Meanwhile, I'm trying out a new way of being around Ms. Rose and even though it's only been about a week now, the results are looking promising. I've decided to avoid eye contact with her at all costs. I'm trying not to look at her, which is difficult because she's so cute!
This idea came to me as I was recently working with a terrified young female feral cat. This cat was more on the timid side than fierce, which reminded me of Rose. There was one point where I was looking into her eyes and she was staring back at me with an expression of pure terror as she peaked over the blanket at me. I realized in that moment, that she was telling me, "You're 20 times my size, I'm trapped in this cage. I know I won't stand a chance against you if you decide you're going to eat me. Please sir, don't eat me!"
There have been times recently when she was laying on the floor and I was able to walk within 6 inches of her and she didn't budge! That would never have happened before as she's always insisted on having at least a 5 foot buffer between her and any human at all times.
With this much progress after only a week, I'm eager to see what kind of change occurs over a few months. She's such a sweet cat, I would love to have a more active, hands on relationship with her. I'll keep you posted!
Oh I am so encouraged. What a wonderful change for her and certainly for you. I never thought of that which you have told us about here. A wonderful thing to remember when we come into contact with terrified cats. Thank you for the post. It is so helpful.ReplyDelete
Wow, what a great trick! I'm going to try that at the shelter with some of our scared kitties....ReplyDelete
Hi there, Came over here from the Feral Cat Behavior blog. Love your blog and all you do for your neighborhood kitties! I also have a black cat named Oliver that I took in from a stray in 2006. He has turned into a complete snugglebug.ReplyDelete
A definite sign of aggression in cats is seeing them staring into another cat's eyes so it makes sense that cats would feel the same with a person staring at them. At least for the shy, timid ones. Once they get to know you, then I've spent many a lovely moment with a cat on my lap while we are both lovingly looking into each others eyes.
Yup, in cat world eye to eye contact with a cat you don't know is a challenge to get out of their territory. If you are a cat and you wander into someone else's area and they act like they don't care then you know you are welcome. but if they stare at you it is the first step in "GET OUT!" and if not heeded the challenge comes next then the fighting..ReplyDelete
Mom gets that from Junior too....she will only give him eye contact from a distance and basically makes like she is ignoring him if she gets close to his personal bubble. :)ReplyDelete
Animals consider a stare to be a threat. I'm sure the more timid or nervous the animal the more sensitive. We hope you'll make great progress with Rose and some day be able to give her lots of tummy rubs :)ReplyDelete
I recently read a very informative and long article about cat behavior. Looking at a cat is considered a threat. That is why cats always go over to the person in the room who doesn't like cats - because they won't look at the cat! It also said that yawning in front of a cat (while not looking at it) was considered a submissive action, so you might try that with Rose. Once she has calmed down (and will let you look at her), you can try the slow blink method - I can usually have nice calming sessions with Skootch by blinking slowly back and forth with him.ReplyDelete
Pardon me for saying...but that is brilliant! My Dad will have to try that with our ferals. Hey, she sure looks lots like my Sister Gracie.ReplyDelete
I'm so glad that this new tactic seems to be working with Rose! Oh Oliver, party animal! hugs, LindaReplyDelete
She is gorgeous! I think you are well on your way to having the relationship that you want with her!ReplyDelete
You know, my sister used the same tactic on Motor and it worked wonderfully. She would just ignore him and then he felt comfortable enough to slink into the same room she was in and settle down. My sister does tell me Motor is a different cat when I am not around. Much less fearful.Delete
I started using this technique with my parrot a few months ago and it has worked so well to help her stop charging and biting! Never thought to use this on a cat, but clearly many animals feel the same threat when you look them right in the eye. Hope your relationship continues to grow! :)ReplyDelete