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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-16-2011, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
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First touch

Hi all,
Itís coming up to the 4-month mark with my Inky. He is a feral kitten and about 7 months old. After 4 months living with him, he is will:

1) sleep on the bed with me
2) allow hand feeding
3) sit within a foot or so of me at a table
4) meow to me (started after about 2 months of silence)
5) follow me around and study everything I do

All good progress. But he still will not tolerate being touched, and he responds with swatting and retreating if I try even to slowly touch a paw with one finger.



Anyway, does anyone have advice on how to break through the touching barrier? I donít have a spare cat to use as a role model Ö.



Thanks!
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 12:25 AM
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Cleo has been with me for three years and still doesn't like her feet touched. At all. Not for one second.

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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 12:33 AM
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A lot of cats don't like their feet touched, if that's actually where you're trying to pet your cat it could be part of the problem. Try getting low to the ground or even lay on the ground near him, do not make any fast movements, and don't aim for Inky's feet, maybe closer to his ears instead. If Inky doesn't want you to move any closer, leave your hand where it is. Repeat this often and one of those times he might actually allow you to pet him.


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Along with the dogs
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 12:41 AM
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Cleo didn't like being touched anywhere when she first adopted me. For a long time, it was just her little face she liked having scratched. Now I can pet her everywhere except her legs and feet. Tonight, she laid on her back and let me rub her little belly, first time I can remember her doing that.

Baby steps....

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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 12:56 AM
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Nebbie will let me pet her "regular-like"...most of the time. But never the feet. Which is really annoying, as I want to put on Soft Paws because she's started scratching at the carpet near the litter box (I have a plastic mat that goes out from under the box, but she likes to scratch even past that!)
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 01:26 AM
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A cat's feet and legs are *vital* to their survival and the instincts to protect them and other vital areas are very strong. It takes a cat who is very comfortable, confident and secure with itself and its' surroundings before most will allow their feet to be handled. This is a major reason why clipping nails can be such an ordeal for so many people and their cats.
...and no matter how trusting and confident a cat becomes ... some just *cannot* override that instinct to protect their feet/bellies.
I would begin touching by reaching to touch/pet their shoulder or hip while they are distracted with eating. Some cats are preferential with how close they allow a hand and where they allow it: some prefer head/shoulders only, some prefer further away from their head like at their hip/rump. You'll have to experiment to see what your kitty prefers.



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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 06:46 AM
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What I would do personally is approach Inky slowly and confidently. If you are nervous or tense he will feel this and think that there is a reason to be afraid and match your mood. Don't look him in the eyes, if you really want to be 'kitty polite' then you can turn your head slightly away. Staring him in the eyes in cat lingo is a challenge and will make your approach threatening to him. Hold out your hand to Inky and see what he does. If he sniffs you and seems curious about your hand try touching him somewhere whether on the head, shoulder, etc. If he runs away that's ok, if he invites you to pet more then, of course, pet more If when you hold out your hand he shrinks back afraid or hisses, flattens his ears, starts swishing his tail wildly, or bites/swats at you then he is not feeling too great about the hand at the moment. Simply put your hand down and walk away. This isn't a bad thing and don't feel bad if this happens. Do this several times a day. Always approach him and allow Inky to "invite" you to push his boundaries a little further. He will begin to trust you more and more and look forward to your touches more and more. I personally don't recommend forcing your touch on him in any way. This can build distrust and set you back instead of moving your forward. You are wanting to build his trust in you and to communicate that you are not a threat to him. I have tried this approach with many cats, my toughest being semi ferals from a major hoarding case (they had 125 kittens alone) and this group I worked with were all 8+ years old. This worked wonderfully with them and I developed a close bond that many didn't share with them. With those of us that took this approach these cats allowed themselves to be carefree and longed to be rubbed and pet. If these older guys can turn around then I have no doubt Inky will as well!
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-18-2011, 06:17 PM
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Today for the first time Prince let me pet his belly and caress his leg and foot. He was quite sleepy, and that helped. I remember when I first met him, he wouldn't even let me rub under his chin - only his forehead/top of head.

I once read something that I loved and that proved very true with my colony strays, so I copied it. Unfortunately, I don't have the name of the person who wrote it (it was a poster in some internet forum), but here it is:

"A lot of cats seem to have a problem with the "giant" human reaching down scaring them. I think they know it's the same loving person, but just can't fight their instinct to run away. It takes time, but they learn. Sometimes it takes longer for them to learn to control the instinct to run than it does for them to learn to trust you".

The Royal von Meouw Dynasty: His Royal Highness the late Prince von Meouw,
Her Royal Highness Princess Gatita von Meouw, Nikita Duchess of Meouw and
His Highness Cuchi-Cuchi, next in line for the throne of Prince von Meouw.
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-18-2011, 06:22 PM
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Ok, I just entered the above quote in Google, and it turns out the quote is from a member of this very website, and the thread is:

https://www.catforum.com/forum/37-beh...-months-2.html

The Royal von Meouw Dynasty: His Royal Highness the late Prince von Meouw,
Her Royal Highness Princess Gatita von Meouw, Nikita Duchess of Meouw and
His Highness Cuchi-Cuchi, next in line for the throne of Prince von Meouw.
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-18-2011, 06:51 PM
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just like the saying, good things take time.

i was lucky with pretty girl. since i had spent a lot of time with her and her babies while she was still in my colony i was actually able to pet her within a month or so of her coming inside to stay. now that we are about 10 weeks in she will come out of her dog crate and sit on my lap, let me rub her legs, occasionally rub her belly and even pick the boogers out of her eyes.

now if only she wanted to come out of her crate to stay. she is still a little too scared for that but i am patient.

"In studying the traits and dispositions of the so-called lower animals, and contrasting them with man's, I find the result humiliating to me."
--Mark Twain

Last edited by Whaler; 02-18-2011 at 06:54 PM. Reason: add more detail
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