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cat-a-tonic November 1st, 2012 12:22 PM

How to deal with a super needy cat??! HELP!!!
I need some help!

I adopted a rescue cat in August of this year. Her background: She’s 7 years old, had lived at the Animal Hospital/vets for over a year. Her original owners surrendered her to the pet hospital because apparently they had children who were being too rough with her (this is how the story goes, anyway ;-)).
She’s declawed (I didn’t do that – to note – would NEVER!!!), spayed, mostly toothless and is a medium hair calico.

Apparently, when she lived at the animal hospital, she bonded quite heavily with a male ginger tabby, who was adopted out just before I came and adopted her. She apparently also tolerated dogs quite well. Remarkable, given that she’s kind of defenseless!

Now, her personality is as follows: She doesn’t really like to be petted. She tolerates it, but for very brief periods. If you try and persevere in fact, she’ll get up and move away from you. Mostly, she’s just very, VERY playful. My sense is she could play 2-4-7. Her fave toy is the laser toy. Doesn’t really play with any other toys.

Here’s my issue: over the past couple of weeks she has gotten extraordinarily needy. To the point where it’s interfering with my quality of life and to the point where I’m starting to fantasize about rehoming her or bringing her back to the animal hospital. Obviously, I want to avoid that at all costs so I need to know what I can do to make my life with her bearable.

She meows as soon as I get home. She’s obv very happy to see me and these meows don’t really bother me, I consider them greetings. I always give her lots of pets (moving pets bc she won’t sit still) and talk to her and ask her about her day… note that I live alone, and I’m a 9 – 5’er so she’s alone all day. I then settle into my usual routine (which she’s familiar with by now) of doing up the dishes and prepping dinner. In the past, she would sit contentedly nearby, grooming herself, quietly. But for the past couple of weeks she instead tears around the apartment like she’s lost her mind. She gallops around, meowing crazily, she’ll come to me in the kitchen and meow loudly at my legs. Loudly and demandingly as if she wants/needs something but all her needs are taken of as far as I can tell. Fresh water every morning, check. Food in clean bowl, check. Litter is clean. Toys are out. I then need to go to my computer and work on my other evening job so I’ll eat dinner at the computer and send e-mails… this part of the routine she particularly seems to hate. Again, she’ll be meowing at me, demandingly, relentlessly… I try ignoring her, not “talking” back and the past few nights she’s gotten up on her hind legs to literally paw at me.

Basically, I think she’s going crazy being on her own all day and wants my undivided attention when I get home. But I can’t give that to her and it’s been that way since the get go. I’m very solid in my routine. Nothing’s changed – except her behaviour. I do play with her, every night, for at least an hour. I also spend part of the night (once I’ve done my dinner and dishes and e-mails tasks) chatting with her (she likes it when I talk to her) and giving her some pets and a good brush down a few nights a week.

I’ve considered getting a male kitten for her but honestly, I wanted A CAT. Just one. Not more. Which in fact is why I chose a FEMALE cat because in my experience they’re generally more independent/self-sufficient.
Basically she’s driving me crazy with her relentless meowing. I’ve tried “correcting” it by ignoring her meows (in the past I would say “OK, almost done here, we’ll play soon”) but she’s just ramping it up by pawing at me. The way she meows at me, you’d think the curtains were on fire or something. It’s not the kind of meow that’s easy to ignore. It’s RELENTLESS. They’re like “TIMMY’S IN THE WELL!!!” meows. ;-)

She’s also taken to meowing at me in the middle of night for no apparent reason, where she didn’t do that before either. My sense from her is that she’s really anxious so y’day I picked up some “Quiet Moments” feliway type spray from the pet store, hoping that might calm her down. I noticed a slight difference last night, but not much. I also “built” her a new cardboard box bed last night, sprayed the inside of it and all her fave corners/hiding places.
Basically, I feel like I wanted a PET but I ended up with a PEST. I need some advice/tips/help.

Thanks in advance for any input or advice, everyone!!


sugarcatmom November 1st, 2012 02:25 PM

OMG, we should hook up your kitty with my Peppercorn. They sound like they were separated at birth (right down to the pawing at me while I'm on the computer. And his meow - oh good lord, his MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEOW). The thing is, Peppercorn lives with 3 other cats, including his brother that he loves to wrestle and race around with, so he has lots of avenues of entertainment. But when hubby and I come home from work he wants our undivided attention. He's like a little kid going "Mommymommymommymommymommymommy lookatme lookatme lookatme lookatme lookatme MOMMOMMOMMOMMOM [SIZE="6"]MOOOOOOOM[/SIZE]. I guess what I'm saying is that I'm probably not the best person to give you advice on this matter :laughing:. However, what sometimes satiates Peppercorn is to play with him with his favourite toy (a furry mouse thing on a fishing rod, which he's rather OCD about) for even just 5 minutes (basically, not a big session but a quickie to get his ya-yas out and hopefully tide him over until later in the evening). Then give him a treat or a little snack, put away the toy, and completely ignore further plees until his regularly scheduled bedtime play time. If you find something that works for you and your kitty, let me know!

cat-a-tonic November 1st, 2012 04:23 PM

I will let you know!! I'll be experimenting with different approaches over the coming weeks as I try and figure out my fluffy pest... er... pet.

any other help/tips in the meanwhile is MORE THAN WELCOME!


pattymac November 26th, 2012 01:04 PM

One thing you may want to do is get her to the vet for a check up. Nino was getting very clingy and constantly wanting to be on my lap, kneading. Anyway, when I spotted blood in his pee, I took him to the vet and sure enough he had/has crystals and an infection. So after antibiotics and his special food, he's feeling alot better and isn't constantly jumping up for attention He still comes up for lovies but not every 5 minutes.

patchdog December 2nd, 2012 01:28 PM

We have a cat that is very needy as well. He has been this way since we got him. He has been to the vet and checked out and it just turns out he likes the attention that we give him.

Koteburo April 16th, 2013 04:07 PM

There is a very wise saying that prays:
One cat always leads to another :D
2 is a good number. Manageable and still within the boundaries of what people consider "sane" :laughing: (I'm insane though)
Although I think another cat would ease your kitty need for attention since she would have a companion I understand and respect your wish to have one cat.

Jim Hall April 16th, 2013 10:57 PM

Why not talk to the rescue group if you havent already. Maybe they will let you foster for a bit to see if it helps ?

tezster April 17th, 2013 11:14 AM

I have an 8-month old kitten that sometimes behaves similarly when I get home (I also live on my own and am out at work during the day). Instead of having one long play session, try splitting them up into shorter 15-20 minute sessions. Maybe one when you get home, and one before bedtime, followed by treats - I think I may have read the same book sugarcatmom did :)

Although cats may often have a 'favourite' toy (mine doesn't, really - he likes shiny new play things), variety is the spice of life! Instead of having a bunch of toys out in the open all the time, keep some of them hidden and only bring them out for certain play sessions. Also see if there's anything you can do to 'spice up' your cat's environment when you're away i.e. using puzzle feeders, or maybe place a multi-level cat perch by a window; anything that keeps your cat engaged and stimulated.

Being a relatively new pet owner, I run into similar challenges, especially in the small space I have to work with. After all, I would like my home to resemble a human dwelling and not look like it's a feline hotel.

If another cat is out of the question, I also echo the suggestion of giving fostering another cat a try, and see how that works out. :) Having gone from 4 cats to two (long story), I can say from experience that more cats doesn't automatically translate to more work/problems, and vice versa. If the cats get along, having two cats can be quite beneficial.

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