Why is my indoor cat mean?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – I have a 2 year black and white tuxedo kitty – Oreo – she is now 2 years old. I have had her since she was 6 weeks old (momma was killed but the babies were almost weaned but on kitty food). She was spayed and declawed at 2 months old. I was off work at the time so I got to spend a lot of time with her. I also have 3 other cats – Monte – a Maine coon who was 2 yrs old, Heidi – 3 yrs old and Dimitri – 4 yrs old – they all got along well – still do – yet, nobody can love, hold, even look at Oreo – she hisses and growls. My cats are all spoiled and it breaks my heart that I cannot hold this baby. Oreo’s siblings are outside cats and lovers – mine is an indoor kitty. Is she psycho or what? How can I break her to be a lover?


Pam Meyer


Hi – thanks for your email Pam. You asked an excellent question. You wrote that you have an indoor cat named Oreo that is 2-years-old and you have had her since he was 6-weeks-old. She hisses and growls and doesn’t want to be held. I’m sorry to hear this. I know how frustrating that can be. You give them all the love, nurturing, etc and it is possible to end up with a cat that is not affectionate.

The same thing can happen with dogs or children. I’ve seen dogs raised in the most loving of homes be aggressive. I’ve seen great parents have a kid that is very difficult.

Anyway – I understand. I think this is very difficult to understand. You think you did all the right things and she is aloof. I think some of this is genetic. I had the same thing happen to me. I took in a cat that was about 5-weeks-old – and this cat only was given tons of love. She was a cute kitten. Never traumatized. She had (has) a wonderful life. But she is afraid of EVERYTHING. It is quite sad. She doesn’t want to be held – she is not that affectionate.

Time may does make a difference for many cats – I’ve seen many cats that are aloof or unaffectionate early in their lives make lovely cats when they are older (even 7 to 8 years old).

I do have an article that talks a bit about this – how to make a cat into a “lap” cat. It may have some tips that will help you. Go to: How to Convert Your Reclusive Cat to a Cuddly Lap Kitty.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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