Extremely Needy Cat!!! Need Help - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-18-2005, 10:23 PM Thread Starter
 
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Extremely Needy Cat!!! Need Help

Hi. I'm new to the forum and need help. My roommate and I recently got a female cat from a shelter. The cat is approximately 2 years old and was a stray. She was spayed 1 1/2 weeks ago before we were allowed to pick her up. After we got her it was apparent that she was sick (upper respiratory infection). While sick she mostly stayed to herself except when we had to force feed (through syringe) and give meds. After visiting the vet and being on medication, she has started to feel better. However, she now follows me and my roommate everywhere. Yet, when we try to play with her with the toys that we bought, she will not play with them (remote controlled mouse, cat on a string, feathers, balls, etc.). She cries (or at least that's what it sounds like) if we go into a room without her. She cries, if one of us leaves the room even if the other is still there. The only time she is not crying is if she is in the same room with both of us. If we pet her she tries to bite our hands. We do not let her sleep in our rooms at night because she has a tendency to attack feet and hands out of the blue (or so it seems). She will not use the scratching post, preferring to scratch carpets and sofas. The deterrant spray that we purchased deters her from nothing. Walking up and down the stairs or even leaving the house has become a game of outsmarting the cat. My roommate is ready to take her back to the shelter, but I would prefer if could train as we have already spent a lot of money on the cat and I guess when she was sick I kind of bonded with her. However, I too am almost at the end of my rope as I do not know what to do. PLEASE HELP!!

- Lacart
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-18-2005, 10:52 PM
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Hi lacart, and welcome to the forum.

You have a number of concerns that are common to most new cat owners. None of them should cause you to even think about giving up this cat. All of them can be addressed in due time. You've only had the cat a short while. You and your roomate and the cat need more time to adjust to each other. Please be patient, all these things usually work out.

Many cats are a lot more desirous of attention than people expect. You say she's needy. She just wants attention, and she wants to be with someone...with YOU. She's not crying, that's just what it sounds like. She's talking to you!

As far as the other things, very briefly: play--just keep trying different things. Maybe she's not secure enough yet in her new home to want to play. Biting - do not encourage this. Here's a good site to read some articles on cat behaviors: http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?action=library. Same place for scratching. Cats like to scratch different materials, you just have to find one she likes. There's lots of information in messages here in the forum, feel free to use the search function to look for them.

Oh, one more....you can't "train" a cat. You can modify and redirect their normal behaviors so they make a better companion. But it takes time. Please be patient, and don't expect success overnight. A cat is well worth the investment in your time and effort.

We look forward to hearing of your cat adventures, and post a picture if you have one.

Best Wishes!
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-20-2005, 12:26 PM
 
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Good luck with your new kitty!

You should be really observant when you try to pet your kitty as to what is acceptable, and what isn't. Cats aren't always like dogs, rolling over to enjoy a nice belly rub. Kiera has to be in a REALLY good and trusting mood in order for me to pet her belly, and even then it's rarely more than 15 seconds or so. I find Kiera responds much better to some petting/scratching on her head, or under her chin. In time, you'll learn your cat's signals and what makes her tick and you can work with them, just like you'd work with a new coworker or roomate.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-20-2005, 12:49 PM
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I think that a lot of the neediness is adjustment...she's been through a LOT in the last few weeks, and she may be a little overwhelmed by too much new territory all at once. Can you try giving her a day or two in one room with her food, littlerbox, toys, and scratching posts, going in often to visit, play, and cuddle? Then gradually reintroduce her to the rest of the house so it's not too much all at once, and see if she does better once she's had time to figure out where everything is. From shelter to spay to sickbed to giant new home is a lot to take in all at once. Leave her a radio on low volume when she's alone (my cat likes NPR).

Buy some cheap carpet runners or welcome mats for scratching. Some cats prefer to scratch horizontal surfaces, so if she does, just provide her with what she likes, and when she scratches other places, gently move her to the "right" place (you may have to scratch it yourself to give her the idea). Find out the patterns to her scratching and what she likes, and provide her with more attractive alternatives. Also, you can try a product called "Soft paws," little rubber caps that glue onto the claws so that she can still scratch, but not damage stuff.

Read the article on Play therapy at LittleBigCat, you may just not be engaging her in a way that works, and she sounds like she could use the play (ankle attacks are a dead giveaway).

The biting issue...some cats are easily overstimulated by patting, and it's very rare that a cat seriously bites without some kind of warning, so you just need to learn the warning signs (tail, ear, and whisker twitches, skin twitches, and direct staring. Try only patting for three strokes (or two, or one, whatever works), no matter how much she wants attention...this will keep her from getting overstimulated, and if you do the play therapy, you may find that play aggression and overstimulation have been dual problems feeding off each other. Don't yank your hand away or yell when she bites (providing it's safe), as if she needs hunting-type play, that will just get her more worked up. Just go limp, remove your hand gently (maybe saying "no bites") and ignore her for a few minutes. I think this is a secondary issue that well-applied play therapy will help with quite a bit.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-20-2005, 11:59 PM
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Gudwife suggested runners and welcome mats to you. I think she was the one to point the same thing out to me. I tried it and it has worked wonders. I bought a $10 sisal rope mat and sprayed it with spray catnip. 10 min. later, 2 of my 3 were happily scratching and rolling on it. They haven't scratched at the carpet since. I think the texture of the rope matting is more what they were looking for in addition to the position (horizontal)

Everyone else has given great advice. It's gonna take time, don't rush it. Also, give your kitty the chance to come to you for petting. Sit at her level and talk to her in soft tones. She'll come to check you out. Slowly reach out your hand, let her sniff. If she lets you, pet her. That way she feels a little more "in control" of what's going on.

Good luck!
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-21-2005, 12:17 PM
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Celebsilmare, where did you buy your sisal mat? I haven't been able to find one yet. Thanks!
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-21-2005, 05:32 PM
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I got it at a store called World Market. They sell all different sizes and they're cheap.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-21-2005, 05:49 PM
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Here's the site, they list 2 in Wisconsin.

http://www.costplus.com/costplus/pub...ucts/home.html
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-21-2005, 08:02 PM
 
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Next time I go to Woodbury....I am definately going to invest in these rugs you are talking about. Probably really far for you to go Tim.
I will tell you when we go and I can pick you up some too.
I cannot find the actual sisal rug on the web-site though.

Lacart....Dont give up yet! I almost gave up on my Mi'Mi'....boy am I glad I hung in there. She is really changing for the better day by day.

Edit to add: Hey maybe they have these at Pier 1 Import stores???
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-22-2005, 01:12 AM
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Yeah they don't have the one I bought on the site. But the one I got is about 2' x 2' about an 1 1/2" thick. They had a bigger one, but this di the trick. I also noticed today that Petsmart had a little sisal mat with decorative cloth trim for sale. I don't remember the price off the top of my head though.
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