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Scared of strangers and nippy

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
My 12 w/o kitten Aya is terrified of strange people and continues to be very bite-y with me.

I'm going home to visit in 6 weeks and leaving Aya-chan with a friend. She will take the kitten over to her place for the duration, and has a boyfriend and a ferret.

I had her over last eve for dinner and to do a meet and greet with the kitty.

Aya ran away and hid and when she did come out she hissed and flattened her ears at my friend. She was so scared she didn't even notice the ferret...

When did this happen? When I first got her a friend stayed the night and she cuddled right up to her.

Now I'm worried about leaving on vacation. And next Xmas when I have to take her home to live with my family until I return in July...

What do I do? We're already plotting another dinner outing this time to my friend's place before I go. I'll bring Aya with me.
post #2 of 10
Too much activity in a new home can overwhelm a kitten. Remember she may be still adjusting to her new surroundings. Moving her from one place to another is upsetting her as shown by her behavior. Perhaps you should take it more slowly. Let her get used to you and your home. Provide her a quiet place for a few days. Once she shows more confidence, then introduce her slowly to your friends and relatives.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Perhaps I should clarify that I've had her in that apartment for 2 months already. She was a rescued feral kitten that I found in the middle of the street and nursed back to health. She is quite bonded to me, and is a playful lap cat (if a bit bite-y!).

I had an overnight guest within 2 weeks of acquiring her and she was fine, a little shy but warmed right up to her.

But yesterday the minute the friend came over she went into fearful kitty mode.
post #4 of 10
Two months is a short time for cats, who are very territorial. She's still getting used to her new home, and it's going to take more time and patience because she was feral.

I wouldn't bring the cat over to the other person's house for short visits. It would just be disruptive, and the cat will likely be very scared in a new environment... so she's not likely to respond more warmly to your friend.

I'd just wait until it's time for the friend to babysit the cat, and let them work it out.

Both at home and at the house of the babysitter, you should let the cat hide as long as she wants. Don't drag her out from under the bed or try to make her be social before she's ready. She needs to stay in her safe spot and come out gradually to explore, little by little, at her own pace.
post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyrajean View Post
Perhaps I should clarify that I've had her in that apartment for 2 months already. She was a rescued feral kitten that I found in the middle of the street and nursed back to health. She is quite bonded to me, and is a playful lap cat (if a bit bite-y!).
That's it, right there. She's simply not socialized enough and cats tend to be a bit guarded by nature. Time and food works wonders, so your friend should be able to win over the kitten.

Is she being fed wet kitten food? If not, a good canned kitten food may be stinky and irresistible enough to help bring her out to meet your friend. Toys can work too - wand types and things for a high energy kitten to chase.

Also, never restrain your kitten around strangers and force a meeting. This could lead to you being scratched and bitten.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
That's it, right there. She's simply not socialized enough and cats tend to be a bit guarded by nature. Time and food works wonders, so your friend should be able to win over the kitten.

Is she being fed wet kitten food? If not, a good canned kitten food may be stinky and irresistible enough to help bring her out to meet your friend. Toys can work too - wand types and things for a high energy kitten to chase.

Also, never restrain your kitten around strangers and force a meeting. This could lead to you being scratched and bitten.
Yes, she likes wet, particularly tuna -Japanese cat go figure!

My friend brought over a new cat toy and we did lure her out eventually with it (a goldfish on a toy fishing pole/string).

She was actually so scared that she wasn't biting... Usually she displays her affection toward me by bitting, she didn't bite one thing all evening!
post #7 of 10
I think your friend should continue coming to your place to get the kitten used to her and her scent. She may smell the ferret on your friend. When my boyfriend's family comes over to our place, our cats get all defensive because they can smell their cats on them. It's quite a scene. They hiss and growl and swat. That's not what they are like usually - but they just have a good fight or flight instinct kicking in!

Does your friend have a spare bedroom or somewhere that she could make into a "kitten room" while your kitty visits her while you are gone? This will likely make your kitty feel more safe and comfortable - just like what you are supposed to do when you bring a new cat home. If there is food/water/litter set up in there as well as some toys (bring some familiar stuff from your place), she could take the carrier right to the room, open it, and let her explore the room when she is ready. I would recommend that your friend just leaves her alone for the first little while and then does some short visits in the room. Basically, kitty needs to call the shots!
post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyrajean View Post
Yes, she likes wet, particularly tuna -Japanese cat go figure!

My friend brought over a new cat toy and we did lure her out eventually with it (a goldfish on a toy fishing pole/string).

She was actually so scared that she wasn't biting... Usually she displays her affection toward me by bitting, she didn't bite one thing all evening!
You're making progress then. Small bites of human food, provided that it isn't anything harmful (or seasoned with anything bad) are ok, too.

Just make sure that your kitten has all of her needed vaccinations before you take her anywhere. For your kitten's safety and those around her.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
You're making progress then. Small bites of human food, provided that it isn't anything harmful (or seasoned with anything bad) are ok, too.

Just make sure that your kitten has all of her needed vaccinations before you take her anywhere. For your kitten's safety and those around her.
Well, that's a challenge... I discovered last month that the vet's don't have/give rabies shots to cats in Japan... She's had her RCP series finished (they only do a series of 2 here) and I passed on the FELV vacine ('cause its tied to the chlamydia one here) although she will start getting it when she goes home as she will most like become an indoor/outdoor cat like our other one. But where I am now she's indoor only. I'm actually hoping that my friend who has base access through her boyfriend can get her her rabies vaccine while she's with them...

The tuna I'm talking about is packaged as kitten food. I think its just tuna with juice... You can also get it with little baby eels on top!

This is Japan, everybody eats fish in large amounts!
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
UPDATE:

Well, despite some fo the warnings, yesterday I put Aya in her box and took her over to my friend's place for another go at introductions.

Actually it went very well. We left her carrier with the door open on the bed. She decided to come out of her carrier right away and check the joint out. She seemed to be warming up to my friend. She went over and stood on her leg and sniffed her a couple times, and accepted offerings of toys and nibbles from her. (she rarely calms down enough to even me to pet so I wasn't worried about that). She really enjoyed having a new place to explore, and was even fighting the urge to fall asleep because she was so curious. She finally crawled back into her carrier and konked out after 2 hours, looking like a pretty happy little kitten meatloaf.

The only downside was that she's terrified of the ferret, who was very fearless and curious about her. He chased her under the bed. She hissed and growled at him. So we put Spaz in his cage (poor Spaz!) and everything was okay again.
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