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I'm new to the whole having a cat around. In fact I've never actually touched a cat until Rocco came to live with us. I have a lot of questions so I'm going to explain and hopefully someone will still be awake at the end of my story.

He's seventeen weeks now. I got him from a friend of a friend. When I heard that she was complaining about this little guy and saying he was hard work, and that she was going to send him to a shelter because she couldn't rehome him, I had to go and see him. When I got there he was sitting off on his own in the corner playing with a piece of paper. Apparently he had torn wallpaper off a wall. The woman said that through her 20 years of breeding that he had been the worse. She said he was born not breathing, and he was the smallest of the bunch. When she went to pick him up he started scratching and biting her, but when she placed him on my knee he calmed down after a few minutes. I don't know what came over me but I said I would take him. (I've never had a desire to have a cat before) I took him that night and he was a little cautious around me.

He slept the first night at the top of the stairs just outside my bedroom door. He was up at 4am tugging at the bed sheet, but he didn't go on the bed. Luckily I work from home so I was around him all day. He just sat under my kitchen table and would only come out when I was feeding him. That night he slept at my bedroom door. I didn't see any bad behavior so I didn't know what the woman was talking about. As the nights went on he got closer and closer to the bed. Until he was sleeping on the bottom of it. During the day he would start wandering around and even let me pet him.

Last week everything changed. He started jumping up on my lap the moment I would sit down. He follows me everywhere I go, even sitting on the toilet seat when I have a shower. Now he actually sleeps in the bed under the covers with his head on my pillow.

He still has his weird behavior. Whenever my Dad comes to visit he sits at his feet looking up at him, but if my mother comes he runs and hides. The woman who I got him off of was a heavy set woman and so is my mother so my Dad thinks there is a connection with this. Also if there are small children around he will run and hide. This woman also had three grandchildren living with her. The minute he sees my Mother his tail gets really bushy and he runs and hides under the table. Another weird thing happens when people visit. He gets terrible wind. Everyone thinks its funny but I worry it has something to do with stress.

Another problem is that he can't meow. I've heard him do it about three times and each time is when his tail was all bushy and he was hiding.

Now when I got him this woman said that he had been to the vet and had been all checked out, but I got a call from her last night saying that she had made a mistake. I've made an appointment with the vet and he's going next week, but I have so many questions I don't want to freak him out with him. I was hoping to learn from here before I go. I would love any advice you can give me. I don't want him being afraid of anyone.

I have no idea about cats and I really should have learned before bringing him home, but I just felt I couldn't leave him that night. His tail confuses me. It gets really bushy in seconds and it won't go down until I put him on my knee. He also does a thing with his paws. He kneads my thighs or my side when we're laying together.

I always thought cats were very distant and only came near you when wanted feed. But Rocco seems very clingy. He can't stand to be in a room on his own so whenever I leave one he comes rushing in five seconds later. I'm afraid of him being stressed. I would love for anyone to explain his little ways to me. This all might be normal and I've just had the wrong information about cats all these years.

Also I will post a picture. Can anyone tell me what he is. I was told he was a tabby, but I didn't think tabby was a breed.

Rocco
 

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Tabby is coat pattern. He's likely a tabby domestic shorthair.

Thank heavens you took this little guy!!!!!!! You have done wonders.

It's amazing that he has bonded so well with you so fast.

Cats have very different personalities, often affected by how well they are treated and socialized. Many are intensely affectionate and interactive....you have one of these lovely cats.

It sounds as though he is in the early stages of developing a secure attachment to you after having not had a good relationship with his breeder. He may have been abused and your mother and children are triggers for his memories of this. Hopefully as he gets to know your mother this fear will fade. His relationship with you should also help settle and reassure him.

The kneading of you is a huge compliment....being happy and relaxed with you takes him back to the most blissful time he has ever known...when he was suckling from his mother. He is saying that he feels wonderful and secure with you!!!

The tail thing is normal behaviour for angry or threatened cats. They puff up their tails, fluff out their fur generally, especially along their backs....you may notice he also walks sideways. We think this is to make the cat look as big and threatening as they can. It's normal behaviour....but hopefully he'll feel the need to do it less as he feels more secure and relaxed.

It often takes time to come down....and does so when the cat feels secure again. You make your kitten feel secure. That is wonderful!!!


Well done, and I wish you a long and happy life together.
 

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Good for you for taking him and he is beautiful! If you have never had a cat before get ready for the time of your life! Getting him checked at the vet is a good first step and then getting him neutered. He will be a lot happier. The bushy tail sounds like he feels threatened or scared. Maybe the woman you got him from punished him, hit him, etc.

We have four cats and 3 are brothers and they each have a distinct personality. Getting him some toys to play with such as Da Bird, laser light, catnip balls, will help keep him busy and help use up his energy.
I think it is great that you took this little guy, doesn't sound to me like he was doing anything wrong at the other house, just being a kitten. As for breed, he looks like a domestic short haired tabby.
Get ready to have your heart stolen by this little guy. Cats are fascinating, loving, exciting creatures.
 

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What a beautiful boy! He sounds perfectly normal.

I think you will be glad you took him home with you...I never had cats until I was about 22 and can't imagine life without them now.
 

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Such a handsome little guy! You are awesome for taking him as your own :) It sounds like he's just adjusting to his new home, and none of his behavior sounds like anything to worry about. It's good that you're going to the vet, just to make sure. Tails get bushy when they're scared and go on the defensive, to make themselves look bigger to the opponent - like others have said, there could be triggers leftover from what life was like with the woman you got him from. It sounds like he might have been treated roughly, and since he is clearly an affectionate boy, he probably didn't get as much attention and TLC as he wants/needs.

It's amazing that he's taken to you so quickly, so I think the only thing you need to do is to keep doing what you're doing! It sounds like you've done a great job making his home a safe place, and establishing yourself as his loving caretaker. Things will fall into place with time :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi thanks for all the great feed back. I was afraid that the breeder had something to do with it. The moment I stepped into her home I had an uneasy feeling about her. That was probably the reason I was so willing to take him. She did say to me when I was leaving that if he scratched me or anything else I was to smack his nose or bum. I told her there would be no need for that, but she said most cat owners do it.

I guess it will take some time for me to get used to his little ways. I'm glad there is a place I can come and ask questions. Otherwise I would probably at the vets every weeks with every new little thing he does.
 

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She did say to me when I was leaving that if he scratched me or anything else I was to smack his nose or bum.
Most cat owners certainly don't! Loud noises are usually enough to deal with this, as well as modifying your own behaviour (e.g. if you use your hand as a toy, and kitty scratches your hand, replace your hand with a fuzzy cat toy or stuffed animal that's okay to scratch).

You've gotten great advice from others here. I wouldn't sweat the meowing thing - you know he can if he's hurt of something, and he may 'learn' to talk to you that way if it gets him attention, but if not, that's okay too.

The only other thing that hasn't been mentioned is diet. Do your own research and decide what's the best for your budget/schedule that's good for him. Since he's a boy he can be prone to UTIs and crystals in his urine - most people agree that this can be caused by long-term dehydration from feeding kibble. Lots of information out there if you want to look into it, and the quality of kibble/canned/raw diets is across the board.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I've never known any person with a pet that's smacked them so I ignored that quickly. Oddly enough the only time I've seen him scratch is when she picked up him. His back legs moved quickly like he was pushed her hand away and his front paws wrapped around her wrist. I've made sure no one in my home picks him up unless he jumped up first.

Food wise I bought every kind of kitten food I saw at the store and the only one he would eat was dry food. The breeder told me to top up his bowl every time I noticed it was empty. Now I'm thinking any advice she gave I should ignore so any advice on here would be great.

I realize getting a cat before I knew anything about them was a bit silly on my part, but something in me just didn't want to leave him that night. Hopefully I'll learn quickly and I won't do him any harm.
 

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The things you're saying are all pretty normal for a kitten in a new home. I suggest you pick up a copy of "Think Like a Cat' it will help explain a lot of behaviors. And no...cats aren't really aloof and loners. I believe that you get back what you put in. If you interact, talk to him and play with him you will more than likely get a very social kitty. If you don't, he'll stay off on his own. I can't make a move in my house without all 3 cats (and the dog) following me, they greet me at the door, sleep with me, help me go to the bathroom etc. etc.
 

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What a handsome little guy he is! And it sounds like he already has decided that you are his person. It is great that he found a home with you; between the "breeder" and the grandchildren he may have had a rough start. My first cat, Smokey, always ran away and hid when there were children in the house. He spent his first year in our neighbor's basement and they had small children who used to tease him.

Just an idea; maybe if your Mother just sat quietly and offered him some healthy treats he might get over his fear of her. It may take several visits. Or, at first, she could just sit next to your Dad and have him offer the treats.

You sound like a great cat mom already. You are willing to learn what is best for Rocco and put it into practice. Enjoy your new little guy!
 

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You have to give Rocco some TIME. He'll relax a little once he gets to know everyone. Meantime,let him hide,but know that you're there when he wants to come out! Great story,thanx for sharing...:)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm happy to hear a lot of his behavior is normal for a cat and you're right time is what he needs. Thanks again everyone for your help.
 

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just wanted to say how happy i am for you along with everyone else. it was fate that you and rocco met that day. you were meant to be together! when he melted in your lap after biting and clawing that horrible breeder, that was a sure sign if i ever saw one. i have no doubt you saved his life and you are going to receive so much love back from him you won't even believe it.

you've already received excellent advice and support from everyone here. i will just reiterate that you are doing a great job already. you obviously really care for him and want the best for him, so just keep up the great work. read everything you can and never stop learning. most of his behavior will be completely normal for a cat so even though it's unfamiliar to you now, you will get used to it fast and be a lot more comfortable caring for him as the years go by. enjoy getting to know each other! you're so lucky to have found each other!
 

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Hi lolacola! You've already received a lot of advise and support here, and I just wanted to add my encouragement!

Please don't feel bad about adopting a kitten without knowing much about cats. It would be different if it were an impulse at a pet store, or if it were some exotic animal that required special care. You saw a young animal in a possibly abusive situation, and saved his life. Cats are some of the most common pets out there, and they're relatively easy to care for, compared to many other animals. You joined this forum to get experienced advise, which shows that you want the best for your kitty. I agree with maggie23, it was fate for you & Rocco to come into one another's lives. Enjoy it and don't get down on yourself, even if you make a few mistakes here & there. You are still learning, and YOU need time, too :)
 

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Congratulations! Truly, because your about to find out what a rewarding experience it is to "be owned" by a cat! Before my first cat "Little Man", I too would always think that I would never own a cat. Who wants an animal that lays under a bed all day and doesn't want to be around you? ( Boy did I have it wrong! )
When I brought my "Little Man" home from a farm I didn't own a litter box, cat food, and quite honestly didn't know anything about either one of those things. But together he and I figured it all out together and you will too.
Love your little guy......the rest will fall into place. Rocco looks just like my "Little Man," and he's a domestic shorthair tabby.
Best of luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
He's already got me wrapped around his paw. I always thought it was weird when people went on about their cats, but I totally get it now. I feel so bad for thinking so badly about them for so long. From readying all the comments I got back I think he must be doing okay. I just have to give him a little time. Although I can see taking more cats in can be addictive. I caught myself looking up shelters in my area. I had to stop myself. I think this little guy needs all of my attention for a time before I can think about a playmate for him. But I'm learning so much from this site. I didn't realize cats were so interesting.
 

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When I saw the title of the thread, I figured anyone here could be posting that. :grin:

A few things:

You're taking your life into your hands with some cats if you attempt to tickle them anywhere on their bum or tail area. (Cleo had a HUGE laugh about that one!)

I would advise against wrestling with your cat using your hands. It's simply a bad habit that some kittens find hard to break when they get older, and cats will assume everyone wants to play like that and could hurt a child.

You got Rocco pretty much the same way I got Cinderella - rescuing her, intending on finding her a good home, and by the end of the first night, she was all mine. :grin:

Sounds like Rocco find a great home.
 

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You may want to do a search on how many members have had a hard time trying to break their cats of this habit.......
 

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It's a huge issue if the cat doesn't care or want to break this habit. It's simply best not to start this with a kitten. There are a million toys they can play and wrestle with.
 

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We can argue this all night. I'm not concerned about the one human, I'm concerned about everyone else that might come into contact with the cat.

Back on topic.
 
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