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Jealous Cat Dad

Discussion in 'Cat Behavior' started by kalif, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. kalif

    kalif Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    Jul 10, 2018
    Apologies in advance, this will be a long story/post.

    I live in a house with 5 family members - me and my wife, my brother-in-law, his wife and son.. My wife and I do not have any children so we decided to get a cat - Charlie, whom we got from a friend of a friend.

    We've had Charlie since he was a little under two-months old. Now he's about 11 months old. Since i'm a freelancer, I'm mostly at home. And my wife works long hours. I'm the one who feeds him wet lunches and dinners. Groom him. Mind him.

    Charlie was like my boy - I love him to bits. When he was 7 months old we got him a companion, Leia - who was just a month younger than him. It took us a long time to get this extremely shy girl to come out of her shell but we did eventually. But even with the new addition, i gave extra attention to charlie - i guess I was being a favoritism father.

    But as months go by and as my work got me working till 3am, slowly i've noticed that Charlie prefers hanging around with my brother-in-law. Sleeping on his bed, watching Netflix with him. Waiting on him. It made me jealous at first but I paid no thought to it - i just made sure to give him more attention.

    Recently Charlie fell ill so we took him to the vet - I was making sure to check on him regularly, pet him and give him his meds. During this period he'd be finding cool corner spots to lie on and sleep. And then yesterday, as he was slowly getting better, I approached him to check on him. I stroked him on his sides where he was lying down. He used his hind leg and pushed my hand away, walked off towards where my brother-in-law was sitting with his tail up..

    I have to admit it felt heartbreaking. I went to my bathroom, thinking about the times i fed him, cared for him, played with him - since he was a little kitten. Then naturally the waterworks rolled. I talked with it with my wife - she tries to assure me that it's a phase, but i know she's stumped too.

    Was it because I had a 4 month job that require me to come home late everyday? Is it because we keep our two cats in our room when we sleep? But even if we do, both our cats make time to kiss my wife. Or maybe I smother him too much? Pick him up too much? Tell him "No" too many times?

    I'm still feeding them, getting them good food no matter how finicky eaters both have become. It just feels harder now knowing that Charlie sees me as just another person in the house, whose room contains kibbles, rather than his favorite person. I know I'm being petty - that i should love him no matter what. It's just heartbreaking for me.

    Just asking for advice to get through this.
    dustydiamond1, maggiedemi and meto purraised this.

  2. meto

    meto TCS Member Young Cat

    Oct 24, 2017
    I don't have any advice but I would definitely feel the same way if I was in your situation. I think it's completely reasonable and not petty to feel that way, after all the love you've shown Charlie, and I hope things get better somehow
    dustydiamond1 purraised this.

  3. kalif

    kalif Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    Jul 10, 2018
    Thanks. I hope so too.
    dustydiamond1 and meto purraised this.

  4. rubysmama

    rubysmama Forum Helper Staff Member Forum Helper

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

    Sorry you're feeling sad about not being Charlie's only purr-son anymore. :alright:

    I'm guessing the 4 months that you had to work till 3 am has something to do with Charlie's hanging around your brother-in-law more. Plus the fact that Charlie was ill. Not to mention he's not a little kitten anymore.

    Please also keep in mind that cats don't understand that we want their love and affection in return for everything we do for them.

    In no way am I suggesting that Charlie doesn't like you, but there might be some tips in getting him back to his old routine with you in this TCS article where 14 Cat Experts Reveal: How To Get A Cat To Like Me.
    dustydiamond1 purraised this.

  5. r-kins

    r-kins TCS Member Adult Cat

    Mar 31, 2016
    Is Charlie picking up on your stress? Perhaps you were very anxious when you were working late, and now he can feel your anxiety over your relationship with him? If you're always staring longingly at him and feeling frustrated, perhaps it makes him nervous.

    Maybe try totally backing off for a bit. Feed him and don't go out of your way to pet him. Set up a comfortable spot next to your work station and see if he comes to you. At this point it doesn't seem like it would cause any further damage.

    Sorry you're going through this. I'd be crying my eyes out, too.
    dustydiamond1 and KarenKat purraised this.

  6. Adway

    Adway TCS Member Adult Cat

    May 13, 2018
    You got a cat as a replacement for a kid. He is behaving exactly like a teenager kid would, so why complain?

    Jokes aside, I feel that loving a cat needs highest kind of devotion. Cat's love cannot be bought cheaply like a dog's. On the other hand, Cats have higher intelligence than turtles, fishes etc, so to an extent, they are responsible for their actions.

  7. KarenKat

    KarenKat Kitty on the half shell, tortie power! Top Cat

    Apr 4, 2018
    Burlingame, CA
    There's nothing quite like being snubbed by a cat, especially one you go out of your way to dote on. I had the opposite, where my roommate's cat (I think she was 14 when I met her) would sleep in my room all the time and hang out by me instead of him. Personally, I think she loved him more (he raised her as a kitten) but she needed a break. He liked to pet her a lot, and sometimes she wasn't in the mood.

    @r-kins has some good advice. There's that whole story about throwing a small party and everyone loves the cat and wants to pet him, except the guy that's allergic or doesn't like cats. He keeps his distance, doesn't approach or stare at the cat and doesn't try and pet it. Guess who the cat looks at as a "polite" human that is respecting his boundaries and not acting aggressive (from the cat's perspective)? Often, showing less affection is what is needed, even though it's counterintuitive.

    I would still play with him and feed him, but only pet him when he comes up to you. One way maybe to initiate this could be blinking slowly at him and then turning away, not making direct eye contact. For some cats, it's an invitation to come over. Him kicking your hand away could be his way of saying he doesn't feel like pets right now, and he went over to your brother in law, who maybe doesn't really do that and leaves him be.
    dustydiamond1, meto and Adway purraised this.

  8. AbbysMom

    AbbysMom At Abby's beck and call Staff Member Moderator

    May 18, 2005
    To put it in a different perspective, when you were a kid didn't you like the fun uncle? The fun uncle isn't taking him to the vet and medicating him.

    I'm in a similar situation right now. For the past few years my cat has been going to the vet every three weeks for a B-12 shot. I bring her, not my husband. For at least a few days after she would hide when I came down in the morning all dressed up with shoes on. Not long ago she had an issue. She went to the vet numerous times, twice having to stay for a few hours and getting an ultrasound to include having her stomach shaved. She gets liquid medication every morning now for the past three weeks. She hates it. I give it to her, not the cat dad. So, now she hides from me after her breakfast because she knows the med is coming. If the dad walks into the room, she runs to him in a "save me" manner. If I am petting her and the dad walks into the room, the leaves me and goes to him. I really do know how you feel. The cat dad is going to have to learn how to give her the meds occasionally. I still don't know how much that will help my cause.
    dustydiamond1, 1 bruce 1, meto and 1 other person purraised this.

  9. kalif

    kalif Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    Jul 10, 2018
    My work is long and frustrating, but i generally leave all that at work. I looked forward to seeing him and my wife when I get back. I will try backing off and work nearby his spots. Perhaps that would help.
    Thank you.
    dustydiamond1 and KarenKat purraised this.

  10. kalif

    kalif Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    Jul 10, 2018
    Yeah, he doesn't that as much as i do. Guess it's the over affection of the human kind that puts Charlie off..
    dustydiamond1 and meto purraised this.

  11. Hellenww

    Hellenww TCS Member Alpha Cat

    Mar 5, 2018
    South Jersey, USA
    When he was getting medicine were you the one giving? Try approaching him with play rather than pets for a little while.
    dustydiamond1 purraised this.

  12. kalif

    kalif Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    Jul 10, 2018
    I've seen the fun uncle thing (never had one myself). I'm sorry for your predicament. Seems you have it worse than me. Perhaps this thread would be useful to both of us - since i'm also medicating him for the moment. Charlie was upset with me the whole day for trying to sneek meds into his favorite treat.
    AbbysMom, dustydiamond1 and meto purraised this.

  13. kalif

    kalif Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    Jul 10, 2018
    Poor boy was too weak to play. But he's better now, so I may just try that tomorrow. Thanks for the tip!
    KarenKat and Hellenww purraised this.

  14. Kieka

    Kieka Snowshoe Servant Staff Member Forum Helper

    Sep 6, 2016
    Southern California
    Cats are funny in their affection. Charlie is probably going through the teenage phase right now. My boy, Link, did that too. He went from sleeping with me every night to sleeping at the other end of the house. I was heartbroken too but I knew it was what he wanted. He also decided he didn't like being pet and wanted his space.

    After about a year he started sleeping with me again. I was so happy and excited. Then about six months later he started sleeping across the house again.... You get the picture. He changes his sleeping spots every few months but I take solace that he comes back to me between other places.

    The not like being pet just makes the moments when he does want to be pet all the more special.

    I also have a little girl, Rocket, who isn't big on people other than me. She followed me everywhere and only wanted to be around me. Until my brother, who doesn't like cats, moved in and all of the sudden he was her person. That one hurt more because I was her person for years. But she too came back after a few weeks of preference to my brother. She seems to go back and forth between us now depending on her mood. The funny part is he actually likes her too. He yelled at me the other day for not feeding her when she came in demanding dinner, l.
    dustydiamond1, maggiedemi and kalif purraised this.

  15. kalif

    kalif Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    Jul 10, 2018
    Thanks. This makes me feel so much better. I will bear that in mind :)
    dustydiamond1, meto, Kieka and 1 other person purraised this.

  16. maggiedemi

    maggiedemi TCS Member Top Cat

    Mar 26, 2017
    Demi did this to me. But I stole his affection back by figuring out what he likes to do best. He loves it when I go down cellar with him. It's not my favorite place to be, but I go hang out with him down there and it makes him so happy. So maybe find out what Charlie likes to do and talk in an excited voice while you do it.
    dustydiamond1 and KarenKat purraised this.

  17. 1 bruce 1

    1 bruce 1 TCS Member Top Cat

    Apr 8, 2016
    I just gotta ask...
    Does your brother in law like him, I mean, interact with him, play with him, enjoy his company or does he tolerate his presence, maybe give him a gruff somewhat affectionate pat and then ignore him, allowing him to sleep on his bed/hang out while watching TV?
    dustydiamond1 purraised this.

  18. Purr-fect

    Purr-fect TCS Member Super Cat

    Apr 20, 2017
    Bribe the cats with treats
    Play with the cat
    Rub dog scent on the brother in laws clothing
    Get rid of brother in law
    Win over leia
    Shane Kent, kalif, dustydiamond1 and 2 others purraised this.

  19. maggiedemi

    maggiedemi TCS Member Top Cat

    Mar 26, 2017
    LOL! Yeah, what about the other cat Leia? Maybe use her to make Charlie jealous?
    dustydiamond1 purraised this.

  20. dustydiamond1

    dustydiamond1 Minion to Gypsy since October 2016 Top Cat

    Jan 24, 2017
    Central Illinois, USA
    :yeah: :sniffle: :frustrated:

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