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Discussion Starter #1
I hope this is the right forum for this. In a nutshell: I got a new kitten so that my current cat would have a buddy, but instead of making my household happier, it's just made me depressed.

I had an easy time with my Mal when she was a kitten. She was one of those kittens where the night I went to pick her up, she was already crawling all over me, and she was jumping up into my lap from day one. I love her. She's my little snuggly buddy. The thing is, I think she spoiled me. Because now I have Alex, and Alex is different. And instead of feeling happy and excited whenever I see him, I mostly feel frustrated and sad.

Alex is a more aloof kitty. I get that he will probably not be as snuggly as Mal, and I'm working on respecting that. When I pick him up, I only do it until he starts thrashing - I'd like to get him to at least tolerate it, and now it's not meant to hurt him, in order to make vet visits easier. I pet him in place. I feed him good quality diets, change the litter regularly, and have several play time sessions a day. I take him to the vet when I suspect there's an issue. But I feel like I'm just not getting anything in return. The only time he shows any interest in me is when he wants food. He never seeks me out on his own initiative for a pet or anything. I know that if that's the way he is, I need to just let him be, but right now I kind of feel like he's just a walking ottoman or something. Not an animal companion, but a rather high-maintenance piece of furniture.

I'm also a bit worried because there are times when I have to touch him, like when I clip his toenails. I try to play with his feet when he's asleep, but anything near his toes is like an alarm clock, and then he's thrashing again. But they need to get clipped, so I have to restrain him to at least get one or two done. So now I'm worried that he only sees me as some kind of monster out to cut his toes, because he doesn't seem to want any kind of friendly contact.

The thing that saddens me most is that since I got him, my Mal is less cuddly than before. So I feel like I sacrificed my one sweet, cuddly cat for a walking stomach that gives me little in return.

I just don't know. He's a good cat - doesn't scratch furniture, doesn't go outside the litter box. He and Mal get along. But I just don't feel any kind of connection to him, to the point where there are times I think about giving him back. He's a little over two months old. I don't know if I should give him more time and just keep treating him well and giving him space (other than the toenail clippings, which I see no way around), if it's better to just ignore him at all times other than feeding him or having play sessions, or just trying for a clean break.
 

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How old was Alex when you got him?? If he's just now a little over 2 months old, then you have a very frightened, scared little thing who left his mama way too early. Cats should be with their mom and family until 12 weeks old.

Give him time and lots of patience and love, and he'll come around. Mal will adjust as well. As for nail clipping, don't restrain him. It will make the situation worse. Start slowly. Play with his feet while he's asleep, every day. Work up to clipping one nail at a time. Then add others. If you restrain him and scare him further, it will make future clippings much more difficult, especially once he has gotten bigger and stronger.

Patience. Love. Tolerance. Understanding. He will adjust. Good luck.
 

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When I pick him up, I only do it until he starts thrashing - I'd like to get him to at least tolerate it, and now it's not meant to hurt him, in order to make vet visits easier.
The key is to STOP FORCING HIM! That's going to make him like it LESS, not more. Let him come to you (even if that's hard to do). My Lincoln, adopted at age 4, was a confirmed biter. I got nailed by him a few times (HARD) before I learned what was OK and what was not. Basically, I spent the first year never touching him, even when he got on my lap. I made a nice lap for him and he would eventually come and settle down--unless I moved! I had to be careful with what I did with my hands--if he thought I was going for him he would bite then run (someone had done a real job on him). After the first year he started to relax and I was able to pet him (1-2 times) when he got on my lap. Eventually, he was very pettable and even kissable but it took time for him to learn to trust me.

This is NOT your kitten's situation, but I offer it to show you that (1) things could be much worse ;) and (2) letting the cat come to YOU is the way to go.
The thing that saddens me most is that since I got him, my Mal is less cuddly than before. So I feel like I sacrificed my one sweet, cuddly cat for a walking stomach that gives me little in return.
(1) Any change is hard on cats. The fact that the kitten and your older cat get along is HUGE (and quite unusual--adult cats are usually intolerant of kittens) and I would be grateful for that if I were you. But even so, it's a change, and cats don't like change. They like sameness. So more than likely Mal will return to her usual self eventually. (2) Alex is 2 months old!! Just a baby. Honestly, I would not be allowing a kitten that old the run of the house and he really should still be with his litter until 10-12 weeks. He needs to learn how to be a cat. Give him a chance! (3) As you already know, it is incredibly unfair to expect anyone to be like anyone else. Cats are different just as people are different. (4) Love is not about what someone else can do for you, but about what you can do for someone else.

Hang in there!
 

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If he's just over 2 months old, you can't have had him for very long. He's a baby with a whole new world to explore. Relationships with pets are not formed in days...but in months and years. I think you need to give this a whole lot more time.
 

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One further thought: While I have had some critter relationships that we fast and easy, the fact is that in the long run, the ones that took some WORK turned out to be the most meaningful. I loved my Gabriel very much, but the fact is that he loved EVERYONE and seemed to love everyone equally! The fact that he loved me was no big thang. ;) OTOH, when I knew that Lincoln loved me, I felt AMAZING. Earning his love and trust was no easy matter and it really meant something fabulous. Ditto Emma, my abused dog, and Megan, my aggressive rabbit. Easy is easy but hard-won is truly life-changing!

That said, more than likely the problem here is just the fact that he's a tiny kitten. ;)
 

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I have 2 cats that have very different personalities. Connor is very affectionate and often wants to be on my lap, or laying near me. Callie does not want that, he wants to lay on his perch and be left alone until I feed him. Sometimes at night he does come up to me and want me to pet him, sometimes he doesn't.

The thing is when you adopt an animal you don't know what you're getting. They all have different personalities just like people. I think you should give it time and see if this cat comes around eventually. And if he doesn't, I don't think it's a bad thing, I think it's something you just have to live with. Giving up a cat because it's not affectionate is - in my opinion- not very responsible.

As long as the cat is healthy and not acting out I don't see a problem with keeping it and seeing how the personality develops. You have the other cat to be affectionate with.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
How old was Alex when you got him?? If he's just now a little over 2 months old, then you have a very frightened, scared little thing who left his mama way too early. Cats should be with their mom and family until 12 weeks old.
By a little over two months, I mean more like 10-11 weeks. He was found in an animal rap and then brought to a rescue, so staying with Mom and family wasn't an option, unfortunately. :( I've had him a little over three weeks.

Giving up a cat because it's not affectionate is - in my opinion- not very responsible.
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I agree with this statement, but I also think it's important to feel some kind of connection with your animals. Otherwise, I don't think it's fair to either party. Others might feel differently, though.
 

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3 weeks is a blink of an eye in the cat world. Leave him be, stop cutting his claws, if they must be cut let a pro do it so you are not associated with that right now. Play with him, make sure he understands you mean food and let him calm down. He really was close to a feral if the age estimate is correct. He needs to get used to the idea of being social.
 

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I hope this is the right forum for this. In a nutshell: I got a new kitten so that my current cat would have a buddy, but instead of making my household happier, it's just made me depressed.

I had an easy time with my Mal when she was a kitten. She was one of those kittens where the night I went to pick her up, she was already crawling all over me, and she was jumping up into my lap from day one. I love her. She's my little snuggly buddy. The thing is, I think she spoiled me. Because now I have Alex, and Alex is different. And instead of feeling happy and excited whenever I see him, I mostly feel frustrated and sad.

Alex is a more aloof kitty. I get that he will probably not be as snuggly as Mal, and I'm working on respecting that. When I pick him up, I only do it until he starts thrashing - I'd like to get him to at least tolerate it, and now it's not meant to hurt him, in order to make vet visits easier. I pet him in place. I feed him good quality diets, change the litter regularly, and have several play time sessions a day. I take him to the vet when I suspect there's an issue. But I feel like I'm just not getting anything in return. The only time he shows any interest in me is when he wants food. He never seeks me out on his own initiative for a pet or anything. I know that if that's the way he is, I need to just let him be, but right now I kind of feel like he's just a walking ottoman or something. Not an animal companion, but a rather high-maintenance piece of furniture.

I'm also a bit worried because there are times when I have to touch him, like when I clip his toenails. I try to play with his feet when he's asleep, but anything near his toes is like an alarm clock, and then he's thrashing again. But they need to get clipped, so I have to restrain him to at least get one or two done. So now I'm worried that he only sees me as some kind of monster out to cut his toes, because he doesn't seem to want any kind of friendly contact.

The thing that saddens me most is that since I got him, my Mal is less cuddly than before. So I feel like I sacrificed my one sweet, cuddly cat for a walking stomach that gives me little in return.

I just don't know. He's a good cat - doesn't scratch furniture, doesn't go outside the litter box. He and Mal get along. But I just don't feel any kind of connection to him, to the point where there are times I think about giving him back. He's a little over two months old. I don't know if I should give him more time and just keep treating him well and giving him space (other than the toenail clippings, which I see no way around), if it's better to just ignore him at all times other than feeding him or having play sessions, or just trying for a clean break.
Ok, by putting him down when he fussed you're actually teaching him to do it more. He's 2 months old, he doesn't get to pick what is best for him, you need to be able to trim his nails and hold him and it doesn't have to be awful but you will need to practice.

Start with a big playtime, get him nice and tired. Then pick him up and hold him close to you, one hand under his armpits the other under his back feet. Hold him until he relaxes, just for a second. As soon as he relaxes say 'yes!' In a happy voice, then quickly put him down. Play a bit more then do it again. Do it as many times a day as you can. By putting him down after he calms your teaching him that the fastest way to get what he wants is to relax, rather than to fuss harder.

As far his feet...cheat! Hold a yummy treat in front of his face, but don't give it to him immediately, touch his feet first. Pick up one paw, while keeping the food in front of his face with the other. Rub his foot a bit, then give him the treat as you set his foot down. Repeat with all his feet, a few times a day.

If he was an adult I'd agree with everyone else that you should let him come around, hut since he's a baby you can easily teach him that these things don't have to be unpleasant and*he'll come to enjoy it. The key is to be calm and happy the whole time!
 

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I have to agree with LC on this. When I first got Book he would struggle as well. He just learned that when he STOPPED struggling I let him go. He may still make whiny noises while I hold him and trim nails/clean bums/give corrosive and deadly mommy kisses... but he doesn't struggle. He had to learn that when I picked him up if he struggled I hung on longer..that the second he stopped fighting me I would set him down and walk away. It was all very nonchalant and non-excited. Set him on his feet and walk away ( I didn't want him to think he had to run and hide to escape. That once I put him down it was all over and done.. it seemed to work).

As for attached, it's only been 3 weeks. Your other cat hasn't even had a chance to get USED to the kitten much less get back to normal. It took MowMow about 8 months to start being his old cuddlebug self (note that I did NOT introduce them properly, it probably would have happened quicker if I had done what I was supposed to).

It took me more than 3 months to get attached to MowMow when I adopted him and he's my heart and soul kitty.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
About how long did it take for your cat to stop struggling when being picked up? When he's calm, Alex is good for maybe 20 seconds of holding, then he gets agitated and I put him down. I wouldn't him to hurt himself in a lengthy, desperate struggle to get free.

I can see what you guys are saying in that, "don't reinforce the idea that if he struggles, he gets what he wants." But will essentially forcing him to be held until that point of post-struggle relaxation just reinforce a negative images of me?
 

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It didn't take Book long at all to learn BUT I started it with him from the very beginning. Your little guy is in the mindset now of "if I struggle, she lets me go" so at first he's going to struggle long and hard.

If it were mine, I'd let hold him firmly and gently and just let him struggle until he stopped. The second he's quite let him down.
 

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About how long did it take for your cat to stop struggling when being picked up? When he's calm, Alex is good for maybe 20 seconds of holding, then he gets agitated and I put him down. I wouldn't him to hurt himself in a lengthy, desperate struggle to get free.
He's a KITTEN!! He's not supposed to sit still LOL. Heck, Jonah STILL doesn't want to be held. I can do what I have to do but he CHOOSES to be on my lap or not--I don't force him. I agree that asking for SHORT periods and then releasing is fine, but the key is SHORT. I.e., if he starts struggling you've gone too long. If he has 20 seconds in him then let him go at 15--otherwise you are reinforcing him for struggling NOT for being calm. You cannot MAKE him not struggle. All you can do is be sure to let him go BEFORE he struggles. As time goes by he will be able to tolerate more, but you must start WHERE THE ANIMAL IS right now, not where you WISH he were. :)
 

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If it were mine, I'd let hold him firmly and gently and just let him struggle until he stopped. The second he's quite let him down.
I really disagree. This will make things worse. Start where the cat is--if that's 20 seconds, start w/ 15. If you trigger the behavior you have GONE TOO FAST. That is true in all good training. When he realizes that you release him BEFORE he feels trapped or stressed, he will stop FEELING trapped or stressed. Postively reinforce him for being calm by releasing him while he still FEELS calm. Making him feel trapped or stressed and then releasing him (if he stops struggling) is negative reinforcement and it has very little place in good training.
 

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With all due respect, when Book was a kitten he started kicking and struggling the second I put my hands on him. There was no BEFORE he started struggling.

Besides, I pay the bills and I provide the food. He had to learn to hold still when I picked him up and had to hold still for basic care (cleaning his bum after a bad poo, trimming a few nails at a time, taking something he shouldn't have out of his mouth).... when he goes out and makes the money for us to live on he can have a say in when he gets picked up and for how long (within reason)...until then he can suck it up and hold still when I'm handling him.

I'm not talking about him holding still for hours, at first it WILL be short times.
 

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With all due respect, when Book was a kitten he started kicking and struggling the second I put my hands on him. There was no BEFORE he started struggling.
That is not the case with the kitten we are discussing.
Besides, I pay the bills and I provide the food.
This is irrelevant to the cat! I'm not suggesting not training the kitten--I'm suggesting doing it in a different way that does not involve coercion. ALL animals learn better via positive reinforcement and that goes triple for cats.
 

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Sorry, worked on my guy. He's an incredibly well adjusted and well behaved (this was NOT the case before) 15 month old who will now let me do anything to him and not fuss about it. He has no fear of me and enjoys his pettings and cuddle time.

Have to agree to disagree on this.
 

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Cleo to this day HATES HATES HATES being picked up, held - well, really even being touched. With the twins, I made being picked up fun. I'd pick them up and carry them a short way to a shelf or cat tree tier that had treats or a toy on it. Eventually, they started associating being picked up with an adventure of some kind. It takes time. My twins had each other when they were little and I felt a little left out, but they soon turned into cuddle monkeys.

I'm among the minority who does believe in rehoming. If you're truly not bonding with Alex, and don't feel you ever will, it really isn't fair to either of you. But I'd give it a little more time, especially because he's getting along with Mal, and you wouldn't believe what some of us have been through trying to get our cats to become friends. And Mal will be back to snuggle with you, right now she has a new friend, her size. She still loves her giant Mommy.
 

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Well, I am a professional dog trainer with 20 years' experience in animal behavior and operant conditioning (which works IDENTICALLY on all species, including cats and human beings). I'm passing on what is scientific fact.
 

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Well, I am a professional dog trainer with 20 years' experience in animal behavior and operant conditioning (which works IDENTICALLY on all species, including cats and human beings). I'm passing on what is scientific fact.
And my dad trained bird dogs (and competed in field trials) from 1957 on (55 years). I've trained dogs and horses with him for 25+ years.

Agree to disagree.


I'm among the minority who does believe in rehoming. If you're truly not bonding with Alex, and don't feel you ever will, it really isn't fair to either of you. But I'd give it a little more time, especially because he's getting along with Mal, and you wouldn't believe what some of us have been through trying to get our cats to become friends. And Mal will be back to snuggle with you, right now she has a new friend, her size. She still loves her giant Mommy.
I absolutely agree with this. More time, but if it's just not working in the end, rehome. You both deserve lots of love. I considered it and realized I had two very different cats and needed to appreciate them for who they are. MowMOw is my lover and cuddle bug while Book is my demon spawn and hysteric maker. HIs antics constantly crack me up. Like the 3+ hours he spent last night leaping on and off things trying to catch a fly .
 
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