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Please help: My new kitty came with 'issues'...

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi, I'm looking for advice...

the background: we just adopted a one-year-old silver gray kitty (possibly a korat) from a local shelter. She was given up because a "4-year old child was mean to her" but we don't really know what was done to her. Her new name is Maya, and she is very affectionate but she doesn't like to be held-- at all.

We have had her a few weeks now and we really need to trim her nails soon. She squirms and panics (although doesn't seem to be trying to hurt us). We are afraid we will lose her trust if we push the issue. We may look into taking her to our vet to give us a lesson on nails, or maybe to a groomer.

The main request is this: what can we do to get her used to being picked up or held? any suggestions to overcoming whatever they did? she is not terribly shy, likes to play with and be petted by us, but this one thing is becoming very frustrating... we look forward to your help!
post #2 of 13
I'm sure someone has some great advice on this...I, on the other hand, can only sympathize. I adopted Pico in January and he just hates being picked up. He actually would run if you got anywhere near him. He's gotten better in that aspect at least. It just takes time...and your baby may never liked to be picked up. Most cats aren't really too fond of being picked up anyway. But I know what you mean...Pico makes a deep meow sound and kind of freezes when you pick him up. Lately, when you pick him up and then put him down he's still frozen and will just lie flat on the ground, limp.

Merlynn - who's been with us since she was 8 weeks - doesn't really care if you pick her up. Sometimes she'll freak and you just put her down, but for the most part, she's all right with it.

Oh! I also tried picking them up and putting them in one of their favorite perches on the cat tree at random times throughout the day just to kind of get them used to being "handled." They seem to like that..so...??
post #3 of 13
Just take things slowly to build up her trust. Start by gently touching her feet, while giving her some treats, so she'll associate it with happiness. I have a 3 year old female who will only allow me to clip her nails while sitting next to me, not on me. You may have to try different positions to find one she'll tolerate until she gets used to it.
post #4 of 13
Some cats just don't like to be picked up (which is not surprising, since a great big creature is suddenly lifting them off the ground against their will), and the only thing is to just go with it. Some don't like to be petted or held a lot, either... it's a matter of individual personality.

So I wouldn't try to pick the cat up when clipping its nails. Just sit next to her on the floor or the sofa.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 


I appreciate all your advice! I like the idea of picking her up and putting her where she likes to be... will definitely try that one. The nails thing is truly not an easy proposition, but I'll keep you posted on our attempts. Thanks again!
post #6 of 13
Hello! My Sonic, who came from an absolutely fantastic OSH and Siamese breeder, absolutely detests being picked up to have his claws clipped. He'd perfect in every other way, and I know it is nothing to do with his upbringing or previous experience, because I know his full history. He has scarred my husband with his struggling!

I have found that I can clip his claws by waiting until he is lying on his side and then using my forearms to hold him still in a lying down position on the chair and using my hands to hold his paw in one hand and the clippers in the other. I find this way works best with Sonic, whereas my other cat Radar is happy to be held in a sitting position by my husband while I cut his claws. Whichever way works for you is best, all cats are different.
post #7 of 13
Sounds like the child may have squeezed her every time she was picked up. I think under the circumstances, take her to the vet for nail clipping till she is more used to being handled by you, then you can trim nails.

And have some treats she really likes and entice her to sit on your laps, pet her and gently pick her up and give her a treat.

In time, I'm sure she will be more amenable to being picked up and handled

Post a pict - would like to see her if she might be Korat
post #8 of 13
My cat doesn't care about being picked up (actually I joke with my DH that I'd buy me a Kitty Bjorn if they made one). But, it is much easier to clip his nails without picking him up.

I lead him into our small bathroom and pour some treats on the floor. While he is leaning over eating them I bend over him from behind and take one paw at a time and clip. You can't really lift the paw too far off the ground in this position because kitty just doesn't bend in that direction -- but he is usally so engrossed in his treats that he lets me clip away. I think there is less chance of being bitten or scratched this way as well.

This was so much easier than trying to hold a 14 lb cat who is struggling and squirming the whole time.
post #9 of 13
Well, mostly with mine I do it while they're sleeping or sleepy. I just do as many nails as I can (very gently and trying not to disturb them) until they wake up and fuss and then I just drop it and wait to do the other nails at a later time. I have to do my Mau this way. She absolutely can't be picked up and/or pinned down. I have the scars to prove it.

What I've been advised to do is like it was stated above, start out touching and handling their paws a little at a time. When they're "good" and don't struggle, or pull away, give them a treat. Basically you want to stop and give them a treat *before* they react negatively to the touching. Don't reward them once they've pulled away (or they may associate the treat with the behavior you don't want). The key to it is to make absolutely certain that they're getting the treat for the behavior you want, but you've got to take it in tiny steps.

The first step might be, stroke the paw once. If she doesn't pull back, give her a treat. Do this a few times, then increase to a few strokes. Next, stroke her paws and pick them up and move them around a bit, just briefly.. then you might want to put a little pressure on them. Then you may want to actually put enough pressure on them to push the nail out, like you would if you were going to clip it. Just do it all in small steps, making a little more progess each time.

Good luck, I know some of that was redundant. Keep us posted on your progress!
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
Sounds like the child may have squeezed her every time she was picked up. I think under the circumstances, take her to the vet for nail clipping till she is more used to being handled by you, then you can trim nails.

And have some treats she really likes and entice her to sit on your laps, pet her and gently pick her up and give her a treat.

In time, I'm sure she will be more amenable to being picked up and handled

Post a pict - would like to see her if she might be Korat
Thank you for the good advice! I would love to post a photo if I can figure out how... does it need to be posted to a url? If so, my husband can help me do that magic later.
post #11 of 13
2 of my cats don't mind when I pick them up and trim their nails or whatever. My little cat, Mooooo, doesn't like to be picked up regardless. When nail trimming time happens, I have to firmly hold her under my arm and clip her nails. She doesn't like it and growls the whole time but she quickly gets over it.
She is really the only cat that I have that only likes to be picked up on her terms. Actually, she doesn't like to be picked up, I should say she jumps in my lap on her terms.
post #12 of 13
Ahh...handling and nail clipping.

My newer cat is very fearful of new people so handling was out of the question when we first got him although he LOVES being picked up (both ours do). It might of helped that he got to watch me pick up my first cat a lot. When I first started picking him up, I would use a towel or be wearing a very thick fleece robe. So you can give that a try. Try to put kitty down before s/he gets tired of it and squirms for release. Plus...lots of praise for a good pickup!

As far as nail trimmings go, figure out when your kitty is most calm. I have found that before breakfast works pretty well for mine. My first used to get nippy with me and she was most agreeable before breakfast.

I put the cat on the kitchen counter (I must do this because when I watched vets/groomers trim the cats' nails, it was always on a table). I put my left arm around him/her and use my left hand to hold the paw and cut with nail clippers (in my right hand). If a towel helps your kitty with the picking up part, wrap her in a towel and maybe have a helper gently hold the cat while clipping the nails. Lots of food can also help preoccupy the cat too!
post #13 of 13
One of my cats has to be asleep before I can touch his feet. He's seven years old and has still not gotten used to me clipping his claws.
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