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My cat, which I adopted with my girlfriend, does not recognise me anymore after I came back from a two week holiday. Everytime it is near me, it starts running away.

After spending so much time with it, it is quite disheartening. I don't want to entice it with food, as it is teaching it the wrong values. What should I do?

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Cats have long memories, so I'm sure it does still recognise you. My guess is that it was upset that you were gone, and has associated that unhappiness with you. It may not seem entirely logical, but then humans aren't always logical either.

Feel free to entice it with food. You're not teaching it wrong values, you're helping it replace a sad memory with a happy one. Whatever you did the first time around to bond with it, you can do again. It shouldn't take long to re-establish your bond.

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Cats can carry a grudge for a few days. After that, they start to forget what they were mad about. Like most of us.

My girlfriend's cat very explicitly snubs her for several days after she comes home from a trip-- even though there are other people in the house, "My Human was bad and left me alone for the weekend."

If the cat didn't know you very well -- and especially if you smell different for some reason -- you may need to go through the exercise of making friends again. It should go faster this time. (And even if it remembers you well, a bit of bribery helps soothe hurt feelings.)

Meanwhile the standard rules apply. Let the cat come to you when it's ready; don't chase it, don't stare. Try not to move too quickly/suddenly. Sitting still for a while -- with a book, perhaps, or TV, or just chatting/cuddling with your girlfriend -- is less threatening than standing up or moving around,and lets the cat decide how close to approach when.

If your girlfriend is still on the cat's approved list, and the cat is being held by her, you may be able to come over and pet it a bit without complaint; that both makes the cat feel a bit more protected and gives it an even better chance to try to make you jealous by making a fuss over the other human.

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