Adjusting a skitty kitty

michelle_phxazJuly 18, 2011

I adopted Minnie LaRue 16 months ago from the HS. She was brought in as "feral", but she is really a sweet cat. However, she wants nothing to do with people walking near her, and there is only one place I have total control of her, and that is when I am sitting up in bed on the computer, she will ball herself up in between my crossed legs and the computer. I can kiss her, hug her, hold her like a baby, she will let me do anything to her including clipping her nails but only on my bed.

Loud noises freak her out, and she darts under the bed if we walk by her in the bedroom.

How can I acclimate her to my husband and I? My husband has a special place too to pet her, when she is on the back of the couch and he can walk up and pet her for a minute or two then she bolts.

We have two other cats, Lily is 12 and Cali 6, Minnie and Cali are best buds, Lily wants nothing to do with either of them, she has never been a playful cat.

What can I do, or just accept her as she is? I would really love her to know that we adore her and would never hurt her, but I can't get that message through!

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I have two ex-ferals and several ex-semi-ferals. One of the ex-ferals and one of the ex-semi-ferals are the same way as your girl. They're extremely loving boys as long as they make the physical overtures, but if I try to approach them, they'll cut and run. I'm sure it's just an instinctive response based on their feral or semi-feral histories. They've both been part of my family for six years now, and I don't expect either of them to change. The only time it's a problem is if one of them gets sick and requires medical care. Then I have to get creative and a lot pushier than any of us enjoy. But as long as they stay healthy, I just let them be who they are. I know they love me, and they know I love them. Sometimes there's just no fighting these baser, self-preservation instincts.


    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 10:00AM
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what Laurie said.

Also, I think cats, independent little critters that they are, like to make the decisions themselves regardless of whether they're former ferals or not.

The fact that she'll get in your laps & let you cuddle & pet her-& *clip her nails*???-is just dazzling.

Give her time, let everything be her idea, & as Laurie said, keep her healthy to keep from having to go to the dreaded vet in the dreaded car!

Bless you for taking her in.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 12:07PM
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I doubt she'll change but she is still a loving cat on her own terms. My dear Emma who died about eight years ago, was a feral kitten left on my porch. She loved me to death and every night would be on my lap or shoulder. But I could never ever pick her up to get her. She came to ME. My husband never got to touch her till she was the vets dying and we said our goodbyes. That's the way she was wired.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 1:20PM
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My prima-donna Calico Sally was never a feral; she's been pampered all her life. But she has never been a lap kitty and tolerates affection only briefly on her own terms. I think it is personality. . .and I'd let her be just who she is. You really can't force cat affection! I should add that Sally's brother Basil is just the opposite--a slouchy love bug who, if he could, would drape himself over me purring 24/7. He's curled up right now on the table in front of me with his head, annoyingly, on the keyboard looking at me with goo-goo eyes. . . I'm glad I don't have TWO such personalities!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 3:17PM
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Does she play with you? You might be able to use her favorite toy and play with her while standing. I doubt you'll ever be able to approach her when she's awake, but you can probably break her of the urge to run when you walk by.

One thing that helps with Pippen is to tell her where I'm trying to go, and point out the path I want to take (poor cat gets "chased" across the entire house when we go from our bedroom or the sewing room into the basement).

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 3:31PM
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I have 5 cats. One is a skitty kitty. She was adopted at about 2, and heaven knows what she may have gone through before coming to live with me. I've had her for 5+ years now and every year, she gets a little bit better. I just let her progress at her own pace. She rarely lets me go up to her and pick her up, but when I'm in bed, she will come to me. She has trust issues, but love and time are making her better.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 9:14PM
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I think I'd try some positive reinforcement on her. Does she like treats??? If not, experiment with treats until you can find one she'll love. They make a freeze-dried chicken treat that my cats go NUTS for that may spark her interest. What you can do when you know you'll be walking by her (you can intentionally plan this) is toss her a treat from a far enough distance as not to spook her but try to get close to 'her space', gradually getting closer. Over time, she'll start associating walk-bys with goodies. You obviously can't treat her every time you walk by but she should start getting the idea and you might notice she's less and less skittish.

Here is a link that might be useful: sample treats

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 11:03PM
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All the above ideas are great.

A feral calico kitten I picked up made me play with her toys making an utter fool of myself (thankfully no one else was in the room then) for over a week. Then a light bulb went on inside her pretty little head and she realised toys are fun. She would play with feather toys sitting in my lap but realise she was indeed in my lap only when I moved.

Took another 4 weeks to let me touch her, another 5 to pick her up. Pookie did things on her own terms, always.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 12:55PM
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