Cat Forum banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
I'm hoping the many voices of experience here can shed some light on this. I've read many things on the internet about what to expect when a new cat arrives in a house, especially one with a resident cat, but I can't find anything about my particular issue.
A few days ago, I brought home a stray cat that began appearing in the park I go to every morning. He would be in the same spot every day, shivering on a picnic table. He was very friendly and affectionate; he would follow me around the area, rub up against me, let me pet him, and even pick him up and carry him for a short while. After three days of this, I felt he deserved to have a home, so I brought him back with me. That was six days ago.
In the house, my resident cat, Stella (9), was obviously less than thrilled. However, the new guy has seemed to adjust rapidly. They have tense moments when they come close, but otherwise respect each others' space. He immediately has made himself at home in parts of the house where she doesn't frequent, and he regularly comes through the common areas. He doesn't hide, and is quite content to relax around the house, out in the open, sometimes even in the same room as Stella.
However, his friendly disposition with me all but vanishes when he is in the house. Whereas in the park he was my best friend, at home he is anything but. If I make any attempt to touch him, I receive a moan and a swat of his paw. I can walk past him and sit or stand very close to him, and he seems unphased, but once my hand goes anywhere in his vicinity, he goes into attack mode. When I am close to him and trying to give him attention, he will sometimes roll on his back and even purr, but again, if my hand goes anywhere near him he gets angry and tries to bite it. When I'm preparing food for him and Stella, he comes near, rubbing the nearest furniture, seemingly happy. Yet, as I put his dish down, he'll meow angrily and try to bite my hand.
When I took him to the vet to be checked out, he was again the affectionate cat that I knew from the park, rolling on his back in the carrier, licking my hand, and letting me pet him without restriction. But once we returned home, he returned to his defensive form.
Even now as I type this post, he is a few feet away from me, curled up and sleeping peacefully on the bed. If I roll my chair over to him, as I've tried in the past, not only will he not react defensively, but he even sometimes stretches out, rolls over, grooms himself, or simply goes back to sleep. But once he sees my hands, he moves to kill.
I know that new cats need time to adjust, and that this process can sometimes last a month or more. But this love/hate behavior doesn't seem to fit anything I've read, and my friends and neighbors who have had cats for many years also can't liken it to anything they've ever experienced or heard of. I am left wondering if this is normal, or if I made a mistake by bringing him home. Is this something that will pass, or is he simply a cat who is happier living outdoors? I am more than willing to care for him and ride it out, but if he likes it better outside, then I'll do what's best for him and take him back to the park.
Thanks for reading my little essay here :catsm
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,270 Posts
Apologies ahead of time for spelling errors! (replied on my phone)

If it weren't for the frustrationyou are experiencing, I would have to smile/chuckle at this cat's behavior. I swear it sounds like this little guy is wise beyond his years! Seems perfectly content to lounge around ok in a safe comfortablehome, but now that he's got that, he feels entitled to act like a brat when it fancies him.

Even the trip to the vet. It's like he was thinking, ” oh crap. She's thinking about giving me away. MUST act lovable andneedy again. Must make her feel sorry for me.” Then he gets home and revels in his victory once again!!! ” ha ha! Tricked the silly human again! Success is mine! Now where's my dinner, slave?!”

Maybe he just needs more time to adjust to having you around so much more. Cuz remember he really only got your company for a very short time each day in the park. Now you're actually living in the same house and can see each other 24 houra a day! Kinda like how we humans have to adjust to living with a new roommate or spouse! :)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,862 Posts
Thank you for giving him a good home and vet check!! You are fortunate the two cats seem to be getting on at least on an ok level. At least they aren't killing each other! As to how he treats you, that is certainly a puzzler. There is just something wrong about biting the hand that feeds you!!

Have you tried just offering the back of your hand - and just a couple easy cheek strokes rather than a full petting? I do think more time is needed for him to completely trust you. We adopted Lacey last January and she would be all sweetness and light they WHAM, she'd nip out of the blue. Did this for months - it's only been in the past 2 months that she has not nipped so as you can see, it can take awhile.

I remember when we adopted Abby she wanted NOTHING to do with us for a very long time. After about a month I took her to the vet to be sure there was nothing wrong physically contributing to it and she was so sweet - pawing my chest and asking to be held. Total opposite of how she had been and made me out to be a liar in the vet's eyes!! As soon as we got home the shields went up again. It took her a year for me to win her heart but it was SO worth it!! I would only offer her the back of my hand and if she rubbed it with her cheek I would stroke her face, moving over time to her head. Little by little we bonded. For me it's frustrating, but at the same time, it's the thrill of the chase! I love the process of having them fall in love with me and I've been successful with every cat I adopt (so far). I adopt seniors and adults so they can be set in their ways and take some time.

Give him more time - weeks, maybe even a couple of months or more. Just be patient and not too anxious. I know it can be frustrating. You feel used and taken advantage of. Let him settle in and I think he will seek out affection over time.

Does new guy have a real name?? How old is he??
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,138 Posts
I would suggest you read the books by Pamela Johnson Bennett like Cat vs Cat. You have to look at this from the new cats perspective. Cats are territorial and this cat was transplanted into another cats territory. He is nervous and unsure of himself and is trying to find where it is safe and find safety in your home. He may not show it expressively but he is extremely nervous. I think you may have rush introductions too quickly.

There is a wonderful site called Little Big Cat. They have a library full of different info about cats. Here is an article on cat introductions youd enjoy and glean info from. Cat-to-Cat Introductions | Little Big Cat

Plus setting up base camp for when you bring a cat home. Base Camp — How to Prepare for your New Cat | Little Big Cat

I hope this helps and I hope this solves a bit of why he is reacting like he is. He will come around. You may have to start over by doing base camp and going slowly back into introductions.

Please don't take him back to the park. If anything, take him to a no kill shelter if you cant keep him. This is a socialized cat and doesn't have the smarts like a feral cat would to survive. Lots of bad thing could happen to him including mean cruel humans if he goes back to the park. You did a very kind thing to take him in. I personally believe you can bring him around to being the affectionate kitty you met at the park.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thank you all for the replies.
I've tried reaching out to him in different ways, sometimes not even directly at him, but the result is always a defensive response. At this point, if he even just sniffed my hand and walked away, it would be great progress. I'm not offended by it so much as of yet, because it's only been a week since he moved in. If he had been this way since we met, I actually wouldn't think anything of it at all, because this behavior would fall in line with everything that I've read and heard about.
He is fully grown; the vet estimated him to be at least two years old. His name kind of came about on its own, as two separate people who saw him called him by it: Bandit. He is a black/white tuxedo, with the black on his head giving the appearance of him wearing a mask.
In hindsight, I probably did introduce him to Stella and the entirety of the house too fast. At the time, I knew him as the very friendly, social cat from the park, so I thought his transition would be fast and easy. It actually has been, as he has made himself quite at home and has happily enjoyed the accommodations. When in the same area as Stella, he'll either ignore her and go about his business, or approach her curiously. She, however, isn't fond of this, and expresses it. At that point, he slowly turns and walks away.
I want to believe that his personality outside the house is what I can look forward to experiencing for years to come. If it isn't, however, and he simply suckered me into giving him a house to live in, I can still sit back, laugh, and respect his cunning. Hopefully, it's just a matter of giving him space and letting him come to me. Again. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
That article is excellent, by the way. I wish I had read it sooner; it made me laugh when the introduction immediately shot down my very thought process of "letting them work it out." Bandit's first two days here were spent in an upstairs bedroom that I had made into his "home base." I didn't think anything of letting him out so soon at the time, as he was adjusting so rapidly and had been so friendly before he moved in. Fortunately, it hasn't backfired, as they haven't fought once. Other than some moans from Stella when he gets too close for her comfort, they coexist pretty well. When she does voice her displeasure, he takes it like a gentleman and walks away.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,862 Posts
Since he is a gentleman, walking away from conflict and HAS been sweet and friendly in the park I'm going to guess that THAT is his true personality. I still think he will warm up and come around - it just will take awhile. He's gone from outside to inside pretty abruptly and it's probably bewildering to him. Remember, cats don't think like we do so the sudden change in his experiences have to be ingrained for him to feel comfortable. Here's to many happy years full of affection with Bandit! Keep us posted on his progress with you emotionally - I've never really come across this except to a very mild degree with our Jack.

Jack was at Animal Control and listed as a real love bug. He WAS affectionate as long as he was confined to a cage there or to the safe room here. He was all love and kisses. As soon as he was let out he became the aloof big guy - rarely showing real affection. Funny how cats are - they just know how to steal your heart then break it! Jack has ingrained himself as hubby's boy and rarely interacts with me now. He waits upstairs on the bed until he hears the garage door open then bolts downstairs to greet him!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,138 Posts
Its a journey to understand the rules of the cat kingdom. Your asking all the right questions. It will work out. Keep us posted.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Hello! It's a CAT! But it's all about perspective. There is a sad thread here form a person who lives alone like myself and got a cat for company and 6 months later they can't touch, pet, pick up or ever hold the cat. All the poor baby does is look at them. So to me it's all how you look at it. Good luck.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,138 Posts
Hello! It's a CAT! But it's all about perspective. There is a sad thread here form a person who lives alone like myself and got a cat for company and 6 months later they can't touch, pet, pick up or ever hold the cat. All the poor baby does is look at them. So to me it's all how you look at it. Good luck.
Where is that thread? That just doesnt have to be. There are ways to bring around even semi feral or shy timid cats. I hope they got some good advice!

New cat owners dont always understand how a cat looks at things. Lord knows I didnt in the beginning. I made BIG mistakes. Ive learned a lot on CF and from my rescue friends and reading Pamela Johnson Bennett books. Dont be too hard on people.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
After reading your post it appears he is only aggressive to you in the house, which is where the other resident cat is if I am correct? When you took him out of the house to the vet-he was loving-in the park he was lovey dovey too. Sounds like a territory issue. Maybe he is jealous of the other cat? He's been solo for so long, having to share his human might be bothering him.
I agree with Mitts & Tess read Pam Bennett's book, it helped me introduce two rescue kittens to my mean and nasty tortie.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top