My new kittens (formerly feral) are people shy - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-04-2008, 12:31 AM Thread Starter
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My new kittens (formerly feral) are people shy

I picked up 2 kittens from the city's animal control shelter today. They are 8-9 weeks old and were living on the streets with their feral mother. They are not socialized and are very people shy. To reduce their stress they are currently in my extra bedroom(which I've kitty-proofed).

Kitty #1 initially did not want to be touched. She has now started to let me pick her up. She actually relaxed and started purring quite loudly during one of the times I was holding her.

Kitty #2 seems more skittish and fearful. Initially she did not want to be touched. She now lets me pick her up but then wants to get ouf of my arms right away.

They will eat with me in the room. They will use their litter box with me in the room.

What should I be doing to acclimate them to their new home? What are the best ways to help them get over their fear of people? Thanks!!!
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-04-2008, 01:41 AM
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It sounds to me like you're doing just fine!
Just time, attention, love and patience.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-04-2008, 01:49 AM
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It's only been a few hours, their behavior is very normal. Relocating to a new home is a very traumatic experience for a little kittens (really, for any cat). Time, love and patience are critical.

The one who doesn't like to be held, may never change. Some cats like it, others don't. Some are willing to sit on your lap and be petted, but don't like being held in your arms. Others don't like to be held or even sit on your lap, but will sit right next to you with a paw on your leg. They're all different.

So just give them the opportunity for lots of human interaction. Expose them to other people, but don't overwhelm them.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-04-2008, 09:10 AM
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Time is your friend. They will let you know how far they are willing to go in the holding and petting department. Give them time they'll come around.

The more people I meet the more I love my cat!

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-04-2008, 11:33 AM
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Be inviting, but not demanding

Kitties don't like to be rushed or forced, and it looks to me like you are trying to go slowly. It takes a lot of patience, and sometimes it means pretending like the kitties aren't there until they come to you asking for attention

One thing you should do is talk quietly and comfortingly to them while you are feeding them. This associates the sound of your voice with numminess, and it's a good thing!
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-04-2008, 03:28 PM
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DO NOT let screaming, running, yelling kids around them while they are this little. My two guys were from a feral litter born in the back yard. My girlfriend has a 12 year old niece and twin 7 year olds (niece and nephew).

They terrorized our guys by doing all that stupid yelling running and screaming, and still do to this day. Wittle even gets aggressive towards them, searching them out to spit at and hiss. His tail gets poofy and he growls this unearthly growl at them, which in turn causes them to run and scream and yell..............a vicious circle. Sometimes I would like to tie them all down and duct tape their pie holes.

That being off my chest, our guys are getting better with adults. They are tiny in the sig pic, but will be 6 this Aug. We don't get much company (other than her sisters family and kids). They seem to do better with males, maybe lower non-shrilly screaming voices have something to do with it.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 01:50 PM
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These kittens were right at the cut off line to be truely feral.

the more time spent with them the better. Sit next to the bowl when you feed them. Try toys like feather on sticks to interact with them. Alot of brief touching and handling helps also.

Its so nice you took these guys on. They will make great companions.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 02:01 PM
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Be patient with them, and talk softly to them. Pet them very slowly and gently while they eat, if they'll let you. If not, that's okay, too. Let them accept you on their own schedule. And they will, just give them time.

Arianwen was hand-shy when I first got her, and has grown to be the sweetest kitta ever.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 02:40 PM
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It's probably impossible to socialize a truly feral cat -- one that's fully grown and has never had contact with human beings. Kittens, however, are another matter. It sounds as if these little girls are happy to be in a loving home and will adjust very well.

Ditto the remarks about love, time, and patience. These kittens have been through so much. They were abandoned -- either by their mother or by some cruel-hearted person -- and they had to survive on their own, possibly during some severe weather. Then they were captured and moved to a shelter. Now, they have the added stresses of moving to your home and learning to live with people. But, they're lucky little girls, and I'm sure they'll become family members before very long.

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 04:29 PM
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Re: My new kittens (formerly feral) are people shy

Have the people who visit offer a treat.
You are doing great by the way!!!
Pictures please!!

Maria
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