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Any tips for semi feral 6 month kitten?

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by Rowena289, Mar 21, 2017.


  1. Rowena289

    Rowena289 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi,

    Sorry this is a bit lengthy. Any help appreciated.
    It's just coming up to a month since we rehomed Merlin.
    It is guessed he is approx 6-7 months old.
    We have rehomed him from a rescue centre.
    I don't have his full history but he was brought in approx 4 months old. I think someone had found him and tried to look after him but didn't know much about cats and he was hiding in their tumble dryer.
    When he arrived at the rescue centre he was hypothermic and malnourished and is only alive today due to human intervention.
    He also has a spinal deformity and is a small cat and possibly won't grow to full size. At the rescue centre he was in a large crate and was very withdrawn and almost looked depressed. He didn't react to anything and just lay in his bed. But he had a good appetite.
    He had multiple tests / investigations and was to and from the vet until they deemed him well enough to be rehomed.
    He has been living in our spare room for nearly 4 weeks.
    He has lots of toys. Scratching post. Space to run and jump on the window sill. We have a feliway diffuser and leave the radio on when we are not there.
    We have another neutered male cat 8 years old and twice the size of him. They have gradually been introduced and see each other under supervision about once a day.
    Since we have had Merlin he has made lots of progress.
    He is sitting near us and playing and we can stoke him a few times whilst he eats.
    He is a bit aggressive though and any tips would be appreciated.
    If I am putting his food down he spits and lashes out at times. Sometimes he will just come up to me and hit me. (Claws out usually, sometimes he can be more gentle) Other times I am letting him sniff my finger. Sometimes he sniffs it, sometimes he hits me. He will often rub around me and arch his back and curl his tail like he wants a stroke, but if you stroke him he hits you. Another thing he does is he looks at you and does the chirrupy noise cats do when they are looking at birds - but he does this at me. Does he think I am prey!? Our cat domino is twice the size and largely ignores him, but Merlin wants to pounce on him and looks aggressive when he is around and walks right up to him and hisses.
    We are trying to let him come to us and not pursue him too much. He likes to play and does get excitable and starts rolling on his back and licking his paws, and looking to me with crazy eyes!
    We both work so he is having longer periods of time where he is left alone over 4 days - but make effort to go in to him in the morning and then regular intervals when back from work.
    Cheers! Ro
     
  2. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

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    Hi.

    It sounds like you are doing a really good job with him so far. The hissing and hitting out means he is conflicted. He wants attention or play or what ever you ate offering but it is also still a bit overwhelming and scary. Keep up with doing everything on his terms. Don't go to him or stroke him etc let him approach you. If he does ask for contact keep it light eg gentle stroke with the back of a finger and keep it really brief. He's come a long way in building trust but still needs to get totally confident. Just give him time.

    If you can hand feed him you could slowly get him to associate your close presence or touching him with a delicious treat.
     
    chillminx likes this.
  3. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Good advice from kittih. :)

    The chirruping noise you mention is what cats do when they are greeting members of their family (either their mum when they are kittens, or their human companions when they have left their mum). It is a slightly different noise (usually) to the one they make when they see birds outside. It is a very positive sign if he is greeting you with a chirrup, so feel flattered! :)
     
    kittih likes this.
  4. Rowena289

    Rowena289 PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you! :)
    It's very similar to when they watch birds, almost like a nicker if that makes sense! It's usually when he is lying down and watching me and I say hello to him, it's in response to me saying hello.
    So hopefully you're right! I just wasn't whether he was sizing me up for his breakfast! Haha!
     
  5. Rowena289

    Rowena289 PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you! Great advice x
     
  6. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Rowena289 - unless you are mouse, a rat, a bird or a rabbit he is not sizing you up for his breakfast I promise! :D
     
    Gallifreyangirl and kittih like this.
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