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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've never had a cat on my own. I grew up with them, but they weren't 'mine'. I've had my ten year old since Feb 15th this year, I'm 20, and she's my first solo kitty.

Our day goes like this:

I wake up to a kitty between my legs, curled into a tight little ball, snoring. Around her are toys, and on the floor next to the bed is a long fuzzy wand she drags around the house (we call it her wawa short for wand wand just makes it easier to distinguish from her other toys).

If I get up and move around, she stays in bed. The moment I put on my glasses she knows I'm awake, then stretches, and gets up to await breakfast. She'll eat a few bites, then go lay on her kitty tree.

I'll sit on the couch (I don't work so I'm home most of the day) and after about an hour the staring begins. She'll come to my feet, and stare at me. Bring me her wawa and stare. I'll pick it up to try and play with her but she doesn't play with people, or her toys, just drags them around. I'll get up to see if she wants something, and she'll run away, lay down on the floor, I'll love on her, she'll get irritated and get up making a grumpy meow and run away. So I'll sit back down, and she'll bring me her wawa, I'll get up, she'll go lay down, I'll love on her, she'll run away, etc. She literally does this all day until we go to bed.

If I don't get up she'll continue to stare. She's staring at me right now, too. If I ignore her she'll bring me her wawa making this crazy meowing sound that sounds like she's sad. It's a heart breaking sound...

When we go to bed she curls up in bed with me until I'm half asleep, jumps down, and goes to get her wawa making her sad meow bringing it to the bed. Then going back to sleep. If I don't love on her for bringing me her wawa, praising her, she gets up in my face like "Lady, LOOK what I just brought you!".

I think she's bored. I've tried laser pointers. I've got her a cat tree. There's tons of birds she can watch from the window. She hates other cats and dogs, so getting a buddy for her won't work. I've gotten her different toys. Cat nip. Cat nip bubbles.

If I leave, it's the end of the world for her. I'll come home to her sleeping by the front door, next to her wawa and all her toys she dragged there. When she see's me she loves on me and has those really longggg meows telling me how upset she is I left...

A little background on her: I'm like her 8th home (if you include fosters). She was found as a baby (3 or so weeks) by a hoarder, hoarder got raided, she ended up in the ASPCA, adopted out by a woman who gave her to her older mother, mother fell and ended up in a nursing home. Daughter kept her for a little bit but had other cats, didn't work out. She gave her to a volunteer, who had her for a few months, then she was put in foster care with the rescue I volunteer with, then into a cage for over a year with little breaks at different foster homes. I know she has some issues as far as abandonment. I just don't know how to reassure her that this is HER home and she's not going anywhere. She won't cling to anyone except me. There's two other people in my apartment, my roomie and my husband. They love on her, but she doesn't... attach herself to them? I went out of town for 2 nights and she's gotten HORRIBLY worse! I won't give her up even if she is aggressive (attacks men, unfortunately), she's here to stay for the rest of her life. She's almost 11, I can't do that to her. It breaks my heart to think about all her baggage. :(

The stare:

The more I ignore her the closer she gets to me, to continue staring.

Stare, with WaWa:
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Oh and my roommate told me every time I leave she CRIES at the door for about an hour before falling asleep. :(

She must be bored and insecure. How do I help her? It makes me sad!
 

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She sounds similar to my Jitzu...well, closer to the way Jitzu was anyways.

There's a few things you can do. The main one is to not worry about her or her anxiety. Animals can actually smell a change when you're anxious, so if she's closely bonded to you and you are anxious about her being anxious it will actually make her worse.

Other than that I'd ignore the staring. The more you give in to it (by giving her attention) the more she'll do it. Seriously. Jitzu used to sit and stare at me all day, or for hours. I just ignored her and eventually she gave up. Once she stopped I'd call her over for snuggles, or go pet her a little, and she's much more likely to have a nap nearby now. I'd say she's more relaxed because of it.
On the flip side one of our roomates would talk to her, move away from her, he'd even hide in the basement or bathroom to avoid her. Now he doesn't live with us anymore, but when he comes over to visit she'll stare at him the whole time. It's kinda funny...

Ditto with the wawa, she's looking for attention, but in an obsessive way. Ignore her entirely until she goes to do somehing else, then you can grab the wawa (love the toy name, btw!) and try to play with her.

Other games she might be more interested in generally will involve a treat of some sort. You could teach her 'find it', a game where you put her somewhere else, hide treats all over, then watch her find them.
You can do this in a more directed way by hiding a treat under a cup when she's watching and encouraging her to 'find it'. Lots of praise when she does, of course. That would get her brain working, and you can gradually make the game harder for her too.

As far as her not getting along with your BF I'd suggest that he be the one to feed her for a while. Feeding is a kind of bonding ritual, so it might help her develope a relationship with him. He could also give her 'free' treats, or play the find it game once she's caught on.
Another good idea would be for him to blink at her slowly, or look and then obviously look away. Both of those things are ways cats express trust. If he does them then she might feel a bit more secure.
 

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The staring ritual and the "presentation of the toy" sound very familiar. Murphy will drag in his 'wawa,' stare at us, and when we reach down to play with him, he'll walk away. We just say, "You are such a tease!"

But the sitting at the foot of the chair and staring are just classic. I've asked myself what that's about too. All I have to do is lean forward in my chair, and he jumps up to follow me wherever I'm going. Our tendency as humans is to interpret that as boredom or loneliness, but I'm really more inclined to think -- they want to be near us because we're interesting and something to watch. I don't think it's necessarily being overly attached; I think we're just entertainment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies! :)

I'll definitely try the cup game with the treats. She's a treats addict. Right now I toss them across the room when she's not looking so she has to smell them out. It's fun to watch her brain work. I'll try ignoring her for a bit. My vet suggested leaving her something when I leave that's mine, and putting it away when I come back, so it's only with her when I'm gone to "replace" me since it smells like me. And she suggested making a huge fuss over her before I leave, then when I come back.

She's one smart cookie. Once we started calling her wand toy (she has like 7 wands, hence the name being given) wawa she caught on with which one was her "wawa". My vet calls it her "security blanket". She sleeps with it whenever she sleeps, and drags it to the kitchen for meals, and brings it to me when I'm sad (drops it on my lap instead of the typical on my feet), and just doesn't go anywhere without it. She used to do this with a stuffed Johnny Cat that her owner gave her when they adopted her from the ASPCA, she's just a big baby I guess.

Last night she was unusually bad! Instead of bringing me the wawa, then going to sleep with me, she dragged it back and forth crying all night until I got the pillows and blankets, then laid on the floor in the living room. I woke up with her laying up against me purring. I really think me leaving for a couple nights freaked her out. :( I was gone Friday around 11am until Sunday at 6pm. I've been pretty much gone every day since running errands.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I stuck a treat under a cup, and let her figure it out. Took her about 10 minutes to knock it over. Didn't take long before I could set up the cup, let her knock it over, then I'd give her a treat. Turning into a little trick. Lol.
 

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Well I would interpret "Miss Boots" staring as adoration, and perhaps entertainment as well. "What's she going to do next?" I think it's obvious that she adores you and is definitely very bonded. When she brings her "wawa", she's presenting you with a gift. Even though she doesn't want to play with it, she values it. So I would praise her with something like "What a good hunter! You brought your wawa to me". No doubt all the home changes have given her some separation anxiety, and that's why she reacts when you leave the house, or go away for a few days. You vet's suggestion of leaving an article of clothing is a good. A well worn Teeshirt that's strong with your scent will be appreciated. I used to put an old Tee into a carrier whenever I had to ship a kitten, and it kept it calm. Put your Tee wherever she likes to lie during the day if you're going to be out of the house. She seems to be one of these cats that doesn't like "loving on her" unless she initiates it. So I would talk to her, maybe drag a toy on a string around and see if she follows it, but let her do the initiation of affection. Stop before she "gets irritated". Just say, "OK, that's enough, right?" You assure her by telling her that she is here to stay. When you go out say something like "I'm going out for a short time and will be back in___ minutes or hours, or at sunset." I don't know why but cats seem to be able to have a sense of time. It works even better if you can visualize it to her (such as "late afternoon" or "before I go to bed"). The suggestions you've given to your husband and roomie by looking away when she stares at them are the right way to go. I wouldn't dwell on "her baggage". I don't think she is. She's in love with you and for a senior cat happy in her own way, and is obviously enjoying your new game. Don't feel sorry for her, tell her how lucky she is to have such a wonderful mommy and her forever home, and you're lucky to have such a beautiful sweet kitty.
 

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When you go out say something like "I'm going out for a short time and will be back in___ minutes or hours, or at sunset." I don't know why but cats seem to be able to have a sense of time. It works even better if you can visualize it to her (such as "late afternoon" or "before I go to bed").
I absolutely agree with this. I think that they may not understand exactly what we are saying they get the gist of it and it helps to soothe them. When I was working I'd stroke him before I left and tell him I was going to work and that I'd be home for his dinner time. Now that I'm not working I still tell him that I'm going out and when I'll be home and that I love him.

When we're snuzzling I'll tell MowMow how much I love him and how he'll never have to go back to 'that' place again. That mommy will always make sure he's cared for and loved.
 

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I'll come home to her sleeping by the front door, next to her wawa and all her toys she dragged there. When she see's me she loves on me and has those really longggg meows telling me how upset she is I left...
awwww poor lil sweetie...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The cup thing is definitely keeping her entertained, if anything it gives me something to do when I spend time with her. She's not huge on pets or play, kind of makes it hard to interact with her!

I started voice commands a couple weeks ago, and they're doing great. I know she's trainable! She knows "back" "Lay down" "come" "sit" "target", and if I do the hand signals and not speak she still understands what I want.

She's sitting next to the cup. Every time she touches it I say "target" and give her a treat. Now she keeps touching it waiting for a treat. Lol. It'll come in handy for future training.

I haven't left the house yet. I will be tomorrow for 3 hours... hopefully it goes well. For now she seems completely content! Thanks for the cup thing. Haha she's totally entertained by it and not climbing all over me. :)

As for kitties knowing English... I think Boots 100% knows English. She was an only kitty all her life. I never thought they did understand until a couple weeks after having her I asked Nick if he saw my shoes, then jokingly asked Boots to find them. When I found my shoes, you know who was on top of them meowing all proud like "look what I found!"? My little BoogMeister. How on Earth did she know what a "shoe" was without understanding part of our language?! They were in the bathroom (a place she never goes unless for time out).
 

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I didn't read every sentence. Did anyone mention The Slow Blink?
 

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Nutmeg carries stuff around and cries at night, but stops as soon as I recognize that she wants attention and I give her kisses. She also cries when one of us (I assume when we both do as well) leave for the day. I don't know how to stop that one other than her having Sinatra to comfort her. Sinatra used to be the same way too but when we got Nutmeg he got better and now after almost 2 years I think he knows we will always come back for him. I assume Nutmeg will understand after a few years as well, as I assume your kitty will too. In the meantime, I hope you find the solution to your problem that doesn't involve waiting.
 

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When MowMow stares I just assume he's studying me for when the Cats are prepared to take over the world. Whenever I feed him I ask him to remember my loyalty when the time comes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Last night she brought me her wawa, cried for a second, then jumped in bed. :) All morning she's been peaceful. Maybe in the end it was just stimulation she needed? I keep putting a treat under a cup for her and she goes nuts trying to knock it over. Yesterday she was pretty good, enough of a difference that Nick, not knowing I'm trying to help her feel better, commented on how unusually relaxed she was (sleeping under thew coffee table in her bed).

I'm about to leave for the first time since in a couple days. Hopefully all goes well. I fed her, gave her love, some treats in a cup, and she's snuggled on her mat across the room, normally she's glued to my side.
 

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This is really great news! I'm going to try the cup thing for Mr. T. He's a 10-year-old who was an only-child for all his life until Lumen showed up here in December. He's been a grumpster always, but even more so - jealousy and boredom. He still loves on me hard, though.

This isn't about me, though, it's about dear Miss Boots! Thanks so much for sharing, as you'll be helping me out as well. The crying is just heartbreaking :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
She didn't freak out! I was gone most of the day but stopped in every time I drove by to check on her. She was sleeping in her tree, with her wawa, no toys by the door. She gave me the "oh there you are. I was just nappin'" look. When I sat on the floor she brought me her wawa and I gave her some pets and treats. :)

Mowmow, I picked up that treat ball egg rolly thing. She's staring at it like "wtf stop hogging my treats!". Hopefully she catches on.

She still clearly has anxiety, but it's amazing how just doing one activity with her makes her more relaxed. We're also praising her more and more for every little thing. Making her eating her food into a HUGE deal, bringing me her toy an even bigger deal, and every purr like it's the best gift in the world.
 

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Sometimes there's something on their minds that we'd never think about. Jessie will glare at me for as long as it takes, just staring angrily at me when I'm in bed, until I throw a blanket on my legs. He isn't happy unless he's sleeping on my legs, and he won't touch my legs unless there's a blanket on them. Sometimes I forget and wonder why he's staring. As soon as he sees the blanket he tried to get on it; he'll jump on the blanket mid air as I'm pulling it onto my legs, and then he'll sleep happily for hours.

Who knows what goes on in their minds?
 
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