Adopted a Female Cat Over a Year Ago, and She Still Won't Come Up to Me

by Ren

I adopted a female cat a year ago from a shelter. She had two kittens in the shelter, which were adopted right away, just leaving her in there alone for over a week before I adopted her.

I have moved three times in the last year, so that might have added to her unease with me. I have a two year old male cat in the house also, and she loves him. They have been playing/sleeping together since day one. The male cat loves me, and sleeps with me sometimes but she will not come near me. She comes close to me, but just outside of my arm reach, and she will rub on things and coo and purr like she wants to be petted. But the second I go to move toward her to pet her, she runs away.

I have tried coaxing her with treats, but she is uncomfortable around me always. I have to place the treat on the carpet, and move back far enough before she will even sniff the treat. What can I do? Should I just be patient and hope she will come around eventually?

Reply from Liz (Editor): It's always difficult when you adopt an adult cat from a shelter, because you have very little idea (in many cases) of what's happened to them beforehand. They may have been very badly treated or traumatized by something / someone, and their bad experiences can be deeply embedded in their psyche and therefore very hard to overcome.

Is the cat wary of all humans? Do you know anything of her background? It's possible she was a feral kitten so is now just wary of humans as a result.

Is she the same with everyone else or is there anyone she seems more relaxed with than you? The reason I ask is if she was badly treated by a woman in the past, you may find she's wary of women but better with men (for example).

It can take a very long time to get a cat to be comfortable around people if they've been feral and / or had some bad experiences. However it sounds like you're doing all the right things. This page gives advice on feral kittens but you can use the same suggestions on your cat which may help:

Taming a Feral Kitten

It sounds to me like she's very settled and happy overall - it's great that she gets on so well with your male cat. She may become more friendly over time or it may be that she'll never be a cuddly cat, but the main thing is she's got a loving home where she's happy and safe.

Best of luck and thank you for your question.

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