Friday, 14 September 2018 13:13

Porky & Buddy Column: Is Cuddles A Lost Cause?

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Dear Porky & Buddy: I just adopted a cat, Cuddles, from a neighbor who had found her under their porch.

She was thin but very pretty so I took her to the vet and had her checked out and vaccinated and all that. I had a hard time catching her under the porch, but I figured she was just scared and would settle in. Boy is she misnamed. Every time she sees me she runs and hides and the only way I know she is in the house is the fact that her food is gone and she uses the litter box. Help! What ‘s the point of a cat that won’t cuddle?

Signed, Mary

Dear Mary,

The point of a cat that won’t cuddle is that you saved a cat and now your job is to teach her to cuddle, (or at least not to run from you in terror.) It can be done, but it takes time and patience.

First, put Cuddles in the smallest room you have available where she can be comfortable, but you can hang out with her. A bathroom is ideal. Put her litter box in there and her food and a nice comfy bed. Let her get used to that space and only go in quietly a few times a day to clean and refresh her area. Don’t try to force yourself on her. Just be the person who brings the food.

Understand that Cuddles could have come from a disruptive or dangerous situation. Your job is to convince here that she is not in any danger. Did we mention that it takes patience?

Leave treats for her too and see if she gobbles them up. After a few days just go in the room and hang out. Take a book or your cell phone. Ignore her but put some treats out. If she comes out for the treats while you are there, put some more out but don’t try to touch her. She might run away at first when you do this, but she will learn that you are the treat dispenser.

After a few treat sessions try talking to Cuddles. Use a calm, quiet voice that’s not loud or demanding. If it startles her at first back off and try again another time until she begins to get used to the sound of your voice. Keep up with the treats. Bribery is good—this is not about weight loss; its about making poor shy Cuddles happy to be with you. Did we mention that it takes patience?

When she starts coming out for the treats keep putting them closer and closer to you so that she has to get closer to get to them. Start leaving your hand down near the treats and when she gets used to that put the treats in your outstretched hand. You will be watching her through this whole process, so you will have a sense of when she is getting more comfortable and when you might try touching her. When you do raise your hand slowly and stroke her just below the ear. Cats love that. If she responds favorably you have made great progress. If not keep at it, one tiny step at a time. This can’t be rushed. How long will it take? We have no idea—could be a few days—could be weeks. But it will be so worth it! Because when you finally break through her fear you will want to rename her Velcro. And then you can start her on her diet.

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County. Located at 29 West Seneca Street, Oswego, New York. Phone (315) 207-1070. Email: [email protected] Website:

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