Kitten behavior, normal or abnormal? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-28-2013, 11:35 AM Thread Starter
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Kitten behavior, normal or abnormal?

Hello my name is Mary and I am new to this forum. I was so excited when I found this forum as I am a new mom to two kittens. Both males, brothers about 5-6 months old. My fiancÚ bought them for me as a Valentines day present about 3 weeks ago. We both never owned a kitten before but are very excited. This is the reason that I wanted to post something. We purchased them from a lady would worked for a shelter for cats and she actually fostered them at her house with other kittens. She stated the Elmer, grey and white, was the one who would come around first which he did after about 3 days he was letting us pet him and would sit with us and sleep with us as we'll. she did let us know that Linky, who is all black with hints of brown and red, would take a little longer to come around. My question or concern is that still after 3 weeks he still is very scared of us. He will not even let us get within 3 feet if him. For instance, I was petting Elmer today and they both were laying on my bed pretty close to each other and when I was petting Elmer Linky got up and took off. I wasn't even going to pet him or anything. Linky will play with us but only from a distance. It took him at least 1 and a half weeks for him to come out of hiding. When I feed him I have to put the bowls down and Elmer will literally be right there and will be eating out of the bowl before I get it down on the floor where as Linky will wait until the bowl is down on the ground and I walk away. He will not go to the bowl until I am a good 3 feet away from the bowl. He will even dart across the room if he is eating his dry food when I go to put the wet food down and will hide until I am completely away. Elmer also has his moments too when he gets skittish as well we want them to be friendly with us and want them
To come to us and hang out or cuddle up with us and sleep. Should I be concerned that he still is scared of us both? Any helpful suggestions are grey appreciated. Thank you.




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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-28-2013, 11:19 PM
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My cats still get a little spooked from sudden movements. I wonder if you sat down quietly on the floor while they ate if eventually Linky would come over. I have a small dog that was very shy and it took more than a year before he would not be scared of an open hand coming his way. We often wonder what spooked him when he was a little puppy but 15 years later we are connected at the hip.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-01-2013, 01:34 AM
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Linky's behavior would be abnormal for an outgoing cat, but it's normal for a skittish cat.
I've had a cat for 11 years who still runs away from me if I walk towards her too quickly.

I'd try what cat owner again recommended - sitting quietly on the floor with them when you put their food out. I'd sit a few feet away and not look at him, since he might see that as aggressive. This would just help to get him used to your presence. In general, I'd try to make as little noise as possible, to move slowly, and to talk to him in a soothing voice. These things should all help him too feel more comfortable in his new home.

Since it seems he's naturally timid, it will just take some time before he trusts you. 3 weeks really doesn't seem like that much time - with some patience and persistence, you'll end up with a little love muffin.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-01-2013, 01:59 AM
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The others are correct. Three weeks just isn't long for a timid cat. Every cat has their own personality and some just warm up to human company faster than others. Just give the timid one time and see how he does. It could be he just isn't that interested in being with humans; some cats are only cat oriented no matter what you do: while others are just wild about being petted and cuddled.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-01-2013, 10:06 AM
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The others are correct. Three weeks just isn't long for a timid cat. Every cat has their own personality and some just warm up to human company faster than others. Just give the timid one time and see how he does. It could be he just isn't that interested in being with humans; some cats are only cat oriented no matter what you do: while others are just wild about being petted and cuddled.
I have a cat that is shy even after a few months. We adopted her from the shelter and the previous owner had her declawed so that may be part of the problem. Sometimes it just takes awhile.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-01-2013, 12:37 PM
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Some cats are naturally shy and skittish. It's also possible that because Linky may be shy he didn't get the right amount of handling as a young kitten, so is not as well socialized as his more outgoing brother Elmer. Food bribing is a good way to "break the ice", especially if you are offering it on your finger. Try little nibbles of cheese, ice-cream, Fancy Feast cat food (very highly palatable). If you can get Linky to lick off food on your finger it will go a long way to getting him to come closer to you and eventually be receptive to being stroke or lifted slightly off the ground. You may have to confine him to a carrier or crate to keep him from running off and hiding in an inaccessible place. Do lots of "slow blinks" with your eyes at him and don't stare as that is interpreted as being aggressive in cat body language. Invite him to play by using wand toys, or a feather on a string, or dragging a cord in front of him. Praise any efforts on his part with lots of "Good boy" and in a soothing soft voice. BTW, Are sure Linky is a male? "all black with hints of brown and red" is descriptive of tortoiseshell coloring, which are usually females (very rare to be male). Torties can often be shy, stubborn and determined but once you earn their trust are very loving and loyal. Loving patience is the key. Hopefully your efforts will be rewarded with more outgoing behavior. Good luck!

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-01-2013, 02:30 PM
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My Marmaduke was extremely skittish when I first got him. It took him a full year to come downstairs, and even now he hates coming into the basement, and has some rooms that he just will not go in. Whenever strangers come, he bolts for his safe space upstairs. It took us a long time to get his trust, but (after six years with him), he's turned into a total sweetheart. He sleeps with us, purrs like a motorboat, and runs along beside us as we walk, trying to hold up his end of the conversation. He's very much like a dog, greeting me at the door when I get in.
Skittish cats can be very rewarding :] It makes you feel kind of special, having a cat that hides from most people but spends hours on your lap.

You just have to be patient with Linky, and let him do things on his own terms. What I would do with Marm is sit on the floor and read or sketch nearby him, so that he got used to my presence. Cats are naturally curious, so eventually, once he realized I wasn't going to boil him in a pot, he started sniffing his way over to investigate. I just kept doing whatever I was doing, pretending not to see him, so he wouldn't be spooked.

Good luck with your Linky, and keep us updated!
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-01-2013, 10:07 PM
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Good luck - others have given great suggestions. It will be all that much more rewarding when Linky does finally trust you.

I had a shier / skittish kitten as well and it is very rewarding because he is kind of a mamma's boy - he trusts me more than others and comes to me for snuggles and pets. He's definitely my little baby whereas his brother seems to think a human is a human lots of times!
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-01-2013, 10:27 PM
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I have made the experience that it helps to be just normal. If you make to much out of it they start thinking there really is something scary. So not too much "being over-carefully", just try to be relaxed and calm.
However, food is always a great idea. You could try throwing little treats and over the time he will come closer and closer to you
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-01-2013, 10:54 PM
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I have made the experience that it helps to be just normal. If you make to much out of it they start thinking there really is something scary. So not too much "being over-carefully", just try to be relaxed and calm.
However, food is always a great idea. You could try throwing little treats and over the time he will come closer and closer to you
Food is always a good incentive. Find some really yummy treats for them like the poster above suggested. Even my stray/feral outside cat will let me pet him if there is food inviolved.
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