How to get my remaining cat to cuddle?

mokaneeMay 15, 2007

Hello again, as you all know I lost my love of my life cat a month and two days ago (Jelika). She was the cuddliest cat I've ever known. As soon as I got home and sat on the couch she would be glued to me until I left for work again the next morning. I loved all the cuddling so much.

But my remaining cat, Kitty, has never been a huge cuddler. She occaisionally comes to sit on my lap, and very rarely will I wake up and find her on the bed with me. I am hugely going through cuddle withdrawl. I miss it so much. I would dearly love to get Kitty to cuddle more, but don't know how to encourage it other than picking her up and putting her on my lap and petting her (she will usually only stay put for a couple of minutes before jumping down again). It makes me extremely sad and lonely. It almost seems that she is just a roommate that I feed and change the litter for. I know that's a little harsh, but I just miss Jelika so much and really miss the feeling of having a cuddly ball of fur on my lap and purring beside me at night.

Does anyone have any suggestions about how to encourage more cuddling/affection with Kitty? Or should I just try to get used to a non-affectionate cat? Either way I still love her dearly and am so glad that I still have her. She is about 12 years old and I am hoping for quite a few more years with her. It's not that she's acting any differently since Jelika has been gone, but the lack of cuddling from her I guess never affected me as much before.

Has anyone else experienced anything similar?

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Kitty has been used to having Jelika doing the cuddling so she had diffrent things to do to be a part of your life. I have one Oreo, who is as sweet as her name, when I sit she is there sometimes I feel like she is part of me. I have 5 other cats they cuddle at will but nothing like Oreo. You may have to find your Oreo.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 1:25PM
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mokanee, you are just going to have to love Kitty the way she is. I know how much you miss Jelika, but Kitty will never be her.

Have you considered adopting another cat or kitten - one who will fill the snuggle void you are feeling now? Although it might be difficult for Kitty to adjust to a new feline housemate, it could be even more difficult if you start resenting her for not snuggling the way you want her to. It's something worth considering, anyway.


    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 2:04PM
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Hi Laurie,

Don't get me wrong, I do dearly love Kitty the same as I've always loved her. I know she will never be Jelika and certainly do not resent her for it. She is who she is.

Unfortunately adopting another kitty cat is not in the picture for me at the moment. I have been dating my dear BF for over 3 years now and we are starting to think about a life together, and unfortunately he is quite allergic to cats. He has done very well over the past 3 years with my 2 cats, but he is obvioiusly allergic (we do not live together). I don't think he would appreciate me getting a new furball quite at the moment. (I have not abandoned hope yet though.. I am working on him and I know that both Jelika and Kitty have wormed their way into his heart.. in fact his first reaction after Jelika passed was to get me a new kitty.. unfortunately his senses got the better of him :(

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 2:26PM
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Hi there. I am sorry that you lost your beloved Jelika. I would agree that you cannot really change Kitty's "personality". You have to love her as she is, and know that she can't fill the void left by Jelika. Hope that you are able to get another cat who is more of a cuddler and that your boyfriend will be able to handle! Good luck with everything.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 4:31PM
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I am so sorry about Jelika!

My cat Sofie is not cuddly, nor is she a lap sitter. Yet she is very affectionate, and she gives me lots of love and attention. Is there a way you can perhaps get love from Kitty that is appropriate to her way of loving? Will she allow you to brush her, or sit next to her and pet her? Scritch her, talk to her? Can you play with her?

You want to surely mourn your cat, but you don't want to miss out on what Kitty may have to offer, even if it's not cuddles : )

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 7:28PM
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So sorry to hear about your Jeleka. I lost my close buddy kitty that alwys sat on me or by me and dutifully jumped into bed with me every night. I loved him so. My current cat, toothless now, cuddles very little but tonight in recovery has been asleep in my lap, until I had to put her on a soft pillow so I could move. I'm thinking she doesn't cuddle because she has been in poor health. Perhaps you could entice your kitty with a spot next to you similar to her favorite sleeping spots where you can stroke her head or whatever she might enjoy. Sometimes cats just don't like to be that close to people, they just do things their way I've decided. That's how I comfort myself in the absence of my loving kitty. When my current kitty gets playful, she really makes me laugh and that makes me happy.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 1:15AM
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I know exactly how you feel.My cat has always been rather un-affectionate. I think it's because he was kinda of abused by the people's kid we got him from.
He is more affectionate with my husband then with me,but there are a few things I have done to get him to cuddle with me more.
Get the kitty when she is sleeping or sleepy. She will be kind of out of it and tired so she probably wont try to run.Sort of lay her next to you on the couch and hold her with one arm gently while petting her with the other.
If you're lucky she will doze back off while laying next to you and let you cuddle her.After a while,she may start to like the cuddle time with you more and want to sleep next to you to be gently pet.
I also lure my cat in with special treats~for that is wet cat food since he mostly gets dry. I'll ask him if he is "Hungry",and then feed him the wet cat food.
After doing this a while,the cat should come to learn what "HUNGRY" means.Once she does and you ask her,she will be VERY affectionate.

Some cats just arent that lovable though.Mine lets me now,but it took a long time of "training" him before he became that way.

If all else fails,get yourself another kitten or rescue cat.Most of those rescue cats are so thankful to be out of where they are that they are extremely affectionate and greatful.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 3:38AM
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Coolmama, it's funny you should mention that your un-cuddly kitty is more cuddly with your husband than you. Mine is the same way.. if I pick her up and put her on my lap I'm lucky if she stays there a few minutes, but if my boyfriend picks her up and puts her on his lap she will happily sit there until he either moves or puts her down. And I'm thinking "Sheesh.. doesn't she know that I'M the one who has taken care of her these past 10 years???"

However last week I decided to take a short 6 day vacation after going through so much heartache and anguish for the past couple of months, it was also the first time that Kitty has ever been alone (no Jelika for company) for any length of time (don't worry folks, my mom came in and fed her and gave her a little company while I was gone). But since I've been back I must say that I've been quite shocked that 3 out of the 4 mornings I have woken up to find Kitty laying quietly beside me. It's been a nice surprise. I just wonder if it will last?

And I really hope everyone knows how much I love my cat. It's just been a hard adjustment after having a furball glued to me for 18 years to suddenly have an empty spot on my lap.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 12:09PM
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The adjustment may be hard for Kitty, too. I think it's great you're prepared for the possibility that Kitty will never be as affectionate as Jelika. (Not all cats are -- my Siamese is definitely not a cuddler, altho' he is affectionate in his own way.)

But it's also possible that it was learned behavior -- "I don't like sitting on laps because laps are always occupied by Jelika!" -- and with time, Kitty may see there are some nice opportunities available.

Makes you realize how very individual animals can be!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 1:46PM
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You know Alison, you could be right about the learned behavior thing. There have been some other signs of this as well. I had/have 2 cat beds (exactly the same) parked in front of the fireplace. Jelika was always in one and Kitty took the other one. Since Jelika has been gone I have only seen Kitty in "Jelika's" bed once. Also they have always had their own food dishes, but whenever I would feed them (at the same time) Kitty would always hang back and let Jelika have first dibs at the food. Since Jelika has been gone, whenever I feed Kitty she still sits back and just stares at the dish, as if waiting for Jelika to get there first, until I tell her it's ok to go eat and that Jelika isn't coming back.

I suppose it may take time but perhaps she is still expecting Jelika to come bounding around the corner and when she finally realizes that Jelika won't be back she will start seizing more opportunities.

I guess this is probably a heart breaking time for both of us :(

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 2:06PM
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"Coolmama, it's funny you should mention that your un-cuddly kitty is more cuddly with your husband than you. Mine is the same way.. if I pick her up and put her on my lap I'm lucky if she stays there a few minutes, but if my boyfriend picks her up and puts her on his lap she will happily sit there until he either moves or puts her down. And I'm thinking "Sheesh.. doesn't she know that I'M the one who has taken care of her these past 10 years???"

It's the same way with me.I do the litter,feed the kitty and give him his wet cat food.My husband will have none of the caring for the cat.Maybe they just take us for granted cuz they look at us as their maids,LOL.
That is sweet the kitty has been sleeping next to you.I agree with Alison that maybe since you always had Jelika on your lap kitty just knew you were her "territory".

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 4:16PM
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Sounds like kitty is respecting Jelika's territory. I read, I think this forum, to make your kitty more affectionate to you to provide it food and all its needs but don't look at him or talk to him, completely ignore him until he tries to befriend you. Sounds a little risky. Maybe that's what happened when kitty was left alone for a while, suddenly appreciated your company.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 8:04PM
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Sooo my cat is pretty much going to stay a raging b****?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 1:11AM
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My Tabby has never been a lap cat.

But when I'm having a rough time she knows how to turn on the charm.

Last year, I lost my uncle suddenly, on a day when I had a housefull of my daughter and several of her friends.

When I finally got the kids down to bed, and went to have a nice private cry, my tabby came out of nowhere to sit in my lap and give me some 1 on 1 attention.

It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen.

She has done it at other times like that, too. I consider her a wonderful fur friend.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 11:54AM
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What I'm really disappointed about is that Mokanee's initial question was if it's possible to train a cat to cuddle, which is what I was wondering but most of the replies talk about how cuddly or non-cuddly their cat was and nothing in regards to the possible training to cuddle. With her cat being 10 years old, I'm thinking it's not possible but mine is only 1 year old, would it be possible to train her to cuddle at that age, if so, how?

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 3:31PM
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I think I've somewhat "trained" my stand-offish cat Sally to cuddle. She'll never be as affectionate as her brother Basil, a real sloppy old lover-boy. But for the first couple years I owned her Sally wouldn't cuddle at all and wouldn't even look at me in the eyes directly. I started to spend more time with her on my lap, feeding treats, doing significant ear rubbing, petting, and shoulder massages (which she adores) and I've watched her come around slowly but surely.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 12:21PM
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One of our cats has always been on the skittish side.

After a recent change to a cat food with no food coloring, artificial preservatives or cornmeal he has become calmer, friendlier and more pettable.

Can't say for sure if a food change would help your cat, but it wouldn't hurt to try it.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 11:14PM
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Well I guess I'll give an update here, since this has popped up to the top of the list...

Although I must say it is odd to see this here since just yesterday was the 3 year "anniversary" of Jelika's passing...

Well Kitty is still around, and as some of you may have read in my other post she is a recent amputee (lost her left front leg) due to a spontaneous break caused by cancer...

But anyway in the past 3 years I think both Kitty and I have both learned how to come out of our respective shells, without having the buffer of Jelika around. Kitty has never become the cuddler that Jelika was, and yes I still sometimes look down at my empty lap and feel sadness. Then I look at Kitty (usually happy on the floor by my feet) and think "Doesn't she know there's a perfectly good lap right here where she can get pets and cuddles??" But don't get me wrong, she still does cuddle, but only on her terms. She will definitely sometimes surprise me and jump up on my lap to get a good petting, but just not nearly as often as I was used to with Jelika.

And I never did find a way to "train" her to cuddle... I just had to accept her for who she was (and is). I still love her dearly and would like to keep her around for a while yet...and even though she is still hopping around (due to the amputation) and seems quite happy enough (eating, drinking, purring, jumping...) we all know how cancer works and I don't want to think about it, but she could start her decline any day now...

I think I will give her all the treats and cuddles that she can possibly stand for the time that she has left. I love her dearly and wouldn't change a thing about her.

I guess that would be my best bit of advice to anyone out there... just love your pets for who they are and realize that they are as individual as we all are... they all show their love in different ways, just like we do.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 12:43PM
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Since you are still reading this...did your boyfriend resolve his allergy issue? I am allergic to cats (actually, all fur) but I take Singulair and Allegra (fexofenadine) everyday and I am able to live happily (and cuddle) with my two long haired cats. I don't seem to have any side effects from the meds, I've been on them for many years.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 1:43PM
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Hi Sue,

I am so glad that using those medications work for you and it is definitley a combination I might keep in mind for the future (did you come up with it by trial and error, or was it recommended to you by a doctor?)

However it doesn't really make sense for my bf to be on daily allergy meds as sometimes he will only come over once a week (we don't live together). But when he does come over his allergies don't seem to flare up right away, only if he does something silly like pet the cat then rub his eyes (sheesh!)

But if we ever do decide to either get married or live together he will have to figure something out, because I have decided that I just can't live without a cuddly fluff ball in my life so when the time is right (after Kitty) I know I will go get another one (or two!) to fill the void...

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 5:54PM
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The allergist suggested the combination after I had tried a few other things. Most antihistamines make me drowsy, I have no issues with Allegra (I take regular Allegra, not Allegra D). I took both every day even when we didn't have a pet. When you are allergic to fur you never realize how much it affects you until you take medicine every day. If my sister hugged me I would get stuffed up because there was fur/dander on her clothes. I couldn't go over many peoples' homes because of my allergies. It is just so much easier not worrying about it. My dog allergy is very severe, so it doesn't address that 100% (when I go to my SIL's house I sit on a leather stool and never sit on upholstered furniture). Since I've been on the meds I haven't had a single visit to the the emergency room for asthma.

If your BF only gets a reaction if he touches the cat and then his eyes (my DH is like that with horses), his allergy is likely pretty mild. I would have him try just the Allegra first.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 9:33PM
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This is interesting thread since you are here to update it a few years after the fact. Nice to hear that you still have Kitty even if she isn't a cuddler.

My Muddy is not a cuddler either. She is affectionate, but on her own terms (she's a tortie). When you pick her up, the limbs all go different directions with a few aiming for your torso to push you away. If she does decide to grace your lap with her presence, it's all pointy little feet and imbalance- you get to pet her, but it doesn't seem comfortable and relaxing for anyone.

Her brother, Gus, who passed away Jan 09 was the worlds best cuddler. He just knew how to sit on a lap and balance his weight comfortable against you. He was a big orange tabby and even so I could carry him around cradled on his back in one arm and it always worked. He was just the most laid back guy and knew how to cuddle.

My mother took in a PG stray last year and kittens were ready at the point Gus had been gone for 10 months. We decided another cat would be good for the household- I missed cuddling and Muddy enjoys cat companionship. I wanted a boy kitten, figuring guys are generally more laid back and cuddly- not so! Our new little boy is as intense as Muddy and not much of a cuddler- so much for the theory of getting another cat (I understand that wasn't an option for you anyway). He is sweet, and adds tons of life to our household, but his personality is not that of a sit-still cuddler. I don't think it's just that he's young and will outgrow it, cuddling is just not his personality.

A week or so ago I told DH that the next time we are thinking about adding another cat to the house, I'm going to a rescue and asking if they have any certifiable cuddlers! Ultimately you are right though- love em for just who they are...

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 10:16AM
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My heart just dropped when I saw this until I saw the date!

If you want another velcro kitty in the future, Sphynxes are the epitome of velcro. I lost Diamonds not quite a year ago, and I still miss spooning her under the covers all night every night or sharing my shirt with her. And you don't have to deal with hairballs or cat hair everywhere (you do have to deal with oily dirt though).

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 6:13PM
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I'm going through this same thing right now. I lost my big Siamese boy (15 1/2 years old) to diabetes complications exactly two months ago. I miss him terribly.

He was the 'alpha' cat and got more attention due to his disease management requirements. He has slept on my bed for 15 years and would follow me into every room in the house.

My three remaining cats are all behaving like 'little cat islands'. I actually got more attention from them before my Siamese passed. I think out of jealousy or heirachy positioning - not sure.

But, no one sleeps on my bed, or sits with me on the couch to snuggle - or greets me at the door. In fact, even worse, they each hang out in seperate rooms unless it's feeding time. Then, they show up. Spiteful things....

I guess I am now just their 'live-in housekeeper/cook'. It really makes me miss my kitty even more.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 5:33PM
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All five of my cats are cuddlers. They have their routine. Always at night when I'm watching TV, it's Nellie. She stays for an hour and then Phoebe comes. She's there a shorter time. Soon Henry comes and then the big leap(he weighs 21 pounds) and he begins kneading and kneading purring like a kitten. A little bead of sweat forms on his nose. Some times he lays on my shoulder like my old deceased cat Emma liked to do. When I come on the computer, Lily sits on my lap and only occasionally does Annie. She's the most skittish of all which is weird since her mother Nellie is my most gregarious cat. She was a feral rescued by me when she was about to give birth. She was skinny and greasy and awful looking. She gained ten pounds and now has the softest fur in the house but her daughter is not as friendly. In fact she is the only one who hides when people come to the house.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 2:53AM
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Hi. I have a kitty named Lola. She just turned 1 yesterday! I got her when she was 2 weeks old. She is not a lap cat. I found that out when she got older and didn't need me to snuggle her cause she was cold (she was so little and fragile!). She'd just lay next to my feet all day. Recently she is stingy and doesn't come out of the bed much. When she does get out she jumps on counters and places where she shouldn't be and pushes things on the floor. It scares me cause she breaks things and I don't want her to hurt herself. I let her know sharply to get down. But she continues, and does it all day. I feel like I am just yelling at her all day. I feel like she doesn't love me. When I go to hug her or cuddle her she bits me. Others tell me she is just spoiled. But I got her because I lost a pet before her and I needed to not feel lonely especially as my husband works all the time and I am alone in the house. I don't know what to do. I love her and it would kill me to get rid of her. Does anyone have any words of encouragement?

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 3:12PM
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