Our Battersea rescue cat Kisse has now been with us for 6 months. She has grown gradually more confident and relaxed as time has progressed.
She’s the chattiest cat I’ve ever known. If she has been alone for just a few hours (even just in a different room) she will run to us and miaow persistently while wrapping herself around our legs. If you miaow back, she returns the favour. If you try to stroke her though, she will run away…
She loves to stand on the sofa or bed while you pet her. I think she feels less intimidated when she is higher. She will turn in circles while allowing you to stroke just the right bit of chin or back. Woe betide you if you get tempted to touch the sides or belly though. That is definite hissing / scratching territory (depending on the severity of the offence).
The same thing happens if you try to pick her up, or brush her, or basically do anything to her that isn’t two chin tickles. Three could certainly end in a claw filled swipe.
Talons may be a better word than claws to describe the razor blades embedded in our innocent Floofie’s paws. She has (mostly) realised that the sofa is not for scratching now, but she still isn’t a fan of any of the scratching implements we’ve put in front if her.
We’ve tried a special ‘scratching pheromone’, spread over a scratching pad attached to the top of our stairs. We’ve tried cheap and expensive scratching posts; big and small, horizontal and vertical. We’ve tried covering them in catnip, scratching them ourselves, burying Dreamies in them and playing with her on the scratching implements. All in the distant hope that she would have to touch them (something she is hesitant to do with anything). All attempts so far have either been met with blank stares and disinterest, or stuck paws and an angry cat unwilling to play any longer.
We initially worried that her claws may grow too long as they weren’t being used, and dreaded the prospect of persuading a cat that doesn’t like being touched (even a gentle stroke of the paw is a hissable offence) to let us cut her nails. We’re still monitoring it closely but so far her conversion to life as an outdoor cat seems to be wearing them down sufficiently.
Persuading Kisse to go outside was yet another committed act on our part. She had previously lived in a flat and been a predominantly indoor cat as she was scared of another cat living nearby. We live in a first floor maisonette with direct access to outside, but there is a set of stairs between her main territory and the door to outside. Unfortunately our doors make a rather swooshy sound as the insulating brushes rub against the frame; obviously a noise that scares our oversensitive cat into a desperate dash back up the stairs. Kisse’s coordination is somewhat lacking and her panic usually causes a mad failed scramble. It is a bit of a two steps forward, one step back affair and makes a dreadful clattering sound on our wooden stairs. This happened several times in our early moments together, so Kisse quickly decided that downstairs wasn’t for her.
After a little while, when we decided it was time for her to try a trip outside, we had to bait the stairs with Dreamies for several weeks to convince her that downstairs might be an interesting place. Once that was successful, we opened the door and spent another couple of weeks convincing her that the sound of the busy road wasn’t a threat. Eventually, the cat made it outside…
We can’t have a cat flap as the shape of our composite doors would mean the flap would divert water into the house, so she has manual access to the garden. We’ve been reluctant to close the door while she’s outside in case she needs to make a desperate run for safety, but we’re well aware that is a solution that will not continue to work in the winter months. Kisse is blissfully unaware of our concerns though, she loves the garden and becomes a noticeably calmer happier cat after she’s spent her time outside each day. She’s grown gradually more confident and will now even hunker down in the undergrowth for many hours at a time, even if she still dashes back inside at the first sign of rain, or the rumble of a giant lorry.
Our little Kisse can be hard work sometimes. She still hides under the coffee table when anyone new enters the house, and rages at us when we touch her in the wrong way, but she is our little hate loaf and we love her.