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Antisocial or personality trait?

1945 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  librarychick
Hey everyone,

I'm new here and I currently own 3 cats. The first ones' nickname is Kam, he's 5 years old and half siamese and half DSH. He's very friendly, affectionate and independent.

The second is the one this post mainly refers to. Her nickname is Ika, she's 5 and a DSH.

The third is Kai, she's 1 year old and a bengal.

I also have 2 large dogs, 1 bird and 1 horse.

Since I have had Ika, she has always been what others describe as "feral". I have had her since she was 1 month old, I raised her with people around and the above animals. I don't know much about where she came from except that her mother was a ginger tabby and her father was a black stray.

I trained her (as I do all my animals), so she knows and performs the following on command: sit, stand, lay down, roll over, fetch, stay, go to bed, inside, outside, up, down, get off, hop away, gentle, no claws, calm down, come here and no. If I ask her to stand or sit while I check her over, she has no problems doing so, she will let me check her eyes, ears, mouth and check her over for ticks everywhere etc with no problem. She won't respond to commands unless they are from me.

The issue is when she is around other people. Although I raised her some close friends and roommates, she does not tolerate people near her, even those she has grown up with. I have never seen her accept another person except myself (and my father, even though she only sees him once a year, 3 times total). She will sniff them, and if they're fast enough and willing to ignore her body language, they will get in a pat or two before she hisses, meows a warning or attempt a warning bite. She has never been abused in any way.

She will not even tolerate children in the same room as her, she will hiss and start acting out before they even step into the room. I have seen her actively attack and chase salespeople who attempt to walk up to the front door (who needs a dog when you have a guard kitty?). It's gotten to the point where I don't take her to the vet anymore for her yearly checkup because she always leaves the vet severely bloody and scratched up (I feel very bad for the poor guy) and it's too stressful for both her and the vet.

She will bite others who live in the house who try to pat her. Even 2 of my closer friends who are vets, she likes them better that most but she will not allow them to touch her (she used to when she was a kitten but not since she has been an adult). Just before she became an adult (just after I had her fixed) she started lashing out when people touched her. I've tried getting them to feed her routinely so they establish a bond, but that didn't work. She has no interest in playing with them either. She will come down and meow hello when they get home and thats about it. Anybody unfamiliar who walks in the door she will actively follow and guard (literally) until they leave.

It's the same with animals. She follows a live and let live policy as long as they leave her alone. If they touch her or get too close, she reacts badly. When I have introduced animals visiting, she simply attacks (I have seen had 2 large dogs, one of which was a rottweiler, cowering in the corner because of her, even though she was in a cage). The other animals know to leave her alone. The one exception was when I was playing foster mom to a kitten for a temporary period of time. They bonded well, played together, slept together and otherwise were best buds. After the kitten was homed, she went back to her usual self. It took her a good deal of time to adjust to the kitten but she pined for him once he was gone.

She has been properly socialised both when she was younger and once I got her. She has no real reason for the antisocial behaviour. She acts like a feral except for the fact that she likes to be around me (the only real difference is that she isn't solitary). She greets me when I get home, sleeps on my bed, is affectionate and even if she's not interacting with me, she likes to be in the same room as me most (80%) of the time. She will do most things I ask her to.

She has a very good memory and is highly intelligent (I have to really search for new and elaborate toys to keep her occupied). If I dare come home smelling like another cat it will take her 3 days of sulking to forgive me. She spends her play time down in the barn and is generally considered the barn cat (i.e. bird, bugs, rat, mice, lizard and snake catcher) for all other intents and purposes. She will only eat raw meat really and won't drink unless it's running water.

I'm at a loss with how to integrate her with other people in our "family" as such. I'm starting to wonder if it's even possible because this has been going on so long that I'm starting to wonder if it's just her personality and that she's just a one person cat. My bengal is similar except she is less combative (she prefers to run away) is willing to accept some contact from others and is more solitary. I'm at a loss as to how to integrate her into our "family", particularly since those I live with are not good with cats. I really don't know what to do but I don't want the bengal to start copying her behaviour.

Can anyone help?
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Hi, Jasmina,

Is she a black cat by any chance? :grin: (My Cleo is a loner-girl, too.)

I don't really know much about cat behavior, but I'm surprised (and impressed) that she's so well-trained (smart!!) and yet anti-social.

Hopefully, you'll get some good advice from people here who know about behavior.

Have you posted pictures of your cats yet? (hint, hint) :grin:
I don't think there's anything wrong with your cat. You've really done everything right in her upbringing, so I don't think it's social or environmental, but it could be genetic. Some cats are just like that; it's part of their personality, and at 5 yrs. old Ika's personality is pretty much fixed. As she ages, she may mellow out and decide she wants to be more social, but it will be on her own terms. Just accept and love her the way she is, warn people she's anti-social and to leave her alone. Interesting tho that she likes your dad. I would say she's just very particular who she wants as a friend so count yourself lucky...occasionally there are posts where a cat is like this to the owner and everyone else.
I think there are things you can do that might improve her a bit, but she'll never be really social. I wouldn't say she's feral though. Feral cats are fearful, they don't follow guests, etc. They hide and guests don't believe you have another cat.

It does help that you train her already, since that will he'll her learn to tolerate a bit more. Teach her touch, or target. I use a chopstick with the end colored black for my cats. Offer the stick close to her, when she touches the colored bit mark and reward. Repeat a lot. Lol.
Work with her until she'll run across a room to touch the target, climb over things, reach up, crouch, turn in a circle etc.
When you're at that point lay the target on the floor and practice like that for a bit, then try and see if she'll target without you touching it. Work like that for a bit, then move up to placing it on a chair/book etc, and send her to it.

The step that's going to encourage her to be better with others is this one. Have someone who is calm and can follow directions sit on the floor, with their side to you, holding the chopstick. They should look away, NOT watch. Ask her to target. Work until she's comfortable approaching this person, then have them calmly look over sometimes. They should not look straight at her, move towards her, or try to pet or touch her.

It'd go slow, but it does work. Torri will let some people pet her, briefly, now.

In the mean time I would suggest putting her away when you have guests over and telling your roommates to completely ignore her. This will help her feel safer and more secure.
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Edit: She's 3. I must have been typing too fast before.

Thank you for all the responses so far.

Marie73, yes, of course, she's black. I plan to post pictures once I recover the data from my old pc that crashed.

catloverami, do you know how common it is when it is genetic?

librarychick, I have never called her feral, just my friends have roommates have. I don't believe she is because she would be solitary and more fearful if she was feral. I don't like that they refer to her that way, but I can't stop it either.

I like that idea by training her to touch the target. I'm sure she will do it with the chopstick but it would be another thing altogether to do it with a person. I'l give it my best shot, thank you heaps.

I already put her away when we have company as she has went to attack kids coming over here before. The only thing that stopped her was that I told her to. I always put her away when people are over now if they are scared of cats or have children. I don't want to mentally scar anyone lol.
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I tried the chop stick training with all of my cats. Ika now lets the 2 friends of my mine who are vets pet her briefly, she comes up an rubs on them now. She still won't let others touch her and I don't think that's going to change, but even having these 2 allowed to touch her is huge progress.

Kai now lets everyone pet her briefly and is not as shy, which is also huge progress.

Kam is also more comfortable, he would allow petting before but he now stays much longer for it.

Thank you very much librarychick.
Yay! That's wonderful to hear! Behavior modification (changing the natural response of a pet) works great. I'm so glad your cat is improving so quickly!!!! know we need pictures now, right? ;)
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