5
   

Problem cat

 
 
Reply Sat 16 Apr, 2011 11:25 am
About 6 weeks ago I adopted a female cat about 16 months old. She was a stray and had spent 3 months in a shelter - an excellent shelter, but still, a shelter. She is very vocal when she wants to eat or play, and has settled into my apartment very happily, choosing her favorite spots for sleeping, watching and so on. She tends to settle in whatever room I'm in, but doesn't come close. She does not like to be handled, especially she hates being picked up.

She has acquired fixed mealtimes - being basically attuned to dawn and dusk - 4:30 am and 4:30 pm. (Whether this was the schedule in the shelter, I need to find out.) If you pet her for very long (unless she is very sleepy) she will bite, though not without warning. I think she must have been abused.

She is beautiful - tortoiseshell with mirror-image markings on back, legs, and belly - quite unusual. She has a tendency to get fat; she weighed 9 1/2 lbs when she arrived at the Animal Rescue League and had gained another pound by the time I brought her home. They characterized her as "food-oriented" - I call it greedy. She tears into her food look there's no tomorrow, and demolishes an entire meal in 10 minutes - not normal for a cat. She either had kittens when she was found or was far into pregnancy, but she's been spayed, had all her shots, has been pronounced in excellent health, and is definitely very bright.

I am home all day, so she has companionship, though not of her kind, and plays on demand - hers. But she will only play with things that wiggle and move of themselves; she never chases an object like a ball or a felt mouse; she isn't a self-starter. I thought of getting another cat for her, but I suspect she would be too dominating and aggressive with a newcomer.

As to being handled I think it will be a long long time before she will accept that, so the main question for now is how can I get her to play on her own? I love her dearly and want to do the best for her.

 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Apr, 2011 01:10 pm
@Tomkitten,
I don't even worry if mine won't play on their own. So I'm a bad person. If they don't want to play, they don't play. If they do want to, they will find something on their own. Cats are very creative - when it is in their own interest to be.

So far as being handled, mine aren't too crazy about it either. I brush against them in passing, and they treat me the same. Neither likes to be picked up. My eldest does get kind of scrappy at times, but like yours, he gives a little warning, mostly by way of body language.

In other words, they go their way; I go mine. Sometimes our ways intersect.
0 Replies
 
margo
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Apr, 2011 01:49 pm
A cat will play if it wants to.

You've given her plenty of opportunities, and company, and stimulation.

She'll develop as she gets older.

Good luck.
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Apr, 2011 01:50 pm
One of my late lamented cats did not like to be touched or petted or groomed. He bit me if I persisted. I eventually learned that he had a condition called neurodermatosis. It hurt him to be touched. I'm not suggesting that your cat has this condition, but anything is possible.

The vet told me to pet just his head. That didn't hurt. He didn't bite me when I did that. Worth a try?

Good luck with your new feline.
0 Replies
 
PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Apr, 2011 02:35 pm
You have not had her that long. Give her time to become playful with you. She sees you as the food provider, for right now.

Are you concerned about her weight? Cut her food in half and get one of those little round gizmos that she must batt around before it releases the kibbles. She gets food and exercise at the same time.
Tomkitten
 
  2  
Reply Sat 16 Apr, 2011 04:40 pm
@PUNKEY,
The round gizmo sounds like a great idea. I'll look for it at Petco.

As for petting, Fig is also happy to have her head rubbed and her ears scratched. And she will stick out her chin for stroking. I'll ask about the neurodermatosis; it certainly sounds possible.

She is a lovely cat in every way and deserves the best.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Apr, 2011 05:59 pm
@Tomkitten,
Sounds like one of my fondest memories of basic training. Ten pull ups on the bar before they let you eat.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Apr, 2011 06:46 pm
@Tomkitten,
Tomkitten wrote:



She is a lovely cat in every way and deserves the best.


Looks like that's exactly what she has.
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 02:41 am
@Tomkitten,
Tomkitten wrote:


As for petting, Fig is also happy to have her head rubbed and her ears scratched. And she will stick out her chin for stroking. I'll ask about the neurodermatosis; it certainly sounds possible.



I agree. It took my vet quite a while to figure it out. Not a common occurrence. It seems to me that she's not averse to being touched, just touched on her body. Stroke her head, scratch her chin. If nothing else, she'll learn that your touch is a good thing.

She's lucky to have you--and you, her.
Tomkitten
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 10:26 am
@Roberta,
Forget the phrase "curious as a cat". Fig is the ultimate in caution. It has taken her 6 weeks to try walking around in the bathtub. She spent days and days inspecting it before venturing. She only goes in the kitchen when she wants to be fed, and she hasn't yet checked out the storage room. Watching her investigate her surroundings is fascinating.

She's a great cat.
0 Replies
 
Tomkitten
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 10:32 am
I find Fig particularly intriguing because my last cat was adopted as a very young kitten, a male, fairly small, not very talkative but with an enormous purr. Fig's purr is very faint, but can be felt when stroking her throat. Tigger was into everything and was fantastic jumper. Fig doesn't jump up on things except the sofa where she likes to play with her snake (I have to be at the other end of the snake of course to make it wiggle) and curl up on her (formerly mine, ha ha) buckwheat pillow, also the back of the sofa.
Tomkitten
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 11:16 am
@Tomkitten,
I shouldn't have named this thread "problem cat". Fig is a cat with a few problems, which is very very different!
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 02:52 pm
@Tomkitten,
I think Fig has a great name, Tomkitten.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 12:37 pm
@Tomkitten,
Sounds like an interesting cat. One thing about cats is they are all so different. I agree with what most say about her. One thing I'd suggest or maybe discuss with your vet - if you are worried about her weight, you can buy the cat food for fat cats. There are several brands for overweight cats.
Tomkitten
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2011 09:50 am
@Linkat,
Fig continues to be a deightful pet with a strong personality. However I think she is a bit bored with her toys; she still only plays with things that I trail in front of, her but not with toys that don't move of themselves. Someone sent her a toy with a long elastic string and she went into ecstasies but I don't like to have her playing with string unsupervised.

I got her a ball which puts out food while she pushes it around, but I can't use that for every meal as I do want her to know me as her friendly feeder.

Any suggestions as to things she could enjoy on her own while I'm busy?
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2011 10:02 am
@Tomkitten,
Have you tried any toys with cat nip? Often times this encourages them to play with a toy - there are many that have cat nip hidden inside. Although the down side is - many cats afterwards get kind of tired and sleep.
0 Replies
 
Tomkitten
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2011 10:06 am
@Tomkitten,
"cat food for fat cats"
Thank you Linkat, this may help a lot, since she is not inclined to rush around the house or play on her own. I suspect that her pre-shelter home discouraged that kind of behavior and of course in the shelter, good and kind though it was,she hadn't much opportunity.

I'll try mixing it in with her current kibble so she'll get used to it.
Tomkitten
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2011 10:07 am
@Tomkitten,
P.S. She is totally uninterested in catnip. In fact, I never had a cat that was!
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  3  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2011 10:14 am
Only being there for 6 weeks, I wouldn't worry about getting another cat. I think that's a good idea.
They'll fight for a bit, then things will settle.

No 2 people are alike, why should cats be? Figs personality is his own.

As far a food, I wouldn't go so drastic as to cut the amount in half. If the cat is food oriented, and eats it all in 10 minutes (which doesn't seem unusual to me), then you'd be taking away one of his greatest pleasures.

My lulu was always fat, and she lived for 21 years, in good health until the last few months. I tried to put her on a diet, and she was miserable. I persisted until one day when I was getting her measly meal on the plate, she gave a yowl, mixed in with the saliva in her throat that sounded like pure torture.

I quickly put down her food, and she hurled herself at it.
I started to cry, asking myself why it was so important to make such a good girl so unhappy. Why? So she could live an extra 6 month or a year pathetically pleading for an extra scrap?

I said "**** that." and let her eat what she wanted to (within reason)

roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2011 01:51 pm
@chai2,
I agree absolutely.
 

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