My Kitten Isn't Interested in Me

CatChannel behavior expert Marilyn Krieger discusses ways to bond and interact with your kitten.

By Marilyn Krieger | Posted: March 5, 2010, 3 a.m. EST

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Q: I just adopted a 4-month-old female Egyptian Mau kitten. She is not afraid of anyone or anything. She doesn't pay any attention to me, doesn’t want to be picked up and will not sit in my lap. She also does not come to me when I extend a hand and make invitation noises. I know she has been around humans and is very comfortable with anyone, but the lack of bonding is causing me concern.
What can I do to make her want more personal interaction with me?

A: Egyptian Maus are extremely intelligent, active and inquisitive cats. Couple that with kittenhood, and you have a youngster with her own agenda, a highly ambitious kitten who is fascinated by everything new in her environment. Sitting on laps and being stroked isn’t as adventurous as climbing and exploring.

You can help strengthen her bond with you by influencing her to see you as the provider of everything fun, good and delicious. Whenever you are together in the same room, give her one of her favorite treats so that she associates you with delicious food. Play with her frequently during the day, using a fishing pole toy in a way that imitates the hunt. Pretend that the toy on the end of the pole is prey. After a lively chase, slow the toy down, imitating prey that has become tired and has been wounded. (Play it safe, and always supervise your kitten around those kinds of toys. When not using the pole toys, put them out of your kitten’s reach.) Finally let your kitten catch the toy one last time and then immediately feed her something she loves. She will eat, groom and then go to sleep. After the excitement of the chase and a good meal, she will probably acquiesce to some petting and loving.

Another successful activity for helping to change your kitten’s view of you is clicker training. Clicker training challenges your kitten and is fun for both of you, It will also focus her on particular activities and will build and strengthen the bonds between you.

Be patient and keep working with her, every day engaging her in activities that she loves to do. She’s a perfect little cat, even though she doesn’t appear to be bonding with you as quickly as you would like. She will eventually settle down and view you as her main person.  


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Reader Comments

Leigh    Rochester, MI

3/9/2010 11:19:52 AM

Itmight be my particular energy - all fire - but I've never had a kitten "bond" with me. It usually takes 5 years before they want to sit in my lap, cuddle, etc. because perhaps I choose very curious, lively kittens. At any rate, once they do settle down, they're extremely loving and devoted. Patience and participation in whatever your kitten is most intereted in is the key. One of mine is a little ball of fire. I know she loves me, but she doesn't want to sit in my lap. I do pick her up every single day to give her her vitamins, and she has come to love brushing. We play with Dabird for 50 minutes every night. She also cries for kisses whenever she sees me, so I'm betting she will turn into a lap cat when she's ready.

Cathy    Hubbard, OH

3/9/2010 5:15:09 AM

Great advice. Kittens don't follow an agenda. I also would look for my kitties while they were sleeping and pick them up and put them in my lap and rub them. This also bonds them. When they are up and playing, they don't want to worry about a lap or pets.

M    O, KS

3/8/2010 9:45:44 PM


Anon    City, CA

3/8/2010 7:30:13 PM

Good article.

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