I don't like my new cat
January 15, 2018 9:05 PM   Subscribe

...and the feeling seems to be mutual.

A few months ago, we adopted an approximately one-year-old cat, mainly to keep our older cat company. He's been a handful from the get-go (see my earlier question about allowing him access to the outdoors that he so desperately desires). He's quite high energy and finds his way inside couches, mattresses, weird holes that we didn't even realize existed around the plumbing under the kitchen sink, etc. He's also constantly howling to go outside at all hours, including multiple times throughout the night.

We play with him throughout the day including trying to coax him into high-speed chasing games with various toys. We have about four cat towers at last count and numerous high perching places in the house. I take him out twice a day on a leash for about half-hour each time, and am hoping to build a larger outdoor enclosure for him once the weather gets warmer. We ignore his bad behavior and howling to the extent that it's possible. He is neutered.

The good news is that he is neutral/disinterested in our older cat, rather than aggressive. He has taken really well to harness training and seems to love his walks. He is quite adorable and his antics can be really funny, when they are not crazy-making.

The bad news is that he seems to have zero affection towards either my partner or I. He was very lovey dovey in the shelter, which is why I picked him, and for about the first week after we brought him home he was a total lap cat. But now he has no interest in being petted--he will get up and walk away if you try to pet him. I have not heard him purr since that first week. He seems to view his residence in our house as much as an exercise in frustration as we do.

Between us, my partner and I have had no fewer than 15 cats throughout our lives, so we know from cats. We've never had a cat who is this frankly indifferent towards us. I feel nothing about him other than an occasional flash of amusement and a lot of irritation. I've had other cats who were high-energy and demanding, but they were all also very affectionate towards me, which more than made up for their bad behavior. I feel like if new cat were to disappear from my life tomorrow I would feel nothing other than relief at not having to deal with him anymore.

I don't particularly want to take him back to the shelter, which like all animal shelters was clearly overloaded. He's also been through a rough time--was abandoned at the shelter in a very distressed state before we adopted him. I also know that pets can pick up on your attitudes towards them, but I've been reserving my judgment as much as possible until recently in hopes that after he got settled in he would be more affectionate.

I'd like to just let him free to roam outdoors as he pleases, except partner doesn't want him to slaughter wildlife and birds and I'd feel pretty terrible if something were to happen to him. I've had previous outdoor kitties die terrible deaths. Any tips for making myself like this little monster a bit more?
posted by ThreeSocksToTheWind to Pets & Animals (32 answers total)
If he was affectionate and then suddenly stopped I would wonder if he was sick. Have you taken him to the vet after that first week?
posted by bleep at 9:11 PM on January 15, 2018 [4 favorites]

That's a good question. I'd inferred from his boundless energy and appetite that he was healthy, so he's not been to a vet. I may take him in for a basic exam.
posted by ThreeSocksToTheWind at 9:20 PM on January 15, 2018

I think it's fine if you go ahead and look for a better fit for him. He may want to be one of those adventure/hiking cats.
posted by amtho at 9:54 PM on January 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

He sounds like he is an outdoor cat at heart. Maybe find a family that can facilitate that experience for him.
posted by Toddles at 10:09 PM on January 15, 2018 [10 favorites]

My first few months with my main furball were just as miserable. He wanted out and nothing would sooth him. I eventually gave in and let him spend ample time outdoors for the rest of his life. He became more content and more affectionate and liked the lap. The outdoors stuff caused its own set of problems, but it became possible to live with him. He lived to a good old age and I still miss him.
posted by SLC Mom at 10:16 PM on January 15, 2018 [5 favorites]

I know that in the aggregate, cats slaughter birds. But not all individual cats do. I had an outdoor cat for 16 years who never left my yard and only ever killed one butterfly. That howling is going to seriously interfere with your ability to bond. Before rehoming him, I would just try him as an outdoor cat. See if it works.
posted by HotToddy at 10:17 PM on January 15, 2018 [6 favorites]

P.S. If you do decide to let him outdoors, find a nice collar with a large bell. That definitely saved many a bird in our neighborhood.
posted by Toddles at 10:47 PM on January 15, 2018 [15 favorites]

I feel like in terms of potential cat guardians for this particular cat you are maybe as ideal as is realistically possible. You're experienced and have reasonable behavioral expectations and are really proactive about his energy and enrichment. I'm not saying that to try to guilt you, but rather as a way you can think of things differently: try to generate pleasure from the knowledge that you're being an awesome cat parent. If it so happens that you encounter a family for whom he would be a better fit, don't have qualms about rehoming him, just think of your time with him as a stable and loving place for him to have grown.

It's only been a few months - sometimes cats don't warm up to people for years, if at all. Especially if you think of his time in the shelter (and whatever was up before then) as trauma, it might help you to reframe his attitude about snuggles and affection as a reaction to that trauma. Try to estimate how long he was in an unstable situation and double it - give him at least that long to come around. Sometimes, also, cats have a Person, and when you're not that person it can be kind of a kick in the teeth. Do you know if he was close to a particular human in the past? It could be that you're just Not His Person and it'll take a long time for him to pick a new one.
posted by Mizu at 11:06 PM on January 15, 2018 [15 favorites]

Have you tried plying him with treats? I have an extremely high energy cat and my vet told me I could fatten him up just a smidge to induce laziness. Give him a treat every time he lets you pet him. But yeah, if it’s not a good fit, and you’ve tried most everything, don’t feel guilty for finding him a more suitable home.
posted by shalom at 11:39 PM on January 15, 2018

I really feel you on this. I lost a wonderful loverboy of a Maine Coon and soon got a shelter kitten that looked to have a lot of MC in him to keep me company while I lived with my ailing mother. This guy is pretty much a hellion. We had the small upstairs to ourselves, but even as a youngish kitten, he was too much for that space. I got him an embarrassing amount of a wide range of toys and played with him all the freaking time. I even began taking him on car rides to try to interest him and/or wear him out. It was emotionally exhausting to deal with this brazen little guy and my mom at the same time. He’d finally poop out for just a tiny while and I kept him right up on me when he did to sort of force some semblance of bonding.

Readers, I finally HAD to let him out. We were all going mad. I’ve met very few cats that were so intent on it. It was do that or . . . I don’t know what. It wasn’t a cake walk. He twice got stuck in a tree for most of a day, the second time falling 20 feet. He was attacked by another cat and got a small wound, but was so hysterical about it that I took him to the emergency vet in the middle of the night, where the vet couldn’t even find anything wrong and decided it was constipation and gave the poor thing an enema. A day later, I found the burgeoning abscess and got him to my regular vet where all was mended.

I’ve been able to come back home now, and he sounds like your guy—can mostly take or leave my husband and I. He’s like a 6 year old kid—he runs in to noisily grab a few bites of food, and right back out again in absolutely any sort of weather. He’s overall very, very happy being an indoor/outdoor kitty, treating the house like homebase for extensive wanderings. My vet gets it and just shrugged and told me, “Some cats you really just CANNOT keep inside.” We did put a bell on him, which may help with alerting possible prey? He doesn’t really bring things home. But the bell is super useful for ME to know where he is to keep the element of surprise at a minimum because he thinks nothing of trying to tackle me. Playfully, but he’s a big cat and ain’t scared.

I do have one suggestion for you of something that he seemed to really enjoy with me and helped us have a bit of a relationship: teaching him tricks. He’s pretty smart, and I had a lot of time, and it was fascinating watching the wheels in his head when he tried to figure out what the hell it was I wanted. He has “SIT,” “(stand on hind legs) UP” and “SHAKE,” which through a happy accident is actually him not putting up a paw for you to shake, but him shaking his paw, and that is aDORable. If that sounds at all tempting, I recommend you getting a clicker and watching a few videos and giving it a try. I really think it was helpful.

He still loves to ride in the car, which is useful at times. And when he’s super sleepy, I can cuddle him to my heart’s content, which I think is due to those first few months when I let/made him sleep on me. He is still a sort of awful cat. He’s scared of nothing, and it is super obvious that he considers himself the only creature with any intelligence living in the house. He bullies my older, smaller gal and it can get pretty rough so I have to mediate sometimes. He chews cords and eats cardboard and sometimes attacks me and he is huge and gorgeous while he’s doing it. He isn’t the cat I wanted, or even the cat I needed, but there are moments of real fun and I hold out hope for further mellowing. Good luck to you. It is a special sort of heartbreak when the little creature you chose turns out to be hard to love.
posted by thebrokedown at 12:18 AM on January 16, 2018 [30 favorites]

I think it's important to first remember that your new cat is a cat and not a person. Meaning that he's not doing any of this for the reasons a human might. Don't respond to him as you would another person. Don't meet his indifference with indifference.

You seem to have a lot of disdain for this cat - and yes, he can probably tell from your body language and tone of voice that you don't like him. Maybe even the way you smell when you're around him. Are you expressing affection towards him even though he appears indifferent? (Cats sometimes ignore you to make you give them attention, which seems paradoxical but is a real thing they do.) Do you talk to him warmly and affectionately? Do you sit close to him without bothering him so he can get used to your presence? Does he run away when you get close? Move slowly and crab-walk (walk sideways towards him) so he's not afraid of you entering his space.

It's also entirely possible he may not trust you if you're sending him signals that you don't like him. Why would he display affection towards you if he doesn't know whether he can trust you? Since he was so stressed at the shelter, he may just not be that people-oriented right now. You might approach the situation as though he were a feral cat and use feral cat bonding techniques with him. Understand that you might not have the same kind of bonding experience you're used to with all of your other cats. This cat is obviously a little different from them, so accept that fact instead of being disappointed that he's not the same. That doesn't mean you can't love him.

In that vein, much of what you're experiencing may be the same things that you've always experienced with your other cats, but you were so suffused with love for them that you forgave them or ignored their catly ways. With this cat, all you can see are the things that annoy you because you're no longer infused with those feelings of love. It could be a "bitch eating crackers" situation. Consider if that's coloring your relationship with him.

You need to reframe what you call "bad behaviour" as "undesirable behavior". Cats don't think of it as "bad" behavior, they just know they're getting what they want, whether that's food or attention or being left alone. They can often be trained to stop doing the unwanted behavior. Have you looked into clicker training?

Behavioral changes, especially sudden, can be medical, so definitely get him checked out. Have you checked the litter box to make sure his output is normal? The yowling can also be a sign of medical issues. Or it may be a hunting thing since cats are crepuscular. Have you tried the Jackson Galaxy method of getting some peace at night? His theory is that cats like to hunt/catch/kill and then eat/groom/sleep. Try starting this process about half an hour before you normally go to bed and see what happens.

Your cat may want to go outside but you don't have to let him roam free. Cats don't understand the dangers to them outdoors. You do. As the higher reasoning being in the relationship, you should do what's best for your cat the same way you would do what is best for a toddler - even if they throw a tantrum. That means keeping him indoors unless he's so single-mindedly obsessed with going outside that his quality of life is radically and negatively altered. Most cats can adapt to being indoor cats, my old cat was an indoor/outdoor cat for almost 10 years but was indoor only after that. (Re: the belled collar - that doesn't actually work. Cats adapt their movements so that the collar doesn't make noise when hunting.)

Lastly, I think you haven't had your cat long enough to really see if he'll come out of his shell or calm down. A lot of what you're describing sounds like growing pains in a brand new pet-human relationship, especially considering how unsafe, stressed and afraid he must have felt at the shelter. On top of that there's your antipathy towards your cat that may be causing him to act out or try to escape from a place where he doesn't feel welcome. He may be finding all the hidey-holes as part of exploring his new home, which is normal, or he may be finding places to hide if he's worried he'll have to run from you in the future. If you don't want him to have access to those places, seal them off. Cat-proof your house, it will go a long way to making it less stressful for you and your cat.

I've had my most recent cat for almost two years now. She was semi-feral and pregnant when she was taken to the shelter. She was returned to the shelter twice. She learned not to rely on people, so she was very indifferent at first. It took a while (six months, at least), but she gradually warmed up to us. In fact, we're still on that journey and she becomes continuously more comfortable expressing affection and being close to us as time passes. She'll probably never be the lap cat I initially wanted, but I love her enormously. She's affectionate in other ways and she always comes when I call her.

Rethink how you're approaching this cat. Figure out if it's really him or if it's your attitude. Decide if you can give him what he needs. I agree with Mizu that you seem like you'd be good cat caretakers even if the affection is never 100% reciprocal.
posted by i feel possessed at 12:31 AM on January 16, 2018 [9 favorites]

It took a year for a shelter kitty I adopted when she was around a year old to warm up to me (and vice versa). Eventually, she became super-affectionate, even a lap kitty, and I fell in love with her. But for about a year, I thought I'd made a horrible choice when I picked her at the shelter, where she seemed friendly, affectionate, and curious.

On the other hand, if you know someone who adores cat and lives in the country, he could have a very good life as an indoor/outdoor cat there.
posted by tiger tiger at 12:58 AM on January 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

You have another cat? Cats can be more subtle than a bunch of teenage girls when it comes to executing their political ambitions.

Do they interact at all? He may not be settling because your other cat is making it very clear that this is their territory and you are their people, and he is not welcome. They don't need to fight to get the point across.

If they are beginning to interact positively, then maybe this isn't it, or they are at least on the road to accepting each other.

It can take months, or even years, for cats to settle, and his past before you could be traumatising for him, and possibly maybe continuing now, living in another cat's territory.

You may come to bond over time, or he might be better somewhere else, maybe as a solo cat.
posted by Helga-woo at 2:43 AM on January 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

Have you tried a feliway diffuser? It might just help settle him that last bit and reduce whatever, if any, tensions exist with the other cat.

We have indoor cats that have been downsized and no longer have access to a catio. There has been howling. I'm at the point now that if they stand by the door and meow then I get up and shake a water spray bottle at them and they get the idea and go away. Persistent meowing gets squirted. I have also plugged in the feliway again.
posted by poxandplague at 3:51 AM on January 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

We had (and still have!) a cat like this. Super snuggly as a kitten, loved to fall asleep inside your shirt, under covers, that kind of thing, then as she got into the 1yo range wanted none of it. We figured out that she absolutely loved her face rubbed so we force cuddled her for 30 secs when ever were could get our hands on her, rubbing her face to get her purring and keep her distracted until she deployed claws of death and cat-apulted away. After many moons and minimal bloodshed we could pick her up and pet her for a minute or 2 at a time. She's a love now (she's 3), tolerates being picked up, begs for face scrubs, and a big lap snuggler. We chalked it up to her being a snooty teenager, maybe you could try something similar with success? Find the one human-provided thing he can't live without (treats, toy, face or butt scrubs, being outside), pair it with the behavior you want to see (snuggling, being on laps) and gradually increase duration and frequency?

Another cat I had hated me to no end starting inexplicably at age 10: ran out of the room when I entered, cowered, growled, multiple vet visits confirmed nothing was wrong with him physically. I eventually had to give him to my mother who was the only human he could tolerate which was why he was so mad apparently. So in the end, your cat is a cat, there's a chance you just might not be his humans.
posted by danapiper at 6:21 AM on January 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Another vote for letting your cat go outdoors. These are living animals, not stuffed toys, and the American obsession with keeping cats strictly indoors is not a common approach in other countries. Cats are energetic and smart, and some of them will always be miserable and bored if forced to live indoors with its basically non-changing, non-stimulating environment. Get the cat a bell to protect some other wildlife, and let the cat be the free-roaming animal it seems it wants to be. If it still seems miserable, then re-assess and put effort into finding him a good home with someone else.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 6:41 AM on January 16, 2018 [6 favorites]

You got him leash trained, now clicker train him. It will help build a bond of trust between the two of you, work his brain so burn off some energy, but mostly it is s great way to build a dialogue with your cat that doesn't entirely consist of how much patting your cat likes.
posted by wwax at 6:52 AM on January 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

I have no background with the indoor/outdoor thing, but I do have a cat that I hated for 5 years. She is skittish and weird, yowls for no reason, bites, and for the first half of her life, wanted nothing to do with me. I thought of her as an obligation, like, well, I rescued her, I owe her kibble and a roof, but we’re not going to be friends.

After a few years she warmed up a bit. We’re not best friends and she’s still weird, but she’ll sit awkwardly on my lap and purr lightly a couple times a week. Good enough.
posted by OrangeVelour at 6:56 AM on January 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

This silly thing is supposed to make cats more visible to birds and give them better odds. Haven't tried it, but seems worth a shot if you're concerned about your cat killing birds.
posted by Gymnopedist at 6:56 AM on January 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thanks for your answers. So much to think about here. Letting him outdoors to roam is definitely attractive. His utter fearlessness is worrisome, though. When I've taken him out for his leashed walks he's led me several blocks away from our house, and fearlessly walked right up to the edge of a large, fast-moving river by our house and dipped his paws in. Cars do not seem to bother him. I also worry that his seeming lack of interest in us means that our letting him out to roam might be the last time we ever see him.

I'd be fine with rehoming him out in the country and may investigate that if the situation continues or worsens. The shelter we adopted him from has a clause that if we cannot keep him any more to bring him back there, so I would need to talk to them.

Finally, I hope I haven't given the impression that we're openly contemptuous of the cat or think that he should be something he's not. I understand that he is expressing natural cat behaviors, but I'm frustrated that we're trying all the usual stuff to make him happy and calm him down and it doesn't seem to be working. I still talk to him in a friendly voice whenever he's in the room with me, attempt to pet him a few times a day, etc.

I will look into clicker training and try to find a treat he's interested in eating.

Thank you again for all of your suggestions!
posted by ThreeSocksToTheWind at 6:58 AM on January 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

My evil cat is still evil but she has finally become cuddly. It took twelve years. It was only the first year where she was kind of a nightmare and terrorized both me and my other cat. I tried squirting her with water but it made her behaviour worse if anything. I also do let my cats outside and that helped although she doesnt mind being indoors. My other cat died last year and i think she is happier being a sole cat but thectwo did learn to coexist. I am insanely happy though that i accepted her strange little quirks. I think at one point I just decided "you're weird and evil but you're my weird and evil cat" . i vote for giving your cat a chance to be your aloof roommate
posted by biggreenplant at 7:13 AM on January 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Your cat sounds as though it may be happier as an only cat, in a different home?
posted by Murderbot at 7:15 AM on January 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

I adopted a 8 month old cat from a rural farm, who I have had for nineish years now. I love him, but honestly sometimes I think he would have been happier with someone else. He desperately wants outside (he can go harnessed in our yard but he wants to roam) and meows at the door. He scratches my furniture, he opens closets and drawers and gets stuck inside, he famously entered my parents' ceiling and got stuck. He's troublesome, and his fondest wish is something I won't give him.

For the last couple years he's slowed down, he will lap cat and sleep right by my head, and we've bonded, but it seriously took until he was like 5!

My husband literally just started yelling at him in the other room for being on the counter, trying to eat butter :p

I personally couldn't bring a cat back to a shelter, but I might consider rehoming him to somewhere rural if you know someone, or... You could just let him outside.

The only reason I haven't let boba outside is the same reason you have in your update. I'm irrationally afraid he'll jump into a sewer drain or a river, he's entirely unafraid. But... I dunno. Maybe it would have been better than denying him.
posted by euphoria066 at 7:27 AM on January 16, 2018

At 1 years old, he's still basically a big baby, so things might get easier once he's a few years older, not that this helps you much now.

In the more short term, it sounds like you guys are working super hard to keep him entertained, and he's lucky to have people willing to do so much for him. In addition to trying to train him, which I think is a great idea, do you have any puzzle toys? If he likes them, it might give him a source of entertainment and enrichment that doesn't involve causing trouble or require attention from you.

My kitty like this one and this one, but there are various options depending on your cat's individual personality. You may have to help guide him a bit at first. Of course, this also requires finding treats he likes or if you have dry food that he likes, you could use that instead. (My kitty is on an all wet food diet, but I use a high quality dry food for these activity centers so that he's not eating a ton of treats.)

We also use a treat dispensing ball like this one.

I know this isn't directly answering your question, but maybe if he has some more ways to independently entertain himself, it might help ease your burden a bit.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:11 AM on January 16, 2018

Let the cat outdoors with a bell on its neck. I'm sorry to be blunt, but this cat is going insane being cooped up inside. It will come back for food. Otherwise, finding another family that can facilitate an outdoor-indoor lifestyle for this cat would be best. I would not be surprised if he resumes being cuddly after he's had adequate time to roam, explore and play outdoors.
posted by purple_bird at 10:20 AM on January 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

It took a year for a shelter kitty I adopted when she was around a year old to warm up to me (and vice versa). Eventually, she became super-affectionate, even a lap kitty, and I fell in love with her. But for about a year, I thought I'd made a horrible choice when I picked her at the shelter, where she seemed friendly, affectionate, and curious.

This is our story to a word. She seemed attentive and playful and curious at the shelter, while other cats couldn't be bothered to look at me, so she came home with me. It then took her a year (possibly two, I didn't track) to even sit next to me. She did respond to play. She took more quickly to my husband, who works at home, so she's around him more, but we do have a picture from that first year where she's sitting on his lap .... on a stool, because that's the only way a kitty was going on a lap.

But now, 10 years later, she is a very lap kitty, comes when called, walks on leash, A++++, would adopt again.
posted by Dashy at 10:58 AM on January 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

I adopted a very young cat in July (having had cats my whole life). I did not like him at first and was considering returning him because I was in over my head. BUT, he and my older cat really took to each other, so I figured, meh. He was super skittish and wary of me, but now, within the last month, he lets me pet him a couple times, and even jumps up on the bed to "snuggle" if the other cat is with me. So... I guess give it time is what I'm saying. And, maybe consider a thundershirt for night time?
posted by misanthropicsarah at 7:14 AM on January 17, 2018

Seconding the suggestion to take him into the vet for a basic exam. I'd request a chem & thyroid panel as well - there are several medical conditions that can cause restlessness, vocalization and ravenous appetites.

If he's not feeling well, he may be avoiding you and your other cat because he doesn't want to provoke a fight (if he's feeling weak) or because he doesn't want to be touched (ouchy belly or other internal body parts). Same with the boundless desire for outdoors living... Some cats are explorers but others desperately want to go outside to a solo hidey-hole if they're not 100%.

Your cat's behavior pattern sounds similar to cats I've observed with early-stage IBD, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, etc. (I'm active in animal rescue.)

Without bloodwork, it's easy to chalk a lot of cats-are-weird behaviors up to personality quirks.

And if the bloodwork comes back normal, then you know you just have a Wild Nature Beast and can adapt accordingly.
posted by muirne81 at 8:24 AM on January 17, 2018

Bells are not effective at preventing predation, but colorful cat bibs are. It seems birds and rodents don't associate tinkly noises with being stalked, but they do notice flashy danger colors.

One of my childhood cats was like this. I made a special effort to pet him while he was drowsy, which helped with bonding. He hated to snuggle inside but he'd often sit on my lap outdoors for 5 or 10 minutes.

I think you just have to accept that outdoor animals generally live shorter lives. We took excellent care of our two cats, but there's a higher risk of injury or early death. Restless kitty died at 6 from a possum attack, his sister lived to a ripe 15. I'd make the same choice now. Zoom Cat was much happier roaming free. He'd come running when I called his name and go on mile-long walks with me. We were activity pals!
posted by fritillary at 10:08 AM on January 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

Ouch. This is painful for you. Thanks for giving kitty a chance! Nthing a vet checkup. Behavior changes can be physically based, as noted above.

US resident here. Not a fan of freeroaming outdoor kitty as a solution in this country. I'm not going to share my horror stories of "smart" cat fatalities and cars, but I will tell you I know of at least one serious human injury caused by interaction of outside cat and car. Cats didn't evolve with automobiles. I don't want to be responsible for someone else's accident, so kitty stays inside unless he's leashed or confined.

I itemized, then deleted as way too depressing, a list of indoor/outdoor or just outdoor cats I've known who've come to bad ends because of being outdoors in a human-centered world. But I will say, at our new place, coyotes pick off the indoor/outdoor cats. Yes, even the smart ones. Yes, even the ones only let out after 7 a.m. Not something my rural UK friend has to contend with. So...catio, yes. Leash, yes. Free-roaming? Not advised.

Our current cat, Kyle, formerly a feral, loves only me. After sweet-talking my hubby while kitteh lived outdoors, Kyle switched allegiance. This has been hard on my husband. After about three years, Kyle started warming up to our son. BUT... after the death of our senior cat, Kyle has begun to make overtures to my husband.

Which makes me suspect that Senior Cat had claimed husband in some way not visible to humans. You may be in a similar situation. In which case patience, and the catio, are your friends.

Good luck to you! Whatever your ultimate choice, it's really great that you gave kitty a chance.
posted by Nancy_LockIsLit_Palmer at 7:00 PM on January 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Please do make sure if you rehome him to give the shelter a heads up. Where I volunteer if a cat comes back to the shelter, we check the chip and see who adopted them. If we haven't heard from you saying you lost your cat, we assume you're a terrible person who isn't even looking for their cat and you get put on The List of people who don't get another cat. That list is shared with other shelters. I realize there is actually a lot more nuance to pet ownership and there are a lot of reasons these things happen that aren't based on a person being terrible, but I don't think we're the only shelter that does this.
posted by Bistyfrass at 11:26 AM on January 18, 2018

Outdoor cats in the US are in more danger than outdoor cats in the UK, because the UK doesn't have coyotes, which happily kill and eat cats. Here's a map of the range of coyote subspecies in 1978, and the coyote population has expanded since then, especially in cities. If you make your cat an indoor/outdoor cat, you can take precautions like keeping him inside during prime coyote hunting hours and installing a coyote roller on your fence.

I second the recommendations for this food-dispensing toy and for clicker training. Try training in short bursts before meals so the cat is hungry enough to pay attention to you. Anecdata on snuggliness: my cat is very cuddly but HATES being picked up and held. I started slowly training him to tolerate it by picking him up, holding him, and putting him down when he started to squirm, while giving him a treat if he didn't scratch or bite. So basically I spent months picking him up and immediately putting him down again. After several years of this, my cat will still yowl in complaint when I pick him up, but he'll lie still and let me hold him for over a minute before he starts struggling to escape.
posted by nicebookrack at 9:10 PM on January 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

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