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Old 2016-08-29, 22:07   #1
fivemack
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Default Regaining the affection of a cat

A year ago, my girlfriend gave me one of the accidental kittens from her accidental cat; at this point the kitten was three months old. I loved him and hugged him and had him vaccinated and called him Babbage and had his testicles professionally removed, and for the first few months when I came back from work he would appear at the door to greet me. I got a clever cat-flap which recognises his microchip.

In the summer he spends much more time in the garden - this is fine. When it came time for the next round of vaccines, I caught Babbage by setting the catflap to in-only before going to bed. This caused him to spend three hours in the early morning banging on the catflap until he was somehow able to contrive it to open again; I caught him in the garden at breakfast-time, and shut him in a room with cat food, water and a litter box until the vet appointment in the afternoon.

Since then he's clearly been scared of me to the point that, of an evening, he may come in through the catflap but will turn tail and run out again if he catches sight of me. He does eat the food I put down for him, so I'm not afraid he will waste away, but I wish I knew what I could do to get him to trust me again, and what I need to do to be able to take him to the vet without traumatising him again. Any advice?

He did not come in during a series of quite vigorous rainstorms yesterday, but there are some dense bushes in the garden which he hides under (and, I discovered on Saturday, under which he hides the blackbirds that he has massacred)
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Old 2016-08-29, 22:28   #2
chalsall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fivemack View Post
He did not come in during a series of quite vigorous rainstorms yesterday, but there are some dense bushes in the garden which he hides under (and, I discovered on Saturday, under which he hides the blackbirds that he has massacred)
A bit like a woman, a cat must be coveted, desired, provided for, and continuously pursued.

Keep calling for him.
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Old 2016-08-30, 00:10   #3
Prime95
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Try playing with the cat when he comes in. Chasing a feather on a string is usually irresistible. Hopefully, he will then associate you with pleasant times again.
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Old 2016-08-30, 03:27   #4
flagrantflowers
 
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Get some fancy wet food. Have this only available closer to you than the normal food, and only when you are home. Slowly move the food closer to you.

At this point the most important thing it to not reinforce the terror that he associates with you… Try to read him, if he gets antsy -- back away.

Next time I would do the same thing with the cat flap, but rig it with a spring or something to make it harder to escape once inside.
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Old 2016-08-30, 13:46   #5
Xyzzy
 
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A $5 laser pointer might help. Cats love those.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0054593/quotes
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Old 2016-08-30, 15:26   #6
xilman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flagrantflowers View Post
Get some fancy wet food. Have this only available closer to you than the normal food, and only when you are home. Slowly move the food closer to you.

At this point the most important thing it to not reinforce the terror that he associates with you… Try to read him, if he gets antsy -- back away.

Next time I would do the same thing with the cat flap, but rig it with a spring or something to make it harder to escape once inside.
The first will work only if the cat likes the wet food. Some don't --- one of ours doesn't --- but the idea is sound. Find something which is a special treat.

Dope (aka catmint) makes some cats very friendly and amenable to being petted.

We never use the cat-trap mode on the kitchen door overnight but only when we're around to grab the cat ready to put it into the carrying basket. The cat-trap is only for insurance in case.

Toys, such as the suggested laser pointer, might work but often don't unless the cat is quite young.

Some cats never become friendly and you may have to get used to the situation. Some leave home.

Going to the vet is almost always traumatizing whatever you do. Only one in our extensive collection ever got used to the idea and it took her over ten years to do so. Though she never enjoyed the process she did at least tolerate it without active protest.

Last fiddled with by xilman on 2016-08-30 at 15:29
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Old 2016-08-30, 19:46   #7
LaurV
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Ha! Look what problems the guys in capitalist countries have...

Me and the cats, more like Pavel Stratan (he is a Moldavian genius), I let you the pleasure to translate it... (which is difficult even for a Romanian, due to Moldavian dialect, it sounds to us like 200 years old Romanian language, but his lyrics, in general, are the work of a genius, and his music the same - I may come back later with some translation, here is 2:45 AM now and I am going to bed).

Quote:
Mi-aduc aminte când,
Odată noaptea, ora unu,
Drept in fața mea
O mâtă o vrut sa-mi treaca drumu`.
Eu am înțăles că n-o să-mi meargă
Dac-o scăp și pleacă.
Am apăsat surșica și-am trecut...

Da' mâta n-o dov'dit să treacă.

Amu, tu spuni cum,
Și cine trebuie pe cine
Să respecte, ca,
La amândoi să-ni mearga bine?
Eu știu că cineva
Precis cu mâța o să țâie.

Dar vezi, că-n viața asta nu-i așa
Cam cum ar trebui să fie.

Last fiddled with by LaurV on 2016-08-30 at 19:47
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Old 2016-08-31, 02:12   #8
only_human
 
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Once a pet avoids you it's a bit hard to improve things. In addition to the ideas everyone mentioned I have a couple more thoughts.

Directly looking at the cat can be threatening and anxiety provoking. Try to use a gaze of the periphery when you want the an evasive cat to get closer.

Dogs seem to be better at working with our cues and I remember an example.
She Spent Hours Lying On The Ground In The Cold. The Reason Why Is Amazing

Another thing, pets are very smart about people's hands and can be suspicious when someone is holding something or hiding something in hands.

One boss of mine would play rough with his cat. One time the cat ran off but when it came back I was talking to my boss while leaning against a doorway and the cat approached quickly and jumped up and in midair bit my hand. I think it was connected to how the boss roughly provoked the cat a few minutes earlier with belly scratches.

Another place I worked the owner's dogs went loose in the neighborhood and one Doberman threatened a police officer by aggressively approaching and growling but stopped when the officer put his hand on his gun.

These animals understand that tools are more threatening when we are holding them. My cats always knew when I was trying to sneak up with Advantage flea treatment.

Afterthought: Pets often cooperate and learn from other pets. Maybe having another cat that didn't mind being near you would help as long as the two pets can get along.

Last fiddled with by only_human on 2016-08-31 at 02:22
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Old 2016-11-03, 00:16   #9
storm5510
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xyzzy View Post
A $5 laser pointer might help. Cats love those.
I have a big orange tomcat that thinks he has to double as a mouse pad, literally. The laser is the quick and easy way to get him to jump down and run.
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Old 2016-11-03, 10:29   #10
fivemack
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The cat came back after a week or so, and is now really quite friendly; now that it's colder outside, he spends a lot of time in his favorite seat (which is also my favorite seat), sitting on the enormous warm blanket which was really intended to be my enormous warm blanket when I bought it but is now clearly his.
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Old 2016-11-04, 10:09   #11
LaurV
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Quote:
Originally Posted by storm5510 View Post
I have a big orange tomcat that thinks he has to double as a mouse pad, literally. The laser is the quick and easy way to get him to jump down and run.
Have you tried cucumbers?

Last fiddled with by LaurV on 2016-11-04 at 10:09
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