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Hi there,

I'm hoping someone can help with this problem. We got an 8 week old kitten 3 1/2 weeks ago now and she has spent almost all of her time hiding under the sofa! During the first week that we had her she started to come out and eat when my boyfriend and I were in the room but one night my boyfriend got over excited and blocked off all of her hiding places. He chased her out of one of them and now she's gone under the sofa and won't come out at all (not suprising really!).

We both work from home a lot and she won't come out to eat unless we're not there. This means that she'll go all day without eating, only eating at night. She always goes to the toilet in the litter tray though. We got a feliway diffuser about a week ago but that hasn't helped. When I just look under the sofa or stick my hand under to give her ham she scoots to the back. I'm worried that unless we get her used to us soon she won't ever be socialised properly.

It can't be very pleasant under the sofa as we have a tiled floor so it must be very cold. I've put a blanket under so she doesn't get so cold.

Also, I haven't taken her to get her jabs yet as I'm worried that we'll scare her even more by catching her to take her out.

It's a bit of a dilemma. We're at a loss for what to do (although the bf is talking about getting her out from under the sofa and blocking it off so she can't go underneath - I'm doing my best to stop him from doing that). I thought about getting another kitten to see if they could become friends but I thought that make it worse.

If anyone has any advice it would be really really appreciated. I have a very scared cat and a miserable boyfriend who's been looking forward to getting a kitten for more than a year and who is very disappointed :(

thanks!
Siobhan
 

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siobhan said:
...spent almost all of her time hiding under the sofa!
...one night my boyfriend got over excited and blocked off all of her hiding places. He chased her out of one of them and now she's gone under the sofa and won't come out at all (not suprising really!).

I'm worried that unless we get her used to us soon she won't ever be socialised properly.

If anyone has any advice it would be really really appreciated. I have a very scared cat and a miserable boyfriend who's been looking forward to getting a kitten for more than a year and who is very disappointed :(
Hi Siobhan,
I have some advice, but unfortunately, your boyfriend is NOT going to like what I have to say.
FIRST, he *created* this problem and he better get his head straight about the *correct* way to socialize a kitten, otherwise you WILL end up with a fearful cat who is basically, an "indoor feral" because it has not been socialized.
NOW, to fix this problem...Yes, the kitten will *have* to come out from under the couch, but NO chasing! Prepare a small room, I prefer a bathroom, but a small bedroom with no furniture it can get behind, under or inside. Provide food, water, litterbox and ONE safe and secure sleeping-area for the kitten. I like to use either the brand new hood of a litterbox set on top of a bathmat or folded towels, or a cat carrier with the door propped open and a towel draped over the top to make it seem like a 'cave'. Basically; a place where the kitten will think it can *hide* and be safe.
NEXT, visit the kitten frequently with good food. I like to use canned food or cooked, shredded chicken mixed with cream of chicken soup so the chicken pieces stick to the ends of my fingers as I crouch down and put my hand in the kitten's safe-cave and offer the food to it. When the kitten is eating off your hand, great. Start holdin gyour hand further from it and make it come to you to eat. When it will come out and eat in front of you from a plate, try to pet it. When it allows that, begin to gently scruff it and place it on your lap (you sit on floor, NO lifting at this point!) and pet/rub it with your free hand. If the kitten relaxes, you can relax your hold. If it doesn't relax, pet/rub it for 5-20 seconds, whatever length you think it can 'handle' and then place it gently away from you at the front of its' safe-cave so it can go inside.

I have more information about how to socialize a kitten like this. Please let me know if you would be interested. From the little bit I have explained here, decide now if you and Boyfriend can/will do this for the kitten, otherwise the kitten will *never* learn that being with people is good, because so far it has only been frightened and chased. You've got to show it that you can be trusted and teach it to enjoy attention from its' people.

Anyhow, I am sorry to be so blunt, but please let me know if you are interested in more info...
Heidi =^..^=
 

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Heidi is right.....my mom has a cat that was traumatized as a kitten. she got hiim from a cardboard box in front of a grocery store, he was the last kitten, and was cowering in the box. she never put real effort into helping him get comfortable...it may have already been too late when she got him though.

Anyways, point is, this cat 'Benito' now 12 years old and has NEVER been fully comfortable around humans. For years, he would just hide all day long, the only time he would come out is if my mom and step dad were laying in bed watching TV...then he would slowly creep out and get on the bed looking for some affection. He has made SOME progress, he has approched me while i was laying on the couch for over an hour watching TV. He hes a LARGE manly looking cat, but has a small, weak, and scared sounding meow.

just like with a child, if something traumatizing happens to them young, it can effect thier whole life. But Heidis advice is excellent, and im confident you can get the kitten to trust you, if you put in the effort and make sure your boyfreind dosnt scare the crap out of her again! i wish you the best of luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the advice. I think that my bf is aware that this is his fault (I keep reminding him).

the only small room we have is our very small bathroom and it is often in use with people in the shower etc. There's not really anywhere that great to put the cat - nowhere for a bed or anything (just bath, sink and toilet). But I could give it a go if you think it would be best.

All of the other things I've read online have said to be patient but, like you say, unless we do something she might never be used to people.

i'll let you know how it goes.
 

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Well, yes, you need to be patient with *everything* if you want good results, but the whole point of socializing is to introduce the kitten to being handled by people in a relaxed and gentle manner so it can learn that being held, petted and talked to by people can be a Good Thing, and that it may even *like* that attention and want to *seek-it-out* for even more of that attention. You want a cat that is happy, relaxed and confident in its' home.
...and the only way to get that, is to show the cat that it can be done. You need to slowly, gently and systematically work it past its' fears, so it can understand that nothing 'bad' is happening and that it may actually be 'good' and that behaving in certain manners can get it *more* of that 'good' stuff: handling, food-treats and stuff.
To do this, the kitten needs to be in a place where it CANNOT get away from your attentions, because you will have to push this issue, in order to show the kitten everything will be okay. If it continues to back away and hide under furniture, remaining unaccessible, it will *never* be handled, and if it can't be handled, how will it ever get *used to BEING* handled?

Here is a link to a post I made.
I call the program I work my feral and foster cats through, the Kitty Cat Boot Camp. Overall, I guess my philosophy for socializing kittens and cats is to be gentle, yet persistent, constant and consistent. I keep chipping away at their 'armor' until it finally falls away and they just give-up their defenses to keep me away and finally accept me into their life as a Good Thing. This is what you need to do with your kitten.

There is no right or wrong way to work with your kitten. You will need to use your judgement to determine how much your kitten can handle during every session, but just keep gently working at it. Baby steps, at first, but as the kitten takes those first steps, each step in forward progress become easier and easier. Then, before you know it, you'll have your kitten running to you!
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=60586
Please read through this. It isn't important that you do everything that I outlined in that post, it is mostly important that you understand the concept of trying to show your kitten that it can TRUST you. Some of the things I've outlined in that post will not apply for you and your kitten, or the situation you find yourselves in, but if you can understand the general direction, you can make your own path to reach your goal of having a relaxed and happy housecat.
Good luck! You CAN do it! ...and your kitten is very lucky that you WANT to better its' life. It doesn't know that now, but it will... :luv
heidi =^..^=
 

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An update:

We're following the Kitty Bootcamp. We weren't able to put her in the bathrooom as there isn't enough room for bed, food and litter tray. So we've taken the legs of the sofa and cleared out everything from the living room that she could hurt herself on. My boyfriend made her a "cave" with lots of blankets... but rather than go in there she's decided to sit in her litter tray.... I doubt that this is a a good thing. Not least because she is going to stink.

I've tried the cream of chicken soup with chicken but she's not interested in it. No matter how close I get it to her she just stares at it.

But we will press on.
 

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When I got my cat Willis he was petrified of us and would hide in the pantry during the day and come out at night when my boyfriend and I were sleeping. We didn't push it and gave him his space. Everday I would sit outside the pantry and speak softly to Willis. I would throw in a few treats. Each day I would move a little closer to where he was continuing to place some treats closeby to him. One day..maybe a month later he started to purr and even let me pet him. The rest is history. He is now the most amazing and lovable cat ever.
 

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Hmmm. So, the kitten is about 3mo old right now... I really feel you are on the threshold of being able to turn this kitten around, or not.

Overall, it isn't unusual for kittens/cats to "hang out" in their litterboxes; it smells familiar, seems safe and the shifting litter can be quite comfortable when it forms to their shape.
How about...buying a new/clean litterbox and putting her bedding in there? Maybe she'll sleep in there and use the litterbox for elimination?
Now, since it seems the food/chicken (my secret weapon) isn't working...you may need to push the issue. However, while this is something *I* would feel perfectly capable of doing, some people just won't feel comfortable/safe doing it. I would sit right outside where the kitten is hiding, several times a day. I'd place a folded towel over my lap and I would reach in and slowly/gently scruff the kitten and put it on my lap, holding it facing away from me and restraining it with the scruff hold and then I'd rub it all over with my free hand for 5-20seconds and talk gently to it. When I had reached my time-limit OR when the *kitten* had reached *their* limit, I would lift the kitten off my lap (still controlled with the scruff hold) and place it in front of its' safe-cave. I'm sure I've stated in the kcbc that I don't stare at them and I try to create enough confidence that the kitten just creeps away and doesn't shoot off like a rocket.
Other methods may, or may not, work. I only know the way I was taught to work with the ferals through my adoption center, who needed me to get fast results and keep the kitten at that level of confidence so the feelings "set" before they had to go to the adoption center. I see benefits from working in both ways: slowly and patiently and quickly yet gently. IMO, I feel that working the kitten quickly towards acceptance gives the best results...however for me, "the best results" means having a kitten/cat confident around anyone. Working slower will create more of a bond with those particular people that work with it. Some cats worked in this manner may never feel comfortable or confident around strangers, which is *still* okay. As long as the cat is happy, that is all I care about.
Still wishing you and your kitten the best, please keep us updated.
h
 
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