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Home » The Vine

The Vine: December 10, 2008

Submitted by on December 10, 2008 – 1:23 PM57 Comments

O mighty Sars, wise in the ways of weirdo cats;

My boyfriend is fostering, and thinking about adopting, a 9-year-old female cat, Ava.Ava was at first grumpy and grouchy, but after about 6 weeks seems to have adjusted well — she follows my boyfriend around and says hello when he comes home.

But even when following him around, she pretends she isn't — it is obvious that she needs him and his attention, but doesn't want to admit it.She also seems completely unschooled in how to give physical affection.She will awkwardly jump onto my boyfriend's lap, realize that balancing on someone's legs is hard, and then, instead of lying down, she will jump/fall off.She does seem more comfortable with me, but still won't settle down in my lap.

We don't know Ava's history, but while she is quiet and well-behaved, and purrs enough that we are sure she is happy, she doesn't seem to have been loved very much.My intuition is that this is not a personality issue, but rather one of no experience — she doesn't know how to snuggle with people.

Now the questions, for you and your readers — can we train Ava to be more comfortable giving affection, especially physical affection?Is there some kind of hugging therapy for cats who don't know how to snuggle?Are there body language issues we need to be aware of?

My boyfriend would love a cat he can cuddle with, rather than one who pathetically needs him but doesn't engage in much physical contact.If there is any way to get Ava to happily sit in his lap while he reads, he'd be over the moon.


I've only had dogs; this is all new to me

Dear Dogs,

Your boyfriend could ask his vet for a recommendation — "exercises" or things he could do at home, or a cat behaviorist he could call to work on these things.Ava will let you know if she's not into it, belieeeeeve me (lowered, switching tail; flattened ears; the usual), but you can work on acclimating even feral cats to human touch, and Ava isn't feral; she's just new to the whole lap-cat thing.

But your BF should keep in mind also that cats do have distinct personalities, and not all of them like lap time or cuddles.Hobey is a lot like Ava — likes to be close to me, does not care to be on me.Next to me on the couch is fine for him; he never gets onto my lap, and by now I know that moving him thereto is futile.He'll wait for me to lift my hands and then jump right down.

Which is fine, because there's never any extra room in my lap anyway: Joe would surgically attach himself to me if he had the means, because he's needy.Every cat is different, and you can't guarantee that any cat you get, even as a kitten, will become a postcardly ball of lap fuzz.

I'd call the vet to seeif she can offer any tips, and from there, just give Ava time.

Dear Sars,

I have a weird etiquette sort of question I'm not sure there's a solution to, but maybe you and the readers could help me out.

About six months ago, I was hit by a car while riding my bike to work. It wasn't a bad accident, just a broken collarbone and some cuts and bruises (like, really big bruises. Wow.) but I have no memory of the accident or the immediate aftermath. I do have hazy recollections of waking up on the ground, thinking I was dreaming, with a woman next to me telling me I had been hit by a car but was going to be okay. Then nothing until I was already in the ambulance on my way to the hospital.

A few days after I was discharged, I was digging through the bag of my stuff they'd sent home with me, cracked helmet, clothes, etc., and I found a woman's brown corduroy jacket. Clearly, she'd covered me with her coat while waiting for help to arrive, and it had gone with me to the hospital.

This woman was not the person who hit me, but the police report lists no witnesses to the accident, and I believe the officer who took the report arrived on the scene after the paramedics had already loaded me up. In other words, I have no idea who this woman is, or how to get her coat back to her.

In the meantime, it's hanging in my closet as a periodic reminder of this stranger's kindness but also that there doesn't seem to be a way to repay it. I can certainly get in touch with the police department to see if they still have her info, but I have a suspicion that if it's not in the report, the police will have no record of it.

My question in this case is, what do I do with the coat? I've considered donating it to charity, but that seems rude somehow. Wearing it (it's not my size, so that's not really a possibility anyway) feels tacky, selling it obviously unethical. I'm very, very grateful to this woman for stopping to help me out while I was lying unconscious in the street and wish I could thank her for it. However, in the event that I can't, keeping the coat as some sort of "souvenir" feels weird — the accident wasn't all that traumatic, so it's not like I hate being reminded of it, but neither do I see me taking out the coat and telling my grandchildren about this particular momentous occasion in my history (after all, if it's the worst thing that happens in our lives, my husband and I will be really lucky).

So, any thoughts? Should I give it a little more time, advertise that I'm looking for this woman on Craigslist or something and see what happens? Donate it to the Goodwill? Leave it hanging in my closet indefinitely? Or is there something I haven't thought of?

I Think I Told The Paramedics That The President Was "Fuckin' Bush"

Dear I Told Them The Same Thing — And They Didn't Even Ask Me,

Phone up the police precinct and ask if they got a name or any witness information about the woman; it sounds like they didn't, and it could take some time for them to address the request (i.e. you may have to sit on hold, or make the call a few times), but it's worth a try.

Failing that, post everything you just told me on Craigslist in the Missed Connections section and see what turns up.You never know, maybe she or a friend of hers reads TN and she'll surface that way — it happens on occasion.

Re-post the ad a few times to give it some time to penetrate; if you haven't gotten any nibbles after a month, and the cops can't tell you anything, donate the coat to Goodwill.You'll have done everything you can do, and if she cared that much about it, she'd have tracked you down herself.

Dear Sars —

I recently got a Facebook friend request from a guy I went to college with 30+ years ago.He's come through some rough times, apparently, and is reconnecting with several old friends (which I know because he's contacted mutual acquaintances on Facebook).I still feel close to some of those people, though our lives have diverged and we rarely see (or even e-mail) each other these days.His e-mail to me referenced a play we had both been involved in.What bothers me is that I can't decide whether to respond to the e-mail or not.

I've tried ignoring it, but seem to have some unfinished business with him, which is:after the cast party for the play, I helped him transport a passed-out friend to his house, and after the friend was safely ensconced on his couch, he proceeded to rape me — if "not taking no for an answer" is rape — which it is.He was much bigger and stronger, but at no time in the process did I fear for my safety.It just became clear to me that I wasn't going to get out of there until we had sex.I hate drama and will do just about anything to avoid a scene.So after a prolonged wrestling match I bowed to the inevitable…

…and as far as I can recall, we never spoke again.I walked home, and do remember the next day he brought me an earring I'd left at his house, but we never talked about what happened.

And, actually, I didn't experience it as a huge trauma.Never felt the need to seek therapy for it, confront him about it, etc.Also, I have never told anyone about the experience, so that's a bit of a red flag, neh?(And, perhaps this is related, in the sense that if I'd dealt with it then I wouldn't have been so vulnerable later, but I was date-raped five years later, which was traumatic, had long-term repercussions, and for which I did seek therapy — but at this point I don't recall ever discussing the first experience with my therapist.It's kinda like, compared to the second rape, the first was no big deal, and compared to the horrific experiences of some women, even my second rape was nothing to make a fuss about…)

So, yeah, this has brought up my unresolved feelings about, not the rape so much, but my tendency to minimize, to make nice, to shoulder all the responsibility for my own problems because I prefer that to whining that someone else let me down.Perhaps it's time to resume therapy, but I'd really rather spend the money on other things.I'm afraid this is just part of my personality that is not going to change, so what's the point…

But back to the question of my response to the e-mail.I'm not at ease with my decision to ignore it, but I don't know what I do want to do.I do think it's important to make peace, but in an unacknowledged conflict that was over 30+ years ago?This whole issue is reminding me of a Vine I can't seem to find — someone asked about contacting a guy who'd been interested in her and whom she'd blown off, in order to mend fences, feel less guilty about the way she'd acted, etc., but was concerned the ex would interpret the contact as an attempt to re-establish the relationship.Your advice was to let it lie — that the personal payoff of guilt relief wasn't worth the potential pain it could cause the other person.

So it's not quite the same thing; he's contacted me, I don't want to re-establish anything, but I can envision meeting him at some function now that he's socializing in the area, and that would be much more awkward than letting him know via e-mail that yes, I do remember him, but not fondly.By not responding, am I continuing to minimize what was possibly a more traumatic experience than I've previously acknowledged to myself, am I abdicating my responsibility to make sure he's aware that what he did was wrong, or is it a mature choice to leave behind an experience that has nothing to do with my current life?

I Remember What You Did That Summer

Dear Summer,

I don't see you having a "responsibility" to do anything but what makes you comfortable…but the idea of causing awkwardness with your decision makes you un-comfortable.So I have to ask: awkwardness for whom?If you run into the guy at some future time and you didn't friend him on Facebook, who's it awkward for?

If it's awkward for you, you can handle it; just excuse yourself from whatever small-talk situation it is as soon as you gracefully can, and go speak with someone else.If it's awkward for him, well, he can handle it to, and that's his committee, not yours.It's awkwardness; it never killed anybody and it's over in five minutes.And if he takes from that that you're not interested in being his friend, well, that's the truth of it and you don't owe him any different.

As far as your minimizing the trauma itself…I don't really know what to tell you.Maybe it brought up horrible, ugly feelings that you didn't share in this letter, and yeah, maybe you should have mentioned the assault to your previous therapist, but you seem more irritated than depressed or traumatized, at least to me, and while it's possible that you're in denial about its effect on you, the salient point is that you think "it's important to make peace."Why?You were perfectly happy without this guy in yourlife, knowing anything about him, etc. — why do you have to make peace?

Why would you feel obligated to put this guy at ease even if he hadn't raped you?You don't know him, really.You were perfectly happy not knowing him, or anything about his life.You aren't friends; you never were.It's not up to you to get him through this rough patch with the belief that he's got a friend in you — he doesn't.He's got himself to thank for that.Too bad, so sad.

Not everyone has to be friends, or feel comfortable; it would be nice, but that's not how life goes, and friendships and comfort should not consistently come before your own peace of mind.If what you want from the situation is to not friend him and to not deal with him, then do that; you don't owe him, or anyone else, an explanation.You don't have to make nice to everyone; you don't have to get closure on every event in your life just because popular culture tells you do; you don't have to confront the guy if you've already moved on.For that matter, you don't have to ignore the friend request on my say-so.

My point: chuck out "should."Look at "want."See if there's a middle way between the two things, and if there isn't, don't automatically pick "should."But I'd ignore the friend request, think about maybe taking a couple of counseling sessions or journaling just to check in with yourself, and in a few weeks this will most likely have receded back to the non-issue you considered it before –and if it hasn't, you can deal with it then.

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  • Bisskitt says:

    My Mom has always said that there are "lap cats" and then there are "sit next to you cats". I had one of the latter for 17 years. "Next to yous" tend to be less needy which can be a good thing. They tend to be just fine if you leave them all day while you are at work – no acting out or punishing behavior.

  • meltina says:

    Heh. Hobey sounds like my older cat. Boris will rub himself all over you, walk on you if you're lying down or sit by your shoulder on the couch, but refuses to be on laps unless you have been gone for days, in which case he is shamelessly loving the day you get back, and ashamed of it the next. He's the one kitty that has to be in the same room with you, and must sleep at your feet in bed. In that respect, some cats are needy but not necessarily lap oriented. Perhaps Ava is the same way.

    With Boris, he really enjoys being loved on when he steals your warm spot off a couch or bed, or if he's nestled at the top of our cat tree. The rest of the time, he pretty much has to initiate and guide the level of interaction, or else he gets freaked out and avoids you (while still not straying more than three feet away, the goofball). But being a little furry shadow is how he shows his love, and I sort of had to accept and take comfort in that.

  • Heqit says:


    I too have a cat who likes to follow me around and wants affection, but can't seem to handle the whole balancing-on-legs thing. I solved the problem by putting a pillow in my lap whenever I'm sitting on the couch reading and would like some feline company. Just a little square throw pillow, kind of flat, about 12 inches to a side. Kitty very happily jumps up on my lap, is more comfortable balancing on the even pillow surface than on my legs, and curls right up, purring mightily. It's lovely. I don't know if it would work for Ava, but it's cheap and easy worth a shot.

    I second Sars's advice of giving her time, too. When I adopted my cat from the shelter, he spent most of his first six weeks under my bed. I've had him for 5 years, and now he's the snuggliest, most affectionate cat ever. Props to your boyfriend (and you) for sheltering and adopting!

  • Chrissy says:

    I have two thoughts for the cyclist — first, you could donate the jacket to a "coats for kids" program in your area. We have a local tv station that runs a coat drive every year, and that's more direct spreading of the warmth than simply giving it to goodwill.

    Second, if you really want to track the lady down, call your local newspaper lifestyles reporter. Pitch this story. It's christmastime and this is the kind of feel-good story reporters love. It could be a short piece on the kindness of a stranger in a brown courduroy jacket. Heck, I'd read it. She may, too. And think of it this way — she may be somewhere having a similar conversation with her girlfirends — "I used my favorite jacket to cover her up with and now it's gone. I feel bad calling the police to get her number, then calling her up and asking for it back."

  • Lily says:

    Dogs: How about a blanket over the boyfriend's lap? I've had cats that would not settle down on legs and seemed standoffish, but if I put a blanket (or skirt, although that's probably not an option for the boyfriend) down over my legs = instant cat magnet. Might work for Ava as far as the balancing act goes.

    Summer: There's no rule that says that you have to add anyone as a friend on Facebook. If you decide you're not comfortable opening a channel to old history, then don't.

  • Brigdh says:

    I have a cat like that. She does the same thing- will sometimes stand on my lap, or walk across it, but she doesn't sit. Had her since she was a tiny kitten, and there's no trauma in her life, but she just does not like laps. She will sit on the back of the couch and eat my hair, or follow me around and headbutt me, but not laps.

    Occasionally, she'll lie down if there's a blanket or other covering material across my legs, so you could try that.

  • Kara says:

    I Told the Paramedics-

    I once experienced a similar situation from the opposite perspective. I met a woman on a cross country flight who was traveling alone with two small children. I was traveling with my kids who were of similar ages to hers and so we started to chat. She mentioned that her youngest had been ill, but that he was feeling much better. Well…30 minutes into the flight the poor kid was screaming his head off and having explosive diarrhea. The kid was clearly in agony and over the next five hours he "sullied" his clothes, the blanket his mother had wrapped him in, and his mother's jeans. I never get on a plane without at least one change of clothes for each of my kids, so along with much sympathy, and nearly all the extra wipes and diapers I had I offered her a pair of my son's pants. It was February and we were going to land in Boston so I figured at least the child wouldn't freeze.

    I knew I'd probably never see the pants again, but I didn't really care. In light of the mini-hell that she was dealing with I figured that if a pair of pants helped ease the burden, well, great. It was also very easy to put myself in her place and to do what I hoped some one would do for me. I suspect that the woman who helped you felt the same way. Do your due diligence to return the coat and then let it go. Maybe consider making a donation to Coat for Kids as a way of saying "Thanks." Good luck.

  • Margaret in CO says:

    Dogs: One of my cats was feral, and even after five years with me, she WILL NOT BE HELD. If I sit still, she will climb up & sleep in my lap, and I can bend over her & wrap my arms around her & smooch on her face when she's on the bed, but if I pick her up, she panics & leaps away. But we get closer to it all the time…she accepts more affection as time passes. It took her over a year to purr (OMG, she's so LOUD! And CHIRPY! I cried!) so I have hopes about the holding thing. Be careful what you wish for…when Ava's standing on your chest with her butt in your face, kneading your stomach, you'll see! Good luck, and thanks for being so cool about the extra effort. Ava's worth it!
    I Told Them: I'm sure that when this Good Samaritan saw you being loaded into the ambulance she said goodbye to that jacket – it was worth more to her for you to have its comfort than for her to have its warmth. If I were you I'd donate the jacket & 3 more to a charity – the lovely woman's jacket because what else are you going to do with it? And the three more to pay it forward, to offer that freely-given warmth & comfort to three more people who need it. Then you can feel awesome about the whole thing!
    Summer, you're awesome. So calm, cool & collected. Take Sars' advice & see where you are with it in a week or two. If you find you're feeling vengeful, call me for ideas! (I love to pay it forward, but I'm not above a payback, either! Grr!)

  • mctwin says:

    To Accidental Tourist:

    I'm glad to hear that you are on the mend and weren't gravely injured.

    You could also try putting up a flyer in the immediate area asking the "kind woman with the brown coat who helped me after my accident, blah, blah, blah" to contact you at such and such non-identifiable email or cell phone. She might frequent the area and, since she stopped, is probably a pedestrian. She'll think about your accident every time she passes that corner and might just notice a flyer on the telephone pole referencing the event.

    My sister still has the bandanna a passing trucker used on her wound after a traffic accident over 20 years ago!

    Best wishes.

  • Lisa says:

    Regarding Ava the cat– I suggest putting a throw blanket or some other cuddly material on your lap when you want Ava to sit and cuddle. My cat would only sit on my lap when I had something covering my legs. Now, after a few years, she will sit on my lap if I am wearing pants, etc. But I think the blanket originally gave her something to grab onto and it was also more comfortable for her.

  • Amy K. says:

    Huge Kudos to Dog's boyfriend for taking care of Ava! So many cats that age have trouble finding homes.

    I have had Harley, who sounds like he has several things in common with Hobey (orange, fat, opinionated) for four years. When I first got him, I thought I'd made a mistake adopting him. He'd been found on the street (but was neutered so must not have always been feral), and he just wasn't interested in being picked up, snuggled, or even in pats or much playing.

    Four years later, I can't even believe it is the same cat. He is the sweetest, best kitty. He sleeps at the foot of my bed, likes to be in the same room with me most of the time (even when I am taking a shower), and enjoys being picked up for occasional "cuddle therapy" sessions. (Or at least he tolerates them patiently.) He sits on my lap about once a week and it is very special.

    It took a good year to get to this point, though. Does your boyfriend have any other cats? I did not notice a big difference in Harley until he spent some time with a kitten who was determined to be his friend and would not take no for an answer where snuggling was concerned.

    So, it might take Ava some time, but she should come around to being comfortable with affection in her own way. Not all cats are lap cats, but once you guys get to know Ava, I'll bet you'll all learn how to spend some good quality snuggle time together. It just might mean she is on the arm of his chair while he reads, rather than in his lap…

    Oh–you might also be able to trick her. If there's a blanket or pillow she likes, he could try putting that on his lap. She may not realize he's under there!

  • penguinlady says:

    For Dogs – None of my three cats are lap-cats, but one is starting to become one (after 6 years). There's a particular chair she likes, and when my husband or I sit in it, she will start walking on us and will eventually sit on us. Give Ava some more time. She may still be acclimating to her new surroundings.

  • Alie says:

    Hell, I've rejected friends from high school on FB just for listing Anne Coulter as one of their favorite authors.

    A dude who made me have sex with him? Fuck. He can feel awkward–Summer, you didn't do anything wrong then, you won't be doing anything wrong if you rejects his internet friendship. If you see him at some event and begin to feel awkward (which makes me panicky), just remind yourself that he's the one that did something wrong, he's the one that's responsible for your awkward feelings, he's the one that should be feeling the awkwardness, not you. Also, walking away is always a solution to seeing crap people from your past.

  • Krissa says:

    I second the suggestion of a blanket or pillow for Ava – but I would try it out next to Boyfriend on the couch. Less pressure for kitty, still close enough for cuddles.
    My cat only jumps on my "lap" when I am on the toilet. I don't normally consider that an acceptable perchable surface, exactly, but I think she knows I'm a captive audience, at that point. Other than that, she cannot abide being held, but will follow me around meowing all the livelong day in search of just one more good ear scratch. Lap cat and affectionate cat are not mutually exclusive. :)

  • Hollie says:

    Re: Ava, I second the time thing. I've rescued a number of cats, helped friends with cats, worked in shelters, etc., and the fact that she already seems to have a tendency toward connecting and being affectionate is a good sign. Actually, I've found this to be one of the most rewarding parts of rescues – just watching them evolve and learn to settle in and trust. The key is just to connect yourself with as many pleasant experiences as possible and, for the beginning, as few negative ones as possible – pet her while she's eating, napping, being brushed, anything she likes. And end things on a good note. If you pick her up, put her down fairly quickly at first; try not to wait until she starts to get agitated or struggle. But, like others have said here, sometimes as much as two years later I still see progress, so it's definitely a waiting game, and cats are much better at waiting!

  • Anne says:

    Ava might become more of a lap cat as she ages. My cat wasn't very affectionate until he hit middle age, between 10 and 12 years. Now he's sort of like a furry lap remora.

  • Katie says:

    My roommate's cat is not a lap cat. If she thinks she will be fed soon, she tolerates being held by a standing person. We are working on picking her up and sitting down; I often give her little treats when I'm holding her so she associates being held with treats. In the long run though, I know I may not change her behavior, and am working on changing my expectations of what constitutes satisfying interactions (we have a great time playing; she loves jumping at toys suspending to a bit of string).

  • Arlene says:

    @ Krissa, My cats have learned the toilet trick too, but instead of hopping on my lap, they'll use the opportunity to do something destructive–like bat my earring tree off the dresser, say–because they know I'm stuck and can't get up to stop them.

  • Kristen says:

    Just sharing another cats-are-weird, just go with story… I had a cat who refused to sit on my lap, but was perfectly content to be held, as long as I was standing up. If I sat down while holding him, he would jump out of my arms immediately. If I stood up, he would hang out there until my arms fell off (he was a big cat). I just accepted that it is his weird personality trait. I have plenty of my own, so I understand.

  • Liz says:

    We have two cats. One apparently believes that any waking human exists solely to rub his tummy and ears, preferably at the same time.

    The other one, adopted as a kitten and never traumatized, has acquired the nickname "Proximity Cat". She loves to sit next to us, and to visit with a brief hop up on lap (if sitting) or sternum (if lying), but not to be stroked or snuggled. She'll get up and leave if you pet her. But she is relaxed and happy sitting six inches away, so it's not that she's scared or nervous, she just doesn't like that much physical contact.

    I will note that Proximity Cat initially loved my husband much more than me for some inexplicable reason (although the no-petting issue pertains to both of us), so I have been deliberately wooing her by giving her treats when she hops up next to me and sticks around, and by having a set session of laser-pointer play every night. Now she associates me with good things happening, so she comes over to visit a lot more than she used to. Something like this might help your cat as well.

  • Em says:

    Re Dogs: One of my cats has always been semi-standoffish. He was found by Anti-Cruelty on the street at 6 months, and adopted by me shortly thereafter, and for a long time was not at all affectionate beyond enjoying the occasional belly rub. He's now much more social, but it took 4 years for that change to occur, and even now, he's not a lap cat except with very specific people. His idea of being sweet now is to jump on me in bed and start kneading my spleen.

    Basically, I think with adopted cats, particularly ones with unknown history, it's going to take a while for the cat to decide that you are hers and she is yours. At some point, that could click, but it might take some time.

  • Jean says:

    Like practically everyone else here, my cat, who is almost always near me when she gets the chance, wants nothing to do with my lap unless it's covered with an afghan, and then I can't get her off of me. It's true that a lot of cats just plain are not lap cats, and it's also true that that can change as they get older. I've had two cats that went from being slightly standoffish in their youth to wanting to constantly be held in their old age.

    And it could also be that Ava just needs more time. My husband and I have been married for over two years now, and the cat he brought into the marriage still hasn't completely warmed up to me. And most of my attempts to befriend her only ever seem to freak her out or make her mad (and get me some nice new scratches in the process). So she and I pretty much just live and let live, and she turns to Husband for affection. I keep hoping maybe when she gets older she'll mellow out and finally decide to be my kitty, too. At least she's no longer super possessive of my husband.

    In short: Cats. Go figure.

    And to Summer: Oh, honey. Number 1, this guy, his feelings, and his actions, both past and present, are SO not your responsibility. There is no reason for you to give them a second thought if you don't want to. Number 2, ignoring a friend request on Facebook, or any other social app, just isn't that big a deal. Like someone above said, there are many and far more shallow reasons to justify turning down a friend request than "Hey, aren't you that guy who RAPED ME that one time?" Number 3, I should think that any awkwardness that results from bumping into him at a party wouldn't necessarily be the result of deleting his e-mail, nor should it be. It should be from the fact that he feels deeply ashamed of what he did to you, and if he doesn't, or even if he does, he's not entitled to a single iota of your time and attention, and he's got a lot of gall to ask for it.

  • Jaime says:

    Have you tried wearing black pants? My cats never sit in my lap, they always sit on either side of me, right up against me but not in my lap. If I put a pair of black pants on though, they are all about sitting in my lap.

    As for the coat, I would do what some of the people above say. Contact your local news station or newspaper. It's Christmas, they'll go nuts for a good Good Samaritan story.

  • Cat whisperer says:

    I have trained a couple cats to be lap cats (one adolescent, one 5 years old). When she jumps onto your lap, try holding her in place by putting one hand on her head/neck and one hand on her back, with light but firm pressure. You are not enveloping her so much as holding her in position–if she wants to move/leave, she can. Massage her with your fingertips if she likes that kind of petting. Hold her for several seconds, then let her go. Do this several times a day, slowly increasing the time you hold her in place. Once she's used to being on you for a long moment, start gently folding her back half into a sitting position with one hand each time she sits on you. Again, hold her in place for a few seconds, let her go, and then start building up time. Once she can sit on you for half a minute, start the process over with her both her hind-and forequarters on you, and begin letting up on holding her in place. If she ever resists or seems freaked, let her go. This is how I turned an ankle-biting male and an aloof female into lap whores. Good luck!

  • Cindy says:

    Ava may or may not change over time. Only one of our current three is ever a lap cat, and that's only on my husband's lap. None are grab-up-and-tote-around cats….one prior cat used to be, and I do miss it a little. All three are bed cuddlers and also will lie on you on the couch if you are lying down on it (e.g. "being a cat substrate." One, the dumb one, will often jump on, knead in a random pattern and rhythm with all four paws, and then as like as not jump off again rather than settling down.

    However, in case it works, I second the blanket suggestion and strongly recommend polyfleece…we call them the "mommy kitty blankets" as they seem to induce kneading like nothing else (we are presuming the speculation is correct that kneading comes from how kittens knead at their mother's belly when nursing). You can even buy a small square of the fabric cheap at a fabric store, but even sofa-throw size ones can be found for only about $10 to $20.

    But even if boyfriend gave up on Ava and took in the most affectionate and well-adjusted kitten imaginable (not that I'm recommending that)….there's no guarantee that said kitten would be a lap cat either–or would continue to be one all of his or her life! As others have noted, cats do change over time too, and with circumstances (moves, other critters or humans added or subtracted from the mix, simple aging, etc.).

  • Karen says:

    RE: Ava – I have a cat who was from the street – a wee tortie girl who was named Berik by a 4 year old of my acquaintance. A vet once told me that torties are generally their own cat – he referred to it as 'tortitude'. Berik is now 12 in karen years, and has never, ever, once voluntarily sat on my lap. And its taken 10 years to get her used to being picked up and held for any length of time. Although recently, in her old age, she's taken to walking across us in bed.

    What she will do is sit beside you. Only your left side. We've run tests – only the right side available? No thank you. Its the same with the picking up – left shoulder of staff only, please. You get 30 seconds on the left, compared with 10 on the right. If she wants to cuddle, she'll sit and stare until appropriate arrangements are made (left side out on the couch), and then settle in. Reading in bed, I'm permitted only the right side of the bed, thereby leaving my left side, and the left side of the bed fully exposed for stretching. All of which gives rise to the question – who 'trained' whom? Whose expectations have been managed? Who's wearing the thumbs in this family?!

    The other thing I've learned is that cats have very long memories for some things – scratching the furniture=bad is a short-term item, sadly. Berik and I have moved 5 times in the years we've been together. Each appearance of cardboard boxes (either in our house, or the neighbours) starts up a round of stress-yakking and close supervision of my every movement. This, and her sitting all 'see me!?!?!' in the middle of the sidewalk on the first move make me think she was moved out on before she came to me. 12 years of steady kibble and left-side lounging still have not erased that from her brain. Ava may have some unpleasant associations with laps if she gets up there and then gets right back down – she wants the lap, but doesn't yet trust it. As many have said above, give her time, and try not to measure her against other cats.

  • Lizzie says:

    Dogs, you or your boyfriend could try putting a pillow/cushion/thick blanket on your laps to make a more stable place for the cat to land on. Then she might stick around for longer and even lie down. This worked well with one of our affection-hungry but poorly-balanced cats.

  • FloridaErin says:

    Dogs- I second the kudos for taking in a cat of that age. It breaks my heart to go to the pet stores and see that every adoption cat is about 2 years or older. People ignore the fact that they won't look like a kitten forever and then . . . there you go. Lots of beautiful, grown-up kitties needing love.

    That being said, I always thought that pet personalities kinda solidified at about 1-2 years, after the baby stage, and everything after was gradual mellowing. I've since learned that this is very wrong. My two cats each have a new personality quirk every 6 months or so that makes us look at them and go "That's . . . . new" and move on. Ava will probably do the same. If she's truly interested in lap time and just can't get the hang of it, give it time. She'll probably get there. Cuddle yourself under a soft blanket and see what happens. Enjoy! :-)

  • Susan says:

    Oh the cat stories! My cat Slurpee (don't ask) was feral and adopted by our dog. He would even bring her dog food. When she moved into the house, with our permission, she would spend as much time as possible up on the furniture. She would only go to the floor when she had to. We had to put her food bowl up high, although she would only drink out of the dog's water dish. It was like a nature documentary watching her approach the watering hole.

    Anyway, after several years she slowly started to become a house cat and became more interested in people affection, but really never liked to sit on laps. She liked the back of the couch by your head.

    She was a great cat though. She never destroyed or peed on anything when she was mad and would go outside to the canyon to do her business whenever possible so the litter box was rarely used. You did have to watch out for the bird, lizard, other critter innards she would sometimes leave around the house though.

    Cats are weird, and they have there own needs, so good luck but don't be surprised if Ava doesn't turn into a lap cat.

  • Dayann says:

    To Summer – I was in a similar situation with a relative of mine that molested me when I was a kid. I had never confronted him directly, although I did tell my parents and they dealt with it at the time. I attended many family gatherings as a kid where he was present and everyone just kind of ignored it, he never touched me, but I was kind of expected to act like everything was fine.

    After growing up, I sort of lost touch with his side of the family until recently when they decided to have a group family picture – everyone was pressuring me to go and I finally broke down and told one of my aunts that what he had done and why I would not be a part of the picture.

    I was almost going to attend because I figured I should just not make waves, but I realized that that was not really true to who I was.

    ANYWAY, he e-mailed me after this incident to apologize for molesting me. And I have to say, over the years, I've been angry with various aspects of the molestation, the way my parents and family dealt with it, etc. – but this e-mail sent me into a tailspin.

    I ignored it for a while and ultimately I wrote him back a very calm email explaining how I felt and what it meant to do that to a small child. I never heard back from him, but it was very cathartic to actually write out what I was upset about in detail and know that he actually got the message.

    I know that your situation is different, and you don't feel the anger, but maybe the fact that you are conflicted means that you do need to get something off your chest. Maybe you should write a letter to him and just not send it and see what you come up with. It might help you put things in order.

  • Ang says:

    One of my kitties is named Kwdlu (pronounced "Kwid-loo"); it's an acronym for Kitty Who Doesn't Love Us, and she got that name because at the time, she didn't have much use for people. She was a stray and would never let us get close. When she got pregnant by a neighborhood tomcat, we decided she should come inside to live with us (we kept her two boys and a friend adopted her two girls). We decided to keep her, too, because she was so timid and scared, and I just figured she wasn't adoptable and would be put to sleep at a shelter. Her age was estimated at about 1-1/2 years when we adopted her. Her five-year adoption anniversary will be in April '09.

    At the time, I thought she would refuse to interact with us: I assumed she would hide under the bed and only come out to eat, that kind of thing, but I couldn't bear to think of her alone outside or in a shelter. Instead, she made great progress. After a year, she was almost a completely new cat: She'd jump up on the bed or the couch to get love and rub on us, and she learned how to play with toys. She eventually got to where she'd jump up on laps and cuddle. Now, she's almost insistent when she wants love–she head-butts until I stop what I'm doing and focus on her (and then she looks quite pleased with herself for seeking out affection). Kwdlu can be kind of annoying, in fact, when she decides that it's time for love, but she's just so sweet and lovey now. After all this time, though, she barely tolerates being held in my arms and will not be carried; she will jump up in bed when we get in, but just for a few rubs–she won't sleep with us (our three other cats do).

    All of this is to say that Ava needs time. Kwdlu made the most progress that first year, and she continued to make more for a long time. She was younger and had just given birth to four kittens, so the situation was a little different. Just keep working with Ava, and set and maintain a routine for her (snack time and play time and stuff like that), and pretty soon, I bet she'll want to cuddle all the time. (If she'll let you, try giving her some scratches on her back, right at the base of her tail. Kwdlu has always loved that spot; it's worth a try.) Good luck–I bet Ava will turn out to be as sweet and precious as my Kwdlu.

  • Anlyn says:

    Karen, your comment reminds me of both my old Lab and our cat, Shammy. Shammy loved a certain chair, and would not sit in anyone's lap unless that person sat in that specific chair. He would sit and stare at you until you moved to the chair, then he'd promptly jump up in your lap and commence kneading.

    Wicket was different (yes, I named both our pets…no, I haven't lived it down). She was a lab and wasn't really a lap dog, but she did have a "spot" on the couch that was all hers. One day my aunt and uncle were visiting, and I was sitting in her spot. She stared at me for a good hour before I finally sighed and moved. She immediately jumped up onto her spot and fell asleep.

    Animals are so awesome.

  • Jo says:

    Dogs: I second the idea of putting a pillow or blanket over your lap to make it easier to balance on. I've owned a lot of cats and this seems to work. But she may just not like laps. I have a cat who is the sweetest thing on earth — if I'm in bed, he'll lie on top of my stomach, and every half hour or so when I'm home he jumps up and puts his front paws around my neck and snuggles up to my neck purring. This lasts a few minutes and then he goes away. But he won't just curl up on my lap (unlike my other cat, who loves me and purrs constantly when I'm the room but only sits on me if I'm in "her" chair and then refuses to get off me).

    "I think I told the paramedics the president was fuckin' Bush": (I think that's what I'd say too) The person who had the idea of calling a local TV reporter (or newspaper) might be on to something. I work at a newspaper in a medium-sized town and that's the kind of story our readers eat up. Kindly stranger helps in your time of need and all you want is to give her coat back? We'd publish it. Or, you could write a letter to the editor. I was once stranded on the side of a mountain road and managed to lock both my keys and my coat in the broken-down car and the stranger who pulled over to call me a tow truck gave me an old coat so I wouldn't freeze (it was snowing). I wrote to three papers to thank him. Never did hear back, but I kept the coat in my car for emergency use for years and eventually gave it to Goodwill.

    Also, if a broken collarbone, loss of memory and huge bruises don't constitute a "bad" accident, what does? You sound like kind of a bad ass if that's not traumatic. I'm impressed.

  • Julie says:

    Summer, I was recently contacted on FB by someone from my past who I really didn't want to be in contact with (nothing as traumatic as your situation, but she was a terrible bully for many of my grade school years) and at the urging of my friends, I wrote her back explaining exactly why I would be ignoring her friend request and telling her not to contact me again. I have to say, it was cathartic.

    But even if you choose not to say anything to him, absolutely do not accept his friend request. Do you really want to see what that guy is up to every time you log in to FB? Just click Ignore.

  • Keckler says:

    I want to weigh in on lap cats, too. Our cats did not start off as lap cats at all. In fact, it's only been in the last few years that our now 10-yr-old girl has gotten extremely affectionate. She was affectionate to a degree when she was younger but it was really always on her own terms. Now, she's crawls up on us, gets under the bedcovers, and generally asks for attention.

    The same thing happened with my parents cat. They had him for quite a few years and it wasn't until he was older that he really got affectionate.

    Our other cat — a boy and slightly younger — loves attention but it sort of uncomfortable with it. He will want to get in a lap but then he will suddenly jump away right after settling down.

    I guess my point is, most cats in my long experience — at some point or another — get really affectionate but it does take more than 6 weeks to really judge. There might be some things you can do but it might just take patience.

    The really wonderful thing is, when they do start showing more affection, you feel incredibly loved because they took the time to get to know you instead of just being insta-loving from the start. I dunno, it's like you appreciate it more.

  • robin says:

    To Dogs: I also echo the advice of all the cat people who say to give Ava time,whatever attention she will accept, time, affection, time, a soft stable landing spot, and, yes, MORE TIME. It has been several years since the Incredible Mr. Duzy Batz came to live with me and the Bad Barn Cats. He was never a cuddler when my Dad had him, always more of a puts-up-with petting-while-sitting-on-his-own cat; any attempts to hold him are met with serious biting. But, over time, he has become more tolerant of the passing head rub, or the stealthy petting-while-cat-is-dopey-after-a-meal, or the pat-down-the-spine-while-passing-by. And, when he first moved in, he tended to hide under furniture or in the back hallway. A lot. Now he sits in the same room with me, as if to keep an eye on me, and he does interact pretty well with the other cats.
    To the bicyclist: When we were involved in a small traffic accident (his truck totaled, but no serious body injuries) a few years ago, my boyfriend told the paramedics that the REAL president was Al Gore. The paramedics, cops, and bystanders all cracked up at that. Good luck in locating your Good Samaritan.

  • Ignorant Bystander says:

    Dogs – A lot of people are really into hugging their cats and dogs. You need to be aware that this is not a social behavior that they are evolved to appreciate (cats and dogs don't "hug" each other and often associate hugging with aggression, especially dogs).

    As well, I know you're only used to dogs, so cat-behavior may seem a little strange and stand-offish. They are entirely different animals and act different too. Dogs are pack animals (wolves, remember?) while cats tend to be solitary hunters. Centuries of breeding has taken the edge off of these traits, but they do essentially remain. Cat require patiencer, not in training but in just plain waiting. You will have to let the kitty define the relationship on its own terms, because it will certainly let you know if it's not happy.

  • RJ says:

    My 3 cats all changed once I adopted them. Before I adopted my "Old Grey Lady" I used to catsit for her – she used to nip me if I rubbed her the wrong way, petted her too long to suit her, or the sky was blue, or whatever, and then run away. Later she'd come back and want to cuddle again. Once I adopted her and seh got settled, she stopped running away -she'd just bite me and then give me a look that said, "Get it right!"

    My "Middle Boy" used to prowl around shyly and always had this "Can I be here?" attitude. (Same deal as the Old Lady – he lived with her and I used to catsit both before I adopted them.) Once I adopted him, he stopped being Mr. "Sweet and Shy" and became "Boss of the House." He walks around like he owns the place now and he's definitely the dominant cat.

    And "Gnat," the baby of the family, used to insist on sleeping in high places and squeaked at me a lot because in his prior home the other cats were always beating him up. Now he wants to be in the same room with me, usually on top of me.

    Give them time – let them adapt. Sometimes it takes a while. Cats need time to learn to trust, but once they do, they make it worth your while. :)

  • Staci says:

    Oh, please tell us what happens with this cat! Now, I'm all curious about how life works out for little Ava.

    Cats have distinct personalities. Clovis is a full-on attention whore. He follows me everywhere and wants to situate himself as much on me as he can possibly be. I joke he would only be happy if he could climb inside my chest and spoon my heart.

    Emma is affectionate, but much less into being on me. She doesn't like to be picked up, but she likes to sit next to us on the couch. She will sit on our laps occasionally but only if it is her idea. She sleeps with us, but likes to wait until I'm half asleep and perfectly still to jump up and adjust herself next to me to sleep.

    Give Ava a chance. She may not become the lap cat you crave (but also may not really want – see Clovis above. Love him, but sometimes he's such a pest!) but she can be a loving, affectionate pet anyhow.

    As she feels more secure, I believe she will continue to warm up to you both. I hope you end up keeping her.

  • CJB says:

    I also have a cat who falls under the category of "needy, but not lap-y." She's a giant (tortie) BABY who follows me around, weaves around my feet when I'm trying to walk, sits on the couch with us when we watch TV, and sleeps on my roommate's bed every night (I shut my door; she doesn't). She's nervous around strangers, so when we have a guest sleeping in the living room I leave the bedroom door open for her because she cries and scratches at my door all night if I don't, annoying both me and the guest; when I do that she's all stepping on my face, purring, kneading, and eventually settling at my feet for the night. (I know, I know, I should let her sleep with me every night, but — I'm a really light sleeper).

    However, she's not a lap-sitter. I don't know if she's ever voluntarily climbed into my lap (she's 10, by the way). She'll sit *near* me and purr. She'll put her paw on me and head-butt me. She'll lick my hand, my leg, whatever she can reach. She's very very tolerant — I will often drive her nuts by pulling her into my lap, playing patty-cake with her, etc., while she rolls her eyes (she's also the least scratchy cat I've ever known — she just…doesn't ever scratch, to the point where I don't bother clipping her nails half the time because it's irrelevant) and eventually squirms if she gets too annoyed. So she tolerates that, and she's not mad at me for the forced kitty cuddle time, but the minute I let go, she hops off (and usually settles back next to me).

    I got her as a kitten and made sure to handle her a lot right from the beginning, because the cat I had growing up was very prickly and would yell if I tried to pick her up, and was NOT shy about scratching or biting. She would sit near you occasionally too, but she wasn't especially affectionate. So with my current cat I wanted to acclimate her to lovey-ness right away. Now she's acclimated, all right — as I said, she's quite affectionate and has zero problems being handled. But that didn't make her a lap cat. It's just not her thing.

    So, in conclusion: Some cats just aren't lap cats, no matter how attached they are to you and how love-muffinly they are otherwise. Different strokes for different kitty folks.

    Summer: I'd say not friending him on Facebook is about the least you can do. I completely get not wanting to pick at that scab, and it shouldn't be in his power to pull you back to that place if you don't feel like going there. I think just not saying anything and not friending him back will communicate all that needs to be said. If he wonders why, maybe he could think about it for two seconds and will figure it out. You shouldn't have to point out the obvious. (It brings to mind the "Really? With Seth and Amy" segment on SNL. "So you forced yourself on me 30 years ago, and then you thought it would be a good idea to friend me on Facebook. Really? And you're not sure why I wouldn't care to be friends? Really? You can't figure that out. Nothing comes to mind? Really. Huh!")

  • Syph says:

    For Ava's mom–I live with a formerly feral cat who's now 10. I agree with everyone, it takes time, more than 6 weeks, even 6 months. My cat is now extremely affectionate and even sleeps on my back!

    Another tip I would give is eventually adopting another cat. We adopted a male kitten and in a weird way, I think he has helped our feral cat become more affectionate. It's like she sees him being cuddled and wants to be cuddled too. And of course another cat gives Ava company and will probably make her more sociable. I wouldn't suggest doing this right away, but maybe in 6 months to a year.

    Good luck!

  • La BellaDonna says:

    Heh. How I love my fellow Tomato Nationalists (I will totally get that T-Shirt, once I am out of Donor's Debt)! "Furry lap remora"; "wear black pants"; "who wears the thumbs in the family"; tons of verbal treasures and good advice. Kind-hearted, critter-adopting, and full of rage at injustice. Plus the excellence that is Sars.

    @Arlene: for your more skittery treasures, try a lump of that pliable sticky stuff that's used to secure candles in candlesticks. It will at least make batting the earring tree off the dresser more of a workout for the cat. In fact, that's such a good idea, I think I'll do that myself. It's good for little figurines and tiny boxes, and other objects that slide, roll, and tumble in such a gratifying manner when smacked while Mommy says "Noooo!!"

    @Dogs: the other piece of advice about getting Ava to sit on Boyfriend's lap is to let Ava into the bathroom while he's ah, sitting and meditating upon the throne. My Axel WILL NOT sit on my lap anywhere else, yet he cries if I shut him out of the bathroom; he races me upstairs in an effort to be in the bathroom, where he can lick my bare leg, and sprawl his four-foot-long self on my (crossed! ankle over knee!) leg. He sprawls there very happily, until it's time to jump off and lick EVERYTHING. OMG, this cat has an oral fixation unlike anything I've seen in the course of HUNDREDS of cats. I'm deathly afraid he'll lick something he shouldn't someday (the bathtub? the dresser? my scarf? EVERYTHING!), and that will be a Very Bad Thing. Warning: If Boyfriend does bond with Ava in the bathroom (she may just sit on his dropped pants – I knew one cat that did that with his owner, happily, in the bathroom), he should maintain caution in standing and moving, lest she be tempted to bat at anything that might swing.

    @Summer: while my anger at what happened to you is not your problem, let me assure you that you are not responsible for this person's – and I use the word reluctantly – comfort in a social situation. As long as there are other people there, there's really nothing he can do to you. Feel free to NOT chat with him, if you don't want to. I'd be inclined to stare him coldly in the eye and walk away, under those circumstances. (That's if I were as non-resentful as you appear to be – if I was there as my usual self, I'd probably open with "Rape anybody else lately?" and let the feathers fly.)

    Accidental Tourist: after you've checked with the police, maybe the hospital could give you a lead on Corduroy Coat? They should be able to tell you what ambulance crew brought you in, if it's not on the police report, and you may find her through that. If possible, you might want to put a few flyers up in the area, as she obviously traveled there at least the one time. I'd second the news story, too; it is exactly the kind of happy news both TV news and print media like, especially this time of year. I'm glad you weren't hurt worse!

  • LDA says:


    Anyone with blood so cold that they can just casually drop off their rape victims earring after TUSSLING with them………….

    I think it is probably normal that you don't know how to react to the overtures of friendship from your RAPIST and that it doesn't necessarily mean that you aren't over what happened to you. It means you know something terrible about this person and who they are and you will never be comfortable with them. I think that is okay and something you may have to consider with regards to social situations. A plan for how to handle them, a friend you can bring into the details………..something already in place.

    Something in no way similiar recently happened to me- a guy I knew in high school was the best man at a wedding I attended. I know some secrets about him ( they are extremely creepy and I witnessed some of them first hand) and they make it impossible to hold any sort of conversation with him. I just excused myself when he came over to the table.

  • KPP says:

    @ Cat–My cat of 19 years was a lap cat, but he would get on my lap and sort of wobble around sometimes –especially when I was trying to eat a bowl of cereal on the couch (okay, probably part of my probably there) so half the time, I'd sort of push him down to complete the sitting on the lap and then he'd purr away. Now, I don't really suggest pushing a stray because you don't really want to force her, but if she doesn't mind being pet, maybe trying the blanket/pillow suggestions and some firm petting? (er, that sounds dirty, sorry).

    Otherwise, maybe some reverse psychology. Put the blanket on your lap or next to you, but when she jumps up, ignore her. You know how cats often try to love up to the people that hate them or are allergic to them?

    @Coat I think if I gave my coat to someone in an accident, having it donated would make me happy. Especially if I didn't leave my contact info with the police or followup later. Try donating it to a winter coat drive as others have mentioned rather than Good Will if that makes you feel better. Otherwise, the news story seems like a good try. You may even encourage someone else to be nice to someone down on their luck or in an accident. Also, trip to the hospital seems…big. Wow.

  • JenK says:


    Sars has mentioned before that women tend to feel like we have to play nice all the time, and it's amazing that that even extends to online interactions. I got a MySpace friend request from my ex-fiance. The relationship ended horribly almost ten years ago with low-level stalking on his part and much crying and anxiety and meetings with campus police on my part. And yet that request sat in my inbox for weeks before I finally decided to delete it. I felt like denying it would make me seem like a bitch…but really, who cares? I think he's an asshole who should drop off the earth; why does it matter to me if he thinks I'm a bitch? He also sent me a congratulatory message when I announced my pregnancy on my site, and again, I felt a weird obligation to respond and make nice. But really, I got NO benefit from letting him back in my life, and since those two messages caused me weeks of stress and anxiety, did I really want to open the door to that and encourage him to contact me more? I don't actually care what's going on in his life, and I don't feel the need to let him know what's going on in mine. Granted, I moved halfway across the country and have no chance of running into him, but if I did, I would probably just nod and smile and end the conversation. I don't owe him anything anymore, and you don't owe this asshat anything. As Sars said, his comfort is not your responsibility; don't let society make you think it should be.

  • mmc says:

    Ang – Kwdlu? That is awesome!

  • Aimee says:

    Sigh…some cats just aren't made for the lap. I adopted an older cat from the Humane Society and quickly learned that he had his limits and would let me know if I was overstepping them. For a long while, he just hovered around the edges, not quite getting involved. Once he got a little more comfortable he started sitting on the back of the sofa. Then he moved to sitting beside you on the sofa. I tried to make him a lap kitty by getting him all purred up sitting beside me, and then gently picking him up and putting him in my lap FACING OUTWARD. So, you know, he could escape if he wanted to. Eventually he would SOMETIMES let me know that he was up for a little lap action, but more often than not, he just sat beside or above me. And I was fine with that, because sometimes when he would prod me into making him a lap kitty I'd be all, "dude, really? you want to sit in my lap? are you sure, cause I'm kinda busy here…" As long as this cat can take some love and give some back, don't fret that she won't sit in a lap.

  • duvetgirl says:

    My 13 year old tortie is very fickle with her love. If I'm sat on the sofa with hubby, it's his lap she wants, but for everything else, she comes to me. She's also a 'next to' cat, particularly if I'm sat at one side of the sofa and she can sit on the higher arms to keep an eye on what's going on. Sadly she's also a bit neurotic and pulls the fur out on her back. I've tried sprays and love and food and tellings off and ignoring, but the vet thinks she's just a bit neurotic (it stems from the disappearance of her sister 9 years ago) so it just gets hoovered up and I try not to get too upset.

  • patricia says:

    Summer, I want to verify your reality that the rape at the hands of this guy may not have impacted you very much. Don't think you're weird or holding something in for not having now or not having had strong emotions around it. I had a very similar experience in college, and have never thought much about it. It wasn't pleasant, of course, and I was unhappy about it for awhile, but it never rose to the level of Something I Need to Talk About in Therapy. It never affected my future sex life, or really anything else as far as that goes.

    I would absolutely ignore a friend request from that guy, though. I don't think I'd feel it necessary to respond at all- I'd just ignore it and be okay with that.

    As an aside, I was talking about this with my husband the other day, and he was all, "Wait, how can you feel coerced into having sex but not be in fear for your safety? What would have happened if you had tried to get up and walk out?" My husband is no neanderthal, and has never pressured a woman to have sex in the way that Summer and I (and I'm sure others) have experienced. It led to this whole big discussion that others have noted here about women needing to go along to get along, and the power imbalance at play in regard to sex among young adults. Interesting discussion.

    As another aside, Karen, your whole comment had me cracking up, but "Who's wearing the thumbs in this family?" is one I'm going to shamelessly steal and use in the future. Awesome. My cats have me trained too, so I can relate.

  • Amy says:

    @ Dogs-
    My I suggest introducing a finger wiggle? I really don't know what to call it, but I put my hand down to my cats' level, and wiggle my fingers. When they come, I pet them. After a couple months, they will start coming to where my fingers are to get love. It's then possible to gradually move the cat to where you want him/her to be. YMMV, but worth a shot.

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