New kitten

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Wendy
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New kitten

Post by Wendy » Wed Jun 05, 2019 3:58 pm

Hi , i just wanted some advice , I'm probably worrying about nothing , but I got a 8 week old black kitten 5 days ago , and he's eating fine and coming out to play, but the second i make a move or attempt to stroke him , he runs under the bed and hides , i know it's early days, but he won't let me anywhere near him , is this normal , I've hardly seen him since I got him , will he eventually get used to me 🙁

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lilynmitz
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Re: New kitten

Post by lilynmitz » Wed Jun 05, 2019 4:34 pm

Hi there, don’t worry, he’s just a baby and this is all very new and scary to him, and he doesn’t have his mum or siblings to reassure him. So he needs your help to settle in - he’s not there to entertain you, it’s your job to finish raising him. Most reputable breeders feel 8 weeks is too young to rehome a kitten, 12 weeks is a better age, when they are a bit more independent.

Let him hide as much as he wants to, but you can help him learn that you’re safe to be with by sitting quietly with him, perhaps playing with him with toys on the end of a wand or string (thereby keeping your hands away from him until he’s ready for contact). Eventually you could start hand feeding him treats at arm’s length. He needs to learn to see you as someone who’s safe to be with. Get down to his level too - I spend a lot of time lying on the floor and talking quietly to new nervous cats, it works a treat!

Most of all, give him time and let him come to you when he is ready. Meanwhile let him have his safe room that he can use as a base and explore the house at his own pace. Make sure others in the household are quiet around him too until his confidence builds.

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Mollycat
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Re: New kitten

Post by Mollycat » Thu Jun 06, 2019 5:44 am

If your kitten hasn't been handled much or has been handled inappropriately he may not yet associate a hand coming towards him with something pleasant happening. The key here is if he comes to you to play, he is interested in you. Horse trainers talk about keeping the feet moving to distract the brain from fear - it works with cats too.

Get your kitten to move towards you by wiggling fingers to catch his attention and take just one step towards you to investigate, the small movement towards you leaves a little positive imprint in his brain every time. Sit or lie down on the floor with him and attract him with your hands, stroke him when you put food down just once or twice then walk away. Steal strokes not too often but sometimes while he is focused on a toy or food, and eventually your hand becomes something associated with harmless and then pleasant. Once he comes to you easily you can start moving your hand past his nose after he has investigated your hand and just stroke a little with one finger, a rub on the side of the neck always goes down well once he realises it's just that and you're not going to grab him.

Then you can start moving as if you're going to stand up but as soon as he makes a move to hide, stop, call him back, reward him for coming to you with a litte more play and start again. Step by step he should eventually let you stand up and walk away without hiding. Then in the same way work on walking around near him or past him until he is comfortable with that, and so on.

In the old days we used to get kittens at 6 weeks and play with them with our hands, and it worked very well though we had to then train them away from playing with hands as their claws got bigger! These days kittens are usually homed at 3 months and the claws are already a bit too strong to play by hand.

One of my cats I adopted at 6 years old had a good home before me but was not socialised as a kitten. As a result she is still very fearful and nervous now at 12 years old after 6 years of work. Unfortunately the way a cat's brain works means that they reinforce their own fears unless you work actively on forming a bond where they trust you to guide them - as a kitten you are basically stepping into the role of mother - and encourage them to learn for themselves in the safety of your protection.

If your kitten hasn't been properly socialised before you got him, he hides when you look scary (move about) and nothing bad happens to him, so he believes nothing bad happens because he hid, and so hiding becomes the right thing to do to keep himself safe. The sooner you break this cycle the better. Never stop a cat from hiding though and never, ever block his access to his safe places. The aim is to give him a better option than hiding. Personally I don't use treats for training, the reward is in the behaviour itself.

It is early days but really a socialised kitten who has been with you for nearly a week ought to be stalking and pouncing on your feet as you walk by and then running off but not hiding. You will get there, he might just need that extra patience and encouragement in the beginning.

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Lavone_Folsom
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Re: New kitten

Post by Lavone_Folsom » Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:26 pm

I don't find anything abnormal in his act. I think its normal and you should just try to make a deep friendship with him.

Wendy
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Re: New kitten

Post by Wendy » Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:07 am

Thank you for the advice , I've been laying down and calling him and trying to play a bit at a time , i know he needs time and I'm sure he'll come round , he's getting a little braver , coming out further into the room , and not jumping so much when i move , hopefully soon he'll let me pet him , he's a beautiful cat / kitten

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