Worried about cats behaviour towards me

by Mr. Elliott
(Seattle, WA)

I have a friend whose female cat she rescued and I looked after her once or twice at first and I would stop by and just stay with her during the day when her owner was gone. One afternoon I dozed off on the sofa and she slept on my chest so she obviously accepted me as a friend. My friend later got laid off and I moved closer to work because of back problems.

My friend went back to school and took in a couple of boarders and was gone a lot. One of the boarders we think scared the cat as her behavior changed after that. I don't see her very much at all since I've moved - just every once in a while when I have medical appointments in the area or an occasional visit as it's quite a ways. I would say the cat has become a one-person cat during this time although sometimes she'd let me pet her. But she doesn't have much to do with anyone except her owner now.

I had a doctor appointment in that area once a month so I'd stay over at that time but she still was standoffish about contact. And has remained that way ever since. However this last May on my birthday after we were done talking she couldn't find her cat and she finally noticed she was in the guest room where I sleep laying on the bed right next to where I sleep. She stayed the whole night with me and would reach over every now and then and pet her, but the next morning she got up and went back upstairs.

Since then she has gone back to acting like she did before. Her owner leaves early so before I leave I go upstairs and check on her and give light one-finger pet on the head which she's okay with except this last time I petted her a few times and being a cat lover and had cats myself - you can tell when they don't want you to pet them or so something any more they let you know.

I could tell if I had petted her much more she probably would have hissed. But going from sleeping on my chest 3 years ago like I was her best friend to the way she is now is kind of troubling. But then we do think the one boarder may have traumatized her somehow by yelling or something. We found out he had a reputation as being a little odd. But I suppose I've changed since then as I have to take medication for the back pain and since I've moved I don't see her at all. But she's a wonderful cat and I still really like to see her.

But why would she suddenly out of the blue just spend the night sleeping next to me on my birthday? Shortly thereafter I decided to go to the dentist as I had a tooth that I was suppose to monitor because of some work that had been done and if it didn't calm down that what I was supposed to do. They looked at it and I had a root canal but I put it off for awhile. I actually ended up having two and it was kind of complicated. I know animals warn people of health problems and worse but it was really odd. And she has gone back to behaving the same way.

She's really a one person cat now. Things have really changed for her owner since she was laid off her routine was the same for 5 years since she moved to this area and then since she started school and then internships she's around a lot less. My question is why would the cat who normally just acts one way towards me choose to do that? I suppose since I worry a lot and am over sixty I think maybe it's my health or something. But we just don't know what to think. Thank You for any light you may be able to shed on this.

Best Regards,

Mr. Elliott

Mr Elliot you are a worrier aren’t you and I say that in a kind way and not in an accusing way. I am a worrier too and i know how it can be all consuming sometimes. However as regards to your question, you simply cannot read anything into this cats behaviour and associate it will illness etc.

I have owned cats all my life and I have seen cats change from month to month in their behaviours. Sometimes they love you and can’t get enough of you and sometimes they want nothing to do with you, why? Who knows? Cats are contrary, its common knowledge, they are who they are and we have to like it or lump it. 
Cats like routine too and so the fact that she does not see you very often means that she is unsure of you, that’s all. The fact that a couple of times she has come to be with you just means that what she chose to do on that occasion, that’s all. One of my cats will sit on my lap when he wants to once in a blue moon, other times, no way.
I really wouldn’t read anything in to it, and just put it down to a cat being a cat.

Best wishes kate

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