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Kittens apprehensive to us touching them

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by Deeps, May 26, 2020.


  1. Deeps

    Deeps PetForums Newbie

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    Hi all!

    Hope you're keeping well in this Corona crap

    My OH and I picked up our kittens on Sunday, and they are super cute and TINY
    They're 3/4 Russian Blue and 1/4 Bengal and they're 9 week old sisters
    They're suuuuper playful and always run around the room, the little pitter-patter of their paws is everything!

    They're not scared to jump on us, and when playing they'll jump on our legs when we're sitting on the floor. However, if we move our hands near them, they'll freak out and run away. We can stroke them if they're distracted, e.g. playing or eating, but otherwise they'll just run.
    We've tried feeding them tuna from our fingers, but they're very hesitant to take it, and one wrong move and they're off!
    They don't even seem to be that bothered about other treats, so there's no chance of luring them over using treats

    I was wondering if anyone had any advice/info for me, anything would be helpful as we just want them to like us :(

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hello @Deeps and welcome :)

    The kitties have only been with you for 3 days. They've left their mum and their litter mates and everything is new and strange to them. New scents, new sights, new sounds, new humans, Cats are sensitive creatures, they need time to mentally process all the new things they are encountering, and they need time to learn to trust the humans.

    As long as they are eating and drinking and using their litter trays to pass normal pees and poos I think you don't need to worry. Be patient, they will come to you when they are ready, they are not like puppies, who are often all over everyone from the start. Cats like to make up their own minds about people.

    Best thing you can do to build a bond with them is to play interactively with them for several hours a day in periods of 30 to 40 minutes a session. Play is a great way of building trust. Interactive toys such as the fishing rod toys, wands, ping pong balls etc or even a piece of string pulled along the floor, will all go down well with kittens.

    If they come to you, give them a little stroke on their heads but do not attempt to pick them up or cuddle them.

    If they are very tiny it is possible they are not 9 weeks old but younger.
     
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  3. Deeps

    Deeps PetForums Newbie

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    Hi chillminx, thanks so much for the reply :)

    Thank you for the reassurance, I've never owned cats before and I think I'm just worried and I just want the best for them!
    My friend was telling me she got two kittens and they approached her and cuddled her on the first day so I wasn't sure if it was something that I was doing?

    But we went to go see them maybe a week after they were born? So we can be sure that they're 9 weeks for sure!

    But they're eating, peeing and pooping absolutely fine and they're super playful which is all great news
    I've attached a picture of them both eating together, and also a picture of Neeko's derp face :D
     

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  4. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Awww, very cute. :) I love black cats. x

    Not all kittens like being cuddled or lap sitting. But some "grow" into it as they become adults. This has happened with a few of mine over the 50 years I have had cat companions.
     
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  5. Deeps

    Deeps PetForums Newbie

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    Ohhhh great news! I just want them to be comfortable around me, but I understand that'll take some time
    Have you got any tips for me, you seem like a kitty expert
    They get LOTS of play every day from us and they play with each other a lot too :)
     
  6. Bertie'sMum

    Bertie'sMum Obedient Cat Slave

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    Cats are a law unto themselves ! They may never become cuddly lap cats but will "tolerate" your attentions :rolleyes: A lot will depend on how much human interaction and handling they had before they left their Mum; they aren't born "socialised" and if they didn't have a lot of human interaction then they will take longer than kittens who were well socialised before they left her.

    They've only been with you for 3 days so just be patient and continue what you're doing and I'm sure they'll come round soon:)
     
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  7. Deeps

    Deeps PetForums Newbie

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    That's actually what I thought that might have occurred here, the lady I got them both off had two litters so I'm not sure that they had a lot of social interaction
    I'm doing all I can to try to get them used to us, I'm just making sure I'm in the room whilst they're awake and playing, and playing with them a lot
    They're letting me stroke them a bit more day by day, we're getting there slowly :D
     
  8. Deeps

    Deeps PetForums Newbie

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    Hey all!

    Just another quick query, these kits seem almost a bit feral? They're still weird about us stroking them. Blue is a bit more confident, but when I stroke her she will eventually jerk her head away or turn to bite me (although she hasn't bitten me yet, she just turns with her head open). Neeko on the other hand, is still spooked when we move our hands near her and she won't let us touch her at all, she will always move away.

    They both love to play on our laps and are super confident playing with us both.

    Should I keep trying to touch them? If I don't keep on touching them, will they just get used to not being touched?
    This is all very new to me so I don't know how to go about it :(
    Thanks in advance!
     
  9. Summercat

    Summercat PetForums VIP

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    @Deeps
    Sounds like they may not have been handled much before they came to you. They did leave rather young and not being used to handling, I think the lady you got them from did not really bother with socialization.
    Were they in the main house or elsewhere? Did you see the mother?

    I would sit in the same room with them, just reading aloud or watching TV to get them used to being around people. Try fishing rod type toys, Da Bird or Purrsuit. Sit on the floor and try to not stare or look at them too much. They will be more likely to see you as harmless if you are not too focused on them while they are still shy,
     
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  10. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Deeps - I agree with Summercat's advice.

    I wouldn't keep trying to touch the kittens as they have made it clear they do not welcome it. There is every chance they will become more amenable to being touched and stroked as they reach adulthood. But it must be on their terms.
     
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  11. Deeps

    Deeps PetForums Newbie

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    @Summercat thanks so much for the reply :)
    They were living in a small flat so I think they were with the main house, she send me 2 videos of them before I got them and they would move away from her when she touched them, but not as much as when we try.
    Yes we did see the mother, she was lovely a beautiful and calm kitty

    Thanks @chillminx , I'll bear this in mind now :)
    Lovely thank you very much for the advice, we have a fishing rod toy and they both go crazy for it!
    So should I play hard to get? Letting them approach me and when they do, making sure the contact I have with them is rewarding, e.g. treats or play
    Do you think its too early to be exposing them to more rooms in the house?
    Thank you both :)
     
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  12. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Deeps - I wouldn't say you should 'play hard to get' as such. Just act normally, but if they approach you don't reach out to them, let them come to you if they want want to. You mentioned they already play on your lap so that is a major step in the right direction, and a real sign of them trusting you. :)

    I understand it must be hard to resist the urge to stroke them when they are on your lap, but if you can manage to do so for now it will be better. :

    Once they are a bit more settled in your home it may be a matter of slowly desensitising them to being touched. The first step could be (say in a week's time) using one finger to just gently stroke the top of a kitty's head when they are on your lap, just one stroke, then stop.

    You can offer treats so it confirms the kittens association of you with good things, but I wouldn't offer treats as a reward for allowing themselves to be stroked. They need to associate your strokes with being a reward in themselves. If you reward them with treats after stroking them you could be making a rod for your own back because they will always expect treats when you stroke them, instead of them seeing a stroke as a reward in itself. :)
     
    #12 chillminx, Jun 4, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2020
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  13. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Deeps - sorry I meant to add - as they are still tiny and have only been with you a few days, I would keep them on their safe room for a bit longer, perhaps a couple of weeks. And then start by introducing them to one new room at a time every week or so, so they are not overwhelmed. I'd leave the kitchen until last as there are potentially many places in a kitchen for a small kitten to hurt themselves or to hide under.
     
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  14. Deeps

    Deeps PetForums Newbie

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    @chillminx thank you so much for this, this is so incredibly helpful :)

    They do seem settled in the house, as they are constantly running around and exploring, I think the only thing they're apprehensive about are us! But I will most definitely take your advice and wait a little while until I attempt to stroke their heads. If I put my finger out they do 'boop' the tip of it, so hopefully this works!

    I getting worried that it would get to a point where they just became comfortable not having any fuss from the humans in the house

    I know this sounds silly but when we got kittens I envisioned being able to have fusses and cuddles, and it makes me a little sad that I cant have that, although I'm sure it'll be worth the wait!
     
  15. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Deeps - it will be worth the wait :)

    Cats personalities develop, and change to some extent, throughout their lives, but the biggest change is from being a kitten to becoming an adult. It would be very unusual for your two never to want any affection from you when they are a bit older. It can sometimes happen that way with some cats, but I would expect there to be signs of it in the kitten e.g. being much more wary and distant with you than your 2 are.

    Kittens are amazingly entertaining to watch and such fun to play with, so this is a time to be really valued and enjoyed as it will pass so quickly. :)
     
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  16. Deeps

    Deeps PetForums Newbie

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    That's so reassuring to hear, thank you so much for all your help @chillminx , you sound like you're much more experienced than me
    I can't wait to see what my kitties will be like in the future!

    Time is already passing quickly, they've almost doubled in size since we got them! :eek: and definitely entertaining to watch, they never fail to make us laugh daily :D
     
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  17. Summercat

    Summercat PetForums VIP

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    @Deeps
    I think just being in the room with them, reading, playing with rod toys, balls etc will help a lot. The more they are around people in a positive way the better I think. It sounds like the lady did not spend a lot of time with them.
    Let us know how things progress :)
     
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