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new kitty advice needed

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  • new kitty advice needed

    One of my neighbors has a new kitty. A one-year-old spayed female, who came from the local Humane Society.

    My neighbor has had a kitty before, but I am not sure she is a "cat person." She is very kind, and she loves her new kitty.

    The problem: The new kitty isn't a cuddle cat yet. She has come from being locked up alone in a cage in a room full of strange cats, and only God knows what her situation was before that. Now she is in a strange place, where she is the only cat, with someone who may be her first-ever human.

    They have been together nearly 2 months now, and Kitty spends most of her time under the bed, coming out to eat, and when her human eats, and to use her litter box. Sometimes she sleeps with her human, which I think is a good sign.

    But her human wants Kitty to be a lap cat, and Kitty just isn't there yet.

    I went up to visit them yesterday, taking treats (which Kitty chased and caught and ate), and some catnip (which Kitty checked out and pushed her face into, and then walked away from). The whole time I was there (maybe 15-20 minutes), Kitty walked around the room where we were sitting, tail up, rubbing against the furniture but not approaching either of us.

    I feel like it's just too soon to assume that Kitty is just not a lap cat. I think it is gonna take time, and I hope my neighbor will be patient, and quiet and still, and maybe sit with treats and wait for Kitty to come to her.

    Any ideas? Thoughts? Kitty therapy suggestions? I want Kitty to have a good home; I also want my neighbor to enjoy her new companion.
    Founder of the People Who Prefer COTH Over FB Clique
    People Who Hate to Rush to Kill Wildlife Clique!
    "I Sing Silly Songs to My Animals!" Clique

  • #2
    You know, some cats just aren't lap cats.

    Unfortunately, your neighbor may just have to accept the kitty she has. Trying to force a cat that isn't a cuddler to cuddle is asking for the cat to get frustrated and lash out with claws and teeth. Or, it can push them further into hiding and/or other behavior problems.

    I have six cats right now. Three are lap cats who cuddle like no ones business. One cuddles on his terms (preferably at 2am when you are trying to sleep), and two come in, eat, say hi, then leave. If I find them outside, they will come over for a pet, but don't really care to be in a lap. I'm fine with that. They are like people, we all have different personal bubbles.

    I hope that the kitties lap behavior isn't going to make her send the cat back to the shelter. In most kill shelters, that is an instant death sentence. I work in a small no-kill shelter, and some days I can't believe the reasons people return animals. We had one person bring a dog in because, I kid you not, she just got new furniture and the dog didn't match it anymore.


    • #3
      Two months is nothing in cat time. Sounds like a want-to-be-near-you cat, at least. They quite often morph into lap cats as they age. Sleeping on the bed with the human is a very good sign of "join up".


      • #4
        Neither one of my cats are cuddle cats, but do things on their own terms. Both have been known to lap or side snuggle if they choose to, on their terms, usually when we're watching a movie or some tv.

        The best advice I can give is leave her alone until she wants to be petted. I know it's hard, especially with a newer cat, but it's the best way that i've found. Don't seek her out, follow her or pick her up randomly to try to initiate snuggling, this is confusing and usually they want nothing to do with it. Instead, ignore her. Go about your business, keeping her on a routine (ie consistent feeding), and spend leisure time in a place accessible to her where she is allowed to be, like the couch or the floor. Sit and read, use your laptop or watch tv, but don't call her or keep looking at her.

        Eventually after anywhere from a few hours of this to a few days, she'll look for that stimulation, especially if she's the only cat or she sees other cats enjoying it. When she does seek you out, don't go overboard. Don't pick her up and set her in your lap, just pet her in a relaxed way, maybe talking quietly or calmly. Try rubbing her cheeks as well as just stroking her back, my cats even like to have their chins scratched. Try not to stop petting her until she walks away or begins to get excited and maybe starts biting (cats get stimulated from active petting and can get excited, but you don't want to encourage biting). One way to tell if your cat is getting excited or annoyed is tail movement: Bliss=completely still, tolerance=slight twitch, annoyance=fast twitch, fed up or excited=full wag. Eventually, she'll seek you out regularly and sometimes inconveniently, but always try to pet her at least a little bit to keep her coming back. The actual lap cuddling or napping next to you might come well later. My older cat is 8 and she only started doing this recently.

        My one cat has loved belly rubs like a dog since she was a kitten, and the other cat is starting to get the appeal, but never touch your cat in an unexposed area until they trust you to or offer it to you. We would never have considered kitty belly rubs (sometimes lasting several minutes) until she rolled over and asked us for them. None of my cats like having their paws touched. As a final tip, never hit or reprimand your cat for biting unless she meant to hurt you. My first cat sometimes gets stimulated that she'll start wrestling with my hand. I box her on the head quickly, but lightly like you see cats do in cat fights, and grab at her legs, belly, neck and sides. She'll try to bite or catch my hand, but if i stop moving my hand when she bites a little to hard, she'll immediately stop biting and lick my hand until i pull it back and re-initiate play. When she's had enough she'll run away. Sometimes I give chase but I never scare her, and I'm always very careful. My two cats wrestle usually twice daily, and she boxes my other cat's head so hard you can usually hear it across the room. They jump on each other, scream, hiss, bite and growl. My hand wrestling with her is gentle by comparison.

        Whoa that was long
        Of the heart-aching, hard-working, hope-having, horse-loving and horse-less variety. We are a sad species indeed.


        • #5
          Agreed, two months is nothing. Kitty may or may not end up being a lap cat - or she may not be one at first and then decide to be one as she gets older. I agree with all the other advice - your friend should be accessible but not push the cat. It may take a long time.
          What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!


          • #6
            Wowee, I have been having this same thought w/my new kitty. She will be 7 months old in a week (assuming her DOB was correct). She's still very small (runt of her litter as far as I could tell when I picked her out). She is very much a 'near you' kitty. She lets me pick her up but she doesn't want to stay for long. Because of this, I have decided that she needs a friend She does, actually, she needs someone to play with far more than I can do it (work/horse/other obligations not withstanding). So, I am going to find her a kitty friend and make sure it's cuddly before I bring it home - I need a cuddly kitty!! To be fair, she was not cuddly when I found her but she was so small and scared, I figured she would work out of it. She's 100% fabulous anyway, so I don't care - I'll just get us another one that will fit both our needs. (Sorry for no paragraphs - I am having the problem with the newest IE and my enter key not working - GRRR).
            ~* Be kind to one another *~


            • #7
              Cats do things on their terms and in their own time. If it's any help, I made a post about my truly wild Hissy and her becoming a lap cat. It took two years and some months but she is now a lap cat, a pushy lap cat who, every morning, sits on my lap, sniffs my face and yesterday started grooming me a bit. Once she started coming around, it went fast but it wasn't easy on the old girl. http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...and-semi-feral
              Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

              Member: Incredible Invisbles


              • #8
                The prescription here is: *P* *A* *T* *I* *E* *N* *C* *E*.

                Take several times a day for several months.


                • #9
                  The only other solution is a PITA Cat Training Program. It takes a long time.

                  In essence, you must hold kitteh on your lap until she gives up and relaxes. Over and over. Somewhere after the giving up and relaxation (which can be fake!), the cat discovers that she likes the lap.

                  Did I mention that this takes a long time? Longer than the cat has.
                  The armchair saddler
                  Politically Pro-Cat


                  • Original Poster

                    Thank you all for your replies.

                    I have recommended patience to my neighbor, sitting still and quiet and letting Kitty make the first moves, sitting with treats in rattly foil pack and letting Kitty realize that the place to get the treats is on/beside the human.

                    My older kitty is NOT a cuddle cat. He has been with me 3 years now and is much calmer than when he came to me from a houseful of the noisiest little kids on earth and 2 adults who are not cat paople. Even so, sometimes he will creep into my lap and stay for almost a full 30 seconds before leaping away again. More often he comes and snuggles up right beside me on the sofa or in bed. He is very affectionate, in his own way and on his own terms, and after 3 years he still has me close to tears sometimes when he does this because it means so much to us both.

                    My other kitty who has been with me for 8 years now is much more of a cuddle cat, and we play together the way AbbieS and her kitty do as described above.
                    Founder of the People Who Prefer COTH Over FB Clique
                    People Who Hate to Rush to Kill Wildlife Clique!
                    "I Sing Silly Songs to My Animals!" Clique