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Thread: When your cat's just not that into you

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Default When your cat's just not that into you

    When your cat's just not that into you


    Liz Palika rescued Xena from under the wheels of a car when she was only a kitten. Xena repaid the favor with disdain, but the two have grown closer since the death of Palika's husband, Paul.


    It was a true case of unrequited love -- mine for my cat, Peavey. I loved him, and he couldn't be bothered with me.
    Born to a stray pregnant cat I rescued off the streets of San Francisco, Peavey had a brother and sister who grew up to be perfectly normal cats. They sat on my lap, purred when I petted them, and slept on my bed.

    Peavey, even though he was raised identically to his littermates, bolted like a wild animal whenever I looked at him. He wouldn't allow me to sit near him or touch him, and wouldn't even come into the kitchen to eat until I left the room.

    He died more than a decade ago, but I was reminded of him a few weeks ago, during a conference I was attending in Orlando, Fla.

    I was speaking on social media and animal welfare at a Maddie's Fund day-long seminar. One of the other speakers, Bonnie Brown, of the Nevada Humane Society, was giving a presentation about creatively marketing adoption promotions.

    Brown showed a slide of a poster advertising "Catzillas" for adoption -- cats who had, let's say, not gone to charm school.

    "I got the idea when I saw this show called 'Bridezillas,'" she said. "I figured if there are people who'll marry these brides, then there are people who'll adopt these cats."

    The Catzilla campaign was a success, and that got me wondering what some of us get out of sharing our homes with curmudgeonly cats. Because I'm far from the only person I know who's had a cat like Peavey; almost every cat-owner I know has, too.

    Take dog-trainer Liz Palika, who nine years ago rescued a kitten from under the wheels of a car in a supermarket parking lot. Palika took the kitten home, tucked safely inside her shirt.

    Did the half-wild cat named Xena reward Palika for saving her with undying love and devotion? Not exactly.

    "I lived in the house with her, and I cleaned her litter box, and I made sure she had food at mealtimes," Palika told me. "I didn't get any response from her at all -- except for anger if I tried to make the bed and she was on it."

    Then there's my friend, Gina Spadafori, co-author of "Cats for Dummies" and the forthcoming "Your Cat: The Owner's Manual." She is besotted with a kitty named Ilario who could be the poster feline for the famous Rudyard Kipling quote, "I am the Cat who walks by himself, and all places are alike to me."

    "He's an intelligent cat who just has a different idea of what kind of relationship he wants," she said. "Is he the in-your-face, fuzzy purr factory I was imagining? No. But I like his attitude."

    Not all stand-offish cats are that way all the time, or with all people. During a brief period when he was my only cat, Peavey warmed up to me a lot. He slept next to my head on my pillow every night, and would let me pet him in the morning.

    But when I adopted another cat, that was it; he cuddled and played and slept with her, and never came near me again. I suppose, really, there wasn't anything wrong with him. He was just a cat's cat, and accepted human companionship only as a last resort.

    Peavey may have saved all his love for other cats, but Xena reserved hers for Palika's husband, Paul.

    "Paul could pet her," Palika said. "She'd greet him at the door when he came home from work. She would allow him to brush her; she'd even let him clean her ears. She was very much his cat."

    When Paul passed away recently, Palika was determined to make friends with Xena.

    "I'm not expecting a huge transition, that I become the special person in her life because Paul's gone," she told me. "I'm taking it slow."

    It may be slow, but it's paying off. Xena is now sleeping with Palika every night, sits near her on the sofa (although not near enough to touch), and in the last few days has been jumping onto her desk and following her out into the garden.

    Palika thinks she knows why some of us love these less-than-cuddly cats.

    "I take pleasure in such little tiny things from her," she said. "When she's asleep on the bed and I walk by, and she wakes up, opens her eyes, stretches, and goes 'meow' -- I hate to sound cornball, but those moments are precious to me."

    I admit I always wanted something like that to happen with Peavey, and for him to be more like other cats. I asked his veterinarian about it, and when he couldn't find any physical explanation for Peavey's behavior, he told me, "Some cats are just like that."

    I suppose if this happened today, I'd have consulted a feline behaviorist, or tried more modern cat training techniques, like clicker training, to see if I could bring him around.

    Spadafori, on the other hand, likes her wild thing just the way he is.

    "Ilario is a unique character," she said. "I don't want to change him. I like him, he's mine, he's gorgeous, and he's not going anywhere."

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    Elite Member sprynkles's Avatar
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    I had a cat who I adopted from someone who bought a blue velvet couch and didn't want cat hair on it. After having the lovely cat for 8 years, or so she said.
    He only paid attention to me when he was hungry because I was the food lady. But he was mad for one of my sons. Followed him around like a dog would. It was so cute.
    Last edited by sprynkles; June 22nd, 2011 at 01:53 PM.

    Meryl doesn't even try anymore. She just calls Lanvin and asks for curtains with a belt.~Bitter
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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    ^ omg this is so interesting... even when they wanted loving they didn't curl up with you at night or anything like that? just only w/ food?

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    Elite Member Brookie's Avatar
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    I have a "Peavey" at home. A couple of years ago, I adopted two black kitty brothers - Jasper and Bubba. Bubba = friendly, outgoing, playful, cuddly. Jasper = spooked, slightly cross-eyed, runs from me 80% of the time. However, Jasper is mad for my oldest, Clancy. Can't get enough of Clancy, but as soon as I come around, it's head for the hills. Every once in a great while, Jasper will sit next to me, "allow" me to rub his belly and play for about a minute - then it's almost like he realizes what he's doing, and stalks off.
    Life is short. Break the Rules. Forgive Quickly. Kiss Slowly. Love Truly.
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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    ^ omg very interesting! i had 2 black brothers too and the healthy one was more aloof and watched me whereas his weaker smaller brother was my little princess and loved to be held and babied - however they did play together, the smaller one not always able to keep up, well when the smaller one passed away at only a year old due to kidney problems, his brother was in a really bad depression, my sister and I got another cat from literally off the street but she was no help (older and bitchy like some female cats seem to be and didn't play) so my guy got really fat from depression and not playing, well he recently got sick from the same thing and thank god was able to recover and I recently got a girl kitten whos about a year old now and they do play together and he's lost weight and is more active in the "family" and things are better now for everyone lol

    i guess cats are very peculiar sometimes, they definitely take time, trial and error

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    Elite Member Mivvi21's Avatar
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    I have a cat somewhat like this. He bites,snarls,growls,hisses,screams bloody murder,and is generally evil,but can also be lovable and sweet as pie when he feels like it. I rescued him from amongst filth,trash,and junk at an elderly lady's home who had Alzheimer's. He was flea riddled and only about 5 weeks old when I brought him home. I have never seen so many fleas on an animal in my life,and me and my mom spent hours picking and combing the fleas off of him. He's a gorgeous charcoal gray with emerald green eyes and is pretty as a picture,but I don't call him "Satan" as a nickname for nothing. I love him though,and he sleeps under the blankets with me in bed at night,and is my favorite out of all of my cats.

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    Elite Member bellini's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AliceInWonderland View Post
    ^ omg this is so interesting... even when they wanted loving they didn't curl up with you at night or anything like that? just only w/ food?
    We had a cat like that. We had a young Siamese cat and I thought he needed a playmate. The new cat didn't like the other cat or us. She was always unfriendly to everyone. She would spend most of her time under someones bed, only coming out to eat. She was really strange. She was only about a year old so I thought she was young enough to change and eventually warm up. We made every effort to socialize her, but she just wasn't interested. I always wondered if she had some kind of trauma when she was younger. The lady I got her from was a bit strange, not friendly and wanted to get her out of the house ASAP. Anyway she never made any progress with us. She got out one day and the coyotes probably got her. It was sad all around.


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    Elite Member CornFlakegrl's Avatar
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    We have a cat like this. She was a rescue and i wonder if she was part feral or something.

    She comes around to be fed and will sleep in my daughter's bed but if you pet her (assuming she comes near you) for more than 30 seconds she'll bite you. When she wants to be fed she curls around my legs meowing and then as I feed her, she bites my ankles. The cat won't cuddle ever.

    We let her be an outdoor cat because I think otherwise, she would have gone insane in the house. She's a great hunter and once the weather warms, she only comes in to eat. Tho' she is always nearby... if my daughter calls her name she comes running.

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    Elite Member bellini's Avatar
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    We let her be an outdoor cat because I think otherwise, she would have gone insane in the house.
    My parents had a cat like that. She was enormous with six toes. Big huge paws. She wouldn't live inside. She'd bring my mom presents all the time. Mice regularly, a gopher once and a rabbit another time. She was an excellent hunter, not that my mother really appreciated that about her, lol.


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    Elite Member LynnieD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CornFlakegrl View Post
    We have a cat like this. She was a rescue and i wonder if she was part feral or something.

    She comes around to be fed and will sleep in my daughter's bed but if you pet her (assuming she comes near you) for more than 30 seconds she'll bite you. When she wants to be fed she curls around my legs meowing and then as I feed her, she bites my ankles. The cat won't cuddle ever.

    We let her be an outdoor cat because I think otherwise, she would have gone insane in the house. She's a great hunter and once the weather warms, she only comes in to eat. Tho' she is always nearby... if my daughter calls her name she comes running.
    I had a cat just like this for 16 yrs. Got her when she was 6 wks old and I cannot really remember a single time that I could sit and pet her without her turning around and scratching me (when she had claws) or biting me, or hissing at me. As she aged, she would allow it a bit more, but was never a cuddly cat by any means. I would have let her out for sure, but I lived in an apartment. When I married my husband, she was 5 and we moved into his place and he refused to allow the cat to come unless I declawed her....I did. As aloof and semi mean she was to me, she was extrememy mean to him. So, that is why I agreed.

    Yet, I knew she loved me---she waited every single day at the door for me and would meow, just to say hello. She would only come if *I* called her and once in awhile she would sleep on my bed, but only on my side.

    I also think she was part feral...she was nuts sometimes. I have an 8 month old kitten right now (who looks EXACTLY like this mean cat and has the exact same name--my kids named her) and its night and day difference.

    I still loved her though..she was 'my' cat. And I still miss her. She was pretty funny at times. RIP Spooky!

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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    lol ^ the female cat we got after my baby Boo passed away is a major bitch like that too; you pet her for a few seconds and she love-bites you, starts wagging her tail, gets all fussy and runs off a lot of times, she's a major bitch, but life is good for her - except w/ this new girl in the house who's already passed her in size is now terrorizing her whenever she gets a chance, although sometimes they have their loving moments too. the bitchy girl was jumping from the dresser to my bed last night and the new girl jumped up and grabbed from the floor! i felt so bad for her, i ran and got her and gave her some love and scolded the little idiot (the 1 year old baby) omg cats - they only act like that when I'm around too; whenever i get home from where-ever they're all sleeping away in their usual spots lol

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    Elite Member CornFlakegrl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellini View Post
    My parents had a cat like that. She was enormous with six toes. Big huge paws. She wouldn't live inside. She'd bring my mom presents all the time. Mice regularly, a gopher once and a rabbit another time. She was an excellent hunter, not that my mother really appreciated that about her, lol.
    Yup, mine leaves dead things on the porch for us. I feel badly when it's a little bird.

    This snowy winter she didn't want to go out a few nights but in the middle of the night she'd be going apeshit knocking down lamps, climbing curtains, wailing like a banshee. I had to catch her and toss her out (i'd wait an hour and let her back in). Definitely not an indoor cat.



    [quote=LynnieD;2469527]. When I married my husband, she was 5 and we moved into his place and he refused to allow the cat to come unless I declawed her....I did. As aloof and semi mean she was to me, she was extrememy mean to him. So, that is why I agreed.

    My cat has a special hate for my husband too. I feed her so I at least get a meow and she sleeps with my daughter, but lawd baby, she hates the man in the house.

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    Elite Member sprynkles's Avatar
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    This snowy winter she didn't want to go out a few nights but in the middle of the night she'd be going apeshit knocking down lamps, climbing curtains, wailing like a banshee. I had to catch her and toss her out (i'd wait an hour and let her back in). Definitely not an indoor cat.

    Our cat was like this too. Even if he'd just been outside 20 minutes ago and forgot how horrible the weather and wanted to come right back in.

    Meryl doesn't even try anymore. She just calls Lanvin and asks for curtains with a belt.~Bitter
    Can we interest you in Leann Rimes? She has a nice little cadre of fans you'd probably enjoy.~ Pecan Pie

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    Elite Member Bluebonnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprynkles View Post
    He only paid attention to me when he was hungry because I was the food lady. But he was mad for one of my sons. Followed him around like a dog would. It was so cute.
    Some cats are super independent like this for some reason. (It's cats like this who enable all the cat haters out there to hate cats.) This type of cat chooses ONE person in the family to bond with and that's it. Everyone else is just there to provide the food. LOL! I have a relative with a cat like this. A total bitch-cat unless she's hungry. Then she turns on the charm, purring and rubbing her face against mine and I tell her she's totally full of shit! She just looks at me and meows so innocently; like "What? Moi? But look how cute I am!"

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    Elite Member Trixie's Avatar
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    ^ I had one like that too, sprynkles. He'd bang on the window blinds in the middle of the night until someone let him out.

    When it was really really cold, he would balk at going out but get me out of bed, buddy, and you're going out. Then he'd cry to be let in, then a few minutes later be wailing at the front door to go out again. We tried to tell him the weather was the same in the front yard as the back, but damn cat never listened.
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