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We've had our two year old cat for about 3.5 months. She is a 2.5 year old mother cat that we bought from a breeder, who seemed to treat her well (but more on that later).

The cat is extremely affectionate with my wife and kids. She is also very playful and active. She is a Savanah cat and I understand that these are typical traits of this breed.

She will let me play with her if I have a string with a ball attached to it, or some other cat toy. If I try to feed her, she will reluctantly take the food from me and run away.

However, if she ever sniffs my hand or looks at me closely she'll stop what she's doing, hiss, and swat at me. I feel like it's something about my smell because I can often pet her (briefly) if I am wearing a glove, or wrapping my hand in my wife's shirt.

I'm sad and disappointed that our new cat hates me. I have a theory, but no proof, that the partner of the previous owner did not treat the cat well. Maybe he shoved and hit the cat when it got in the way. And maybe I smell or look like him.

My question is: what can I do to get the cat to treat me like she treats the other members of my family?

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Cats are picky creatures, and it's always a disappointment when one takes a long time to warm up to you. But don't give up! It's possible she had known another male who mistreated her, so she's very wary of you. Just be patient with her and keep trying.

You're doing a lot of things right, by playing with her at a distance, and continuing to attempt to feed her. Partner up with a family member she likes, or join them when they're playing and snuggling the cat, so she sees they're comfortable around you too. Deeps voices are a defining male feature, so talk with her a lot, especially if you're unable to directly interact. Cats are very responsive to voices (even if they like to ignore them all the time, haha).

But really, the key here is patience and love. Keep treating her well, and, as hard as it might be, just give it time. You haven't had her for very long, so she's still in her adjustment period. Best of luck!

  • Thanks a lot! I appreciate your suggestions. I'll keep on trying and be more patient. – Andrew Eisenberg Apr 16 at 23:39
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    +1 It would also be a good idea for you to do all of the feeding for a while, to help the cat build better associations. – mhwombat Apr 17 at 18:46
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    And now 6 weeks later, I've been following all this advice and our cat has finally warmed up to me. She is currently sitting with me and letting me pet her. It's been a slow process and little by little she has changed her attitude towards me. Thanks for your help. – Andrew Eisenberg May 22 at 17:12
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    @AndrewEisenberg so happy to hear it! Kitties can take some work, but it’s always worth the effort. – Gwendolyn May 22 at 17:25

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