Advice on rescue cat's behaviour please!(13 Posts)
We adopted 2 rescue cats, both around 7 months old, about 7 weeks ago. One was very nervous and hid for a couple of weeks. She has since got more confident etc but still nervy. She has taken to swiping at the dc if they try to stroke her. Dc are actually very well behaved around her, but obviously want to be able to stroke her. I've explained to them about looking for signs that she doesn't want stroked and not to be too boisterous around her (which they generally aren't as they're not particularly boisterous kids). I think dd stroked her for too long the other day, cat got fed up, swiped her and has now learned that swiping will get dc to back off. I am telling dc not to stroke her at all for a few days but to approach her with treats to eat so she has positive association with them. Is this right, or is there anything else I can do. The cat has become quite attached to me, will sleep curled up next to me, lets me (briefly) pick her up for a cuddle, so she's capable of tolerating affection. Any advice? Thanks!
I think that that's the right approach. (Not stroking her at all for at least a bit.) I let my cats make nearly all the running from their earliest days with me - athough I'll talk to them a lot so maybe the DC could substitute verbal for some of the physical?
I always try to imagine what it would be like if a 40 ft human came and patted me without asking when I wasn't in that good a mood. A retaliatory swipe would be the least of it, I think!
She should improve with acquaintance, hopefully.
To add to Cozie's good advice, you could put DCs in charge of feeding her. Cats always love the person who feeds them. Also an interactive toy like a Flying frenzy, you can get them from Amazon.
I think you need to accept the fact that some cats just do not like little people. You can't bring a cat round, they have to do it in their own time. Remember they are living creatures, not an indulgence for your children. Tell your dcs to leave the cat alone. The cat will decide if/when they want company or not.
I have a very nervous rescue cat and the rule is always you should allow her to come to you only if she chooses to elicit your attention are you allowed to stroke her. Mine is clearly very fearful that hands are going to hit it has taken her three years to get to the stage where she can accept unsolicited stroking though she still acts like you are going to hit her with the first stroke.
Thanks all. I do think she will come round in time. Stinkersmum, I do not think that the cats are an indulgence for my dc, that's a bit of an offensive assumption you've made. My dc are gentle are want to be involved with them. They are respectful of the cats but given their age aren't always able to read the subtle signs that cats give when they may have had enough stroking. They are not stroking her for the time being and are feeding her/giving her treats. Good idea about getting them to talk to her more (again without touching her). This is one of my ways of eliciting whether a cat wants attention as they often do that rolling over thing or head bump when I talk to them!
I do think it's still early days with them in general though and we still can't know fully what they're going to be like.
Was she badly mistreated in her past life, Lone?
One thing I do - and it seems to go down well - is to use a lot of short but consistent key phrases to announce what is going to happen or is happening. (Silly things like 'Come for Luurrvvv then' or 'Groom!' ) The cats seem to like to know what is coming up so that they can mentally adjust to it and make a decision as to whether they want to interact or not. They nearly always do because I know them well enough to be able to read when they're in a mood for a particular activity - but it can still be their choice in the final analysis.
How are the cats reacting to the 'No Stroking' regime, Jam?
It seems to be going well Cosie, no more swiping. I've asked dc to talk to them more as well and ds in particular will play with them with the fishing rod toy or laser for ages! Another complicating factor which may or may not have a bearing is that swipey cat has a virus which has given her a high temp and third eyelids up but no other symptoms, so it is basically having to run its course through her - metacam and an antibiotic jab have made no difference to temp. But she is extremely well with it - playful, eating well (even putting on a bit of weight!) so I'm not sure if that could have any effect on her behaviour. I do feel i am starting to recognise that she is on the 'feisty' side of the personality spectrum
Sounds fairly positive then. Maybe her physical condition has a bearing though? ( I know that if I have a bad cold, I don't much feel like interacting with people any more than is absolutely necessary.)
Cozie almost certainly, she is the tail injury successful conviction for animal cruelty cat.
Jam just seen your last message if she has torovirus ( from what you are describing) it may actually hurt to be stroked - hence the swiping.
That's interesting to know, Lone - I take it that it will just be a question of time for the virus to (hopefully) abate?
Thanks Lonecat, that may be the case. The vet has not specified Torovirus, but said it could be one of a few (hopefully non-serious) viruses but after looking online it does seem to fit Torovirus (she has had the runs slightly on and off too). I'm a bit worried about fip - is Torovirus one that can mutate into fip?
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