Skittish of my fiancé...help

plisa21

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It’s been 2 weeks since my fiancé and I adopted our three year old, female cat. She is very timid but had warmed up to me considerably....my fiancé...not so much. It probably didn’t help that about a week into her being here she climbed the curtains and he was the one to pull her down. She stretched and bit his hands and arms all up. Now she won’t come out of her safe room when he’s home. She is terrified of him. He’s spent time in the office where all her things are softly talking to her. She even lets him pet her when she’s on the cat tree in there. But other than that she isn’t warming up to him at all.
I’m worried she will never feel safe around him. I would love for her to be comfortable with both of us. And I can tell my fiancé is getting frustrated because he just wants to love on her.
Any tips would be greatly appreciated. We just want her as happy as possible. TIA.
 

chickpea616

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I'm no expert - but honestly it might just take time. It took one of my cats considerable time to warm up to my husband, but now she ADORES him! He talked to her in nice tones, tried playing with her, petted her while she ate (this one went a long way towards building the relationship - even now she meows at him to come watch her eat)….and a bunch of patience. I know it's hard!!
 

sivyaleah

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Hi and welcome!

From experience, it will happen.

When we adopted our 2nd adult female cat, Cocoabean, she was not so keen on my husband at all. It took a very long time for her to warm up to him. Months minimum. He was so upset over it. To cut to the chase, after much patience, and not forcing her to love him (treats helped to) she started warming up to him. Now, it's years later and for a long time they are very close and even more so in the past year since our older boy passed away. She's become SO loving towards my husband, takes naps with him, snuggles him and gives him kisses. It's adorable.

The same thing happened recently when we got our kitten Luna in September. She came to us very socialized but preferred me over him. Again he was miffed. She'd run off every time he came near her and would not let him snuggle her at all. Well, again, it just took some time but it's now a few months and she adores him too. She's young, so not quite a cuddly yet as Bean is because all she wants to do is play but, boy does she love when dad takes the time to do that with her, and will now let him rub her belly and hug on her too.

You have to remember that you don't know anything about your cat's background and for all you know she may have bad associations with male humans. And 2 weeks is a very short time to judge how she'll relate to him over the long term. Anecdotally, it seems female cats tend to prefer female humans but I'm not sure if that's a real thing or not. Just seems to be that way from what I've read here a lot of times.

Since she is allowing him some contact, I think it's going ok and just keep doing what you are both doing. Treats will continue to work wonders and have him play with her also. Anything interactive to draw her out so she understands he's not a bad guy who will harm her. And, if he tends to wear his shoes around the house, tell him to take them off LOL. Sometimes, the heavy footedness of men can be a bit much for anyone, let alone a cat :p
 

motoko9

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I agree with chickpea616; it might just be a matter of time. We recently added a very shy cat to our crew, and he warmed up to me much more quickly than he did to my husband. I felt a little guilty about this, because I know it hurt my spouse's feelings! He was very much a part of the adoption process and wanted to get to know the new kitty, too.

I am happy to report that things are much better now, though (we are roughly two months in), so just try to have patience and tell your fiancé to keep doing what he is doing.
 

ArtNJ

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Cats trust in increments. One person before all of em. One person in only one spot before everywhere (you are seeing that with the cat tree). One situation (usually when tired) before all situations. We have had this show up in funny ways -- at least two people said their kitties first really opened up for petting only when the human was in the bathtub! This makes sense if you think about it, because people can be noisy doing everyday stuff, but are always quiet in the bath.

Anyway, you work with what is there. Its like courting a reluctant person of the opposite gender. You figure out what they like and do that as often as possible at first. So he should per her on that scratching post. Have him make a call noise -- I know a lot of dudes are too manly for a "coo" noise, but it can be a click of the tongue or whatever! -- and he can give a treat in that spot as well. Do that a few times and I guarantee he will be able to summon her up to that scratching post to get petted there. Then maybe he can use the same noise on the scratching post in the living room, and give a treat there. (Preferably that post would be near the couch or a chair so he can be quiet and unintimidating while doing it). Gradual expansion, that is the ticket. No grabbing, no forcibly holding, patience and letting the cat be the boss is the key.

I do agree that if he remains calm and not grabby its a matter of time. For the time being, you should do any necessary training. Once a cat is sufficiently bonded that stuff isn't a big deal -- but in the very early days, yeah it could cause setbacks.
 

Mamanyt1953

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A ArtNJ gave you the advice that I was marshalling to post, bless him! Tell your fiancé to take a deep breath and relax. She'll sense his frustration, and it only makes things worse. And I have to tell you, two weeks is NOTHING in a cat's mind. They trust so slowly, and unfortunately, he HAD to frighten her early on. She can and will recover if he remains very calm. Tell him he needs to adopt a very Zen attitude with her. Working towards trust without being attached to that idea. If he will, ask him to sit in the room with her, preferably on the floor where he will be the most unthreatening. Have him simply sit there and talk softly to her without looking directly at her, or he could read aloud in a soft voice. Let her make most of the moves, let her come to him as she begins to trust the low position and soft voice. THIS CAN BE DONE, but at HER pace, and with patience!
 
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plisa21

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Update:
She is still very skittish of my fiancé but she seems to be getting a bit more comfortable being out and about in the house as long as he completely ignores her existence. I think she’s starting to believe she’s invisible to him lol.
Thanks to everyone that responded!
 
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