Cat has abandoned me for roommate

royschneider

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Hello!

I have a 8 month old grey tabby kitten named Bob. He has always been around a multitude of roommates since I got him (changed living situations about 2 months into having him. I adopted him at 3 months). He is a generally friendly and social kitten. He used to sit on my lap every evening while I ate dinner and would snuggle up to me in bed or sleep under and around it.  But I went away for 7 days and since I retuned, Bob has basically stopped wanting to do anything with me once my roommate Martin gets home. When I was gone, I set out enough food for him for seven days and my roommate only had to clean his litter (which he didn't really do) and check his water. Bob did not even go through half the food so there was more than enough. Apparently Martin did not play with him much (he gets home late) either.  Bob has always liked Martin's room the best because it stays dark and cooler than the other rooms in the house and there are lots of places to hide. When Martin spends weekends at his girlfiends, I crash in his room (because I am in a loft space, so sometimes having a door is nice) and Bob will sleep with me. But my roommate does not let Bob stay in his room at night.

Anyway, seven days I went away and now Bob will only play with me and let me pet him when I get home from work (I'm usually the first and the cat is starved of attention all day because all four of my roomates work). The other two roommates pay no attention to Bob and Bob seems to ignore them completely. But Bob has become obsessed with Martin. Literally, I picked him up to give him a treat this evening and then Martin walked in, the cat whined like I had tortured it and ran up to Martin and follows him around all night. This is despite me feeding him, playing with him, etc. Even while I was gone, Martin did none of these things. Are cats really this fickle? 

Bob has also started becoming an extremely picky eater and whines at Martin's door all night. Luckily, turning the vaccuum on near him seems to have solved this for the time being. 

Honestly, I am getting quite frustrated with this dynamic. I put alot of time into taking care of Bob and he has essentially abandoned me. I really don't have the time/money to shower the cat with fancy food and attention all night long to win it's love back. I will keep playing with him and feeding him and cleaning the box in the same manner I always have but it's pretty heartbreaking when he could not care less. Once he is fed, btw, I'm pretty much dead to him. If I get any sort of awknowledgement at all, it is because Martin is not home or Bob is hungry. 

This is my first cat, so I apologize for the vent. I know I am being petty and I should grow up and understand that this is the way it is for animals sometimes (except dogs). But I wonder if I am doing something wrong? Ignoring Bob back does nothing... he will just ignore me more in return (as evidenced by how he treats the other two roommates).
 

krazy kat2

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I was in the hospital for nearly a month, and when I got home dh would bring them to my room nearly every day. If I tried to pet or hold any of them, they would go crazy like they didn't know me,but they finally love me again. It takes different lengths of time for every cat, but he will come around. I hope it is very soon.
 

bigperm20

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I was in the hospital about 3 weeks and my poor kitties received less than stellar care. Unfortunately, I had no time to line up a sitter or better situation. My family and neighbors did the best they could, however they don't follow instructions very well. Mostly litterbox issues.

My kitties were so mad when I got home, and they eventually forgave me. Yours will too.
 

my-boy-jasper

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I'd be pretty hurt if my kitten chose someone else over me too. So I don't think you're being petty. It does sound like you're feeling a bit resentful towards your roommate and cat. Cat's are pretty intuitive, and maybe Bob senses some of that? I know you said ignoring him didn't work, but I probably wouldn't give him too much attention either (whatever his limits are). He might find excessive attention a bit annoying. Perhaps you could try feeding him in your room for a while. Or at least give him treats in your room. Try and associate your room with positive things. If it's not too late at night, maybe you could feed him after Martin gets home so that your cat has to show you some attention while Martin's around. Can you have an intense play session before bed and see if that wears him out enough to fall asleep with you? And make sure Martin's bedroom door is closed during the day as well.

It could be a bit of phase your cat goes through as he matures. If there's nothing to be gained from obsessing over your roommate, I think that will wear off pretty soon. I'm sure your cat still loves you. You'll be the one constant person in Bob's life and you still have a long future together. Keep doing what you're doing and show him lots of affection but don't over do it. As the others said above, in time he'll come around.
 

jcat

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How long have you been back home? Our last cat used to give me the cold shoulder whenever I got back from a long trip, as if to say he was mad at me for leaving him. Things would return to normal after a day or so, but I've heard of other cats holding out for longer.

An interesting new toy and an extended play session or a couple of really special treats might help things along. You could probably get him interested in clicker training, too. That's a fun activity he'll learn to look forward to sharing with you. There are several You Tube videos showing how it works
 
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royschneider

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Thanks guys! These are all very helpful. 

I have to say, I am not really a jealous person (at least I did not think so), so perhaps Bob has made me realize some parts of me that need improvement!  I have heard people say that a dog makes you a better person and a cat is just something that lives in your house.... This could not be further from the truth I have found. Cats can be so aloof, when most dogs (not to generalize) will just answer to your call. Bob is teaching me patience to and love even if I don't see much in return.

I've been back about a week now, so hopefully he will warm up to me again. He doesn't "mind" me, he just seems to think Martin is the caretaker. But, last night I groomed him with the Furminator before bed and stroked him to sleep after and he really really loved that. He tends to try to escape when I start brushing at first but I have noticed it is because he becomes overstimulated, not because he doesn't like it. Quite the contrary, he purrs like crazy and moves from side to side for me!!

I also noticed that if I sit there and pet him while he eats, he will finish his bowl (if it is kibble). If I walk away, he will stop eating. Maybe he is just trying to see how long I'm going to be around for? 

This was the third time I left on a trip while having him. All three times, I bring out his automatic feeder so he can free feed while I'm gone. When I brought it out last week before leaving, he hid and ignored me.... perhaps he knows when I am leaving now and gets upset? Usually, he eats out of a silver bowl and I feed him twice a day.

I have to say, every time I think I understand Bob, he challenges me! He is usually so forgiving. I used to bathe him because of my allergies (I have since grown used to his dander and ceased this) and he would hate me for an hour only to snuggle up later. He's been accidentally kicked in the dark, dropped, grabbed by the tail (he was running in front of a cyclist the one time we let him out, it was a fast reaction to protect him), and he has always understood these were accidents and forgave.... Hopefully he will forgive again!

All your stories have been helpful. 
 

dejolane

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Just remember,the cat was yours first and  will come back to you. Just feed  like nothing happen.
 

MoochNNoodles

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My friend was the roommate in your sort of situation; except she loved on both her roommates cats as if they were her own.  Her roommate owned the house and had the 2 cats before she moved in but on in particular would prefer my friend whenever the owner went away.  I'm not sure how long it took her to come around each time; but she did.  
 

dejolane

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Bella always hangs out with me and Thunder hangs out with my husband. Bella is up my rear I guess you can say. When someone visits Bella & Thunder don't get to friendly with anyone else.
 

ritz

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I understand where you're coming from.

Ritz is my first cat, first pet ever (I grew up with dogs but never bonded with them).

Some of the lessons I've learned include:  it's Ritz, not me; sometimes cats just want to be left alone; not every meow means feed me; love me for who I am, not for whom you want me to be; cat's don't understand sarcasm. 

Ritz routinely slept with me, in between my legs (I have a twin size bed).  Now that it is summer, she no longer needs my body warmth.  Now that there are more wildlife critters for her to look at, she no longer needs me to entertain her.  I feel/felt really hurt, abandoned:  what am I good for, only food and water and shelter?  Gee, thanks a lot.....(not...)

But then I realized that it is not for me to change her, but to accept her for who she IS.

For a few days now, she jumps up on my bed for her belly rub; it's a new routine we've both started.  And sometimes she'll fall asleep where she lies by my side; or even pick herself up, move down a few inches, sit down, turn around like a dog, and press her body close to my hip--and all is right in my world.

I've been gone for ten days at a time (vacation), and get the brush off at first, but then Ritz realizes it is me who is a constant, who is here, and she forgives/forgets.

Wish I were as quick to forgive/forget.

Meanwhile, I would do the same things as you have been doing, constancy, consistency is the key.  A new toy is okay (cats get bored with toys anyway), but I wouldn't go out of my way to pet/fed her.  If she comes to you, then by all means, pet her, play with her, etc.  But don't hound her.
 

ann phoenix

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My son and I went on a 10 day vacation once, and when we got home my Tiger was so irritated and angry he wouldn't speak to me, let me pet him or even come near me--and he slept with me--for a whole week!!!  He would get down like he was going to catch prey when I called him and run the complete opposite end of the room away from me when I called to him for the week.  He was really furious at me.  Then one day he jumped on the bed, licked my hand and forgave me I guess cause he was ok after that.  Cats are really sensitive.
 

catspaw66

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To the OP - When you have a few minutes, go to the articles section and start reading up on cat behavior.  You may be beyond the beginner's stage, but every little bit in understanding cats helps. I have over 25 years experience with multiple-cat households, and my ladies still teach me new things.
 
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leshelby

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You're not alone! I went through a similar situation with my cat dory. A few years after I got her, I moved in with my gramma and grampa and took her with me so she could keep my grampa company while he went through chemo. I moved out after a couple years when I was 18 and my son was 1. And dory HATED my son...she used to growl at my pregnant belly and pee under his crib. My grampa had passed since then but while I was busy taking care of my son, dory had bonded with my gramma, and Dory was MY cat...before I got pregnant, she didn't let anyone else touch her or cuddle with anyone but me. When I moved out, after a couple weeks I came back for her...and saw her siting on my grammas lap. I was sad my kitty had found someone else and she still gives me this look every now and then like "hey you got another human, and so did I!" While I believe Bob will come back to you because our situations are totally different, cats do get sad when their owners leave and find their own ways to cope. Then if they're snarky, they'll show off in front of you almost as if to say "look, I'm sitting on her lap and not yours BECAUSE YOU LEFT ME YOU JERK." Its been three years since i moved out but Sometimes when I visit, dory will still sit with me, but only if my gramma isn't in the room ;)

But now when my gramma leaves (and she vacations a lot), Dory will hide from her for a few days and even hiss at her a couple times the first day, but she always ends up eventually coming back to her. You know the whole "it's not you, it's them" thing? Yeah...pretty sure that's about cats.
 

ann phoenix

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Leshelby, I hate to say I laughed at your post...but that really is funny in it's own way.  They really have their own little personalities don't they?
 

sugarsandz

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This thread made me smile because we all love our cats and sometimes they treat us like lower class citizens lol. I've always thought of dogs as little kids always wanting to please and hang off of our legs where as I think of cats as teenagers, moody, independent and sometimes rude because we didn't give them what they wanted :). I love my cats and I'm not working at the moment so I'm around them all of the time and it's great until I want to get something done. The two youngest kitties in the house were my sisters but she didn't want to do all of the maintenance stuff for them and then decided she couldn't sleep with them in her room because they played all night and she needed sleep. . . My husband and I stepped in and started caring for them and now those cats follow me EVERYWHERE, Rin even watches me shower and Sadie tries to trip me all of the time they are my little shadows and I'm okay with that. If you work with your kitty you'll be number one again, unless you give up like my sister lol. I wouldn't worry to much, cats are there to teach us patients!
 

leshelby

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Leshelby, I hate to say I laughed at your post...but that really is funny in it's own way.  They really have their own little personalities don't they?
They totally do! And they definitely have feelings and when we hurt their little cat feelings when we don't even mean to, they don't hide how they feel about it!
 
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royschneider

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Thanks for the support guys! Bob has started to come around! I have been grooming him nightly before bed with the Furminator and he loves it! I have made more of an effort to play with him and pet him when he asks. He also seems to demand my presence before he eats his meals... So I sit with him and scratch his back a bit when he starts eating. I have also made a point to pet him goodbye before I leave for work in the morning. He seems to be forgiving me!
 

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I have the same problem, only in reverse. My roommate's cat abandoned him for me. I have 5 of my own cats and he has 4, so there are 9 cats in total. All 4 of his cats always want to hang out in my room.

 This started about a week after I moved in. His male named Ernie would come into my room and sleep on the floor under the portion of blanket that managed to reach the floor.  At the time when I moved in, I had no pets. Anyway, I took in an abused polydactyl cat who's human had swung by the tail (I didn't find this out until some time later) so because she was so timid, she would hide in my closet and Ernie had to stop coming into my room. Fast forward 5 years Ernie, his sister wife, and their 2 daughters along with my 4 furry children all hang out in my room. PJ (Ernie's sister/wife) will not let me be. When I go out for a smoke, she cries at the window the whole time I'm out on the porch. Then gives me verbal hell when I come back in. She HAS to be around my all the time. When I first moved in, she was a little aloof, but after assisting her with the birth of her two kittens, she has been glued to my side ever since, Ernie too. And her two kittens, now 5 years old also have to be by my side all the time. All 4 of my roommate's cats have pretty much kicked him to the curb. I am the one who fills the bowls with kibble, I am the one who gives the canned food and tuna and I am the one who cleans up after them when they hack up that furball. and I am the one who cleans the litter boxes. But PJ, she is my furry 4 legged little girlfriend. At least that's how she acts.........
 

Kat0121

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I have the same problem, only in reverse. My roommate's cat abandoned him for me. I have 5 of my own cats and he has 4, so there are 9 cats in total. All 4 of his cats always want to hang out in my room.

 This started about a week after I moved in. His male named Ernie would come into my room and sleep on the floor under the portion of blanket that managed to reach the floor.  At the time when I moved in, I had no pets. Anyway, I took in an abused polydactyl cat who's human had swung by the tail (I didn't find this out until some time later) so because she was so timid, she would hide in my closet and Ernie had to stop coming into my room. Fast forward 5 years Ernie, his sister wife, and their 2 daughters along with my 4 furry children all hang out in my room. PJ (Ernie's sister/wife) will not let me be. When I go out for a smoke, she cries at the window the whole time I'm out on the porch. Then gives me verbal hell when I come back in. She HAS to be around my all the time. When I first moved in, she was a little aloof, but after assisting her with the birth of her two kittens, she has been glued to my side ever since, Ernie too. And her two kittens, now 5 years old also have to be by my side all the time. All 4 of my roommate's cats have pretty much kicked him to the curb. I am the one who fills the bowls with kibble, I am the one who gives the canned food and tuna and I am the one who cleans up after them when they hack up that furball. and I am the one who cleans the litter boxes. But PJ, she is my furry 4 legged little girlfriend. At least that's how she acts.........
Hi there and welcome. This is an old thread from back in 2013 so it's unlikely that you will hear back from the OP. 

His cats are drawn to you because from what you've said, you're the one who takes care of them. Cats are smart. They know you are their friend. Is your roommate upset by this? I think it's sweet that PJ wants to be around you. I think she's also telling you that it's time to quit smoking. 


Thank you for being there for these cats. They chose you for a reason. Cats are excellent judges of character so for all of them to prefer you, you must be pretty special. 


With all those cats in the house, I hope that they are all spayed/neutered or that number will surely grow. 
 
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