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Hi all, I posted about this subject here once before a long time ago, but I think I did a bad job of articulating my problem. I'd like to see if I can get some new perspective. This might be a little long, so thank you so much to anyone who reads!

I'm part of a family of three and our cat Rosie has always been attached to me. She follows me around everywhere, and I used to even be the only one she'd let people touch.

But, she's been gradually losing her zest for life. She used to love playing with toys, but overtime she became apathetic towards them. Nowadays it's hard to even get her to pay attention to the laser pointer she once loved. As for wand toys, she'll look at them intently and occasionally bat at them, but it feels half-hearted, like she isn't "getting into it."

She's slowly lost her taste for physical affection, too. She used to raise her tail and push herself up into my hand when I pet her, now when I try to pet her she usually goes limp, almost like she's trying to avoid the pets. She also seems irritated when I pic her up and is absolutely furious if I try to cut her nails. Her favorite routine used to be when I'd sit on my bed, she'd immediately jump up and onto my lap, settling there and purring as I pet her. And, you guessed it, recently she stopped caring.

For a while, she would perk up whenever I went to an area of the house I normally don't go, which made me think maybe I was spending too much time in my room and that upset her for some reason. But now she doesn't care.

When I'm in my room, she basically just sits around a few feet away from me, and occasionally gets up to walk around aimlessly or to drink out of my water glass. Believe me, I've tried getting her a water fountain and filling her bowl with filtered water + ice, but nothing has changed. It seems like a drink from my cup is all she wants from me anymore.

If she didn't get joy from toys or anything, I figured I should try getting her a new kitten friend. She already had a sister named Peaches who's very sweet to her, but is also very sedentary and doesn't play much. So two months ago I brought home a new kitten, and while Rosie was angry for a while, she's fine with the kitten now. The disappointing part has been seeing the kitten try to play with Rosie, only for Rosie to act annoyed or ignore her.

She's even started pooping outside the litter box. Just yesterday I considered something that may have been causing this behavior and did something to rectify it, but I'm still waiting to see the results on that. Still, it's one more thing that's worrying me about her.

We took her to the vet just a few days ago, too. Nothing's wrong.

I am just feeling like such a hopeless dad for not having any more ideas of what to do for this sweetie. I feel like it would be irresponsible to just chalk it up as a natural part of getting older for her, even though I can't rule out that possibility. Does anyone have any more ideas of what could possibly be wrong? Or can anyone share any similar experiences they've had with their cats? Thank you so so much for reading all this, I just want to help this kitty so badly!
 

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How old is she? She could just be getting older, as you mentioned. She could be sick, sometimes the vet doesn't know if anything's wrong, or not. Maybe get a second opinion? How long has she been like this? Did something happen to her? Did she lose a someone close to her? Did she have a traumatic experience? I hope that she gets to feeling better soon.
 

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Your cat could be in pain. They hide pain because showing pain is showing vulnerability.

If she's getting on in years, she could be getting dementia. Not all cats do, but it's common enough to look into.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Rosie is six years old at the moment. She had a kittenlike energy when she was 3-4, but gradually started becoming a more apathetic and even grumpy cat. I don't think she's old enough to get dementia or any severe age-related diseases. It's hard to tell how long she's been like this because it's been a very gradual process, but I remember expressing concern about it at least a year ago. Back in 2018 one of our other cats that she knew passed away, but I never got the impression that they were super close or anything, and his death didn't seem to correlate with a noticeable change in behavior.

And yea, MistWolf, I can't rule out that she's in pain but if the vet couldn't find anything that could be causing her pain, I'm not sure I can do much else to continue investigated

Thanks for the responses. No hard feelings if we don't reach any meaningful conclusions here, because I know this is a very abstract issue. I just wanted to know if anyone else successfully dealt with cats like this.
 

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Heh! It's the internet. No hard feelings. There are so many things it could be and it may take time and work to figure it out. I'm not an expert, just some guy who has a new cat, watched a few videos and read an article or two. I wish I knew years ago what I'm learning now.

I hope you can find out what's going on with your cat. Vets are human and sometimes make mistakes. When we took Belle in to be spayed (she was feral/abandoned/lost when we took her in) the vet told us she was pregnant. Nope.

Some problems are subtle and difficult to diagnose. Keep investigating!
 

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I'm not sure what your housing situation is, but I hung a hummingbird feeder outside one of my windows at a previous home and my girls were fascinated by it. Six years old is still a very young cat, I hope you find some answers.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the thoughtful replies everyone. Mistwolf, we fed them Meow Mix for a good portion of their lives, but in the last year or so we've switched them over to Iams, which they seem to prefer, but we've kept a bowl of Meow Mix on the side if they ever want it. We also give them soft food once every day. I can't rule out that diet is the problem, but I think we're feeding them better now than ever.

marie, my parents actually had the same idea and hung a bird feeder right outside a window our cats like to sit by. Rosie likes it, but there's never any guarantee that birds will come when she's nearby, so it's hard to say how stimulating it is for her.

During summer I was trying to get Rosie used to wandering my backyard on a harness, she was nervous and hated the harness at first but I swear I was making progress. She was still edgy but she had started happily rolling around in the dirt and sunbathing at times. Then the cold weather rudely interrupted and I haven't been able to take her outside since. I'm waiting for spring to kick in so I can continue our routine, but I don't want to put too much stake in that. I want to be actively working towards a solution for her.
 

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Stop leaving food out for the cats and get them on a regular feeding schedule. Cats thrive when they have routine, rhythm & ritual in their lives and puts you in the driver's seat. The cats will see you're a dependable source of food and will come to rely on you. Scheduled play and feeding should increase their energy levels and strengthen the bond between you and your feline friends.

We feed our cat Belle 3 or 4 times a day, depending on our work schedules and try to brush and play with her before each meal. She's well behaved for an energetic cat in her "teenage years". Routine, Rhythm and Ritual has really paid dividends for us.
 
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