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HELP! Kitten Temperament/behavior (somali)

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I already told the breeder I would adopt an 11-week old somali. I visited the kittens a few times. My concern is that I want a very affectionate lap cat that loves pets, cuddles, etc. The kitten I chose is very dominant of the other 5 kittens and very active and naughty. However, he was the only one of the kittens to take some kind of interest in me. But, these kittens have been caged with their mother, and never left the cage yet. (the cage is a pretty nice size for 2 mothers and 7 kittens) They do have human interaction, but mostly only when it's feeding time. I'm afraid that they haven't been properly socialized, and that he won't turn out to be the affectionate kitten that I want. He doesn't seem to like being held, and when I spend time with the kittens, it's as if they disregard I'm even there! Can it be because the kittens are still with ther mom and litter mates that they don't care that I'm there? The breeder's older cats that live in the main house seem very weary of new people. When I try to come near them, they literally run away and hide! Is this a bad sign? Even though the kitten is still 11 weeks, can he turn out to be just as affectionate and loving as my burmese? Can I teach a kitten to be affectionate/loving? Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 14
I believe that the kitten will adjust. When I took Stella home, she was a barn kitten that I literally had to trap and lock in a box for the trip. She is now as friendly as can be (Well, for a calico)
post #3 of 14
Is he 11 weeks old now? He's not going to be properly socialised if he is that age and only being handled at feeding time. The best socialised kittens will be ones that are treated as part of the breeder's family in the home as soon as it is safe to do so with supervision.

My Sonic (Oriental Shorthair) is a very cuddly cat, at his breeders his mum had a safe birthing place and when the kittens started to walk and want to explore they were allowed to as long as someone was home to keep an eye on them, and when they were big enough to get up onto the bed and not be squashed, they all slept in the breeder's bed at night, they were handled from a very young age, and were always welcome to climb up into a lap to snuggle any time they wanted. As a result I got a great kitten who has grown into a great cat.

It is normal to keep kittens confined when unsupervised when they are very little, but if someone is home to supervise them, they should be allowed to explore, develop their climbing skills, play, and learn what laps are for- and 11 weeks is definitely old enough for that. If they are kept caged most of the time at 11 weeks old with little handling, I would go elsewhere. It is not abnormal for kittens to get on with doing their own thing when you visit them, but this should be because they are too busy trying to climb the curtains or wrestle with their siblings.

ETA: to the previous poster - it is different if you are rescuing a kitten or bringing in a feral. If you are buying one from a breeder, you should expect it to be socialised and have a good temperament. And just as importantly, if they are NOT using good practise, you should NOT support their bad methods and encourage them to carry on breeding by paying for a kitten from them - you are only encouraging them and enabling them to neglect more kittens.
post #4 of 14
IMO I don't think I'd adopt from this breeder. Somalis are not that much lap cats, but the fact that the kittens are still caged at 3 months old and the adults in the house are not friendly tells me the cats/kittens are NOT socialized very well.

Trust your instincts on this - try to find another breeder if you can. I don't think you'd be very happy with this breeder and the cats.

Charlie was VERY friendly and social from day one. The breeder spends a lot of time in the cattery with the moms, dads, and kittens. And it shows. Charlie's not afraid of new things
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for your advice. My instinct told me not to adopt a kitten. But I feel so bad because I went over to the cattery 4 times now to play with the kittens, and the breeder even gave me some free things. I think she thought I was going to adopt one of her kittens, but I never told her that until today, because she was forcing me to make a decision by telling me that another customer was interested in the same kitten. I am going to follow my instincts and your advice and not adopt. But I just don't know how to tell the breeder "NO". She's been really nice to me, and honestly, I think she really needs the money. (I know, that's bad!).
Thanks everyone for your advice.
post #6 of 14
Somalis are just more or less long haired Abyssinians, who are known for their energy, brains and busy-ness. You want a different breed, possibly a ragdoll, persian, etc., and do your research first.
post #7 of 14
I would tell her something like this:

"Your cats seem nice, but they don't seem as friendly and social as I was expecting. Thanks for your time, but I think I'll pass and continue looking for the right kitten for our family."

They way you are being nice and just playing "dumb" on them not having the personality you were looking for without accusing her of not socializing the cats the right way
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by burbabies View Post
Thanks everyone for your advice. My instinct told me not to adopt a kitten. But I feel so bad because I went over to the cattery 4 times now to play with the kittens, and the breeder even gave me some free things. I think she thought I was going to adopt one of her kittens, but I never told her that until today, because she was forcing me to make a decision by telling me that another customer was interested in the same kitten. I am going to follow my instincts and your advice and not adopt. But I just don't know how to tell the breeder "NO". She's been really nice to me, and honestly, I think she really needs the money. (I know, that's bad!).
Thanks everyone for your advice.
I think you made the right choice, If you are looking for a lovely lap cat, you would not be happy with this kitten, there are lots of beautiful snuggle bugs, that need a good home.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thank you guys for your thoughts and advice. I already told the lady I wasn't interested... actually, I knew she was going to be away at a cat meeting, so I left a message on her answering machine... I know, "wimp!" Heehee. I still feel bad, but I know I made the right choice.
As some of you may know, I was originally going to get a burmilla from offshore. But I'm really trying to find a local kitten here in Hawaii. It's so hard since there are very few breeders, and not much choice here in Hawaii. Well, on with the search for another kitten!

Thanks everyone!
post #10 of 14
Quote:
because she was forcing me to make a decision by telling me that another customer was interested in the same kitten
That's not a breeder wanting her kittens to get good homes. That's a salesperson, trying to close.

Do you have your heart set on a breed? Mixed breed cats are wonderful, too.
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi Werebear,

You are right, mixbreed cats are wonderful as well. My first cat was a mix-breed, although he wasn't the friendliest cat. I'm actually going to a shelter today to see their kittens. They currently have 250+ cats and kittens right now that they are trying to look for homes for! Should I bring a pen and paper to take down notes? heehee.
post #12 of 14
You should look at the older cats too. They have great personalities too ya know
post #13 of 14
I'm so glad you are getting a kitten/cat from a shelter. They are so special and literally starved for affection, so you'll get lots of snuggles.

let us all know what you get and post a picture for us too.
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Werebear View Post
That's not a breeder wanting her kittens to get good homes. That's a salesperson, trying to close.
I agree. I was going to say the same thing, but Werebear said it first...

I'm certainly no expert when it comes to specific breeds (I've always had feline "mutts" ) but it's been my experience that you can almost always judge a cat's purr-sonality according to how they act as a kitten. If they are lap-kitties when they're young, they generally stay that way, and if they're rambunctious and very spirited, they usually don't turn into a lap-kitty when they grow up. I think you made the right decision..

If taking the "sales lady's" gift bothers you, just give them back to her. IMO, I don't think you "owe" her anything, just b/c she was trying to push a sale.

Good luck in your search!

~KK~
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