How Can I Make a Cat Love Me?
My 4-month-old cat, Foo, has suddenly become off with my partner, to the extent that he hides or flattens his ears whenever my partner goes near him. We can't understand it.
Foo had an accident and soiled himself while I was at work — my partner sponged him down with a damp towel and basin of warm water.
We've tried everything: cuddling him, treating him when he lets my partner touch him. My partner's even tried ignoring him in the hope Foo'll get curious himself.
Oddly enough, Foo's not like this when I'm home — he's as attentive and playful towards my partner as ever. It seems to only be when I'm not home. Obviously it's upsetting Darren (my partner) and getting very frustrating for us both.
Please help us! We want our Foo back.
Newbridge, Co. Kildare, Ireland
Cats are somewhat like potential lovers. You can't force a cat to love you, and sometimes the harder you try, the more they move away. Worse still, the time-honored trick of making a potential lover jealous rarely works in cats.
Darren's best bet is to back off a bit and let Foo take the initiative. For Foo to rebond with Darren, their interactions will have to be uniformly positive. Darren should be always receptive, but should not try to force Foo to snuggle or play.
I'll bet that a couple of weeks of this tactic will set things right. It probably also wouldn't hurt if Darren took over feeding duties. Sometimes the way to a cat's heart can be through his stomach.