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Thread: Skittish Cat Help Needed

  1. #21
    Super Member RugosaB's Avatar
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    I used to have kitties, but now have 'the dog for people who like cats," basenjis.
    They ARE very catlike in their demeanor.
    I have one that's a little shy, but I've noticed, they respect their established hieracrchy, and are easier to live with when we do too. A lot tof times her behaviors come acrooss as shy, but if you really look, she's just doing what the higher ups have signaled she do.
    Eating, she waits, petting she waits, getting nails trimmed, SHE can go first LOL

    I've never had more than one cat, so maybe cats are the same way? Is she getting a signal from the other to hold back?

    The way we've dealt with this is to always involve the shier one in the petting, or attention of any kind. The alpha learns that it's ok to pay attention to both, the shyer one learns, "Hey, alpha says it's ok, I like it!"
    You know that feeling when you've finished all your quilting projects and your studio is perfectly clean????

    Me neither.

  2. #22
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    also, my Rosie wouldn't let us near her in the beginning so I used a fly swatter to pet her!! seriously. She lovely it. that way she got some loving and no hands touching her. Once in awhile I still use the fly swatter. Poor girl really wanted some attention. her mom never gave her any for some reason. They all get along in their own ways now. This morning I got Rosie up on her hind legs and petted her tummy and then slid her up onto my knees. She didn't know it, but she was on my lap!! One day she may get up on her own while i'm down here on the computer. she considers anyone in a chair half way safe. can't pick her up for the Vet if you're sitting down!

  3. #23
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    Many 'experts' state that kittens must be handled by humans before they are 5 weeks old if they are to be social cat. Personally I think as long as they are not hurt or scared by humans you have until they are at least 12 weeks old, if not longer. Of course unless they are born where they can be observed constantly, it's difficult to know just what has happened to them. My neighbor's tom brought a pregnant feral (about 6 months old, non-vocal, very shy) to me to feed, when the kittens were about 8 weeks old she brought them close to my house, then she started going inside to eat. I finally was able to get her and all 3 kittens in the house and started working with them. The 2 orange males were very shy and they took a lot of patience, the dilute tortie has yet to meet a stranger and was friendly from the first. I believe their Mama had been cared for when she was young, I can't prove it, but she did become a very friendly, non-vocal, inside cat. All of them became friendlier after they were fixed, the most skittish...well it took him 2 years before he would climb on a lap. For treats and wet food, he had to tolerate being touched, we had to watch that there were no sudden moves, no loud voices and he eventually began to trust.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieLou View Post
    Thanks for all the replies. I guess patience is going to be what it takes. My DH can't understand why she won't tame up. He once had a feral cat that he tamed up in about a week so he thinks this one should too. ...
    It's quite possible the cat he tamed in a week wasn't actually feral. If you go to Alley Cat Allies they have lots of good information and it can help you determine if the cat you are watching is scared or feral. Not all homeless cats are feral, some are strays, some have been dumped and after being on their own for awhile it's hard for us to know what might have been done to them. Some regain their trust, some never do...even if they become tolerant of humans.

  5. #25
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    Someone dropped 2 kittens on me 3 yrs ago. Domino is the outgoing friendly cat, follows me everywhere. Tiger is a beautiful cat, but he is the poster boy for "Scaredy Cat". He does drive by petting. Jumps in my DH lap, gets a stroke or two, then jumps to my lap for a couple more strokes. On occasion, he will sit in my lap.
    "Proud Parent of an American Airman"

  6. #26
    Super Member DOTTYMO's Avatar
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    I had 2 kittens, sisters. One Issy was afraid of nothing. If she wanted to sit on my knee, along she would come past the three dogs and jump up on the lap. The sister was just the opposite and kept to herself in there bed. Issy just disappeared one day. Sister decided she was going to stay outside. I know Issy is not about her meow was so loud I would hear it.
    Mi now have 2 different dogs younger than the cat and they are all about the same size. Outside they play hit each other and appear to chase each other in some kind of game.she will come in the house but does prefer outside.
    Finished is better than a UFO

  7. #27
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    Cats tend to have their own personalitites even if you tame here she will still have a little bit of that side of her that she was born with. My cat has been fearful of everything since she was a kitten and while she love all of us. She is still skittish of strangers 13 years later and I have had her since she was 2 months old. I never changed her personality despite how I worked with her with strangers, she was still fearful. Studies in the vet industry actually show that about cat that are born feral. You may be able to calm her enough that she can be handled by you and the time it takes may vary from animal to animal. But they will never be the same as a cat that was not born feral. Also their crucial socialization period is also in the first months of their life and plays a big role in how they are when they are older. I just went to a vet conference a few months ago that talked a lot about this and it was very interesting to see how early the crucial socializing period of dogs and cats were. Also interesting was the nature vs. nurture role in how cats behave, and how nature plays a big role in it.It is the same with aggressive dogs. If the mom was aggressive the likelihood of the puppies being the same way is high despite what you do.
    Brother XL-3500i, SQ-9050, Dreamweaver XE6200D

  8. #28
    Senior Member llong0233's Avatar
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    And aren't they beauties! Very luck to have you and you to have them. You know how cats are...whatever they offer is what we graciously accept! Nice going.
    Quilting Makes Me Happy...

  9. #29
    Senior Member suzanprincess's Avatar
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    I had a kitten that did not like to be petted, and learned that some cats are ultra sensitive, and petting is actually too stimulating for them. I was patient and gentle with him, and eventually he loved the petting, and became quite a lap cat. Another cat, adopted as an adult, liked to be near but never close, and not to be picked up. It took several years, but she too eventually became very affectionate. Every cat is different, so I try to be patient, appreciate their individual talents and traits, and just love them as they are.

  10. #30
    Senior Member Nanny's dollface's Avatar
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    For the past 30 years I have had 4 feral cats....three have crossed the rainbow bridge and so I have one remaining who is 18 years old. Each of them had different temperaments and different lengths of time before they became more comfortable. I never forced them to do anything. I would talk to them and have food available. Sometimes I would walk around the house leaving a trail of treats then sit on the sofa with a treat 3 feet away. When the cat became more comfortable I would place the treat closer to me. This process did not happen overnight . It was a journey of two years. At the beginning of the third year, she would come to me and lie down and expose her belly for a rub. She never liked being picked up. That was something I respected. She always had to be the one who determined when she would come closer. By the time she was 9 she would sleep at the foot of my bed every night.

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