Until a month ago, I’d never taken care of a pet. I’m new to this and looking for insight from experienced cat owners.
Marlboro (Bobo for short) is a six year old, male, white Chinchilla. He was skinny when we got him, and had spent a week at the vet for flea and skin problems. He’d been shorn, his tail nicked and bleeding in the process.
He was scared of his own shadow when he arrived, and bit my fiance on the hand when she tried to pet him. I know enough about cats to know that nervousness is normal when in a new environment.
We’ve fed him well and talked to him softly, and in addition to fattening up, he’s left his spot under the couch and started to walk around, fairly at ease, in the house.
Still, after a month, he’s only friendly (rubbing legs, asking to be petted on the head) when he’s angling for food. My visions of a loving animal sitting next to me as I work the keyboard or relax in the living room have been replaced by thoughts of “what good is a cat who isn’t friendly?”. If he’s on the couch and one of us sits down on the other end, he’ll leave. If he’s under my desk and I sit down a few feet away from him, he’ll leave. If I try to pet him when he’s not looking for canned food, he’ll walk away. He sometimes calls in his cute little voice, and sometimes we’ll go and find him and speak softly to him, but he still shies away from any kind of contact. The only thing he seems to enjoy contact with is a small, soft carpet near the entry, which he humps at least once a day (he’s been neutered).
We’ve only yelled at him twice, when he felt his litter box was too dirty and pissed on our bed cover (thanks a lot buddy–dry cleaning fees ain’t cheap :fume: ), and we’ve certainly never hit him. Our hand movements around him are slow and unthreatening.
Is there anything we can do to make him friendlier? Does it take longer than a month of kindness to get a cat to enjoy being close to you?