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Very skittish, deaf, white kitten: I am not sure I am the right person for the task

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I recently answered an ad posted to help rescue kittens who were about to be euthanized in a kill-shelter. I picked out the white one, who was covered in poo and frightened when I got her.

I washed her and let her get used to her surroundings in a private room until she got comfy. I knew she was ready to explore when she cried out.

She loves Dorabella. Me? not so much. Dorabella smacks at her every chance she gets. She runs from me. When I pick or attempt to pick her up, she spits, hisses and scratches me. Yesterday for the first time she purred and snuggled so happily against me once she knew she was safe. But then after the snuggle session she ran off. She'll look at me from a distance, but if I get too close she runs off.

She happily climbs up to play with the feather too, and check me out as I clean litter. She also is not afraid when it comes to meal time.

Will she ever come to trust me? I know all cats are different, but I was just wondering. Maybe I am not the right owner for her. Yet, I don't want to give her up because of her past, who knows what it was? I don't think she is more than 3 months.

Will Dorabella stop smacking her? Will she ever feel comfy? These questions and more beg to be answered on my episode of, "As the White Kitten Runs"...

BTW, I got her around 7 am last Thursday, December 11, 2008. So, no it has not even been a week yet...[IMG][/IMG]
post #2 of 19
I brought in a feral approx. 10-month-old female kitten/cat in October. I have two neutered males, 4&8 yrs. who are best buddies. My experience with her is much what you are describing. She was terrified of EVERYONE at first, and barely tolerated me. Unlike yours, though, she was aggressive, and immediately got off on the wrong foot with the boy cats.

Two months have passed, and here is where we are. I purchased 2 Feliway plug-ins and got her spayed. She has calmed down immensely. She loves me now, especially at eating time. Being a former feral (who apparently knew no humans) she has to take being held and loved in small increments. The other cats still aren't crazy about her. She sealed her fate with them early on, I'm afraid. There is rare chasing and fighting, and they tolerate her, but I don't know if they'll ever become friends.

I have learned this: patience, patience, patience. She still won't allow my kids (10 yrs thru 16) to pick her up. But she grows calmer every day.

Give your kitty time. I've never had a deaf cat, I'm sure they bring their own special problems. Just love her. Don't give up. Too many kitties are given up on. I believe that because you took the time to come onto this forum and write out that question, that you are very much the "right person for the task".
post #3 of 19
I so agree with the above post, patience, patience, patience. I brought into my home a feral, who my vet said was the wildest cat she had ever encountered and her advice was to get her spayed and put her back outside. I did not have the heart to, she would have been alone and winter was coming fast. So many times I questioned my decision, not just for me but for her-maybe this wasn't the place for her. I am happy to tell you that now, two years later, she is one of the most loving and sweet cats I have ever had. She is still afraid of other people other than my family and she hides, but I am so glad I stuck it out and kept her, and I know she is too. I don't think it is just by chance that these cats find their way into our lives. If you just give it time, I am sure things will work out for you. My husband used to tell me the only time I would ever get to touch my Gracie was when I would have to carry her body out of the house-even he cannot believe her transformation-and she is beginning to let him close to her too!! Hang in there-it is so worth it!
post #4 of 19
First of all, I'd like to applaud you for questioning yourself on whether or not you are the right person to take on a young deaf kitten. Deaf cats pose different challenges to their owners and those challenges are not for everyone. Let me digress with a story to explain my knowledge about them.

A couple in my area adopted a deaf white kitten that came from a barn (mother and siblings were killed by predators). They had an existing adult cat and the 2 didn't get along. They posted an ad to rehome it with the threat they would take it to a shelter if no one responded. By the time I saw the ad, they had dumped it in a kill shelter. I called a friend who loves deaf cats and she told me to adopt him on her behalf. The kitten was 3 months old and lived with me for about a week before my friend drove 600 miles to claim him.

"Mojo" was a monster and turned your arm into hamburger at every opportunity. Since he couldn't hear me when I tried to discipline him (hissing noises), he didn't respond to me in the way that you would expect cats to respond. The other cats didn't know how to respond to him, as he didn't respond back to them as they expected. Mojo was young, didn't exactly understand what was expected him as a cat, and had no clue how to fit in. Mojo was handicapped and none of us in the household was prepared to deal with that handicap. I called my friend a lot during that week for advice. She had lived with a deaf cat for 14 years and understood them.

The biggest issue with deaf cats seems to be the ability to communicate with them. It was obvious to me that cats use their hearing as much as their other senses. They are at a disadvantage to not have it and they may have weird behavior issues because of it (overly shy, overly aggressive). Similar to deaf humans that have to learn alternatives to communications, deaf cats need alternatives. That is your challenge, to find ways to do this.

My friend claims that living with deaf cats is completely rewarding, particularly when you find creative ways of breaking through the communication barrier. If you are the type of person that has the time and desire to work with a deaf cat, the rewards will be greater than what you will have with a normal cat. No one will judge you if this is beyond what you can take on. My friend didn't judge Mojo's owners because she knew what they were facing with a deaf cat.

I don't have the experience to give you specific advice, I hear stories almost daily from my friend about Mojo, but I didn't live with him long enough. I have heard that the yahoo group for deaf cats is really helpful.
http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/d...ec=group&slk=1 You might get really great advice from the folks on that forum.

I absolutely love Mojo, specifically because he is not a "normal" cat.

Edited to add: I have socialized a lot of feral cats in my time, and I was still somewhat at a loss when it came to handling a deaf cat. You do want to find people that have specifically lived with them for advice. We do know that Mojo survived while his siblings and mother died because of the fact that he always hid deep in the barn. So that may be a normal trait of a young deaf kitten. We're fairly certain that Mojo's mom was feral, therefore that made him a feral deaf kitten. Feral techniques didn't work with him - you have to break thru the communication barrier first.
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thank you.

I don't know what fate she was served before being rescued by the great people who work so hard to save animals from death.


A week is no time, I know from being on this board for a while, so I will give it some time. Thanks, again.
post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by dorabella's mom View Post
Thank you. I have matured in the fact that I no longer desire a 'lap' cat, and I respect my cats, regardless of their behavior,; which is superb, by the way .
That's half the battle!

My friend (Mojo's mom) has made the offer to me more than once to help folks on this site with the deaf cats. She loves to talk about Mojo (and can talk your ear off). If you want to contact her, PM me with your e-mail and I will forward it on. The Yahoo deaf cat group can also be very helpful.
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany View Post
That's half the battle!

My friend (Mojo's mom) has made the offer to me more than once to help folks on this site with the deaf cats. She loves to talk about Mojo (and can talk your ear off). If you want to contact her, PM me with your e-mail and I will forward it on. The Yahoo deaf cat group can also be very helpful.
I am sorry, I edited the post because I thought I was going too off-base and wanted to focus on kitty.

The yahoo site is great, I will pm you.
post #8 of 19
I have a deaf cat too, and I would say the single most important thing to him (I think) is him watching me interact with the other cats. He watches them for cues as to what is ok and what is harmful. I think it's really really important to have other cats (or animals) with a deaf cat. They are his "ears."

I might have to check out that yahoo site myself!
post #9 of 19
My Ophelia Rose was the adult version of that when I got her at 3 years. It did take a lot of time & patience. She's still slightly skittish (and very much so an unhinged kitty). Just go slow & give her time to adjust.....being deaf she automatically assumes that everything is to be feared.
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kluchetta View Post
I have a deaf cat too, and I would say the single most important thing to him (I think) is him watching me interact with the other cats. He watches them for cues as to what is ok and what is harmful. I think it's really really important to have other cats (or animals) with a deaf cat. They are his "ears."

I might have to check out that yahoo site myself!
omigosh!!! that is soooooo true!!!!!!!!

Snoball [or Ebony, I like to call her, for irony's sake] looks sooo inquisitively at me as I give kisses to Dorabella, or pick up Calvin's hefty 30-pound body and carry him around like a baby. I don't know what those little eyes have seen before, but Dorabella and Calvin are benefitting from even more lovin' as I am intent on 'showing' Snoball how nice humans can be and how other cats love me, and can be 'loved on' and how good it is to love and be loved
post #11 of 19
My friend's biggest issue with Mojo and her other cats (she has 3 others) is that Mojo doesn't know how loud he gets when he meows. It scared them for a long time, as they thought he was screaming at them. Mojo learned that his growl (which is thundering) had a very strong effect on the others, and until they figured out in return that he wasn't menacing them, there was a bit of tension between them. The other cats have learned to ignore him. Her black cat sits in the shadows and pounces on him, as if he knows that Mojo can't hear him stalk him.
post #12 of 19
My Missy was deaf so I have been there too. Cat's have incredible hearing and so much of thier lives depend on being able to hear. Your little one came from an environment that taught him survival means being cautious and keeping away, trying to scare off the danger and so on. As he sees the positve side of life hopefully he will adjust. Let him come to you and love him to pieces and let him run when he feels the need so he doesn't feel threatened or trapped. It took some time but the bond I formed with my Missy was beyond any cat I have ever had, we had to work at communicating in a different manner but there was no question we learned to express love and trust. Good luck, give the kitten some time, I think you are on the right track.
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks, everyone. Snoball is really a quiet kitty. The only time she meowed is when she felt trapped in her 'safe' room. I think Dorabella can since she is 'different' but I wish she would stop swatting her already!! I think it will get better, but snoball is not aggressive. She wants to be a part of the fur-gang and always looks so sad when Dorabella bullies her.

Thank you all so much, I feel so much for confident now, and the yahoo group assured me, what I was thinking all along, that in order to prevent further trauma, I have to try to keep her instead of rehoming her yet again.

I think I will be able to do it.

My SO was a product of foster care and definitely will not tolerate an unloved/unwanted kitty, not if we can help it

I love him.
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by dorabella's mom View Post
I think Dorabella can since she is 'different' but I wish she would stop swatting her already!! I think it will get better, but snoball is not aggressive. She wants to be a part of the fur-gang and always looks so sad when Dorabella bullies her.
The interaction between them would probably happen whether Snoball was deaf or not. Adult cats often do that to put a youngster in place when they first arrive. They are letting them know who is the boss. There is a sticky that talks about introducing an old cat to a new one that might also be helpful to you.

http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=67321
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by threecatowner View Post
I believe that because you took the time to come onto this forum and write out that question, that you are very much the "right person for the task".
Amen! (Typing random things now because the forum said my message was too short but I said everything I wanted to say.)
post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 
I am happy to report that last night around 3 a.m. she was relaxed enought to make my feet, which were under a comforter, her prey. I have a little bit of the jimmy legs [re: seinfeld] LOL!! so snoball probably thought the jumpiness was her cue to pounce.

Also, when I put my hand near her she reaches up to sniff, so that's a good thing. She still runs, but not as far, only enough to get her bearings so she could keep looking at me.

My SO said she played pattycake with his hand, so he is getting along a little better than me.

But then again, I should expect such. When I got her home this time last week, she was poo covered and the only thing within my reach to wash her with was my SO's old spice body wash.

So since they smell the same or she is familiar with that scent, she has her bonded daddy. LOL!!
post #17 of 19
That's great to hear!

About the similar scent thing, did you read the thread about introducing young cats to old? One of the main tips is to put a dab of vanilla extract on all of the cats (and humans if necessary) so that everyone smells the same. It sounds like you witnessed this effect with the old spice body wash!
post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
Things are like nite and day!! Everyone is getting along splendidly!!!! Please enjoy slideshows.

JMP

Part I- playtime 17 pix

http://pictures.sprintpcs.com/share....tate=RETRIEVED

Part II- cuddle time 26 pix

http://pictures.sprintpcs.com/share....tate=RETRIEVED
post #19 of 19
Aw, how sweet! What a beautiful family of kitties! I am happy for you and glad it is all working out!!
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