As I have become less of a social hermit, it has become hard on Lord Phaedrus to cope.
Backing up, Phaedrus is a rescue. He was in pretty rotten shape when I got him. He had more behavioral problems than I could identify, was being kept in a small cage, and was so pest-ridden I was pretty grossed out. He was a pet store cat that had been returned multiple times for being 'too aggressive' and having ear mites. The pet store was fairly resigned to never getting rid of him.
Being contrary, I decided he was the best cat ever. At this point, the emaciated bundle of matted fur, teeth, and claws fit in one hand. I didn't really know he was going to break 20 pounds when he was an adult, but these things happen.
I have scars on my arms from working with him for that first year. I think my major failing there was I was living alone. So while Phae adjusted to me and got horrifyingly attached once he realized I wasn't buggering off like the last few humans, he did not get exposure to other people.
My house mates later got referred to as 'blood donors' every now and then. Phae isn't aggressive so much as he will still become anxious and frightened around people and strikes out. He has gotten used to djkc
, and has a few other humans he adores as they have been around on and off since he came home with me, but this new habit of mine of inviting people over has him twitchy as hell. He growls when people get too close, he strikes, he huddles in his cat bed defensively. He is going on 8 years old- an odd time to be working at socializing a cat.
The worst part is he is an extremely social cat with the people he is familiar with. He is not innately aggressive. Just understandably scared of new people (you may have had to see him when I got him to understand this one, but use your imagination). His posture becomes submissive after he has stuck at someone. Hell, it is pretty submissive even as he growls and hisses. And then he looks to me for reassurance and it is very hard to work with socializing him as it makes him so damn unhappy.
But it will make everyone happy in the end. So we keep at it, and he keeps curling up with me at night and grooming my head and face at odd hours of the morning, so we really do forgive each other all the indignities and discomforts we put each other through.
I am so lucky to have understanding, animal-accepting friends who don't hate him for the random scratches, bites, and rumbling warnings. They keep trying with him, and I think that is what will help him most in the end.