How to Socialize a Scared New Adopted Kitten? Help please!!!


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This topic contains 10 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by Avatar of ladysky61 ladysky61 3 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #42782
    Avatar of michelle25
    Michelle25
    Participant

    Hello I am new to TDK but I love cats. I have had them all my life and, having just moved out of my parents home for good about 6 months ago decided it was time for a cat or two of my own. I adopted this pair of feral kittens from the animal shelter. They seem to get along well, although they were not related, because they were caged together. The male is boisterous and runs a lot, hard to catch(in a good way, since he’s so curious and explorative). However the female I was worried about since the shelter. She only hisses a little but one you’ve picked her up or are petting her she just sits there. She doesn’t like to move much while your watching (and even when you aren’t she won’t move much) and hides whenever she can. She is very easily frightened and just has this scared look about her always, even when I’m petting her. I have yet to hear or feel her purr. How should I go about socializing her? I have both kittens in a large closet (I call it my Harry Potter closet) with a few blankets, cat beds, cat scratcher, food, water, and litter box. The closet also has a light, which I leave on. Also, I am a college student, so I have plenty of time to chill with the cats (I can do homework in their room) but I need to know how I should push her limits. Any help is appreciated. Oh and the vet at the shelter said guessed both kittens were about 4 months old based on their teeth.

    #631651
    Avatar of ladysky61
    ladysky61
    Participant

    How long have you had the kittens?

    I would suggest that you start by playing with her individually. If you got her she may just need some time to adjust Perhaps with a cat dancer or small ball. (my cat like the ones with the bells). Then feed her unflavored yogurt or another treat from your hands so she learns to associate you with food and hopefully come to you. I would avoid picking her up until she’s become less scared. Kittens’ natural instinct is to fear being picked up; its a way to prevent themselves from being eaten. I would try to spend some time alone with each kitten, so the learn to bond with you as well as each other.

    #631652
    Avatar of nawlins-catmom
    nawlins catmom
    Participant

    Dear Chell, Welcome to TDK! Do you know anything about the girl kitty’s history? Where the shelter got her, how long she had been there? Perhaps one of the staff that has interacted with her could give you some pointers? How long have you had them with you? It may just take her a bit longer to decide you are not going to eat her or beat her… seriously! perhaps if you just sit quietly and let her decide to come to you, read your study material outloud in a soft voice, have some little treats for her if she is food motivated… she may just need time. Patience is best, and you may not want to “go after her” – if she is hiding, let her hide, she will come out when she feels more confident. Also, do you have your own vet? You will need to get them spay/neutered (if they are not already)soon! Good luck with your kitties!

    #631653
    Avatar of jcat
    jcat
    Participant

    Chell, bless you for adopting these two little ones. If you click on the pink tag on the left hand side, ‘socialising’, there are several previous threads with excellent advice on this subject.

    Try these two threads in particular:

    http://www.dailykitten.com/chat/topic/28496

    http://www.dailykitten.com/chat/topic/14236

    You could also look at a Feliway diffusing spray in her room, to help calm her fears, or a few drops of Rescue Remedy (the kind for animals, not humans, as the human kind has alcohol in it) in her drinking water or food. But mainly patience is the key, always moving and speaking gently and slowly, letting her get used to you by just being in the same room with her, quietly doing your own thing, maybe studying or reading a book, just so she gets used to being around you and knows you won’t suddenly do something scary or hurt her. Welcome to TDK!

    #631654
    Avatar of michelle25
    Michelle25
    Participant

    I have had the kittens for about a day now and both cats had been in the shelter for no more than a week. I know that the girl had been there for a day less than the boy. They weren’t able to tell me anything about the history of the two kittens because the main staff person was just a fill in who normally works somewhere else. Both of the staff who worked in the back with the cats only said that they were new kittens.

    Okay, yea I’ve adopted kittens before with my parents, but they were only 4 weeks old then so we socialized them and none of the cats we’ve had have ever hidden like she does so it worried me. And yea, I may have been jumping the gun, being worried about something that will pass with time, but I still got worried.

    They are already spayed/neutered. The shelter doesn’t let the cats be adopted until they’ve been spayed/neutered. And yea, I have a vet. It’s who my family has always brought their cats to so I know him well.

    Thanks for all the help, I really appreciate it. And also thank you for linking me to the other threads. I knew there would probably be something like this before me, but I couldn’t find anything.

    #631655
    Avatar of ladysky61
    ladysky61
    Participant

    It’s normal feline behavior to hide for a few days when you first get them home.

    #631656
    Avatar of ladysky61
    ladysky61
    Participant

    Any progress?

    #631657

    Garbo didn’t come out from under the television set for nearly 2 weeks when there was anyone in the room (that’s how she got her name “I vont to be alone!”).

    It’s just patience, patience , patience. Offer treats, either on the floor near you or actually held in your fingers if she’s brave enough. Remember to squint your eyes and turn your head away if she looks straight at you (It’s the kitty “non-aggression” signal) and play with her with string, or a cat dancer, or anything where she can stay at a distance until she is used to you. Sit in the room as often as you can, and put a jumper or T-shirt you have worn into her bed so that she sleeps with your scent.

    #631658
    Avatar of michelle25
    Michelle25
    Participant

    Oh that’s what she’s doing when she’s squinting! I had no idea, I’d just seen cats do it before so I thought it was normal. Good, I’ll do the squint thing.

    So far we’ve spent many hours (roughly 5) playing with them throughout the day. I’ve introduced both to some friends, all of whom have been very calm when meeting her, so hopefully that was okay. Also we took them out of the “harry potter closet” to play around in the hallway and bathroom of our house (closed off all the other doors). The boy is definitely a play guy. He immediately bounced out of the closet and started playing with everything from his shadow to his tail to the little puffs of dust on the ground. His name is Zeus, by the way, and hers is Athena. His name fits pretty well, personality wise. Zeus thinks he’s the bomb.

    Athena, amazingly, stuck her head out of this little box she was hiding in and watched us (my boyfriend and I) while we watched Zeus playing. We took her out of the box and let her wander around, which she did without running away in fear (yaaay) but Zeus was a little to active and playful for her because after he tried to get her to play multiple times, she just hid behind the toilet. So we took Zeus away, put him back in the closet and let Athena wander on her own. She went to one side of the hall way and was very inquisitive (I talked to her all the while) and then when we decided to let Zeus back out we separated them on different sides of the hallway and SHE walked past my boyfriend and I calmly and decided to change sides to go with Zeus on her own! But then, after a little bit of play fighting, they both went behind the toilet to sit, so we called it a day for them. :]

    So there’s the update and I have high hopes. Thanks for all the advice, I really appreciate it!

    #631659
    Avatar of MadcatwomanintheUK
    MadcatwomanintheUK
    Participant

    All good tips. You might also like to try a product called Feliway – it’s a synthetic feline hormone, which is very good (from personal experience) in calming stressful and anxious situations for cats. It’s available as both a spray and plug in diffuser – the diffuser is very, very good.

    Good luck! – keep us posted :o)

    #631660
    Avatar of ladysky61
    ladysky61
    Participant

    awww. Sounds like she is adjusting nicely. They seem quite friendly for feral kittens. One of our cats, Bella, hid behind the toilet and under the bed for the first week. Since she is about 20lbs, it was quite a funny sight. We got Bella as an adult from a friend who’s other cats were bullying her. She’s still very fearful of strangers, but she’s opened up with her family and most regular visitors. She’s quite a “cuddle cat.” We love her.

    I think its a good idea to introduce them to strangers as kittens so that they’ll become used to visitors when they are older. Although a lot of it depends on the kitten’s temperament. (which is based on genes)

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