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My fiance and I got our first kitten in July from a shelter. Dudley was about two months old. We then decided to get another kitten which we adopted from a foster home. Dudley is now pushing 3 and half months or so and Dexter is about 4 months I would say.

Dexter came from a home that had quite a few other kittens/cats around him 24-7. When he was brought to our home we had our bedroom set up for him to have all to himself and would gradually introduce him to our resident kitten Dudley. That route didn't go as planned because once we closed the door Dexter would cry and whine like no other. When we opened the door he stopped and then Dudley came in to meet him. At first Dudley hissed and ran out. We tried keeping the door closed but Dexter didn't want any part of it. The two of them get along and now sleep with us and Dexter has moved from our room to exploring the whole apartment and it's only been a week.

Things are going great but Dexter is super skittish around myself and my fiance. He's been coming closer and closer to us little more each day but if he's just laying on the floor and one of us gets up to get something he jets off to the bedroom and hides under the bed or under the kitchen table. My questions are: has anyone experienced this type of similar behavior? If so, will my kitten always be weary of us? Any feedback would be great!
 

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I would start handling your kitten right away. The younger they are the easier it is to bring a kitten around.

If you leave it up to him he may be skiddish with people his whole life. So start playing daily with him. Make him let you handle him several times a day. Brief periods eac time.
 

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Hey Thanks for your reply! We do play with him and try to tag team them meaning I play with one and my fiance plays with the other, then we switch. He doesn't seem to like being held like Dudley but we still pick him up and let him go once he start to fuss. We engage with both of them while we are home and we pet Dexter as often as he lets us. Sometimes it's just hard because once he realizes one of us is heading toward him whether it be to pet him or just to walk by him he bolts.
 

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That skiddishness is pretty common behavior in kittens who havent been around a lot of people.

I foster cats and kittens in my home. My friends come by when i have kittens and we all sit around and hold them. It gets them use to a variety of people and not be freaked out by new people on the scene. Plus I get to sit around and yak with my friends and catch up on their lives!

I got 2 identical looking brothers kittens at 12 weeks old. (Our cut off point). I worked with them. They became totally socialized to people. They were black cats, which are harder to adopt out. 2 yrs later I had to be working out of town a lot. One of the brothers started regressing and stopped coming near people except me. I dont have a choice about being gone since I'm the sole provider of putting kitty food in their bowls.

His brother is social as ever. In fact Labor Day he was adopted to a wonderful home with a retired lady. But Ace is still with me.

My dear cat friends would come over to my house 4 times a day to check on my cats and spend time playing with them, holding them. But its not enough for Ace now that he regressed. I will have to be home consistantly....which I am when in between jobs. He sloooowly starts coming around for me. Then I loose all ground once I leave again.

This may be taken wrong but to put disclaimers up front I do this gently. With kittens when handling them I GENTLY pull their ears, tails and legs. I do slow flips. I hold them face down and let them glide down my legs. They become desensitized to all this. Even as adults all my fosters (except Ace!) will still let me do this.

I watched people do this with potential therapy puppies. The reasoning on my part for doing this is: one, they may get adopted into homes with children or grandchildren and the cat wont freak out and lash out if those things are done to it. Or two, vets need to examine cats pretty intimately. Mine never even flinch, they are so use to it. It makes it way easier and less stressful on the cat when at the vet.
 

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I would start handling your kitten right away. The younger they are the easier it is to bring a kitten around.

If you leave it up to him he may be skiddish with people his whole life. So start playing daily with him. Make him let you handle him several times a day. Brief periods each time.
I have to politely disagree. Cats cannot be trained or forced to become accustomed to things. They have to do it on their terms. They will become distrustful. He is associating you getting up and coming near with being picked up or handled, which he doesn't want.

Is he food driven? If so use this in association with play. Does he like the feather wand (most kittens favorite toy) You may already be dong this, but use the wand to attract him to you but do not reach for him, let him play with the toy near you. Have food or treats to give him.

The biggest thing is trust. Have you ever notice that when a cat has a bad experience, like maybe an unsteady climbing tree, it's hard to get them to near it again. I'm not saying always, but I think many people here may respond with similar issues or training experiences.

I do agree with "brief periods each time". But to me that means short play periods, maybe a dragging or wand toy, followed by a treat.

I'd like to hear others opinions, but I really believe that if "make him let you handle him" it will never get better. He has to learn that if he comes near you he *won't* be handled.
 

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Hal I will politely disagree with you. Let me first clarify I'm not talking about forcing yourself on a cat. Im talking about gently nudging thier comfort levels.

I would ask you to go over to the feral section of cat forum. Look under Taming and Socializing Feral kittens. First read Heidi's Kiity Boot Camp. Then view the Urban Cat Leagues 3 Utube videos. These are the hard cases but the tips in there work on any cat reguardless of its socialization level. Let me know your thoughts after reading and viewing this material.
 

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I have to disagree with hal1, and agree with Mitts & Tess. Cats do need to be handled by vet, children, grandmothers etc., and they do need to learn not to wriggle when being held, whether it's in a vet exam or you're trying to pill it or a toddler picks it up. Kitties from the time they are born should be held for short periods of time, and when they get older, say 9 wks., and are busybodies who would rather play than be held, should be picked up several times a day and be held and cuddled. When they stop wriggling, then they are placed down on the floor to continue their play. Occasionally there will be a kitten born that is skittish from day one, shy of strangers or owner, and never wants to be picked up, and no amount of socializing seems to change its mind....had one like that. In any case, it should still be picked up and handled in a similar manner as Mitts & Tess has suggested, cuddled, and then placed down. They do learn to hold still even though they may not enjoy it all that much because they know it's not for long.

Sitting on the floor and dragging a feather wand or cord around you and through your lap, or lying on the floor and dragging it over your body will go a long way to having your kitties enjoy being with you and not running away.
 

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Monkeys was like that when we brought her home. She was so scared that when we did manage to get a hold of her, she would scream and hiss and bite. It took some time, but after a few days, she started to come out more regularly, and began to play with us. As an adult, she's never been the most social cat around people, but she loves to play, so instead of cuddles, playing with the laser pointer or da bird is our special bonding time.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you all for your advice and opinions. I'm thinking I should maybe keep engaging with him, holding him and petting him when he's near me for the next week or so to see if that helps. He does seem to respond half the time to that which is a good sign. The other half is him running away. If not I will try the more "let him come around on his own" route. Does anyone think that his skittishness has anything to do with Dudley, our kitten we got first? They play together but Dudley is much more active than Dexter. Maybe I'm overanalyzing the situation, it really only has been a week and two days since Dexter has been in our home.
 

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Hey Thanks for your reply! We do play with him and try to tag team them meaning I play with one and my fiance plays with the other, then we switch. He doesn't seem to like being held like Dudley but we still pick him up and let him go once he start to fuss. We engage with both of them while we are home and we pet Dexter as often as he lets us. Sometimes it's just hard because once he realizes one of us is heading toward him whether it be to pet him or just to walk by him he bolts.
It seems like you guys are off to a good start and you're being very attentive to the new kittens, along with asking all of the right questions. However, I wouldn't let him down when he starts to fuss. Then he'll learn that fussing= positive reward (being put down). Only hold him for brief moments and set him back down BEFORE he starts to act up.

I'm super jealous that you have two new kittens!
 

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Thanks Layla0710, I will definitely try keeping him longer in my arms or on my lap even if he begins to squirm. I am absolutely addicted to my kitties and they are what I look forward to at the end of a long day! We've spoiled them rotten so far, our living room floor is littered with cat toys and cat feather wands lol.

I also had another thought as to why he may be skittish and not be such a big fan of being held...when he was in his foster home he supposively had some allergies or was tested for them and also had ringworm. The sore or scab was very close to his eye on the upper part of his nose. He obviously needed to be held to receive his ointment everyday so maybe that experience caused him to regress as far being a cuddle bug is concerned. When we do get close and are able to hold him, we talk softly to him and stroke under his chin, behind his ears and down along his back :)
 

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Only hold him for brief moments and set him back down BEFORE he starts to act up.
I really like this idea. Also if you can give him a treat after you him down. If you put him down after he starts to squirm, then he doesn't know what the good behavior was. If you put him down before he squirms he then associates the calm behavior with the treat.
 

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When you approach him, don't walk, get down on his level and do it slowly. Imagine what giants we must look like to a little kitten! That's why he probably runs when you get up to get something. Don't worry, he'll come around. Follow the great advice you've already been given. It takes time.

My twins sometimes still scatter when I walk in a room. But that's probably because they've been up to no good, and Mommy just hasn't discovered what exactly they've done yet.....
 
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