. He is still terrified of houseguests and hides when they are around.

I think we all know someone who has a cat or two that hide whenever people visit because they only trust their own person. I wouldn't let hold me back from adopting one- and well it didn't If you love the cat and can care for it's needs then go for it- that's my opinion.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 03:12 PM
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When Torri was at her worst and least social I had someone over (who i already didn't like) ask why we had a cat who didn't like anyone. He said we should just put her down because she was such a B. My response, after a moment of the is-he-really-that-stupid slow blink was "Shes my cat. And she likes me. I don't care if she likes you."

We're about 3 years away from that convo and Torri has made a lot of progress, but slowly. I still don't care if she doesn't like other people but she is getting better with the people who are patient and follow directions.

Personally, if it's possible, I'd keep him and work on it slowly over years. Not because its needed now, but because it might be in the future.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 05:20 PM
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Both my cats - formerly living outside - were scared of anyone who came to visit. It has mellowed over a couple of years. They aren't going to go to them for affection but at least they will walk around and come in the house.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 05:34 PM
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At least 2 of our cats are terrified of toddlers.
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