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Discussion Starter · #1 ·


Anyone that read the Twilight series will understand the concept of imprinting, for the 3 or 4 of you out there that didn't, it is a kind of "love at first sight" ideal that animals experience. We know that many animals mate for life... though it also can apply to newborn animals and there mothers. I think that often pets, especially rescue animals imprint on their owners...in a maternal way.

I adopted my cat from a rescue place 2 years ago this month. Within hours of bringing him home, after a little time under the couch, he was on my lap and cuddling. I thought, lucky me, what an affectionate cat! He had not shown any signs of that in the brief time I had seen him before adopting, if anything he'd been aloof, though he did let me pet him, which now I realize was no small thing. I found him online searching for declawed rescues, his story... he was found abandoned in a hotel room... sealed the deal. Meeting him before was just a formality, unless he had attacked me I was taking him home.

I soon discovered that he will not let anyone else touch him. Even people he should be use to, like my upstairs neighbor who feeds him when I travel. He will sniff her hand but recoils from her touch. The way he is with me, (see him above sleeping on my lap) and the way he is with anyone else is really like night and day!

My parents have a rescue dog and I was just there, visiting for over a week. She barks quite viciously at me whenever they are around. Either when I enter the house or a room. However, if they are not home, she is much less aggressive... I think it is a combination of protectiveness and jealousy. Like she might be with a favorite toy if you got too close.

Has anyone experienced this with their pet(s) and are they a rescue? Someone told me it is less likely to happen with an animal you raised from puppy/kitten etc... which I find interesting. After returning from trip on Saturday, my cat has barely left my side, you would think I had risen from the dead. I have had a lot of pets in my time but never one quite so attached. Not complaining... just curious if others have experienced this.
 

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Imprinting is precisely why people need to stay away from young wildlife.

My husband and I were fortunate enough to raise wood ducks from eggs in an incubator, but once they hatched we never touched them except to get them out of the incubator and when we took them out of the crate to release them into the wild.
 

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I took a Siamese kitten down to my brother's ranch in Nebraska.  (He likes cats.)  Leigh was out in the hayfield, so I took the kitten over to mother's home.  Mom was pretty adamant she did NOT want a pet.  But the little kitten just tripped over the entry and made himself to home.  I laughed as I watched him guilelessly gazing into mother's suspicious eyes.  Leigh came and took the cat to his house, which was about a city block away.  That night the cat yowled so loudly it would wake the dead.  The next day I drove mother over to Leigh's house to rescue the cat.  She opened the door, the kitty leapt into her lap.  And that was that.  True Love At First Sight.  She named him Sweetie Pie.  And he was a great pet!
 

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Or my platinum haired niece who was driving to another town in a van with her mother and sibs.  Leah saw a dog that someone had dumped in a ditch and begged her mother to stop and save the dog because "He has the same color hair as me. .".  Finally Jan said, "If the dog is there on the way back. . .".  Needless to say the dog was there and they took the dog home.  Leah named the dog Sugar.  Sugar tolerated others, but LOVED Leah.
 

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Content removed circa September 2018 after realizing this forum was bought by VerticalScope -- a foreign corporation with seemingly suspicious motives and a bad attitude apparently attempting to grab rights retroactively. They can have the rights to this statement!
 

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My cat was in a rescue facility for about 4 months, he was almost adopted several times but at the last minute everyone backed out.  We went into Petco (where they allow the rescue organization here show off cats for adoption) to look at another kitten my hubby saw online when I met Spaz.  I stuck my finger in the cage and he immediately rubbed himself on my hand for at least 10 minutes straight.  My husband didn't want a male cat because of previous bad (spraying) experiences but I was adamant that I had met "my" cat.  I cried when I found out the lady who runs the rescue place wasn't available to process the paperwork for two days.

When he came home with his sister (we adopted two at the same time, my hubby picked out the mother of the kitten he wanted), he acted crazy - he had been confined for months so it should have been expected.  He wouldn't let anyone pet him but me and I would wake up to him sleeping on my neck.  After 4 years, he's warmed up to my husband and a few others, but he'll sleep all night touching me and wants to be touching me or in the same room about 75% of the time.  He freaks out when I'm in the shower or the backyard where he can see me but not touch me.

From his initial reaction of rubbing all over me, I thought he would be a super affectionate cat by nature.... but apparently it was just me.  Our other cat on the other hand is in love with everyone!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It is so interesting how animals bond. My cat before Atticus was also a rescue but he had some aggression issues and had been in several foster homes. I was able to tame the aggression with a water bottle but he was not at all affectionate. He did not let me pick up and seem to only tolerate it when I pet him. Then after being with me a month or so, I was reading in my living room when he suddenly appeared looking up at me. I could tell he wanted to jump into my lap, so I let him. He curled up and went to sleep. I felt like he had at that moment decided to "adopt me"! He was never really a lap cat but he became affectionate in his own way. A wonderful little guy I had for nine years.
 

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My MIL had a dog that imprinted on her.  He wanted to be near her @ any possible time.  He was part cocker spaniel and a rescue (the prison here had a rehab program where some prisoners trained rescue dogs so that they were more adoptable and he was one of them).  He was really cute and really smart (and loud, so he would scare anyone trying to do anything funny).  Sadly they had to get rid of him.  He was so attached to MIL that he started to nip @ and eventually bite FIL.  The last straw was when he bit FIL as he was trying to get into bed and he reached over to just touch MIL.  MIL was very upset, but she also saw that the dog was escalating w/ FIL and asserting his territory (which was rightfully FIL's).  She cried for a week and still gets sad when she thinks about him (and this was over 5 yrs ago)
 

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Our current cat, Colette, was about 9 months old when we adopted her from the animal shelter. Her tail had been shaved, so whatever experience she had before was not good. My husband thought she looked depressed in her little cage and immediately pointed her out to me.

She actually took a while to warm up to us, but now it's lap city and "flop downs" demanding chin rubs. She's wary of everyone else, though. If the doorbell rings, she sits up like a prairie dog. If someone else comes into the house, Colette runs and hides under the bed. 
 

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It's my understanding that imprinting (technically) happens with birds--ducks, geese, companion parrots and the like--very shortly after hatching.

Our dogs and cats don't imprint. But they do bond with us in a similar fashion to falling in love--same chemical as in people. *s* Oxytocin increases significantly in both the pet and the person as bonding takes place. That's a biochemical made in the brain that stimulates feelings of elation, safety, tranquility, happiness, satisfaction, and love.

For shelter animals, it could be a scent, the way you move, the sound of your voice, or any combination that strikes that perfect chord. Doncha just LOVE it?!  ;D
 

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Amyshojai said:
Our dogs and cats don't imprint. But they do bond with us in a similar fashion to falling in love--same chemical as in people. *s* Oxytocin increases significantly in both the pet and the person as bonding takes place. That's a biochemical made in the brain that stimulates feelings of elation, safety, tranquility, happiness, satisfaction, and love.
I'm concerned at the moment, have two additional cats to mine. Suppose to be temporary, however I find that doubtful. The cats do not get along will with Charile (my cat), there was a lot of fighting for the first couple months. Quieted down now, they'll sit near each other but want nothing to do with each other.

Smoky and Mini, slept with me last night. First time both did that together, the bed was Charlie's truff. He won't jump up with me in bed anymore, sad. Will be difficult when I decided enough is enough and put the extra two on craiglist, unless their owners are able to suddenly care for them and pick them up.

Charlie is very bonded to me, and don't want to put him through anymore stress of the other two cats. He's been with me for seven years.
 

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We rescued a little orange kitten, about three weeks old, from the street. Aw, that poor little tyke. She had ear mites and fleas and all kinds of troubles. We weren't sure she'd make it. But she was tough...with everyone but us, toward whom she was very affectionate. We had her fifteen years. And she was tough right to the end!
 

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My kitty is very tough and opinionated, wants nothing to do with anyone. Except us. It's taken her 4 years but she finally will allow the dog to be within sniffing range.  ;D

With felines, strange dogs, cats or people coming into their home and territory can take weeks or more likely months to be accepted. It's just a "cat thing." Purr-fectly normal. And if you can wait them out, they do eventually (mostly) learn at least tolerance.
 

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Since we adopted our GS, Deuce, as a young pup from an abusive family, he has been attached to my hip. (The father and the boys would take the pups and beat them in the basement - it literally took us about a year to have Deuce comfortable enough to go down the basement with us - we didn't know about the extent of the abuse until the family moved away and the neighbors told us.)

He was diagnosed with separation anxiety and it goes to extremes when I leave him. The vet tested it by having me leave the room during an examination, leaving my son with him, and monitored his heart rate. His heart raced while I was gone, even with my son there, but as soon as I entered the room he calmed down almost instantly. I swear he thinks he's one of my kids!

Anyways, here is my handsome pup!

Deuce on Halloween

Deuce in the yard
 

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Julie, you are an Earth angel.

My rescue, Luke, came to us at four years of age and of the three of my dogs (the others I raised from much younger) he is the one who obeys the most. I don't have to tell him anything twice and when we first got him, he spoke only Spanish. He learned English quite quickly. He certainly knows he was rescued and seems to want to do anything to keep his home.

As for the imprinting. He followed my other boy EVERYWHERE. He learned the routine of our home from him and shadowed him for months, which of course annoyed the first dog to no end. As for the people, he gives both my husband and me (we work at home) just about equal devotion, although he does cry when hubby leaves and not when I do. Strangers? Forget it. He hides behind me and if someone is in the house long enough, he practically crawls to greet them. Very timid and jumpy. It's been 1.5 years and I don't think that will ever go away. He was obviously hit with anything and everything. Watching the joy he gets from a simple tennis ball just warms my heart.
 
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