If you’re a new cat parent you may be having a hard time getting your new cat settled in. Worse, if she doesn’t want to be cuddled and runs away the moment you come near her.
Why does my cat run away from me?
Cats are known to be social creatures but they can also be fickle and unpredictable. One minute they’re playful the next minute they’ll suddenly scurry off and run away from you. For any pet parent, this can be discouraging. However, you have to understand that this is just part of normal cat behavior and it doesn’t mean that your pet cat doesn’t like or trust you at all.
Here are the common reasons why your cat takes flight and runs away from you:
1. It’s part of their instinct.
Even domesticated cats still possess the instincts of their ancestors which were wild cats that hunted for prey. Their ancestors are both prey and predators and such instincts of being out of sight during daytime or running at an impressive speed when they encounter a predator are part of your pet cat’s behavior and nature. John Bradshaw, author of the book, “Cat Sense” puts it clearly when he stated that cats evolved from a solitary animal that has never needed any sophisticated social repertoire.
2. She may just want space and some “me” time.
If your cat runs away from you each time you try to pet and cuddle her then don’t take it badly. It doesn’t mean that she doesn’t like or trust you. She may just want some space and alone time. While cats are known to be sociable and affectionate, there are times when they’re better left to their elements. Give her some safe space where she can retreat and bundle up. It could be a blanket, her warm bed, or even an old cardboard box.
3. It depends on your cat’s age.
Kittens tend to be more skittish and flighty compared to mature cats. So, if you just recently adopted a kitten and you notice that she’s always taking off and running away from you then let her be and give her time to get used to you and her surroundings. Being patient has its benefits and in time she’ll become more confident and trusting.
4. She may have experienced abuse or maltreatment in the past.
If your new pet cat is from a local pet shelter or if you adopted a stray cat then a probable reason why she’s aloof and runs away is that she may have experienced abuse or maltreatment from previous owners. Because of her past experiences, she may tend to be fearful and unconfident and as a result, her only refuge is to run away and hide.
Here are some tips on how to care for an abused cat:
- let your pet cat get accustomed to you at her own pace
- make her feel needed and loved
- make sure that she’s well-fed and gets adequate exercise
- give her a safe hiding place
- talk to her in a calm and soothing voice
- give her treats each time she behaves well
- if strangers scare her make sure to protect her from their well-meaning advances
5. Poor socialization when she was still a kitten.
If your cat doesn’t want you to pet her and instead runs off then it could be because she was not properly socialized when she was still a kitten. Cats need to be socialized and introduced to the human touch as early as when they’re just 2 to 7 weeks old. By doing so, they’ll get used to being held and they’ll find it comforting and pleasurable when humans pet them. Still, some cats are too sensitive when it comes to human touch and don’t want to be cuddled, held, or touched.
Here’s what to do if your cat hates to be held or picked up:
- reward her with treats before and after you try to pick her up
- if your cat squirms each time you attempt to hold her then release her at once to make her realize you’re not holding her against her will
- continue to hold and release her and you’ll eventually notice that the interactions will be longer but release her if she squirms and reward her again with catnip or treats
6. She may be sensitive to loud noises or strangers.
Most cats generally don’t like strangers or loud noises so if you have a big and booming voice or there are kids in your house then this may pose a problem for your sensitive cat. You can solve this by trying to lower your voice and speaking in a low tone so you won’t startle and scare off your pet cat. Eventually, your cat will get used to your regular voice although it’s best to always be conscious and to approach your cat by speaking in soft tones.
What to do if your cat keeps on running away from you?
Don’t expect that there’s an easy fix to your dilemma because it will take considerable time and attention before your flighty cat will eventually get used to your presence and be able to acclimatize herself with her new home.
Here are some things that you can do to address the concern:
Create a safe space or area for your pet cat.
Give her a safe space or room where she can be by herself each time she attempts to run away or if there are strangers in your home. This may include a favorite bed, a secluded nook, an old cardboard box, or even a separate room. Place her favorite toys in that room, along with her food and water bowl, and place a Feliway diffuser to calm her down.
Build her confidence and bring out her inner predator streak.
Try to build her confidence by providing her with interactive toys as it will also encourage her to play and socialize with you. Install a cat perch where she can freely climb and jump upon and also place scratching posts at strategic spots. Bring out her inner predator streak by providing toys that challenge her like the fishing rod and wand toys. Activity feeders also challenge a cat and build her confidence.
Just let her be and don’t force the issue.
If she runs away each time you attempt to hold and pet her then let her be and don’t force things as it may end up in aggression. Oftentimes, cats will eventually get used to their surroundings so just be patient and let her be.
If you’re a new pet parent and your cat tends to run away each time you try to hold and pet her then don’t take it badly. Sometimes, it takes a little time and patience to win your cat over. She may just want some space and alone time and it could be just due to her instincts as both prey and predator. Whatever the reason is, see to it that your pet cat is well-cared for and in due time she will start to respond to your loving gestures as well.