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Two new kittens, one of which is a shy little lady :(

LABrit

Savannah Kitten
#1
Hi all,

I've been reading the forum for a few months and recently joined in anticipation of two F3 kittens being shipped from Select Exotics to myself here in London.

The kittens are 16 weeks old, one female, one male from the same breeder, two litters. I brought them home and prepared a small room for them to acclimate to. They have been with me since the 1st of December and they have plenty of toys and attention. They are both using the litter boxes, are interacting with me when i present them with toys and are eating well.

The male is quite dominant and likes to be the centre of attention - whether it be with playing with a toy or if i am getting close to the female he'll start play fighting with her or will scare her off. He's far more vocal and extremely energetic when playing with toys. He's also extremely affectionate most of the time and will happily come to me and head-butt me lovingly, rub up against me etc. He's not responding to his name yet which concerns me....any tips?

The female is presenting a problem - she is extremely timid and this was evident from the car journey home. Where the boy was eagerly looking out of the carrier, she was tucked in the corner. Upon arrival into the house the boy jumped out of the carrier eager to explore where she required coaxing. Her behavior hasn't really changed - she's timid, skittish, unresponsive to me talking to her / calling her name. She wont let me stroke her unless i find her at the perfect moment when she's half asleep and in her bed and i can't pick her up - she scrambles and boled the first few times i tried. it's really bothering me as her behavior is a stark contrast to the boy - she's not showing any interest in creating a bond and i'm worried that if i don't manage to make a difference now she'll carry on being disinterested.

I mentioned this to the breeder, who suggested splitting the pair which would force her to interact with me eventually, however it's just me and splitting my time between two separate rooms before i leave for work and after i return was too time intensive (i like to give them 30 mins in the morning play time and hours after) and hearing them both cry for each other seemed to only make them regress so after two days i put them back together.

A friend asked how i'm feeding them and suggested to use food as a method of control - at the moment they're both solely eating dry food and i leave it out for them during the day. Any suggestions whether this is something i should try?

I've let them have more run of the house for a few hours at a time each night. They both run around like loonatics exploring and play fighting but neither of them come near me and if i approach the female she'll simply bolt to another area of the house.

Suggestions and advice would be appreciated,

Joshua
 

Xtine

Savannah Super Cat
#2
Hi LABrit and welcome..... We also adopted our baby girl Malia from the same place. Malia is also very loving and out going just like your boy. My suggestion for your little girl is keep them together but create separate bonding time with her. Just you and her in a small room a couple of times a day or more on the weekends for 30 mins or more at a time. Get down on her level and talk to her and play with her. She should start responding little by little. Now repeat with the boy. It is time consuming but the rewards are limitless.

Xtine
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
#3
This most definitely can be the downside of getting two kittens at the same time, unless they are equivalently social... Then if you can't separate them to work individually then you may never properly establish a bond with the female like you want. Over time aim sure it will get better but without being able to spend the time individually with this female kitten, then there may not be a shortcut.

Also, not all kittens are the same, not all cats want to be picked up, petted and cuddled... But are still happy to interact with wand toys etc... Is she interactive with you when playing? Different kittens can require different approaches... She may be a longer term project until she seeks you out for affection. She just may not be ever the same interactive cat the male kitten is...but if you are patient and persistent you could see huge strides in your relationship so just keep up the good work!
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
#4
I think if you want to create a bond with this girl you are going to have to commit to some one-on-one time with her, otherwise it may never happen. You may not need to separate her from the boy 24/7 but you do need to spend time with just her and no one else. Use a small room (e.g., a bathroom) and start out by just sitting on the floor. You can read a book out loud, or swish a wand toy around, but don't be aggressive toward her in any way - in other words, don't approach her, wait for her to approach you.

You can try using treats to entice her - I find that freeze dried chicken treats such as Halo's Livs a Little are always huge hits. Try not to make eye contact, that can be perceived as aggression or an act of dominance. If able, even lie down on the floor and take a nap, she might decide to cuddle up to a warm body if she doesn't feel threatened.

It may take weeks or even months for her to come around, but I would not be discouraged, just be patient and let her evolve at her own pace.
 

Amanda

Savannah Super Cat
#5
Joshua,

Welcome to the Savannah family! We would love to see pictures of your new loves when you have a chance.

When we brought home two F2s from Select Exotics at the same time, we went through similar issues with our boys. I received great advice that you can find on this link: http://www.savannahcatchat.com/threads/socializing-f2-kittens-with-their-humans.1915/

Cappy is now very interactive with us, but it's taken three months of reading his kitten body language and giving affection on his terms. Once we stopped trying to approach him when he was nervous or shy, he opened up and really came to trust us. That being said, he isn't a lap cat and doesn't tolerate being carted around over my shoulder like Lucky, and he probably never will. It will take some time for them to settle in and learn to trust you. Once they do, it will be the best feeling.

For more information on body language, see this guide Deborah put together to acclimatize your kittens to you: http://www.savannahcatchat.com/thre...ed-acclimating-your-new-sv-to-your-home.1959/. I printed off the pictures on this sheet and put them on our coffee table. It was a good reminder and really made the difference for us.

Hope it helps!
 

LABrit

Savannah Kitten
#6
Hi all,

It's been two weeks so far and the boy is again loving etc. He doesn't respond to his name which is worrying...

The pair of them are hilarious, run around like absolute nutters and are constantly exploring, all positive but the girl simply will not come near me. :(

The girl...sigh. She's actually quite naughty - she tests her and my limits wit h where she can go and what she can do! I've let them have full run of the house when I'm here. When I go to work I keep them both in the second bedroom. Interestingly, I now let them out all night and god knows what they get up to as all i hear is running around upstairs, downstairs etc. little disappointed they didn't climb onto the bed and sleep, guess there's a good amount of space they're happy to explore.

Added some pics.
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
#9
Hi all,

It's been two weeks so far and the boy is again loving etc. He doesn't respond to his name which is worrying...

The pair of them are hilarious, run around like absolute nutters and are constantly exploring, all positive but the girl simply will not come near me. :(

The girl...sigh. She's actually quite naughty - she tests her and my limits wit h where she can go and what she can do! I've let them have full run of the house when I'm here. When I go to work I keep them both in the second bedroom. Interestingly, I now let them out all night and god knows what they get up to as all i hear is running around upstairs, downstairs etc. little disappointed they didn't climb onto the bed and sleep, guess there's a good amount of space they're happy to explore.

Added some pics.
In terms of responding to a name, make sure the name you chose is distinctive enough and short enough to be recognized. But he may know it is his name but be too busy to respond, or too stubborn to respond.

I think they likely sleep all day while confined, so when released of course they are too busy having fun to settle down and sleep with you! You have created that situation somewhat... why would they want to limit themselves to one room when they've been shut in one all day?

Love the pics, looks like they are quite the pair :)