We all hope that our cat will be the loveable little soul that will want to sit on our lap for hours and have endless cuddles, but.......
Often the owner becomes the 'prey' and the cat will attack without warning and cause serious harm. Relations between cat and owner break down for what seems to be no apparent reason. There are several ways to deal with this...
Confinement: If you have a particularly nervous cat or if there are other cats in the house I would suggest putting one room aside to work with your cat. Set this up with its own bed, toys, litter tray and food. Do not place the litter tray near the bed or food. The cat is likely to be in here for a while, maybe even a few weeks, so make the cat comfortable.
Grooming Your Cat: This is a very good way of re-affirming your relationship. It takes the cat back to kitten-hood when its mother would regularly groom it. However, if longhaired this can sometimes be associated with pain so grooming can be difficult. If you know the cat likes being groomed on the top of the head then just groom that area to start off with. If he will only tolerate 10 seconds, then 10 seconds it is. Do not give him the opportunity to strike out. If you have made 2 or 3 strokes down his head, then stop. Build this up slowly.
Sit and Read: Sometimes just spending time with the cat can be enough to reaffirm your relationship. For the very timid cat you are unlikely to be able to hand feed as it will probably be in hiding for several days, if not weeks. Just sit in the same room so that the cat can see that while you are close at hand, you are no threat. Speak in a very soft gentle voice. Cats respond to female voices as we speak in a much higher tone, so don't be afraid to use "baby talk".
Attack: Our aim is to bond with the cat on his terms. Do not rush anything. If you can read your cats body language try and stop what you are doing before he lashes out at you. The tail is a good sign - flicking of the tail shows some form of mild irritance - this is your cue to stop what you are doing before the cat has to take further action! If the cat does lash out at you either stand up if he is on your lap so he falls to the ground and prevents any further attack. Do not make eye contact, or speak to him. Most likely he will face away from you and then walk of. If he is not too aggressive then just sit quietly for a few minutes. Try not to respond to the attack as the cat will see this as a "reward". Let the cat settle again, talk gently, offer a little treat, stroke the top of the head if he will allow you to and then walk away. If the cat is not in the mood just leave him. If he is responding well to you then work a little longer, but don't get too confident - you will just undo all your hard work. Work slowly, calmly and confidently. The whole point is to stop before the aggressive outbursts occur. Timing is everything.
The Approach: You may have noticed that when two cats are about to be confrontational with each other that they go up on their rear legs and hit out with their front paw - therefore from a cats point of view if you go towards them with your hand to stroke them on the head - this could be seen as a form of aggression. Approach the cat therefore either from behind or distract it with food and then stroke it. How far you stroke is up to you but I often find if I put a bowl of food down for a cat I can usually get in a couple of strokes from the head down to the tail as the bowl is going down to the floor before the cat has time to think "I don't want to be stroked"!
Hand Feeding Your Cat: This is an excellent way of regaining trust and friendship with your cat. You can withhold food so that the cat is hungry and then offer either small pieces from your fingers or a small amount on the palm of your hand - ensure your fingers are out of harms way!
Feed little and often, so for example you could go to him once every hour and offer a small amount of food. If proving particularly difficult use tuna, ham or prawns to get started with. If you cat will not sit on your lap sit on the floor and offer titbits. As he becomes more confident move the food further away so he has to put one paw on your leg, then two, until he is eventually sat on you before he gets the treat. Again - slowly does it
Party Time: This is very important especially if your cat is used to going out and you are now going to keep it in for a few weeks - you must make the effort to play with him a few times a day so he does not get bored and frustrated. This is also important if your cat has been using you as "prey". If the cat has been attacking your hands or legs then he may be transferring the preying instinct on to you instead of on to the prey. Use toys from a distance, for example the snake charmer - which is a long piece of material on a wand which cats just love; fishing rod toy, anything that you can play with the cat from a distance so you don't get hurt in the process. Bits of screwed up paper, a cardboard box, a few leaves from outside, even a bowl of water with a few toys floating around in! You can get a ball which will take dried biscuits - the cat has to roll the ball to get the biscuits out - this will keep him occupied for a little while - or alternatively hide a few cat treats around the room so he has to find them. When we feed our cats on a regular basis they don't have the chance to "hunt" for their food like they would in the wild.A very important part of raising a feline is cat bonding. We all hope that our cat will be the loveable little soul that will want to sit on our lap for hours and have endless cuddles, but unfortunately most of them are not. The most important time in a cat's life is the first 8 weeks. Any experiences in these first few weeks will form their characters. Hopefully they will become confident, affectionate and ready for anything. However most of the time this is not the case. Kittens often come into a rescue situation either taken away from their mothers too early (before 8 weeks) or where they have lived rough and have had very little human contact. For these kittens they will never become as confident and affectionate as a kitten brought up in a home environment surrounded by kind adults and its own mother. Even hand reared kittens which you would think would be lovable can all too easily turn out to be aggressive.
Weaing a kitten is not just about getting the little one from milk to solid food. This is the time when mum makes herself less accessible and will often be seen sitting on her stomach so the kittens no longer have unlimited access to her milk supply. This is where they learn frustration and that they cannot have whatever they want, whenever they want.All advice given on this website is by expert cat owners. It is not in any way meant to be used in replacement to any vet or other professional advice. The owner takes no responsibility of any consequences due to any of the information held within the site.
Bonding with your cat or kitten
Information taken from: http://www.caring-for-your-cat.co.uk/bonding_with_your_cat.htmlOther useful links:http://www.our-happy-cat.com/new-cat.htmlhttp://www.spca.bc.ca/Animalbehaviour/catbond.asp
The information is the opinion of the writer in the link to the website provided and is not a substitute for veterinary/professional advice.
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