My cat Boogie is a space cat. I’d gotten Boogie from a farm when she was approximately six weeks of age. On the farm, she lived as an outdoor cat. After adopting her, I kept her indoors.
After several weeks of raising Boogie, I noticed she wouldn’t venture into my space and when I attempted to enter her space, by picking her up, she would jump and jerk as if she’d fallen into a cactus patch. She would have nothing to do with human touch. She continued to grow for a period of time — staying in her space.
Although she stayed to herself most of the time– as she grew, she loved being active. She was extremely agile; she loved to jump, leap in the air, and have fun; in fact she’d create her own fun if no one played with her; she just didn’t want human contact — being touched.
Boogie wasn’t my first cat. I’d raised several adopted kittens in my life time, but I never experienced their nature to be distant as boogies. Unlike Boogie — my other cats liked being rubbed, held and brushed as kittens; they liked sleeping on my bed and jumping on my lap. They welcomed affection.
Boogie was a baby kitten when I adopted her, so I didn’t think she’d been abused or mistreated in anyway. Even though I didn’t understand why she was so distant, I accepted her behavior as just being her nature and simply observed her being herself in her space
After about six months of Boogie staying in her space, and getting used to her environment, I started strategizing regarding how I could get her to warm up to me. So, I went out and purchased toys that would enable me to actively interact with her. I got a couple balls, and one of those Go Cat Feather Toys that has a long feathery string with a gadget at the end that entices cats to run after it. From day one, Boogie was hooked on that toy. Honestly, whenever she would chase the fish at the end of the string, Boogie was flying in mid air! Oh my goodness — she loved that toy and so did I! That was the one activity that started drawing Boogie closer to me — that, and my personality. I don’t think she knew what to make of me; I was having as much fun as she was!!
Every day she would sit in front of me and stir in the direction of the toy, indicating that she wanted to play. She was finally warming up to me; I think she liked me.
Another strategy I tried with Boogie was: I’d sit on the bed, pat a spot and say “come on, come on girl.” I’d do the same thing when I was sitting on the sofa or chair; of course my efforts went unacknowledged — or, so I thought, since I saw no evidence that my promptings were having any affect on boogie. But, to my surprise, one day, she snuck up on my bed and lay beside me. I was stunned– yet pleased. It was like witnessing a baby’s first steps and being “so” elated! But, as soon as I gently lay my hand upon her, she sprung off the bed rapidly. I just couldn’t grasp her rejection of human touch.
Sneaking up on my bed and laying next to me, became her tactic for quite a while; I learned not to touch her and simple allowed her to approach me on her own terms; when she did sneak up on my bed I’d just let her lay there. Eventually, she allowed me to rub her and she felt comfortable remaining in that spot. Finally– she wanted to be near me.
It took Boogie an entire year to lie next to me on my bed. Even after a year, it doesn’t happen on a regular bases– Boogie still keeps her distance most of the time, and never has she slept on my bed or in my room after I retire for the night. To this day (she’s two years of age at present) the only thing she jumps up on is my bed. She never jumps on my lap or any other piece of furniture that I’m sitting on.
Boogie has allowed me to get close enough to her to teach her how to shake hands and play peek-a-boo. She’s learned to play peek-a-boo with me by mimicking my behavior. And, she does allow me to pick her up for a few moments. The most time I spend with boogie is when I let her chase that toy around — she never tires of it.
I can’t be certain, but I think being a farm cat might have attributed to Boogie being so distant; roaming around freely unhindered by people. However, she’s had plenty of time to adjust to her new environment and me, but she continues to be a space cat.
It’s been quite an experience having a cat that enjoys having her space and really doesn’t want to give or receive affection. Boogie is great at playing, but once the fun is over she’s off to herself. She’s different, but I’ve learned to love– my space cat.