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14wk male F2B aggressive adaptation to new home

Discussion in 'Savannah Cat Behavior' started by schlieperk, May 3, 2012.

  1. schlieperk

    schlieperk Savannah Child

    Messages:
    14
    Hello everyone,

    I'm looking for some good adjustment advice. I've read and read, but want to try to consolidate the information both for myself and for anyone else that ever has this problem.

    So a week ago, I met a nice breeder and adopted a beautiful little F2B male. (Then approx 13 weeks old.) I met the mother and father. Mom was very tame and good to be around. Dad was agressive, but there were females in heat near by (easy to explain.) The kitten "Diego" seemed in good nature and was very playful with mom and his one remaining sister. He hissed when we first met, but seemed to get over that and did allow me to handle him without problem. We took him to the vet and had him microchipped and he was fine through all of that.

    Leaving the vet, he was placed in my cat carrier and he bottled up quickly for the 3hr ride home. He showed no signs of agression, but I could tell he was upset.

    Arriving home, I placed him in his quarrantine (small room) and proceeded to feed him his raw diet and water. He did not eat. He would not let me near him without hissing and if I attempted to pet him, he would spit and swat at me.

    I gave him space by remaining in the room with him, but generally ignoring him. After 1.5 days of not eating or drinking, I did wrap him in a towel and give him water by syringe. Right after the forced water, I left the room and returned to him crying. He had eaten his entire meal! I was very happy at this point that he had water and food, but still would not let me near him. The next couple of days, he ate well and began to play with stick toys, but still no touching.

    A week and 2 days have passed. He still hisses at my approach and will not allow me to touch him. I am getting frustrated. I love him so much and understand that he must be very scared. However, I watch him by camera when I am not in the room and he plays and explores just fine. When I return, he ducks into his *kitten or into a corner and must be coaxed out to play. If I try to touch him, he hisses and runs away.. Game over.

    I'm sure time and patience is the answer, but what else can I do to show Diego that I mean him no harm? I don't make eye contact and I speak to him lovingly. Toys, food, money is no object. I sleep in the room with him and one night he curled up at my feet and I even woke up to him licking my toes. Since then, he has regressed and seems more nervous.

    I still have a wife and 3 other cats for him to get used to, but I need him to bond with me first.

    Thanks to anyone that has bothered to read my entire post. I appreciate any good advice that you all may have.

    Kevin
     
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  2. WitchyWoman

    WitchyWoman Admin Staff Member

    Messages:
    5,779
    I see you've posted your question to the Cat Coach and I'm sure she'll have good advice for you. In the meantime, there are a few other folks having similar issues and the following is a response from one of those conversations. To save time, I'm not editing it so it will have the other kitten's name in the post:

    Sit quietly in the room reading aloud so kitten will get used to your voice. If Simba comes over to sniff you or sit by you, don't try to touch him. Just let him get used to your presence. After a few days, try touching him lightly on his head or paw. First let him sniff your hand/fingers and if he appears comfortable, try petting him. Always best to approach with your hand in front of and below his chin. It can be scary to an animal to have a hand coming down on them from above.

    When he starts playing with the wand toy, run the stick part over his back so he gets used to being touched by something. Depending on how well he responds to that and being near you, you can lightly touch him on the back from time to time or touch a paw.

    When he's very very hungry, try hand feeding him. If that doesn't work, move his dish near you and sit on the floor while he eats. Gradually, depending on how well he responds, try petting him while he eats. And then try hand feeding him again.

    You'll need to continue trying all of these tips until he understands your the momma and trust is established.
     
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  3. Brigitte Cowell

    Brigitte Cowell Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    5,430
    Hi Kevin, I can tell how much you care for your kitten and are trying to make this work....and it seems you are doing everything right too! Very frustrating...are you doing your best to be calm and reassuring when in the room and not stressed and anxious.

    Additionally, was his breeder a woman? It is possible in that case that your low male voice is freaking him out...I've seen that before. You can try speaking in a higher pitch to him to see if that improves things...

    I would likely suggest consulting Marilyn, www.thecatcoach.com
     
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  4. Julie

    Julie Savannah Super Cat

    Messages:
    350
    Oh I have to agree with the male/female thing.

    Our breeder abandoned the cats when her and her guy split, thus leaving them with her ex. We got one at 4months, then the left other sibling later.

    The second cat we got at 10 months from him/the ex adores my husband but a year later I'm still hit or miss on if he will let me touch him. Play yes, sleep on me when I'm sleeping yes, but walk up and pet... not always
     
  5. schlieperk

    schlieperk Savannah Child

    Messages:
    14
    Ladies,
    Thank you for your input and suggestions. I am trying everything you suggested. Diego is not going to win any marathons at this pace, but at least I know that I am not alone in this experience. It's reassuring to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, even if it may be weeks away.

    The breeder was a male/female couple. Perhaps the female provided the lion's share of the care, but I have seen pictures of him being handled by both. Also, when I first met him, he allowed me to handle him and talk to him. I do use a high pitched, reassuring tone. I am not a stressed person, so I am always bright and cheery with him. I don't think he could be picking up on anything negative from me.

    I limit my eye contact with him. When he hisses, I immediately stop moving or playing for 15 seconds and then resume as if nothing happened. I also bought some Gerber Chicken with gravy (baby food) which is supposed to be like "crack for kittens" but can't get him to lick it off of my finger.

    We'll keep with our slow baby steps, but I'll still accept any further advice or suggestions that you might have.
     
  6. admin

    admin Paige Staff Member

    Messages:
    12,108
    Best kitty crack = either Halo chicken treats or Whole Life chicken treats ;)
     
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  7. AmyAndSimba

    AmyAndSimba Guest

    My new kitten was not aggressive, but VERY shy and timid (still is a bit). He is coming out of his shell a great deal every day, and every time I go to feed him. I really think food is so powerful when bonding with an animal..

    On this forum someone advised me to feed him with a spoon. Worked like a charm! I started feeding him normally on a plate... he would not even try to go near his food unless I put something in his field of vision to block me (small trash can). I then let him eat while he could see me, then started using a spoon..he came right toward me and was soo affectionate after his feeding. Now I will prepare his food right in front of him and spoon feed him, he gets SO excited. This morning he was jetting back and forth at lightning speed when I opened his can of food, it was so funny!

    I'm sure you will find your own way to bond with Diego.. he will come around eventually!
     
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  8. Laura W

    Laura W Savannah Super Cat

    Messages:
    296
    As many of the folks here know, I have been struggling with Echo since Christmas trying to let us get near him. It's only been in the last month that we have made real progress.

    I decided the combination of him watching us interact and play with our baby Bengal and the other fur kids has raised his curiosity so much that he forgets he's afraid. He lets me know when it's his turn to play, and we play with a laser that always goes to a treat for him. He plays like a wild kitty now. :)

    Small pieces of cheese, the only treat I have found he likes, is becoming the answer to getting close to him. I started by tossing him the cheese and shortening the distance to me to get him closer, all the time speaking to him in a soft voice. Before he knew it, it was at my feet on the other side of the baby gate to his room, looked up and realized where he was and scurried off to hide. Repeated this for a few nights then actually went into his room and tossed him the cheese, working closer to him with each piece, and he finally took it from me. Told him what a good boy he was and left the room immediately. After a few days, he comes up to the gate seeking attention he gets his cheese and play time. Every time he sees me now, he is associating me with fun stuff.

    The other thing we did was get him a cat tree with a house he tries to fit into so he feels more safe (he's quite large and we will be making one that is more suited to his size), with a height that he can be up high if he wants. We still have a long ways to go, but I have found everything has to be on his time frame and rushing it just sets him back.
     
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  9. admin

    admin Paige Staff Member

    Messages:
    12,108
    YAY, Laura! I am so happy to hear this! I know it has been a long haul for you, but I commend you on your time and patience and effort on behalf of Echo...makes me feel so good ;)
     
  10. Brigitte Cowell

    Brigitte Cowell Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    5,430
    Will the kitten lick the baby food off a spoon instead? It might be too close contact to go to your finger right now so baby steps with this too...try the spoon, and if he won't even go for that, try putting the spoon on a saucer and leaving near him and watch... then work on being able to hold the spoon. Once he tries some and realizes how great it is, then chances are it will be a tool. I have had a kitten or two not interested, but that is as rare as a cat that doesn't enjoy freeze-dried chicken!
     

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