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I have a five year old cat, named Binx, which I've had him since birth. I also have two other cats that are his sisters and they are only four years old.

Binx has never really been a cuddly, passionate cat until about two years ago when he started giving all of his attention to my dad. My dad dislikes cats - although he doesn't mind Binx. But Binx loves him! He goes crazy once he gets home from work. He'll follow him around the house, lay on his chest, knead him and purr like crazy.

He doesn't do any of this with me. I feed him and play with him so I always thought he'd be somewhat close to me but he's not. He doesn't care to be around me. He's had crystals for almost his whole life and every time he's gotten them I'm around and I'm the one to take him to the vet, so I'm unsure if he's associating me with these bad moments?

His two sisters, Maisie and Ella, are nothing like him. They love coming around me and are constantly wanting my attention. I'm not sure if maybe he's jealous, but I always give him the same amount of attention I do the others, and he doesn't want it.

I'm at a loss of what to do. I want to be close to him like my dad is. Any tips on what I can do? Or on what I can differently would be very much appreciated!

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  • Cats generally choose one human to bond with, and there isn't much you can do to change their selection without removing that human entirely. Also, multiple cats in a household will tend to pick different humans rather than share. So, what you describe is what I would have expected to happen. – StephenS Jun 20 at 16:26
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Just like humans there's no real guaranteed way to "make" a cat like you and the best time to form the bonds are when they are < 16 weeks old.

You may be right in that the vet trips are a negative association for him, it's believed that cats have an "episodic" memory (https://phys.org/news/2017-01-cat-ways-similar-humans-dogs.html) and this could be a factor here. But to my mind the most likely explanation is the close relationship you have with his sisters. Not necessarily jealously, in my experience jealous cats are more likely to compete with the rival rather than drop out (My birman male will sit at my feet and cry piteously if I pick up his Bengal "sister"!) but more likely that he he sees you as belonging to his sisters and therefore doesn't interfere.

As to how you proceed from here there's no silver bullet and you may never have the relationship with Binx that your father does, all you can do is ensure that you're doing plenty of things to create "good episodes" in his memory and generally being good to him. Depending on his personality and temperament here's some things to try:

  1. Play one-on-one with him (a lot) and make sure you praise and fuss him when he "catches" the toy.

  2. If he's food-motivated bribery can work wonders - make sure he knows you have a treat handy and give him some fuss, then give him the treat and re-affirm the behavior by fussing him immediately afterwards.

  3. Give him plenty of opportunities to smell you, holding your hand still near him and just let him have a sniff then gently stroke him. Given how close you are with the sisters you probably smell of them quite strongly to him, give him a chance to get a good scent of pure "you" by having a shower or bath and then engaging directly with him before the others, if you can get him to sniff your hand in this situation like I described above then, (assuming he will let you ) rub his cheeks, this is where cats secret "their" pheromones from so you'll be covering your fingers in his scent, essentially claiming you for him.

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  • Thank you for the advice! I'll try all those things you mentioned. I would love to give him treats, but I'm unsure of what treats I can give him with his crystals so I haven't been able to give him any. But I will definitely try those other tips. (: – Brianna Apr 13 '17 at 21:07

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