Loving cat suddenly avoiding us

by Ali
(London, UK)

Hi Kate,firstly congratulations on such a great website - it's by far the best I've found so far and has already answered some of my questions.

Just over a week ago we adopted a rescue cat. She has a lovely temperment and as far as we know has not been ill treated. After the inital and predicted nervous first few hours we had so much fun playing with her and tickling her. She loved the attention and even loved having her picture taken!
We picked her up on the Monday as my hasband had a weeks annual leave. However he went out a fair bit during the day so she didn't expect him to be there all the time. She's about 9 months old. When we would come in from work she was so pleased to see us and very loving. She played gently with us. She loved being stroked and purred a lot!

At the end of the first week, on the Sunday I went to the gym in the morning. I came back after about 2 hours and she was so loving. I then went into the shower after about 20mins of petting her and after that she blanked me. She came round a bit in the evening but since then she started being a bit naughty. She really shocked me when she jumped up on the kitchen work surface Sunday night when I was preparing food. I've read quite a bit you should tell them off so I said "no" in a firm voice. She had been so well behaved, using her litter tray etc that I wasn't expecting it.

On the Monday night, after we had her exactly a week, she pulled down a stack of boxes (appeared to be on purpose!) I had in the living room very late at night making an almightly racket. Again it made me jump and I raised my voice (but no shouting as I didn't want to waker my husband!) and told her "no, bad". When I pointed my finger at her she looked terrified and her pupils were so dilated.

Since then she seems
scared of me, and last night looked at me for ages with wide staring pupils. I made sure not to stare as I know this is a treat to them. I also tried slow blinkning. However she has also changed towards my husband, giving him the cold shoulder too. Our loving cat has gone to not wanting to be petted at all, flinching when we touch her and she hasn't purred for 3 days. She walks away when we go near her and cries quite badly when I come in from work. She only tolerates us when we give her food. HELP! I love her so much and want her true personality back. It's upset me so much I cannot concentrate at work. What do I do???

Answer by Kate
thank you for the compliment, i do work hard on my site.

First of all the best way to discipline a cat is not to say no as this is meaningless to a cat and can actually frighten then and this sounds like what may have happened here. She has now become a little confused and worried about you and has become unsure of you. Cat is discipline is all about positive and negative reactions, please see this page for more on this


As for her behavior, well it sounds perfectly normal to me. As cats get older they will become more and more explorative and will do things that they have never done before. remember jumping up on the work surface is not a bad thing to do fr a cat, its only us humans who dont want it. And pulling down boxes is not a naughty of destructive action it is just an explorative one.

I have two boy cats which i adopted a year ago and during that time they have changed behaviors and gone through all sorts of changes regarding their attitude towards us. At first they loved to sit on our laps now no way.

All I can recommend is my page about cat bonding to try and regain your cats confidence in you again here


best wishes Kate

Comments for Loving cat suddenly avoiding us

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Cats are not Dogs
by: Dee

I don't know when these comments were posted, but first off, cats are not dogs. I had a colony of four cats--now down to two--that live in my back yard. I have two indoor cats, boys.

Cats are fiercely independent, tempermental, finicky, and unreliable. Their behaviors are not consistent so don't expect that from them. They'll be loving on you one minute and avoiding you like the plaque the next. Don't take it personal, it's just the way that they are.

I have a colony cat named Wynter that hisses and growls warningly at me although I feed him and give him treats whenever he decides to come around. Sometimes he goes on hiatus for days and will randomly show up at my front door; sometimes for food, treats, and catnip, or sometimes just to cool his heels. I also have a small dog, so I'm quite able to observe the behaviors of both species. Dogs are more loyal, consistent, and most of them are in constant need of attention. Cats are their polar opposite. In fact, I find that cats are very primal--truly like little lions. They're most happy hunting. They'll hunt anything: flies, a red spot light on the floor, other cats, and even you. But they grow restless very easy and keeping them entertained is a job in and of itself. They're really meant to be outdoors, hunting and exploring as they derive great satisfaction after having caught their prey. Keeping them inside of a house where they can't truly exercise these options goes against their very nature. They cannot reason that it's for their own good and safety. Cat owners are more like prison wardens than parents. Unless you have a big house with lots of holes for them to crawl in or runs they can happily traverse, don't be surprised if they grow to become cranky, lethargic, or downright irritable.

Only advice that I can give is to try and keep them entertained--lights that they can chase, fake birds dangling from strings, homemade balls made from aluminum foil, and lots of catnip, kisses and hugs, when you can sneak them in.

Good Luck fellow cat lovers.

by: Kate

I went to see my mother that lives two hours, by plane, from my home and I decided to take my cat with me. Since we came back from this trip my cat keeps ignoring me, she doesn't want me to come close.

by: shellbell

We adopted a feral girl kitty 11 years ago. We had 2 males at the time who terrorized her but she didn't seem to mind. She has never been especially loving and we think she has a mental problem. Since then both boys have died and we have had another girl kitty (also a feral) that she has terrorized but they both co existed-one downstairs, Gidget the problem child upstairs. She pees on everything and this has been for a very long time. I had her checked out years ago when I was able to touch her but nothing medical. She would come jump on me at bed time and lay on me or next to me to get her pets in and then leave but at least she was kind of loving. About a week ago I was petting her and she has so many flea bites as I was scratching her I felt all these bumps and I am sure it bugged her but my husband turned over in bed, she looked at me and I had the remote in my hand and that was the last night she came to bed with me. She hides under the bed but when my husband is up she comes downstairs to go on the porch but when I am down here she never comes down. I put snacks under the bed, call her gently and she hisses and growls. Today I was forceful and when I called her name she balled up even tighter than normal and cringed. I feel so bad for her and I want her to trust me again but I don't know what I did to scare her. How do I regain her trust.

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