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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-01-2018, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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How to make cats more comfortable around someone?

I have a tendency to type a lot so I want to keep this as short as I can...

Last year my mom adopted two kittens against my will with no regard toward our much older resident cat. The kittens love each other, but my older cat hates them both and avoids old haunts and being out in the open too much anymore because she hates when they approach her to play.

These kittens are very affectionate toward me being that I was the one who raised them. They sleep on me, they want to constantly be near me, but they are not my cats even though I deeply care for them.
They avoid my mother who is distressed by them not liking her and now she is starting to talk about and become fixated on the thought of getting ANOTHER kitten because she wants a cuddly cat. She is not home a lot and is somebody very preoccupied with their career who has free time maybe 4 hours a day, and sometimes travels for weeks at a time. She's not in the position to raise kittens but she will not even consider an older cat because she does not want to be responsible for issues in traumatized animals and believes that cats pee on things because they're not litterbox trained (and not that they're stressed out). Having four cats is not the issue, it's that somebody else more equipped should have four cats and not my mother.

I feel like I got longwinded anyway. Basically... is there a way I can make the kittens more comfortable with my mom enough to sleep on her and approach her for cuddling in the same way they do for me? I know they have it in them, but I'm not exactly sure what I can do to make them relax. I'm fully prepared to have to train them but my mom doesn't do anything for them really beyond giving them food in the morning and at night, whereas I spend the entire day with them in between because I work from home.

They don't like being approached or picked up all the time by me and I can respect that, but my mom just can't. It makes this hard because she thinks she understands animals. I feel really hopeless and we really don't need a fourth cat. I feel sick suggesting that we rehome the kittens if she wants one that badly, so I want to try this first at least. It sucks to be in a position of absolutely zero power.

And... now a very accurate representation of their relationship to each other lol.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-02-2018, 11:32 AM
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The kittens and cat are very cute. Sorry you are in this position trying to please everyone. You sound very caring for all involved.


I'm not an expert, but I should think time spent playing with the kittens is important. I know your mom works a lot, but does she ever play with the kittens even for 15 minutes with an interactive toy (like Da Bird, or a fishing toy)? That's a great way to bond with a cat, and then at the end of playing with them you feed them a treat which is also good bonding.


Also, is she being "polite" in cat language to them? Not staring at them directly, blinking slowly and looking away? Often people that are too eager for kitty affection come across intense and "aggressive" in the eyes of a cat. Whereas someone that is, say, allergic and avoiding eye contact and keeping their distance from the cat is seen by the cat as polite and non-threatening and the cat may go right up to that person.


And even then it's no guarantee the cat will want to cuddle. My boyfriend rescued a feral kitten about 6 years ago and even now he's the only one that can cuddle with him, even though he's affectionate with me. Whereas our new cat will climb into any lap that presents itself. Good luck, I hope this can work out for everyone!
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-02-2018, 07:47 PM
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Based on all you wrote I cannot see your mom having the kind of relationship she thinks she should have with these cats. She can't/won't put the time in for whatever reason and I think that is ESSENTIAL to any relationship. Also not respecting a cat's body language is a sure-fire way to put a cat off. She really should try to see it from their point of view (as you seem to be).

Has she ever had a cat before? Because if someone travels at length, has no time to interact with their development and is disregarding the fact the sole cat BEFORE these kittens arrived is unhappy, I have to say this is inconsiderate. Why does she not want to dote on the older cat you have? Does she have unrealistic expectations? It seems so.

You have my sympathies. Family can be WORK sometimes shh!

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-03-2018, 04:40 PM
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I hate to be pessimistic, but 4 hrs. a day to spend with kittens is not enough to really bond with them, and also especially with periods of travel when your mom's away. The fact that you are home all day and spend time with them, the kittens have bonded with you....you are their "mom" now. To get another kitten that your mom thinks would bond with her is not going to happen, it will only join the other two and then you'll have three kitties bonded to you. I do feel sorry for your older cat who isn't happy with the two kitties,and it wouldn't help with a third kitten.
I hope you are able to give your older girl some of your undivided attention for cuddling, etc. with her away from the kittens. Does she like to be groomed? This can be a bonding experience that cats look forward to.....even if she's shorthair and doesn't get mats, it does remove the loose hairs in the coat and prevents hairballs. If she isn't used to being groomed start with a brush or comb, and let her rub her cheeks on it, do a little on her head and gradually the back and sides. You might want to avoid the tummy area as some cats are very ticklish. Stop grooming if she objects at any point. You want her to be happy about it and enjoy it. Feed her a treat after a grooming session, and she will look forward to this daily special time with you.

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Last edited by catloverami; 02-03-2018 at 04:43 PM.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-03-2018, 05:34 PM
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Both Catloverami and Dizzy's dad have excellent suggestions. I have learned that cats like to do things on their own terms. Maybe she can bond more with the older cat. Even if you get a 4th cat, there's no guarantee that it will be a cuddly lap cat that she wants. My cat Ziggy did not start as a lap cuddler, but once I learned her body language she is super affectionate and I get almost an hour of cuddle time a day (all initiated by Ziggy).
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-04-2018, 12:42 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone for the suggestions. I feel pessimistic to have my thoughts confirmed but all I can do is keep trying. It's also important for my mom to at least be able to pick them up for safety reasons... I won't be living here forever (I'll be taking my older cat with me) and in the case of emergency and for medication the kittens need to be able to be handled.

I do spend a lot of time with the older cat because she's 'mine', so to speak. I'm with her whenever she wants to be with me and she sleeps in my room at night. The kittens are not allowed in my room because I have a ton of junk in here that they can break, but they sleep outside my door and shove toys under it all night too lol.

I'll see if I can get my mom to start playing with them and brushing them if I'm nearby for them to be comfortable; today I gave a treat to my mom to give to the kittens and they were too nervous to take it with her watching them... so I noticed she doesn't really respect their space either. She has had cats all her life but growing up I remember there being behavioral problems due to a multi-cat household. Not quite Jackson Galaxy worthy but it was pretty on par. Family is so frustrating, but I'll do anything to prevent another cat to be subjected to this.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-04-2018, 11:15 AM
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I don't feel so bad now that you clarified the "resident" older cat is in fact yours and you will take her with you. I felt she was getting the brunt of all this but if the household dynamic will change- your mother only with the 2 kittens they will adjust to being fed by her and knowing only her. Depending on what your timetable is your mom has to start taking on the role of primary caregiver and that also includes playtime with positive reinforcement. To me it would be like if she were a catsitter who came in for a few hours a day, eventually the kittens adapt to the other presence. Perhaps letting them spend time on mom's bed getting more of her scent will help them recognize. As harsh as this might seem you might have to ignore them so they gravitate towards her attention. I know, ignore kittens...but short of her supplanting you as giver of treats/food/attention these guys will appreciate it where they now get it. This way mom will see validation from the investment and won't feel a need for another cat which isn't a sound idea. Time & Patience are the keys and I hope we here are helping you with this!
Good Luck and keep us posted!

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-04-2018, 10:19 PM
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I am wondering if there's a way to get the kittens used to her smells? I've noticed that my second cat, Freyja (who I've actually had longer but they have very different personalities) likes to gravitate towards my clothing. She's currently curled up on top of my gymbag and likes to hang out in my clothes hamper. If the kittens have a bed, maybe your mom has an old sweater she can use to line it so they get used to her smell with nice things.
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