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I got my first cat last year and I thought he was pretty normal. He hates being picked up and will only be clapped or touched when he wants to be. That's fine I let him set the rules, and I figured it was just the ways cats were having only had dogs before I was used to an animal fussing over people.

But a family member came to stay who has two cats of her own. Over the week she was staying she kept bring up the fact that my cat seemed very odd. He's a nervous cat. He jumps and runs if the door goes and hides until he knows whose there. He won't let anyone but me and my family touch him. If someone tries to pet him he'll bite or scratch them. I've had him since he was about 7 weeks I don't know what happened those first 7 weeks, but I know he's not been hurt or abused in my home, but my family member remarked it was like he was scared of hands. I don't know if that's a thing or not. He also will bite anyones feet if they're bare. Everyone has to walk around with socks on. I don't know if that means anything. I guess I'm just wondering if his behavior is normal or not?
 

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There are probably more experienced members here better fit to answer this, but to me it sounds like he might have been abused in those 7 weeks before you got him. It's easy to get a cat to like you when they're very young, but once they've been conditioned to be wary of people for a long while and are apparently still exhibiting that sort of behavior, it might be hard to break. Just be very cautious around him, try not to pick him up suddenly or unless you have to, pet him gently, talk to him, etc

Does he look more angry or scared when people pet him/pick him up? Of course those two can oftentimes go hand in hand, but I'm curious as to whether he's more skittish or more aggressive?
 

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Cats are all different. He does not sound weird. He may have been a feral kitten and naturally wary of people. Try giving him the tastiest treats you can find and hopefully he will associate hands with good things. Also, try carrying a can with some coins in it and shake it with a stern "no" when he stalks and attacks your feet. He will eventually make the connection. I think his personality is towards the shy side but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Enjoy your kitty.
 

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I wouldn't jump to abuse. I've had my cat since he was 8 weeks old, and he was hand raised in a foster home before that. He runs when people come in, until he gets used to them. He only tolerates me holding him, and then, it's on his terms. He's not a fan of being pet, and will sometimes slink away from my hand. I've never hit him, or pushed him past his boundaries. He just much prefers to watch what I'm doing, show his affection with little meows and leg rubs. Also, one of the only times he purrs is around 3 am, when he is demanding head butts.

My other cat is so super needy. I can't even sit down when I get home from work to take my boots off without him flinging himself on my lap. He rolls over, loves his belly rubbed, and would be in heaven if I carried him around all day.

All cats are different. I think it just comes down to genetics. Who knows the backgrounds of my cats, but I would guess that my shy boy has a bit more feral cat in him than my other one.


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I wouldn't jump to abuse. I've had my cat since he was 8 weeks old, and he was hand raised in a foster home before that. He runs when people come in, until he gets used to them. He only tolerates me holding him, and then, it's on his terms. He's not a fan of being pet, and will sometimes slink away from my hand. I've never hit him, or pushed him past his boundaries. He just much prefers to watch what I'm doing, show his affection with little meows and leg rubs. Also, one of the only times he purrs is around 3 am, when he is demanding head butts.

My other cat is so super needy. I can't even sit down when I get home from work to take my boots off without him flinging himself on my lap. He rolls over, loves his belly rubbed, and would be in heaven if I carried him around all day.

All cats are different. I think it just comes down to genetics. Who knows the backgrounds of my cats, but I would guess that my shy boy has a bit more feral cat in him than my other one.


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You make a great point of not knowing the background of my cat. I got him from a women whose cat was a house cat who escaped and came back pregnant.

He never purrs, but he does rub against my leg if I'm standing. It's just the hands and feet thing that seems to freak him out. My cat does lay on his back to sleep when it's evening time and everyone is watching tv. I've never tried to rub his belly as I feel it would be too much for him.

Like Jetlaya67 and you have said. He would be described as shy. Maybe that's just his personality. I was so used to him being like that until someone pointed out to me that he wasn't like any cat she had been around.
 

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There are probably more experienced members here better fit to answer this, but to me it sounds like he might have been abused in those 7 weeks before you got him. It's easy to get a cat to like you when they're very young, but once they've been conditioned to be wary of people for a long while and are apparently still exhibiting that sort of behavior, it might be hard to break. Just be very cautious around him, try not to pick him up suddenly or unless you have to, pet him gently, talk to him, etc

Does he look more angry or scared when people pet him/pick him up? Of course those two can oftentimes go hand in hand, but I'm curious as to whether he's more skittish or more aggressive?
When you pet him he will suddenly put his paw over your hand and force it to the ground. Then he sort of stands on it for a few seconds. It's like he's telling us he's had enough. We've sort of learned that when he does that to stop, but sometimes my teenage Nieces will be visiting and they pet him and he'll get aggressive. He's not hissing or anything, but he grabs their hands and holds them against his chest while bunny kicking their arms and biting. He never breaks the skin and after a few seconds he'll let go and usually lick where he's bitten. Also if you go to pet him he will duck out of the way unless he wants to be petted. I've never seen him look scared. It's more cautious.
 

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I rescued a mom and her son a 7 month old kitten. They had been fed by people. The mom will love to be pet but when I pick her up she makes a horrid sound like she has been picked up by a predator. The son is jumpy but yet he will also lay on my lap and purr. But if I try to go to him, he runs away like I am the enemy. I just treat them with kindness, give them treats, play with them and let them do what makes them comfortable. I never had cats like this but I never rescued cats who lived outside under cars either.
 

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Hmm, yeah, actually, reading over everything you've said, that's probably just his natural temperament/personality. Not to say it's not possible he was abused, but it sounds more like he might just be a skittish/shy/nervous cat? This isn't the best example since I really don't know where she came from, but the kitten I found around three months ago exhibits similar behavior. She's extremely sweet and affectionate, but she can also get very skittish and nervous, especially around newcomers.

No one will ever know 100%, but I think he's just a shy kitty! :) I'd love to see some pics of him if you have them, though!
 

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Hmm, yeah, actually, reading over everything you've said, that's probably just his natural temperament/personality. Not to say it's not possible he was abused, but it sounds more like he might just be a skittish/shy/nervous cat? This isn't the best example since I really don't know where she came from, but the kitten I found around three months ago exhibits similar behavior. She's extremely sweet and affectionate, but she can also get very skittish and nervous, especially around newcomers.

No one will ever know 100%, but I think he's just a shy kitty! :) I'd love to see some pics of him if you have them, though!

A shy cat is something I can live with. I just didn't want that to be signs of abuse or anything so I thought I would ask. Thanks for all the replies. And yes I have photos lol. This cat has had its picture taken more tiimes than Kim Kardashian.

As a kitten



And now

 

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The chances of it being abuse are...so incredibly low. That sort of thing (physical abuse) happens much more rarely than people seem to think.

He's just a nervous kitty, and TBH my perfectly well adjusted cats sometimes act in the ways your describing too. And I never take observations from guests to my home all that seriously. I'm the one who's with my cats daily and I'm the one who knows them. Not to mention that the majority of cats are more cautious/skittish when there are guests in the home and with people they are less familiar with.

I think your guest might simply have felt a little hurt that your kitty isn't reacting to them like their kitties do (which is completely normal, BTW) and felt like there had to be a reason.

I actually have people tell me things along the line of "Why won't they cuddle meeeee?", or "your cats don't like people/are mean" on a very regular basis. I had one person (who hasn't been back since) tell me that since Torri doesn't like strangers I should "...obviously just put her down." To which I promptly replied "I don't care if she likes YOU, she's MY cat and she likes ME."

Sorry if I sound a little rant-y, this is a bit of a sore spot with me lately and I can't stand how people always jump to 'he was abused' just because a cat isn't abnormally friendly. Serious peeve.
 

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Yeah, actually given how cats are such creatures of habit and have senses that are so finely tuned - also given their relatively short-term history of domestication - it is probably more abnormal for a cat to be friendly with everyone they meet than vice versa. So if you have a friendly, indiscriminately social cat you most likely have an aberration lol.

librarychick, I can't believe how crass some people can be. :-x
 

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I think there's a combination of things that go into this cat's personality. I notice he is a beautiful Silver Tabby, and it's been my experience that a fair number of cats with the silver gene do tend to be on the shy side. You also got him at 7 weeks, so he missed out on a lot of socialization with people and other cats. If his mom cat was shy and ran from strangers, he likely learned that from her that people weren't to be entirely trusted. He doesn't sound like an abused cat to me, but skittish and shy, and this is likely how he will continue to be. Sometimes these shy, skittish type of cats mellow and become more confident as they age, so don't be surprised if he becomes more demonstrably affectionate in his later years.
 

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All cats are different. We have just adopted litter mates that are different sexes but totally alike to look at. They both had exactly the same early life experience (neglect in a very weird followed by the sanctuary) but they are completely different in behaviour. Like people, they are all individuals.
 

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I actually have people tell me things along the line of "Why won't they cuddle meeeee?", or "your cats don't like people/are mean" on a very regular basis. I had one person (who hasn't been back since) tell me that since Torri doesn't like strangers I should "...obviously just put her down." To which I promptly replied "I don't care if she likes YOU, she's MY cat and she likes ME."

Sorry if I sound a little rant-y, this is a bit of a sore spot with me lately and I can't stand how people always jump to 'he was abused' just because a cat isn't abnormally friendly. Serious peeve.
I find that crazy that someone would suggest putting down a cat because she doesn't like people. That's like giving your kid up for adoption for being shy.

I once was in a pet shop when I heard a woman ask the woman behind the counter if she could put up a flying with details about her cat. She had the cat for 6 months and didn't like it's personality so she was selling it so that she could buy a puppy. Thankfully the woman behind the counter told her where to go and told her she would be reporting her. It's crazy what goes through some peoples minds.
 

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When you pet him he will suddenly put his paw over your hand and force it to the ground. Then he sort of stands on it for a few seconds. It's like he's telling us he's had enough.
He is saying that. My aunt's cat does the exact same thing. She has never been an overly friendly cat. She is social, but not with strangers, and being social doesn't=wanting pets. Even though she knows us really well, as she comes over to the house all the time - our house is like a second home to her - when we go to HER house she hides the whole time. My aunt's had her since she was 9 weeks.

The I'd say the majority of cats are not friendly with strangers. It doesn't mean anything happened to them. In the wild it would be the trait naturally selected for.
 

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LOL as I've said several times before, my cats turn into vapor clouds when strangers arrive! When they leave they suddenly appear milling around and hoovering the floor with their noses where the strangers had been.

IF and that's a big if but if they do appear while a stranger is around, they will hug the perimeter of the room and quickly pass thru.

Of course in saying that Belle, is so very shy, and I don't care what her need may be, she will wait till that person leaves before she will reappear.

The only times I can "freely" touch them is when I put their meal down for them to eat or when I am in bed, and they jump up to sleep with me.
They will travel from room to room with me, wanting to be where I am. It's like having a furry entourage. They are very curious about what I am doing, and love to try and make just about anything a game for me to interact with them. They love, love, LOVE playing hunt and find games with me. (like searching for the toys under the couch, chair, etc.)
EVEN 14 year old B.B. has her "on my term" moments, still.. but I don't mind. I like my cats more on the independent side. Needy is nice once in a while, but it tends to wear thin with me after a while. But, that's just me.

I know none of them has ever been abused nor does any of them have a drop of feral blood in them. My neighbor drives me crazy when she insists that my cats haven't been "socialized". What the heck is that? ... socialized. They're bloody socialized, they just don't want to be around people that aren't in their clowder!
 
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