My new kitten

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Danixx
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My new kitten

Post by Danixx » Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:35 pm

Hi ya everyone i hope you can help .
I've recently got a kitten who is absolutely beautiful however I'm a little lost.
She is the least affectionate kitten I've ever done I know that all cats have different personalities and temperaments but she doesn't really allow me to stroke her unless she is asleep she doesn't sit on my lap she doesn't purr she does nothing but scratch and bite when she's away kits constant play time.
I've not been able to get too much background knowledge from the previous owner as I believe that he only had her for a couple of weeks.
I believe she got her when she's about 6 weeks old and I think that might be something to do with her behaviour as she was clearly very young to be taken away from Mum.
And also I was told that when she was picked up (by my cousin) the the family all seemed extremely frightened of her and couldn't pick her up or anything so I'm not sure if she had much affection from them. I'm trying every trick in the book I've bought her loads of toys so that she will play with them rather than me and making sure that she fed she's got a good balanced diet.
I'm leaving her to come to me rather than me pester her. The only thing that I've not tried getting another kitten unfortunately that is not an option.
When she does come near me she doesn't go anywhere near the top half of me is always my feet and my legs and she might sleep cold into the back of my knee.
That's about the most affection she will give you have a image in your mind when you get a kitten as to how it's going to be and it's not been anything like it. She doesn't even per and I don't know whether to be worried about her (i think shes male too) I hope that she grows out of it... please help!

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Lilith
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Re: My new kitten

Post by Lilith » Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:02 am

Hi Dani and welcome :)

I have one just the same, but she's 7 now. Her previous owners were anxious to get rid of her because of her aggression - there was a young baby to consider. She was 6-8 months when she came to me. It took a long time; her first signs of affection were like your girl's - rubbing round my legs, but apart from when she was very new and quiet, any attempts to fuss her or stroke her were met with bites and scratches.

What's worked for us has been time. I've talked to her and told her she's a good girl. When she's been aggressive I've said 'no!' but in a low hissing voice, and left her alone, say for ten minutes, then started talking encouragingly to her again. If she's attacked my hand I've kept my hand still, and withdrawn it slowly, so that she doesn't get the idea I'm playing or that it's prey, repeating the 'no!' if she attacks again. Same with feet - she's still a naughty girl with feet. Everything she does that isn't naughty, she gets praise for. Gradually she began to be very possessive and to purr and follow me about, and that's how she is now. She'll let me stroke her back and her tail; she doesn't like her face being touched but I'm working on stroking the back of her neck and her ears; she's got so that she'll allow a 'scruffle' there. If I absent-mindedly fuss her I still get nipped - naughty girl! She rarely rubs my hand with her face but will sometimes lick me. I once had a feral tom who I hand-fed with bits of chicken to encourage his confidence and get him used to my hand; perhaps I should have done the same with her.

They are hard work, these 'wildies' but I think once you have their confidence they can be very rewarding. Molly is one of the most enchanting and intelligent cats I've lived with - but oh boy has she been a headache at times lol.

I think you're right - your girl was far too young to leave her mother and missed another few weeks of socialisation and learning to inhibit her bites and scratches. I don't know how old Molly was, but I know she loves large catnip toys like the Wiggly Waggler, that she can clutch and kick like another kitten - works off a bit of energy!

It IS disappointing, hoping for an affectionate pet and finding a problem child, but you've every chance of establishing a bond - it's early days yet.

Hopefully other people will have more advice but hope this helps for now and all the very best with her :)
Last edited by Lilith on Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Ruth B
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Re: My new kitten

Post by Ruth B » Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:53 am

I can only back up what Lilith has said, time is the biggest part of the answer and quiet, gentle treatment and reprimands the best way forward.

My 'problem child' is more prone to reacting with flight rather than fight, but if cornered she will fight. I didn't know much about her history when I got her but I knew she had been mistreated and was scared of humans, but I took her on any way and have never really regretted it.

We got her when she was about 6 months old and for the first few months just gave her the space she needed, i didn't try and approach her just just acted normally, we ate our meals, watched tv or sat quietly reading in the same room as she was in so she got used to our presence. Eventually she started to venture out and i would talk to her and play with her, one of the wand toys really helped, she could play with it but didn't need to come near me to do so.

As far as actually stroking her went, after she started to settle in and sleep on the bed or chairs i would start to reach a hand out towards her slowly, if her body language went defensive i would pull back before she felt the need to run away. Slowly she let me get closer to her and finally I managed to give her a gentle rub behind the ears. I will never forget the first time she let me do that and the feeling of achievement it gave me.

She is now coming up to 4 years old and will still decide that things are scary and run and hide at times, but at others she can be really affectionate and demand fuss and attention. She has a very quiet purr, and is often drowned out by other noise and of course I can't put by head next to her to hear if she is purring better, trying something so different would have her under the bed or down the bottom of the garden, but i have heard her from time to time. I still can't pick her up easily, just getting her into a carrier to get her to the vets for her booster jabs can take several attempts and cancelled appointments, but overall she is happy and that is what matters most to me. She may not yet be the lap cat that some people want but she is who she is and I'm happy to take it from there.

Just to mention, Freyja is a lot more scared of the lower half of the body than the hands, she won't let you walk anywhere near her still, bare feet are just about acceptable as long as they aren't coming directly for her, but shoes or boots are scary and have to be run away from. Some of my other cats get kicked unintentionally when they get under my feet in the kitchen, I don't have any worry about that happening to her. May be it's an indication of what happened to them as kittens.

It sounds like your girl (or boy) had a rough start in life as well and I'm sure that if you are happy to give her the time she needs she will turn into an affectionate pet, it does take time and effort but I'm sure it will be worth it in the end.

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fjm
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Re: My new kitten

Post by fjm » Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:15 am

I wonder if she missed out on human socialisation in her first six weeks, and then went straight into a busy family which expected "normal" kitten behaviour from her? I don't think her behaviour necessarily indicates actual mistreatment - perhaps more that she has never learned to feel safe around humans, and humans didn't understand anything except her most obvious attempts to keep them at a distance.

I do agree that time and patience are the key. I would become a treat fountain and a play Goddess - give her much of her food as rewards dropped near wherever you happen to be while ignoring her, at a distance she is comfortable with, and play fishing rod games that keep your hands at a safe distance. Give her affection on her terms - a slow eye close smile from across the room may be enough at this stage. I would try to never put her in a situation where she feels she needs to spit or scratch to feel safe - watch for the first twitch and withdraw. The more she trusts you not to pressure her, the more likely she is to come around.

On the one hand, my sister had a kitten from a farm that no one else ever saw - the cat vanished the moment visitors came to the door and barely tolerated my sister. On the other Tilly was returned to the rescue by her first adopters as being too wild and feral - she came to me after a couple of months staying with an experienced fosterer, and has grown up into one of the most sociable cats I have ever known.

Danixx
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Re: My new kitten

Post by Danixx » Mon Aug 20, 2018 4:12 pm

I thank you guys you giving me all the lot to think about however I think today we might have a little bit of a breakthrough she was actually licking my hand earlier for quite a considerable amount of time and as much as my brain can remember I'm pretty sure that that's a sign of affection from her part! As much as I found it a bit gross I couldn't help but let her do it purely because it was showing that she was caring!

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Lilith
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Re: My new kitten

Post by Lilith » Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:37 pm

Aww, that's nice :D

You're definitely honoured - I reckon she's saying you're hers.

Tell her hello from Molly and me and please let us know how you go on.

It is amazing how they can change - Fjm's post reminded me. 15 years ago some feral girls moved in with me and then the toms arrived. One was a great big sullen ginger who wouldn't come near anyone, unless there was food. He was obviously hungry. I managed to lure him into a carrier and get him neutered, but didn't expect much from him. That cat turned into a complete TEDDYBEAR. Loved everyone - passing children, the gasman ... I used to joke he that was really half golden Labrador :D

All the best :)

Danixx
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Re: My new kitten

Post by Danixx » Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:47 pm

Shows that there's hope for all kitty cats!

Thought you might like to actually see what she looks like it's like butter wouldn't melt!
rsz_20180820_120716.jpg
rsz_20180820_120716.jpg (20.09 KiB) Viewed 530 times

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Ruth B
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Re: My new kitten

Post by Ruth B » Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:55 pm

Aw, she is a little beauty.

The licking is a form of mutual grooming, mother cats do it to kittens and kittens do it to each other and other cats in their community, its a way of transferring scent and building bonds with each other, so yes, her licking your hand is a very good sign. If you have a small soft grooming brush it might be worth returning the favour if she will let you, it will get her used to being groomed which even in short haired cats is good for them and will help build the bond between you.

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Lilith
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Re: My new kitten

Post by Lilith » Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:08 pm

Aww, pretty kitty! :D

Yes, I feel she'll settle now, in a quiet home with no pressures. A good idea of Ruth's about grooming - I like those rubber 'zoom groom' things - they're small enough to fit into the palm of your hand and the shyest cat can walk itself against the rubber spikes and just feel stroked. As always, all the best and please keep updating :)

Danixx
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Re: My new kitten

Post by Danixx » Wed Aug 22, 2018 5:11 pm

Ok ok I take it all back she's back to being evil again 2 days of complete craziness biting my face in the middle of the night running around like Mad Man... biting and scratching me whenever possible I still don't think this is aggressive because there's no hissing the tail and ears are all still in comfortable mode but I'm just beginning to think to sending her back to the previous home I'm just not sure if I can cope with her I'm so tired of having to clean up my arms and they covered in blood!!! If she could get out of the flat I'm pretty sure she would be far, but she's still too young to be out!!! In beyond stuck
:( :( :( :( :(

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fjm
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Re: My new kitten

Post by fjm » Wed Aug 22, 2018 6:16 pm

Sounds as if you need help from a qualified behaviourist - or an experienced mother cat. Cat play can be quite fierce, but this sounds particularly so. Pippin got a bit OTT when he found himself an only cat after his brother vanished, and particularly targeted my sister's ankles. It stopped as soon as Tilly joined us, but you say a second kitten is not an option for you.

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Lilith
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Re: My new kitten

Post by Lilith » Wed Aug 22, 2018 6:47 pm

I'm so sorry to hear this - the little horror!

There's never any guaranteed upcurve of progress in this sort of case though. One day little angels, the next little devils.

She WAS beginning to trust you ... I know how you must feel though, after my Molly. I felt the same at times!

In a way this too is trust, that she's challenging you ... perhaps it is as Fjm says, that you need a mother cat - but maybe you need to be the mother cat, and hiss at her and correct her.

Ohh the naughty girl, I feel for you - but please try and give her another chance - all paws crossed here for you and good luck x

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fjm
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Re: My new kitten

Post by fjm » Wed Aug 22, 2018 8:51 pm

I was thinking along similar lines, Lilith. I once had a cat who had been hand reared - her problem was rather the opposite in that she was desperate for attention. The moment anyone sat, or looked as if they were about to sit, or even stood still for more than a few seconds, she flung herself onto their lap, head butting, kneading and drooling. Mugs and glasses and their contents went flying, and visitors began to get really annoyed. I decided that she had never been properly weaned in the way a mother cat would do it, and set out to "wean" her, giving her a few moments attention then gently but firmly putting her down on the floor, over and over again. Perhaps something similar, but a tad more forceful, is needed here - a really good maternal growl and spitting noise, followed immediately by a reward for stopping the behaviour you don't want.

I do find it interesting that the problem seems to be too much engagement, rather than too little - in my experience fearful cats usually prefer to run and to hide, only attacking if cornered. This little one seems to be playing rough rather than aggressively attacking, if she is seeking you out at night and other times. I think I would try some of the techniques used to teach bite inhibition to puppies - gentle play = game on, claws and teeth = you leave the room. And shut your bedroom door at night...

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Lilith
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Re: My new kitten

Post by Lilith » Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:37 pm

Hey I should have added - and then when you're at rock-bottom the little horror will do something enchanting, like purring or giving you a nose-rub ...

They are so unpredictable and can sometimes be so rewarding too.

Good luck! x

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