I think this cat of mine is bi-polar. If not bi-polar he certainly doesn’t know what the heck he wants and it drives me crazy. We have moments of great progress, then he freaks and finds a new hiding place. Apparently I have, once again, underestimated the power of cats to cram themselves into tiny spots when trying to hide.
He was hanging out behind the couch still, and generally not moving from there. He would come out to use his litter box, eat and drink, and play with a catnip pillow over night. We had to take the pillow away though because it made him a cranky boy. No hissing allowed here!
Since Marius was hanging out behind the couch it was easy enough for me to interact with him. I was able to get him to play with a few different feather toys. He has just about torn them to pieces he has so much fun with them! I watch him roll on his back, stick his belly up in the air and stretch out. He bats the feathers around and purrs. I tried to touch him once and was successful. Since then he has expressed his displeasure with the touching thing, so I just stick my fingers out for him to sniff. He smacked me this morning when I did that. But it was a smack–no claws, no teeth. Marius will frequently play with his toys then head over to the food bowl to eat. I have been trying to get him to accept my presence. I thought I was doing a good job. While he wasn’t coming out from the couch too much, he was responding favorably to my presence and to adjusting to his new surroundings. I told him we would get him to come out from behind the couch. Apparently, I need to clarify my statements.
Sunday was not a good day for us, I attribute that partially to catnip and partially to large amounts of stress on my part. Monday he discovered he could find hiding spots other than behind the couch, and so moved to hiding on the bottom shelf of a shelving unit (like you would see in Costco, bare mettle support beams, plywood shelves). I told him that wasn’t acceptable and moved most of the items off the shelf. He, in turn, told me that wasn’t acceptable and found a way to squeeze himself into the storage INSIDE our couch. The seat of the couch lifts up to reveal two draws. They are filled with framed pictures, awards and now about 11 pounds of gray cat. When I lifted the seat up to reveal a kitty he just sat there. I petted him a bit as I tried to get a good scruff on him to remove him. He was too scrunched in for me to get a good hold though so I opted not to try. He is 11 solid pounds of cat. He gave me a quiet hiss and I said “ok!” I left him under the couch. The next round in our game is to stuff the cracks of that couch with every blanket, pillow and rug I can find! This was not what I meant when I told Marius he can’t stay behind the couch.
While I am dismayed at his desire to hide, I am trying to keep it all in perspective. If he were truly feral, I would have gotten claws and possibly teeth in my hands long before this (fingers crossed there has yet to be any damage done to me). I would not have been able to pet him when I opened the couch. He would not be so comfortable playing with toys that he shows his belly and purrs. At one point today, I was reading to Marius while he crouched on the shelf. He decided it was not safe there, and slunk across the room back behind the couch. In order to do that, he had to walk right in front of me. While it is true he did the “quick kitty slink” I could easily have touched or grabbed him if I wanted to.
I get frustrated because it seems that every time Marius finds himself enjoying something or getting comfortable his outdoor kitty survival senses start tingling and he goes “OH! Wait! I’m so not supposed to like this, let’s run away.” Unfortunately, the only space I currently have to put him in is a larger space that I would like to have him in. Trying to find a way to minimize hiding spots for him or to get a smaller space for him. Right now I am not having luck with either option.
I have faith that Marius will come around with a little patience and a lot of TLC. I just have to find the time and patience to give him all he needs, and a way to get him to stop running from me.
Addendum: I waited to publish this post because I wanted to get a picture of him inside the couch. Fortunately he was no longer in the couch, just behind it. He then ran away and plopped himself on the shelf again, where I proceeded to pique his interest in a Cat Charmer toy. He pounced on it and brought himself to within reaching distance of me. Silly boy, he just can’t quite get past that survival instinct.