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rescued mistreated kitten, concerned.

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Im a field technician for a MSO, so I find myself in people's houses from time to time, working on their computer/internet or such..

anywho, a few months back I was in a house on the "wrong side of town", there was kitten ... as I was just typing that, there was a splash and lots of noise from the bathroom, he fell in the toilet .. anyway, there was a kitten there who was not much more than hair and bones. several times during the course of working on the customer's computer I saw them shove the kitten hard with a foot as it got in their way, swear at it.. etc etc.. I offered them $20 for the cat and they were more than willing to part with it.

I took goofball (his name now for various hilarious reasons) home, I had no intention of keeping him, my plan was to take him to adopt-a-pet so he could get a better home than the hellhole he was living in before.

Apparently that was not to be, not my choice, his.. as soon as I walked in the front door with him and sat him down, he was immediately at home, he took a quick lap around the place, apparently it met his approval, then he plopped down on the couch and looked at me like "now what?"

well that was a few months ago and things have gone .. surprisingly smooth, he almost instantly recovered from his apparently malnourishment and has grown, actually, he is HUGE. He has never used the bathroom anywhere but in his litter box, not even once, which impresses me.

He never fails to amuse, (instance being he dove in the toilet while I was typing this), he also has a ninja like ability to remove all of my socks from the hamper, and pile them around me while I sleep, leaving me to awake confused and smelling of foot.

My concern however is that he doesent like being petted, if you try to scratch his back or pet him he will move away, not in a panicked way or anything, but as though he doesent care for it.. He also will not come very near when called.. if I call him he will come and sit perhaps 10 feet away, that's it, if I put him in my lap or near me he will move away, and then settle down... I can pick him up and carry him around and that does not both him, if anything he like it, which seems odd as it sharply contrasts his dislike for being petted. I dont understand what (if anything) could have caused this.

Another issue is, he like to play, but he plays ROUGH, I.E. he will break this skin with teeth or claws, this happens pretty much everyday, I can be watching TV and out of nowhere he decides one of my feet or hands deserves to be mauled, and pounces. He is defiantly playing, but he doesent seem to know how to "play bite" (if you could call it that). Otherwise he is VERY VERY well behaved, if I say "NO" or "STOP" he will IMMEDIATELY comply, so on the whole his behavior has been pretty exceptional, aside from not liking to be petted and being too rough in play.


Im just curious as to what can be done to lessen the veracity of his play, and if possible, regain the trust that at some point was apparently lost, so that he may be petted again.

sorry for the long winded post, any help is greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 15
You are an animal angel. I adore you. Well, my sort of feral rescued cat does not like to be held but loves to scratch and cuddle quickly..everyone including cats have preferences. I hope you can keep him..he had a rough life I guess..
post #3 of 15
Some cats are lap cats, and some aren't. Who knows for sure what makes the difference? One thing that can help is to ignore him. At least, don't pick him up, don't pet him, unless he shows he wants it.

There are suggestions around here on how to combat rough play. Kittens learn not to play rough from Mom and siblings. If they're taken away too early, it's your job to train them.
post #4 of 15
It's also possible he was taken from his momma cat too soon and he didn't learn important lessons about playing rough (usually momma & siblings teach little kittens not to bite hard by biting back).

He may also be a little hesitant from his previous experience. Even though you haven't abused him, he may have trouble trusting people in general --sometimes time cures that, sometimes it doesn't.

He may have sensitive skin. Some cats just don't like to be touched, or touched in certain areas --I have a cat that is sure to snap at you if you touch her back end.

He may not be a lap cat personality wise, or he may need to grow up a little (too much energy to just sit!)

Anyway you're an for rescuing him!
post #5 of 15
You probably should have tried a bit more when you first brought him home to get him used to petting, it's easier when they're younger.

What I've always done with skittish kittens is force them to tolerant a little petting before they can have their food. It can still work with an cat, but they'll be a bit more willful. If you don't feed him wet food, it will work perfectly as a bribe or you can find some good treats. Make him come close to take it from you, if he allows start with one petting - give him a bite of wet food/treat. Slowly increase from there. He'll never be a lap cat, as pointed out, but eventually he'll at least attribute petting to something good. Once he's used to and accepts being touched more often, find out if he has any itchy spots - lots of cat's love to have the back of their necks and shoulders scratched.

Then again, petting may never be his thing. I have one outdoor cat that is so touchy (he has a lot of aggression issues) that we can only pet his head and shoulders. He prefers a pat on the head more then anything. But at least it is some touch and he's surprisingly affection it at odd times (will try to climb on us).


The rough play attacks will be harder, since you're not depriving him of anything by not touching/giving attention - ignoring a cat wanting attention is how most of us make ours stop. You may just have to be more alert to his body language and tell him "NO" right before be tries to grab you. Does he like toys and have plenty to play with? (aside from your socks )
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
Does he like toys and have plenty to play with? (aside from your socks )
Well he has 4 toys, but its really like 16..

ive found i can combine them..

I.E. if he gets tired of his ball and his string, I tie the string to the ball and BAM new toy!

oh yea, he likes to chase me around the house, like a dog. I peak at him from around a corner.. and then run and he will chase me all over the place, as soon as I stop and turn towards him he will slam on the brakes and flip over, then run behind the nearest object and peek out at me.. the I casually walk by and he ambushes me. He seems to get a real kick of that, and so do I for that matter, its hilarious to watch.
post #7 of 15
I have three 1 year old cats that were bottle raised after being orphaned at two weeks old. They were all treated the same. They slept on my chest and were held and cuddled. Fast forward and only one will cuddle. One likes for you to walk around holding him, just don't sit or he bolts. One likes his tummy rubbed and not his back. Each are so different even though they were all raised the same.

In trying to teach not to be rough, we would blow a light puff of air in their face and they would stop. The thick plastic bendable straws are excellent to keep everywhere. When he is rough with biting or play give him a straw to redirect his attention. It gets better as they get older. These sites may be helpful.

http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22301

http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20837

You are AWESOME for rescuing that little guy. He knows it too.
post #8 of 15
Well, if he grabs you and gets too rough during your chase games then it's partially your fault he's riled up. I play chase/tag with mine, too. The big one knows to be gentle, the smaller one had to learn but still gets rough sometimes.
post #9 of 15
You don't mention how old he is? If he was a couple months old when rescued, and you've had him a couple of months, he's teething! He needs lots of appropriate stuff to chew on, and you have GOT to be consisitent about not letting him get away with thinking feet and hands or toys, or you'll have a problem down the road.

The bendy straws, as mentioned above, are the best. Get a box, scatter them EVERYWHERE. When he attacks hands or feet, blow that short, sharp puff of air in his face (his mom would hiss at him), give him a bendy straw (redirect the behavior to something appropriate) and walk away (when he attacks hands or feet he gets ignored, not played with).

As to the petting? It really could be just his nature. We rescued a kitty that could stand one pet on his cheek at first. Five years later, he loves being brushed and petted, but we still have to go slowly. He will NOT sit on a lap or lie down next to us. He jumps up on the cat tree so he's at about chest height (or up on the bookshelf at head height), and wants to be petted or brushed there.

Laurie
post #10 of 15
A lot of that behavior sounds like a case of kittenhood. Kittens are often too energetic and playful to want to sit around and cuddle. Cats generally mellow as they age, but expect high energy for the first two years.

If he's sitting near you, that's a good sign. That's him being affectionate. I've found that even stand-offish cats can get more cuddly as they mature and grow more bonded to their owners.

You can teach him not to play with human body parts. Never let any human play with him that way. When he tries, lift him off or redirect his attention to a toy. (Try keeping some toys in the area where he pounces most, and then throw one when you see him coming.) It takes a lot of repetition, but the message will get through.
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by emmylou View Post
A lot of that behavior sounds like a case of kittenhood. Kittens are often too energetic and playful to want to sit around and cuddle. Cats generally mellow as they age, but expect high energy for the first two years.

If he's sitting near you, that's a good sign. That's him being affectionate. I've found that even stand-offish cats can get more cuddly as they mature and grow more bonded to their owners.

You can teach him not to play with human body parts. Never let any human play with him that way. When he tries, lift him off or redirect his attention to a toy. (Try keeping some toys in the area where he pounces most, and then throw one when you see him coming.) It takes a lot of repetition, but the message will get through.
Well this is the first pet ive ever owned, so im sure some my questions fall under the "well duh" category. I will try to move him more towards toys when he attacks, he seems to have a love for Gatorade bottle caps, but I will try the straws too.


I forgot to mention his age, I honestly dont know, he was quite small when I got him but he was also very malnourished, as soon as I started feeding him it was almost like he got bigger every day. I still need to get him fixed, but I want to make sure hes comfortable and such before I put him through that trip.
post #12 of 15
he'll probably become more affectionate w/age - Cable, for example, was never much of a 'lap cat' until after she was around 2 years old.

Firefox, my youngest @ 1 year, still isn't much for pets, altho she's becoming more willing as time goes by. she was a rescued kitten - probably around 4-5 weeks old.

i did have a lot of success with training her to come [i used the 'kissy noise'] because i was feeding her extra rations [plus KMR] as a very young kitten to help her gain much needed weight w/o my adults [especially Chip!] scarfing her food down.

she's not as willing to come for the kissy noise now, but i also don't feed her extras anymore - she no longer needs it. but she'll still come around to see what might be in store!

try deciding on a 'call' & using it consistently during feeding times. worth a shot!
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by laureen227 View Post
she's not as willing to come for the kissy noise now, but i also don't feed her extras anymore - she no longer needs it.
I can sort of picture her like a little kid making the \t face and thinking "....she's doing it again. What does she think I am?"

My cats would just think I was nuts. "Kitty, kitty, kitty" works perfectly for calling your cat. Simple, straight forward.
post #14 of 15
Congratulations on your new kitty. Do you think you could afford a 2nd one? Now would be the best time to add a friend before you've had him too long. They really don't cost that much more and it's soooo worth it. I think what you did was really great.

BTW.... my kitty that died last November was like that. He was very young when I got him from the shelter. He never really understood how hard he would bite. He was my best friend anyway as he was sweet 90 percent of the time. He would get so mad if you teased him. The run and hide game really riled him up more. He would run after me till I jumped on the bed and sometimes he would GET my leg lol.
post #15 of 15
His aggressiveness may ease up after you have him neutered. You should go ahead and do that as soon as possible.
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