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Old June 16th, 2014, 08:06 PM
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ygritte ygritte is offline
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Unhappy My cat loves my husband and suddenly hates me

Hi, this is my first time posting here and I really hope I can get some advice. I am a first time cat owner and I'm not sure how to fix my current problem... Here goes:

About three months ago, my husband (a cat lover, has had cats all his life) brought home Tobias, a two year old unneutered male who was given away by a coworker (a single working mother with two kids who didn't have time for him anymore ). He warmed up to both of us pretty quickly, giving us lots of head butts and snuggles. I do not work at the moment so I had the chance to bond with him even more and we did just that. He followed me around with curiosity and curled up on top of me for naps.

About a week ago I bought a harness for him. As far as I know he has never worn one or been walked but his former owner used to let him roam outside in the summer. I don't feel comfortable letting Tobias out because, like I said, he's not neutered yet but I figured putting him on a leash and letting him sniff around the front lawn and backyard might be a nice idea. As recommended by several websites, I put the harness hear his food dish so that he would get used to its presence and associate it with positive experiences. After a couple of days of having it there I picked it of to put on it the windowsill in our living room, a place he often lounges on. That's when everything went wrong.

Immediately, Tobias got very aggressive. His ears became flat and he lunged at my legs with his claws out, hissing and biting. I clapped my hands and gave him a loud "no" (I was very startled and scared) but he continued to try and attack. I tried to leave the room but he followed, still coming at me. After telling him no over and over with no results, I put him into the bathroom and closed the door for about 15 minutes. When I let him out he came to me, letting out sad sounding meows. We were a little cool toward each other all day but he still seemed okay with me.

Since that incident, his behavior toward me has changed dramatically. He is either completely uninterested in my presence (even if I try and play games with him, give him a treat, talking to him gently. He'll just walk away and go into another room.) or becomes agitated (such when I pet him. His ears go flat and he sometimes give me a nip, even after on pet). I don't really know what to do to smooth things over. He's been giving me the cold shoulder for a week but is still loving and cuddly with my husband.

Sorry for writing so much... I guess I'm just very upset by this. I miss his affection but I also worry about him turning on me again. If you've made it this far reading, thanks.
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Old June 17th, 2014, 12:19 PM
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ygritte ygritte is offline
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121 views and no answers? that can't mean anything good.
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Old June 17th, 2014, 02:22 PM
Longblades Longblades is offline
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Well, I read and didn't comment because I have no useful ideas.

Has anything about you changed? Particularly scent? Shampoo, soap? Wild guesses on my part. How does Tobias act towards you when your husband is there with you? Often when there is a sudden change in behaviour it can indicate a medical change in the animal but it's peculiar he would only have changed towards you. Hope someone else has some ideas.
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Old June 17th, 2014, 02:43 PM
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ownedbycats ownedbycats is offline
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It may not be the harness that set him off. You say he was in a window sill when he attacked you? And he's not neutered?
There is a problem sometimes with cats called "redirected aggression". It's when a cat sees something it considers an enemy (a dog, another cat) that it can't reach and someone or something the cat used to like is closer. The cat redirects it's aggression from the object it can't reach, to the one it can (in this case, possibly you). :/
Unfortunately, knowing why it (might) be happening doesn't make it easier to get him back to liking you. You may have to start over as if you had just been introduced. This will be difficult, you will really want to touch him, push him to play, etc. Instead, ignore him. Maybe sit on the floor in the same room and read, but DON'T try to push him into coming to you. Let him be the first one to make a move. (You can cheat by putting a favorite stinky treat near you, but ignore him while he eats it. Move the treat closer day by day.) It takes a lot of patience to get a cat to change their mind about something, but it can be done.
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Old June 17th, 2014, 02:58 PM
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Thank you both for the responses. I realize that there aren't any definite answers or quick solutions to my problem but I guess I just needed some ideas of what I should and shouldn't do. Like I said before, this is my first time as a cat owner and I'm still really getting a feel for it. I had a dog for 14 years and there is a huge difference in the behaviors, training, and relationship, as I'm sure you all know.

Longblades, thanks for the comment back. To answer your questions, nothing has changed in my routine that I can think of and when my husband is home Tobias is still indifferent toward me.

Ownedbycats, I should clarify that Tobias was not in the window sill when I put the harness there, he was on the floor, next to me. You do raise a good point though. In the past couple of weeks a few cats have been wandering into our backyard and passing the windows on the way (we live in a basement apartment). Before this, Tobias used to only spend a little bit of time looking out our windows but since seeing these stray cats he's been up there a lot more, almost like he's waiting for them. Is it possible he's angry that I put something in "his territory"?

Thank you for the responses. They really mean a lot to me! Tobias is still pretty cold with me today but I did manage to get him interested in playing with his toys with me, I guess that is some tiny progress. He still won't let me pet him though but I'll have to give that some time and go slow.
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Old June 18th, 2014, 08:40 AM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is online now
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I feel you should put the harness away and let your cat take time to trust you again slowly. My dog , Marty gave me the cold shoulders when I left him for a whole for grooming and playgroup . Marty had nothing to do with me for 2 days , I was in the dog house. I personally would never put a harness on a cat of mine. It would made him feel too trapped, a housecat natural instinct is be able to run from any signs of danger if they are not able fight back . They can't do that while on a harness. I saw my neighbor walking her cat of a harness and the poor cat was very frighten looking and he had very good reasons to be , we have foxes and coyotes are here.
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Old June 18th, 2014, 08:54 AM
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Thanks for the reply, Barkingdog. The harness was put out of his sight promptly after that day and I have not reintroduced it to him, nor do I plan to anytime soon. As I stated before, Tobias isn't 100% an indoor cat because his previous owner let him out in the summer months. I didn't intend to walk him as you would a dog but rather let him sniff around the backyard and front lawn a little just to get some fresh air.

Anyhow, thanks again for the reply. I'm definitely still in the dog house... or however you would say that for cat issues. He is slowly, very slowly, getting a little bit warmer with me though and following me a little bit around the house and curled up on my legs for about a half house while I was lying on the couch. As was suggestion in another reply, I am giving him his space.
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Old June 18th, 2014, 09:25 AM
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marko marko is offline
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Cats are ruled by their noses not their eyes in my experience.

Wherever your cat sleeps I might try to place a used t-shirt with your scent. I might also try rubbing that t-shirt scent on the cat. I have personally seen this work in similar circumstances.

Good luck!
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Old June 18th, 2014, 03:59 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ygritte View Post
Thanks for the reply, Barkingdog. The harness was put out of his sight promptly after that day and I have not reintroduced it to him, nor do I plan to anytime soon. As I stated before, Tobias isn't 100% an indoor cat because his previous owner let him out in the summer months. I didn't intend to walk him as you would a dog but rather let him sniff around the backyard and front lawn a little just to get some fresh air.

Anyhow, thanks again for the reply. I'm definitely still in the dog house... or however you would say that for cat issues. He is slowly, very slowly, getting a little bit warmer with me though and following me a little bit around the house and curled up on my legs for about a half house while I was lying on the couch. As was suggestion in another reply, I am giving him his space.
My daughter family adopted a cat the was found outside and the cat will sit on the window looking at birds for awhile then fall asleep . I bet he is dreaming about the good old days of hunting birds. I think your cat will forgive you in time, they're very independent animals so it may take a little longer than it did my dog forgiving me.
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Old June 19th, 2014, 07:08 AM
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Here is a story about "redirected aggression". My sister has a neutered deaf white cat that has a lovely personality. She stays in a trailer in the summer months. Cat was inside and large dog came up on the patio looked inside of the trailer and the cat was confronted through the screen but there was no contact. Dog went away. My sister could not get back in her trailer for hours, it tried to attack her and it hissed etc.....It was so bad that she had the cat stay somewhere else to recover. It's now back at the trailer but now she has a gate at the stairs so a dog can never step close to the door. I now understand what "redirected aggression" is. She was very scared of her cat for days. Did you neuter the cat yet? Maybe males will protect their environment when it sees other cats around, but it is affecting your relationship.
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Old June 22nd, 2014, 10:55 PM
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ygritte ygritte is offline
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Hey everyone, just wanted to update and let you all know that things are definitely going more smoothly now. After giving Tobias space and letting him make the first move toward me, he's back to giving me lots of head bumps and napping on me like his regular old self. I'm definitely thinking it's a case of redirected aggression and I hope to neuter him ASAP.

Thanks again to everyone who responded with tips and encouragement. I really appreciate it!
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Old June 24th, 2014, 07:10 AM
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I'm so glad to hear that everything has gone back to normal. It is much more fun owning a cat who likes you instead of one that ignores you.
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Old June 24th, 2014, 08:18 AM
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marko marko is offline
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That's great news Ygritte

Of course feel 100 % free (read -We'd love to see) a pic of your (getting sweeter by the day) kitteh.
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