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Cat Having Trouble With Guests.

r-kins

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My cat, Guapo, is possibly the sweetest cat I have ever met. When I went to meet him at the shelter, I had to sign a bite waiver because he'll get overstimulated and bite people. He bit me, but I ended up getting him anyway. After getting home, we had some minor overstimulation and biting issues, but after a month or so he was totally fine. My boyfriend and I can pick him up and snuggle him and play with him without any overstimulation at all.

Whenever guests come over, we give them a warning that they just need to keep their hands to themselves until he calms down. Normally he'll calm down and as long as they're mindful when petting him, he's ok. But he's been getting worse and worse with guests lately. If people even move, he starts getting very upset. He even got up on his hind legs and grabbed the guest's leg when they moved (but did not take out his claws). He was so distraught that when my friend reached for her tea, he swatted at her.

We went on vacation for a few days, and he swatted at our cat sitter for emptying the litter and glared at him the whole time was there. He COULD be associating guests with us leaving on vacation, but I'm not sure if that's it.

It seems that clearly he's distressed by people being there, but he's still interested in them. He can't go hide because he has to know what's going on, but it would be better for everyone if he went and slept in a bedroom.

Right now, my plan is have people over more frequently, have each person give him a treat, and have them sit on a couch where he can get up and look at them easily. (Obviously only if they're willing.)

Do you folks have any other suggestions on how to deal with this?
 

Mamanyt1953

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I think you have a really good plan of action. DO tell them not to make eye contact at first, as it can be seen by Guapo as a challenge, at least until he is better socialized. Start out with just one person at a time, but not always the same person, then go to two, then three, and so on. Remind them that, should he ask for affection, NOT to bring their hands down from above him, to lower their hand and move slowly in at his head level.
 
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r-kins

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I think you have a really good plan of action. DO tell them not to make eye contact at first, as it can be seen by Guapo as a challenge, at least until he is better socialized. Start out with just one person at a time, but not always the same person, then go to two, then three, and so on. Remind them that, should he ask for affection, NOT to bring their hands down from above him, to lower their hand and move slowly in at his head level.
Thanks for that tip!
 
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r-kins

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Alright, bumping this old-ish thread.

My boyfriend and I went away for four days. We had a cat sitter come each day, and she came ahead of time to meet Guapo. She's a vet tech and knows what she's doing. She came in, sat down, and he relaxed enough to sit down next to her. She said her plan would be to do that each time and Guapo would eventually warm up to her.

Turns out things got worse. On her final night there, Guapo was so out of sorts that when she sat down quietly on the couch, he approached her and then hissed and scratched her. He was sweet as can be when we returned, and has really just wanted to sit around with me and not play that much. Our sitter spoke with the vet when she went into work the next day, and it sounds like Guapo needs some sort of medication. He's due for shots soon, so I'll be taking him in to consult about his behavior as well.

But in the meantime, does anyone have experience with this? Is there anything we can do to work on the behavior? It seems that he's afraid of having someone in his home. I'll continue to have guests to hopefully desensitize him, but this is really bad.
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. I am not so sure about medication at this point - meds for when you go somewhere but not otherwise?? It would seem to me the vet tech is over-reacting and that Guapo figured out at some point in time that your absence was why the vet tech was there, and didn't like it. See how he does with some more days passing in terms of re-adjusting to you being home. Right now, he is just looking for some solace from you since you are back. Hopefully, he will bounce back when he realizes you are not leaving anytime soon.

You might want to consider, if at all possible, about having a future sitter be someone that is a close friend/neighbor or relative that can come over on a very frequent basis that he learns to trust them not to just be there because you are going away. This could take months to do before you go away again. Also, along the way - after he has become comfortable with someone - leave him with that person for short trips - say an hour, then a couple or three hours, then a half a day, etc.

If none of that works, then think about medicating him. At least attempt some calming products, like Bach Rescue Remedy which are ear drops you rub into a cat's ear(s). Many people use them to help calm a cat before a vet visit. Not all calming products work on all cats, so there might be some experimenting to do. If any of them prove to be successful with him, a sitter that he is very familiar and comfortable with might be able to administer them to him, just to help settle him down while you are gone somewhere.
 

Mamanyt1953

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SIGH...since he did fine with her for three days, I think he might have just been REALLY ready for "his people" to come home. That said, the right medication at the right dosage may make him a more relaxed, happy cat.
 
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