Rescue cat not bonded

Queries and discussions about cat rescue & rehoming
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Batterseagal
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Rescue cat not bonded

Post by Batterseagal » Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:05 am

Hi there,
I'm a newbie and hoping you lovely cat lovers might be able to share your experience with me.
After 9 months of losing our dearly beloved Louis we decided to move on gradually and adopt a rescue cat. Prior to this we had two sibling cats, Louis being the last to die :(
We looked at quite a few cats and interacted with them, but felt sure with Sadie that she was right for us. (Household 2 adults, & 2 occasional kid adults) she was very affectionate and wasn't timid each time we met her. Also, she is very gentle and never gets her claws out.
Finally when we got her home she was the same loving puss we fell in love with at the rescue centre. She began to settle in nicely with no real issues at all.
However, after a couple of weeks she began to be very standoffish, would not come to sit on our laps, nor rub against anything in the home, which I found very odd. It is almost like she is waiting to move on again, not bonding with any of us and not marking her scent anywhere. To me, she appears to be grumpy and depressed. I then used Felliway which really didnt make any difference to her moods.
She is only showing communication with us now when she is hungry. I feel like we are not the right family for her and it is making me very sad seeing her like this. Should I think about rehoming her. Breaks my heart to hear me say this, but she is so unresponsive.
How long do you think this should go on for, considering we have had her for 5 months now.
Any advice will really be appreciated.
Thank you in advance.

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Janey
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Re: Rescue cat not bonded

Post by Janey » Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:42 am

Hi and welcome. How old is your new addition, and has she had a vet check? It does seem odd that she’s changed, can you think of anything that altered at home that time?

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Ruth B
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Re: Rescue cat not bonded

Post by Ruth B » Fri Jan 20, 2017 8:46 am

I have to agree with Janey that the first thing to think about is a vet check if this hasn't already been done to make sure there is no physical reason for her change in behaviour. I would also say that while Feliway is good it isn't the miracle problem solver that it can be made out to be.

Have you tried playing with Sadie as an alternative to direct interaction. You haven't mentioned how old she is, but even older cats can enjoy chasing feathers on a string or similar wand toys.

Unfortunately some cats just aren't as companionable as others and you have to sometimes accept that they won't be lap cats and if she enjoys fuss and attention on her terms then you just have to accept that she is one of those. Instead of sitting on your knee, if she sleeps on the bed could you sit beside her and gently stroke her or rub behind the ears.

Unless she is a kitten that was born at the rescue centre, one of the problems with rescues is that you never know quite what has happened to them in the past. It could be she has been through several homes and still isn't sure that yours is her forever home and is almost expecting to be sent back. It is surprising how much cats pick up and can understand. One of the first ones I owned as an adult was slightly neurotic about losing her collar, we know she had been handed back to the charity at least twice in the past and when we picked her up she didn't have collar. As it was before microchips were common, we put a collar on her straight off to get her use to it before she went' outside. The moment she had it on she settled down. If it got pulled off on something she would get all upset. The only thing we could really think of was that every time she was sent to be rehomed they took the collar off her.

Hopefully if there is nothing medically wrong, with time she will settle down and accept the fuss on attention on her terms and be a happy companion if not a real cuddle cat.

Batterseagal
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Re: Rescue cat not bonded

Post by Batterseagal » Fri Jan 20, 2017 5:51 pm

Thanks so much for the response.
Sadie will be 5 yrs in April.
We understand that her previous owners moved home and couldn't take her, but rescue centre is pretty vague about her past. Perhaps she had company of other animals? Although it was suggested that she would have to be the only cat in the home, but again they didn't have much to back up this.
We play games with her daily and she sometimes responds and is lively enough.
She had a thorough vet check up a couple of months after we had her, as we began to notice change. All was well and she appears to be healthy with no known problems. This was why feliway was introduced.
Perhaps, as suggested - that we need to give her space and time & hoping she may gain our trust and bond with us.
Do you think that she hasn't marked anything in the home is unusual, & could mean that she doesn't feel like it is her home?
Thanks again for your replies, really appreciate it!

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Ruth B
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Re: Rescue cat not bonded

Post by Ruth B » Sun Jan 22, 2017 9:55 am

One thought i have had about her not marking things is that if there are no other animals in the house she possibly feels that she doesn't need to mark things as much. All the rubbing up against things is to put her scent on them to let any other cat in the area know she is about. If she realises that no other cat is over writing her marks then she doesn't need to re do them as often. Where she sleeps, where she walks etc are all getting marked with her scent and only hers.

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Re: Rescue cat not bonded

Post by Batterseagal » Wed Jan 25, 2017 9:41 am

Interesting theory Ruth. Thanks, I hadn't thought of that. We do have only Sadie as our pet now, so possibly could well be!

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Crewella
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Re: Rescue cat not bonded

Post by Crewella » Sun Feb 12, 2017 5:48 pm

I've only just seen this, sorry. Just a thought, but as someone who has taken in quite a few rescue cats from various situations I have noticed that a few seem to go through a phase of being very friendly at first, then after a few weeks it's as though they withdraw a little. I tend to put it down to them settling and starting to feel they no longer have to be on their 'best behaviour' - I've even had them starting to hiss after a few weeks, then gradually start to relax properly into the household. It might just be a phase she needs to go through as she starts to realise that this is her 'forever' home?

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