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Unread 05-20-2007   #1 (permalink)
Dragon Lady
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Default Change in cat behavior?

My cat has always been very independent and solitary but recently she has started seeking more attention. She will follow people around the house and rub against them and seek more petting. I was wondering if this change is a sign of sickness or just anxiety about changes that have occured. Here is some additional information about the situation:*She is an old cat (about 12 years old). *Our other cat died about 9 months ago but the two cats almost completely ignored each other thier entire lives. The disease she died from was contagious and slow to show symptoms.*We recently got rid of our 3 dogs.*The family has started spending more time outside with the nice weather.*She was my cat when I was growing up but she remained at my parents house when I moved out. I have been spending more time at the house over the past month and seeing her more because of it.Any ideas, information, or suggestions would be appreciated. My family and I are worried about her.
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Unread 05-20-2007   #2 (permalink)
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There were lots of friends for her, now there's just humans, for all you know she thinks she's next to vanish into thin air like the rest. Also, we all change as we grow older, and behave differently.
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Unread 05-20-2007   #3 (permalink)
Mary c
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Cats are independent, it's true. But they are anchored by their environment and all the factors in it. Your two cats may never have interacted or seemed like "friends" but cat relationships are sometimes warm & cozy or playful, and sometimes they are like a pas de deux where neither dancer ever touches. Because cat communication is almost entirely visual, they may have had a sort-of aloof relationship that acknowledged each other as a part of their environment, and the very fact that that presence was a constant was a source of security. Even the dogs, now gone, were a constant, and so an aspect of stability and so, security.If the "differential diagnosis" for the change in your cat's behavior includes the potential for a serious health problem, you really must eliminate this possibility first by visiting or consulting with a vet. The second factor is age, and it is true that cats become more mellow as they age and their relationships with their primary people ripens into a sweetness. Twelve is not necessarily old for a cat, though. Number of years is not the only factor that determines whether your cat is old. She is definitely "senior", but you or the vet must determine whether she seems "old". This involves bodily changes (really old cats have a kind-of torpedo build when you look at them from the top, and they are sway-backed and have trouble leaping places, aren't very playful when presented with a toy). Is your senior cat "old"? Or is she "middle-aged"?I have a bias here. I think your cat is feeling insecure, and I think she might be lonely as well. There is something I think you should consider, and I will toss it out for your consideration. I think your cat could use another cat. And there is something I THINK might be a good idea. The animal shelters and animal rescue groups frequently get adult cats, not necessarily senior, who are broken hearted. Their owner has died or been permanently hospitalized or has deserted them, but they are indoor cats who have lost their homes. And they are mildly depressed (I imagine you know that cats get the same depression we get, and that when they do, Prozac works for them). You see them at the rescue places all the time: they sit in ethe cages and look hurt and confused. They believe they already have homes, and that all the foll-de-rall has nothing to do with them -- But where is Mommy? And why am I here? (If you think this is projection, ask any rescuer, and they will validate this observation.)You could try taking one of these little fellows in foster care. Introduce him/her carefully into your environment (please, please glance through Anitra Frasier's New Natural Cat chapter on introducing a new cat to an established cat) and see if this doesn't help.I could be very wrong, or this could be a very inconveneint thing for you to do. I admit to a bias. I think your cat is lonely and insecure at a time when she wants everything to be stable. It is your call entirely.
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Unread 05-20-2007   #4 (permalink)
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I have two old healthy cats (14) who used to be somewhat independent and are now much more affectionate and cuddly. They also "talk" a lot more whereas they used to be pretty quiet. So maybe it's just her age.
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