Is my cat anxious/fearful? Or is it just his personality?


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Mar 29, 2020
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I've had my cat for about 2 years (he is 2 years old). We adopted him and his brother when they were two months old from a shelter. Unfortunately they both had distemper (kitty virus), and we lost his brother a week after we got them. Today, he's a very silly and kooky cat and we love him very much, but sometimes I worry that his behavior demonstrates some sort of anxiety or fear. For the most part, he has no trouble hanging out around us. He will lay on the living room rug when we watch TV, climb on the coffee table when we are around, and sleep at the foot of the bed. He especially likes to hang out on the dining room table and will sometimes run to the kitchen, to his feeding area when we are in there. Still, he rarely lets us pet him for more than a few minutes. If we try and pet him, most times he will either bite, or dodge and run away. Sometimes when we are walking past him, he lunges at our ankles. He often has this look in his eyes -- dilated pupils and ears turned back -- when we start approaching him. He is very sensitive to noises, and will look anytime something makes noise. We've provided a very loving home for him, and I understand many cats are simply not cuddly, but I worry about how often he runs away from us and bites us. I worry that this behavior has to do with the fact that he lost his brother at such a young age. I don't mind if he's not cuddly, I love him regardless, but if he is unhappy or fearful in any way, I would really like to help him overcome this. If anyone has any thoughts on whether this is simply his personality or something more (and what I can do), please help! Thanks!


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Nov 25, 2013
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Hello and welcome to TCS. :wave2:

Some cats, as you posted, aren't cuddly, and some do tend to be more bitey than others. It's possible adopting him at only 8 weeks and then having his sibling die (RIP sweetie) may have not given him a chance to learn cat manners. He could also just be a "scaredy cat".

Have you ever tried calming treats, or Feliway? Some people find they help, though others say they do nothing. But maybe something to look into.

TCS has some articles on stress, timid cats, and aggressive cats that you might find helpful, so I'll post the links:

Stress in Cats – The Ultimate Guide – Cat Articles

10 Must-know Tips For Happy Living With A Shy Cat | TheCatSite
16 Top Cat Experts Share Tips For Dealing With Timid Cats | TheCatSite

Teach Your Kitten How to Play Nice : The Humane Society of the United States (this is from the Humane Society, and might have some tips. Note the mention using a water spray bottle, which TCS does not recommend)

How To Stop Playtime Aggression In Cats – Cat Articles
Cat Aggression Toward People | TheCatSite
Why Do Cats Attack? | TheCatSite