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New here...any suggestions to help my boy?

#1
Hey y'all! I'm new here and let me start by saying thanks! I have found so much information here. I got my F6 boy October 27th he is 8 months old. He is still hiding under beds, will take canned food at times from us but that's it. No play or interaction. Is it because he is older that it is going to take him longer to come around? Any sugestions for me? My breeder has been great answering my questions but I just wanted to see if anyone here had anything else to add. Thanks!
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
#2
How did the breeder describe your kitten to you? Was he outgoing and sociable to people in his breeder's home? That will give you a little idea of what you might expect.

It could take longer for an older kitten than a younger one, although mostly when I've rehomed older kittens I've found them more confident and adaptive. Although usually the reason they are older is because I've shown them, hence they've travelled to hotels, been to shows etc so have had more exposure to new experiences.

Sometimes you have to work on the play thing...experiment both with the types of wand toys you are trying AND the way you are manipulating that wand toy. Some cats like a toy dragged slowly on the ground to be pounced on, some like it madly swished back and forth until they are driven crazy excited to chase it, and some want it sailing through the air to jump up and grab it. Some like feathers, some can't resist a little mousie and some prefer fabric strips... so I would advise buying a range of toys and sitting down and seeing what toy gets more of a look from the kitten. Watch his reactions, he doesn't have to immediately play, but you can usually tell from the way they stare at the toy and follow it, which toy they are more interested in. Then experiment with how you move it.

Have you tried just sitting in his room without looking or paying attention to him? Sit and read a book silently at first. See if he gets curious or more comfortable and might come out to investigate. Try not to rush him but give him time, don't stare at him and try to concentrate on not trying too hard or even feeling anxious when in his room. Your stress and anxiety over this can easily transmit to the kitten, he will interpret it as there is something to be worried about... you need to be calm and reassuring at all times...quiet and gentle and non-threatening. Seems odd but just keep telling yourself that and it can help!
 
S

shelby

Guest
#3
I agree with Brigitte. Also remember...he has been taken away from everything and everyone he has ever known. Who knows what goes through those little minds. HE HAS NO IDEA WHAT YOU DID WITH EVRYONE ELSE;>) PATIENCE WILL BE THE KEY TO IT ALL. It will really be on his terms and just know he will come around. When he starts crying when you leave him alone...know that he has started craving attention. Just speak to hom and let him know you are near by. I look forward to hearing that he is interacting with family members really soon;>) Good Luck with the new baby.
www.dreamweavercatz.com
 
T

tkymasters

Guest
#5
I've always start my kitties in a large kennel first. Keep the kennel under a big bed sheet. Sit in front of the kennel for a few hours and read out loud or sing softly. Food is the biggest treat.. When you sit for awhile have a bowl of food inside the kennel closer to him. Take the food away when you leave. DO NOT LOOK into their eyes.. its a sign of aggression. When he comfortly starts to eat the food, next day move it closer to you.. continue doing this until he is eating by your lap. May take a few weeks. Now, when he is eating next to you, try to pet him.. if he moves to the back of the kennel, leave him alone. Continue until he eats next to you and you can pet him.. hopefully by now he trusts you enough to come to you when you come sit down. Now you guys are forming the trust. Now you can open him up to the bedroom. He will come to you when you open up the bedroom door.. for food and affection.

You will be frustrated.. you will grow impatient.. you will think this isn't working.. You're thinking that you are starving the cat.. A cat will never starve itself to death especially if food is given. Younger kitten will come to you faster than older kittens. It is easier if you have an older friendly cat around.

I used this method with Kronos.. It only took 2 days and he was all over me, but he was 8 weeks old and well socialized. Older kittens may take a month maybe two..

Some breeders may not like this method but it works. I used this method on a bobcat kitten.. 2 months later and we were wrestling around. A few weeks later he was wrestling my dog, then another orphan bobcat kitten at the wildlife rescue. Bobcats do not make good pets.
 
#7
Oh, what a shy little baby. How long have U had him? Sometimes it takes awhile to acclimate to a new environment. It is good he has a safe haven in that he finds himself safe under the bed. Kittens like to have a place of their own. My two I just got R 7 months. What I would suggest is get another safe haven away from the bed even if it is a carrier or a made wooden box with rugs inside and a cover over it whether it be a large towel or blankey so he can hide in it safely and know it is his own with no one to peek inside or bother him. Put towels or blankeys as comfort also inside, and ensure the box or carrier is fully covered enough to allow him air to breathe. Put some favorite catnip toys inside and a small water bowl so he feels safe and secure. U can put two in the room away from the bed to give him a choice, and in between use a feather toy to play with him under the bed to slowly try to coax him out on his own choice. Maybe put his food bowls in front of his new boxes and leave the room so he can explore it on his own. I would also recommend a scratching post and litter boxes closer by his new condo's so to speak. If U keep trying to coax him out without an alternative it won't work. Maybe put some chicken treats inside his new houses, leave the room, and little by little see what happens. By no means am I an expert, but I had a cat who was ferrel and hid under that darn bed for 6 months till one day low and behold, she came to be the queen of the house. Be patient, don't force it....little by little. Also, not only do they love the feather toys, but I have a rocking water toy with legs and balls on both sides that would drive a kitten crazy. May some fresh catnip by the new condo or inside or mouse toys with catnip, or just my savannah's love balls where if I am there or not it gives them something to do and they go wacky batting them around the room. U must entice him, but in a smart way as he knows he is the boss....Little by little, he will come around....good luck....
 
T

tkymasters

Guest
#8
How large is the kennel that you potentially are keeping a cat in for weeks?
The kennel is 2 ft wide, 4 ft long, and 3 feet tall.. It's big enough for me to sit in there. There's a litter box and hammock.

I only use this method for those hard to handle or very shy kittens. Adults have the run of the room with the kennel has a hiding spot. The longest a savannah was in the kennel was 3 days, Kirby. The feral kittens in the neighborhood were 2-6 weeks, then they went to a local rescue. The longest was the bobcat kitten, 9 weeks (the only bobcat in which the handler can groom at the wildlife rescue).

They have to trust you first before they are comfortable to play with you. A cat will always chase anything small and moving fast. As soon as they see another animal bigger than them (human), they will flee, especially kittens. When they associate you with food and a neck massage, they will come to trust you. Afterwards, they start to form the bond.

A well socialized kitten from a breeder will not require drastic measures, but not all breeders are the same. My friend's F4 was from a well known breeder, but I can tell he was never socialized as a kitten. He acted more like a feral kitten. He did everything the breeder suggested; but his savannah (2yrs old now), avoids the family, skittish, eats at night, misses the litter box... and unfortunately he is thinking about it.. so you might hear from him Brigitte.

My rule of thumb is to make the extra effort to visit your breeder once before the kittens are ready, and watch how their cats behave with you around. Well socialized cats will be skittish at first, but will come out to investigate (F1 will greet you). If they have another batch of older kittens around, see how those kitten act around you. Because most likely, that's how your kitten will act when your kitten is at home. I've forfeited 1 deposit before adopting Kirby because the first breeder had 10+ adult cats and 3 litters of kittens. She said the kittens were all socialized... sorry, but one person trying to socialize 3 litters, maintain the herd of adults, and a full-time job... just isn't possible. And she ships cats...
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
#10
I'm sorry to hear about your friend's kitten/cat...especially if he's to surrender him with litterbox issues that have been going on for 2 years as that is an ingrained habit now :-( Hopefully the breeder will take responsibility for the cat though, we find that most of our breeders DO take responsibility for their cats and don't want them dumped into Rescue.

Although I agree that the best-case scenario is visiting your breeder before purchasing, there are ways to investigate them if you can't do that. One of the reasons there are a LOT of pictures on my website is to give people a better idea of what my home is like. It is obvious that my cats are pets (that happen to very occasionally have kittens) for example, and it is obvious they are very comfortable with us (and the camera). Anyone that sees my pics on FB would have seen with the last litter the number of pictures of kittens in laps and kittens draped over my computer monitor... so it would be obvious that the kittens are well-socialized. The pics I posted of Tetsu in my house photographing would show the same. So you can get clues from pictures...but there needs to be more than one or two pics. And you need to watch for signs that the kittens are used to their surroundings and not just brought out into the living room for picture time. Now I know many aren't as comfortable with the camera, but if someone is not going to visit the breeder then videos and pictures are what one needs to scrutinize instead :) Granted, I don't ship...so either the buyer needs to come to SF or I have to meet them with the kitten so they don't take possession until I am satisfied that they are happy with the kitten.

But I try only to have one litter at a time, even two litters stretches me as I like to have a lot of time to spend with them each day :)