Moody male cat
by Sam Barker
(Kitty Hawk, NC USA)
We have a brother and sister that are almost 3 years old. The female is loving to every person she meets. The male, on the other hand, is the opposite.
He runs and hides every time someone comes over, and shows little if any affection, even to my wife and I.My thoughts:
Some cats prefer to be alone, or at the very least, they don't like strangers. Some cats show affection and seek it out often, but others not so much.
To some degree, then, this could just be his way, although I suspect hiding from strangers indicates a confidence problem. It's possible, however, with some encouragement, your cat could learn to be more outgoing and more affectionate over time.
On a personal note, Priscilla got a rough start in life and had trust issues. She was very timid around people she didn't know, even at 3 years old. While she was affectionate with people she knew, it took quite some doing before she'd come even close enough to be touched by a new person.
It took a long time, but over the years as her confidence improved, she came out of her shell. At times, she was even willing to meet with strangers.
Below are some things you can do to help give your cat more confidence and get him to come out of his shell.
Remembering that all cats hate change, slowly introduce him to more varied experiences.
Praise him often, and stimulate him both mentally and physically.
I know this one seems obvious, but seek him out, in a non-intimidating way, and show him affection. Make an effort to do this several times a day, but don't force it. If he's sleeping soundly somewhere, let him sleep, but as soon
as he wakes up, show him some love...
But not too much. A little bit a few times per day is probably better than a bunch all at once. Most cats have a limit for the amount of intense interaction they can handle at any given time.
Make sure he has enough resources. We force cats to share spaces much smaller than their natural territories. As a result, they compete for resources with humans, other cats, and sometimes other animals. This is unnatural and can create some stress.
It's important to make sure your cat has enough resources for himself. For example...
It may be beneficial for him to have his own food and water bowls. It might be helpful to add an additional litter box to the house if you have fewer than three right now.
It's important that he has a sanctuary
area in the home where he can go when he needs some alone time. If he gets along well with this sister, this area can be shared by both cats, but remember that it needs to be large enough for them both to feel like they've got their own space.
In Priscilla's case, I think it helped her confidence to have other cats in the house. Similarly, I would suggest your male cat and his sister participate in pleasant activities together. In addition to meal times and treat times, playtime is a great way to let off steam and get into a happy place.
In extreme cases of anxiety or fearful cats, there are drug therapies that can be used. Prior to that, however, you can try other methods, such as herbal remedies (Rescue Remedy
, Jackson Galaxy's Solutions
) or Feliway pheromone spray
I hope that helps give you some ideas.