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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 12:04 AM Thread Starter
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Stray Kitten Question

Several weeks ago my husband and I were visiting family and discovered a litter of 4 stray kittens. Long story short we soon discovered that they were without a momma and so we decided to provide for them. The last one is still here and is about 10-12 weeks old.

My question, is it normal for her to be so jumpy? And will she always be that way? After a couple days she turned into such a cuddly little thing which was beautiful to see happen as she had no kitten to human social skills at all when we got her. But if I want to go pick her up I have to sneak a little to get her. If I go up to her to fast she'll run under the bed (were keeping her in my bedroom for now to keep her away from my other cat) or under the couch. Once I've got her she's all cuddles and if she tries to get down immediately after I pick her up I let her.

She's still very jumpy. She's become very used to "human noises" but she still jumps when she hears something loud and will stay hidden for awhile (maybe 30 minutes to an hour or until I go get her). I just want to know if this is normal for her to behave this way after so long (about a month) and if she'll grow out of this?

ETA - She is doing well outside of this one issue. There aren't any other issues and she even sleeps with us every night (she chooses where she sleeps). I was just wondering if she'll always be this way.

I currently have 1 bald cat and one foster and am hoping to add a few more soon!
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Last edited by JustOneMore; 06-19-2013 at 12:08 AM. Reason: added more
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 01:07 AM
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Hopefully you will get a response from someone with more kitten experience. My cats have always been about 5-6 months old when I have taken them in, all of them strays, btw.

One of my cats has always been sort of a fraidy-cat and kind of jumpy. He is tight with my husband and two kids, but if anyone else is over, he is underneath my daughter's skirted makeup table. If he even hears a voice on the radio he does not know....off he goes under the table. We have tried everything to make him not be this way, but I don't know if it is because we took him when he was too old to be better socialized, or if it's just his personality, but I tend to think it's just his personality. He's just a chicken.

I think if this kitten is from a feral mom, it may just have those feral tendencies that will always be with it no matter what. My other two cats, who were strays also, but I don't believe any of my 3 where feral but all of them strays, the other two are fine. They came around. I think it just depends on the cat.

Hopefully you get some better advice, and hopefully I didn't sound stupid, because I'm really tired but I can't sleep
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 02:29 AM Thread Starter
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You didn't sound stupid. Thanks for the advice. I'm not really sure if the mom was feral or strayed since I never saw her (though the family member did before we saw the kittens).

I currently have 1 bald cat and one foster and am hoping to add a few more soon!
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Last edited by marie73; 06-19-2013 at 04:36 AM.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 04:51 AM
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The first months of a kitten are very formative, but it doesn't sound like she became a feral out of it, were people feeding her before you took her in?

How long have you had her, a month? It's really not unexpected for a cat -- from feral background or not -- to be jumpy in a new place with huge towering giant strangers around them. Blaze was a feral kitten and took a year for him to explore properly around the door to the hallway in the condo, since there were all the scary strangers walking by out there. Eventually that became where he slept, in a closet right there by that door.

Some feral kittens do remain a little, or a lot, spooked by noise and such their entire life. Others don't. It can take a year or more for their full personality to emerge after they've been semi-feral/feral. That said, plenty of hand raised kittens can be just as spooked by things. Being predisposed to being jumpy just means they're the cat that might've been more likely to survive in the wild. Their own personality and their environment shape who they become too, and it's impossible to say which wins out until you've seen of through.


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Last edited by Carmel; 06-19-2013 at 04:55 AM.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 06:43 AM
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My guess at this point is she will outgrow it once she realizes she is in no further harm. If she is adopted out again she may go through a difficult rehoming phase because of her wariness but it won't be impossible. A calm home, loving people and good food will bring out the best in 99% of cats.

Some cats, even those hand fed are just skittish by nature. It's in the genes and there is not much you can do about it but care for her as best you can. Some cats are totally laid back and nothing much seems to bother them and most fall somewhere in between. It won't be until she is a full adult before you will see her true personality and know her quirks.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 09:50 PM
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I read somewhere (and of course now I can't find it) that the fight or flight response starts to develop around 8-10 weeks. This could explain why she's jumpy, though I agree with the others that personality has a lot to do with it too.

My fosters tend to start getting jumpier around the 7-8 week mark, mostly because they're finally getting big and strong enough to jump, lol. She may just be hitting the mark a little later?


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Last edited by marie73; 06-20-2013 at 12:49 AM. Reason: removed link
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-20-2013, 11:17 AM
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I picked up 4 kittens from a semi feral yesterday. They ranged from being totally laid back to one that captured my heart who has total feral tendencies. He did the sharp puff sound and jump forward towards me in the cage with stiff front legs trying to intimidate me! What a scrappy bold little man. I loved it.

The more you handle your kitten and get it use to lots of human contact the more it will come around. You can get it to come around and not skittish by working with it. Dont leave it to itself to much. Be with it when your feeding it. Do play time several times a day interacting with it.

Watch the 3 video to pick up tips in socializing by the Urban Cat League.

Tough Love: Socializing Feral Kittens (Part 1 of 3) - YouTube

Tough Love: Socializing Feral Kittens (Part 2 of 3) - YouTube

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