Articles Cat Behaviour

Taming of the Wild Cat

After the sudden death of our oldest Siamese cat, Maggie had become very distraught. A month and a half later and things were getting worse.  She was losing weight and it was becoming very noticeable. We had to pursue at getting her a cat.  Siamese kittens are hard to find in February.  The breeder where we had got Maggie from had a couple of cats that could be a companion cat for her.

We picked out the 2 ½-year-old blue point Siamese.  She looked a lot like the one we had lost.  Well, we might be easily tricked, but not so for Maggie.

Really thought this would be an easy transition.  But I was not prepared for one freaked out cat.  She (whom we named Molly) darted in and out behind furniture.  It was so bad we pulled the sofa out away from the wall, so her hiding spot was uncovered.  I put water, food and a litter box in the living room close to where she would feel safe if she needed to escape.

Maggie was not at all thrilled with her new roommate.  Although there were plenty of hisses, she was no longer crying and crying.  It kept her mind on what was at hand.  She was also not losing any more weight.  We just had to make this work.  There were times we seriously thought about corralling her up and sticking her into the cat carrier and take her back to the breeder.

Molly would never really look at us but, she was very aware of where we were at all times. It was over a month before I was ever able to touch her.  I would fall asleep and she would creep up and lay down out of arms reach.  It took many attempts before I could touch her with just a finger.  At first, she would be gone in a flash.  Soon she allowed me to touch her just a little for a short time.

Even during the day, now all curled up sleeping with Maggie, trying to touch her was a challenge.  It was like she had an eye open all the time!  Got a few touches in, and off she would be gone.

I don’t know, maybe three months into her stay I was actually able to convince her to lay on my lap.  A few short pets and off she would go.  Finally, she let me robustly rub her back; this would only take place if I was sitting on one end of the sofa.  It was very strange; there was no trust anywhere else in the house.  If she was in the kitchen and we entered, she would make a mad dart to get out of there.

Anyways, back to the one place I could pet her.  She seemed to enjoy it but, never a purr was heard.  I was beginning to think she was incapable of the act of purring.  Four months have now passed, again petting her on my lap, and I could feel this slight vibration coming from her, a faint sound.   Yes, she was actually purring!  I was thrilled, much like having your baby say their first word.  This was definitely a breakthrough. Another week or so before it became loud enough to hear without straining.

It has been milestone after milestone with her.  When she would get on my lap, I would hold on to her and try to sit somewhere else.  She would squirm and eventually escape.  We would mark each little progress as a triumph.  Stuff that should be quite normal was such a big deal for her.  She was really wired wrong.  She just starts purring now; don’t even have to pet her, for her to start.

She has definitely bonded with me.  After four years with us, my husband has been making a little progress with her.  I can pick her up in the kitchen and hand her to him and she will allow him to pet her and yes she purrs!  But that does not happen anywhere else.  She will sometimes try to play with him on the sofa, but will still not let him get her.

I still have to trick her into letting me clip her claws.  When she is in need of a little helping hand, as cats sometimes do, there is no way she will even let me close to her.  I realize how far is left to go or maybe that will never happen.  She is her own cat, with a mind of her own.

She is the fastest running cat we have ever owned maybe she learned that from necessity.  She is also the funniest cat we have ever owned, she is constantly making us laugh with her comical expressions. The joke is she thinks with her ears, as they are always moving in different directions and zoom off she goes!

What happened, not sure but I have a theory.  She was raised in a breeder’s house underfoot, but my guess she was probably the shy one.  The breeder was single and worked, went to cat shows and because of her busy schedule, probably just allowed her to be herself.  Some cats, I really believe benefit immensely from hands on to help them be accustomed to the human touch.  At the breeder’s house she hung around us but basically watched from a distance.  Since she liked to play, she did engage in a chase the string game.  The other cats came close enough for us to pet them and were super friendly.  She was comfortable enough in her own home with us being there was not a big issue, as she knew how far she had to keep the distance, to not be touched.  She was probably picked on by the more aggressive cats in the household and that is where I think she learned her running and escape techniques.

With Maggie, Molly is always the bottom cat; she will come up and put her head under Maggie’s chin.  She knew her position in the house and I am sure that was well learned from her previous residence.

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