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Unfriendly Cats

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Although most cats are either friendly, or tolerant of people, there are occasions when cats and people don't mesh. Some cats prefer just one person too. Here, visitors ask questions about cats who act downright unfriendly.

Cat Dislikes Others

I have a friendly, sweet, two-year-old female cat. However, she becomes aggressive, scared and frequently hisses around my husband, teenage son, and any strangers (visitors). This behavior occurs before they even get a chance to pet her. Any suggestions on how to improve this behavior? I also have a four-year-old female -- the two cats get along fine.

~~Susanne

Expert Reply

Hi Susanne,

It sounds like your cat has some anxiety issues. Unfortunately, this is a behavior that may be difficult to change. She is likely scared and new people are traumatic for her. There are a few things you can try that might help.

  • Ask your husband and son to move slowly and speak low and soft to her.
  • Isolate her while she is eating to avoid food aggression
  • Pick the cat up and gently lay her on your husband or son's lap. Tell the men to pet her and speak to her softly. You are basically attempting to help her realize they will not harm her.
  • Allow your husband and son to feed her at least part of the time.

I truly believe the first step is to get her on good terms with your immediate family. While it would be nice to have her become friendly toward visitors as well, this is not nearly as vital.

It is likely that she might improve on her own with time and as she feels more and more secure in your family. There are some medications for feline anxiety, but I don't recommend giving your cat medication unless absolutely vital to the cat's health. There are just too many potential side effects from any medication and a cat's liver is very sensitive to toxins.

~~Lori

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Unfriendly Cats