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what am i doing wrong??

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

i have for almost 6 months a male siamese cat which is now 8 months old. for all that time he was very very scared and did not come near me and did not let me pet him at all.
i have tried every method there is to make him come near me and let me touch him - tried rescue remedy, played and still playing with him everyday with a string toy, feeding him with treats everyday (fency feast) - but not with my hands, just put it in a bowl and let him eat it when i am near him sitting down.
now i though he was alone, so i have brought another cat female couple days ago from sos, the lady there told me she is very friendly and love petting. it was true for the first and second day when i bring her, but now she doesnt let me get near her and she is very affraid , even when she eats near me and i try to pet her, she jumps back and looks like she is in defence. it really reminds me how my male cat was in the beginning.. i really long for a social and friendly cat.. what can i do ?

one more thing , she is now in the bathroom , the only room in my house which has a door and is small. when i tried to let them know each other, she hisses at him , and it seem like he doesnt like her either. i dont know what to do , leave her in the bathroom for some week or two, or open the door and let them handle it for them self?
post #2 of 6
Aw, I'm so sorry.

Here's what I'd do.

First of all, read these two items - one is about bringing a new cat home, the other is about introducing cats to each other:


Cats are territorial, and while they can become great friends, it's something that takes a little time and adjustment.

For at least a few days, if not a week or two, I'd probably keep her in the bathroom, if there's enough room for a litter box and for food and water to be a safe distance away.

To help them get comfortable with you, there are other things you can do. I have experience socializing feral cats, and this sounds like you kind of need to use those "tricks" to help your kitties.

Spend as much time as you can in the same room - obviously here you have to divide up your time at first. But IGNORE them for a few days. Don't try to interact - just read out loud, sing, sew and talk out loud, whatever it is you do. But talk to them without looking at them, in a really calm, sweet, reassuring voice. I believe they understand what we're saying - and if they don't, they can tell from the tone of voice what we mean. They're scared, and some cats take longer than others to realize you don't want anything from them, which is the first step. It's all about building trust. A feral kitty we rescued didn't know what play was at first, and wand toys scared the heck out of him.

Keep up the treats - but maybe with your male, try baby food on a spoon.

And don't ever look at them directly in the eyes - this is a sign of aggression. Look at their foreheads, or over the top of their heads. Also, when doing the treat on a spoon trick (Gerber's is safe - it has nothing in it but the meat, and we use chicken. Spices can really upset a kitty's tummy), sit sideways to kitty, not facing them.

Also, "looking" at them with your eyes closed is a great trust builder. Being down at their height and doing something else - then turning your head towards them and closing your eyes slowly, leaving them closed for 10 seconds or so, and slowly opening them - making sure not to look in their eyes when you open them - will help, over time.

Get a couple of t-shirts REALLY good and sweaty. Go for a run, a bike ride, turn up the heat and sleep in it and sweat your guts out. Then put one t-shirt under his food dishes and put one under hers. If you want to continue the theme, put one in each of their favorite beds. You can also put those treats out on a stinky-like-you t-shirt.

The idea with this is to get them associating you with good things.

So... ignoring them is important, (cats ARE contrarians, after all!) but the idea is to be around them to let them get used to the idea that you want NOTHING from them. Worry about play and love later, they'll learn they're into it. This is the trust thing.

As you're doing that, do the stuff that gets them to associate your scent with things they're into - which, right now, is food. Food is a great motivator.

In a week or two, depending upon how she's doing, maybe swap places for 1/2 and hour at first. Whatever room he spends the most time in, put her in there, and put him in the bathroom. Let them check out each other through scent first.

Then you can do the same thing with them - the "scent" trick. Wipe him all over with a rag or wash cloth or something (preferably not washed in with fabric softener or with dryer sheets), and leave treats out for her on that "him" scented rag. Do the same thing for him with a rag with her scent on it.

BTW - keeping a regular schedule for stuff like that REALLY helps. Putting treats out at a regular time really helps. If they free feed on dry food, feeding them one wet meal a day at the same time, really helps. Also, giving a light knock on the bathroom door before you go in and telling her you're coming in will also help.

Do you have "vertical" space for them in your home? This is great for cats, especially if there's more than one. Cat trees are fabulous. There are all kinds of cat jungle gyms, condos, etc.

If you can afford it, you may want to try Feliway spray, if you haven't already. I know you tried the rescue remedy. Some have had great success with it - it didn't do anything for our kitties. But the Feliway HAS helped our cats. It is a synthetic hormone that mimics the "friendly" markers in cats' cheeks, and it helps lower the stress/fear levels. It comes in a spray or a plug-in, and to people it has no scent.

I'm sure others will have more suggestions, but the bottom line is that with kitties, you just have to turn off the clock, and sometimes just start over.

One of our feral rescues sleeps on the bed with us - but still BOLTS at a cough or a sneeze - and he's seven years old now. Sometimes it's just their personality. On the other hand, one of our rescues could NOT stand being petted at all. One pet on his cheek was it. Seven years later, he LOVES being brushed, and we can brush him for an hour if we concentrate mostly on brushing his cheeks. But he still isn't too into being petted by our hands. Of course, he was TERRIFIED of the brush at first.

Everything just takes time, and each cat has his/her own schedule.

post #3 of 6
You have had the male cat from when he was 8 weeks old. Did you pick him up and hold him when he was a kitten? Clip his nails? Pet him? This could be, in my opinion, because of him not being socialized when he was younger. Now this is all he knows.

Has he been neutered now that he is 8 months old. That will be important now that you have a new female cat. Is she spayed and how old is she?

There is a wealth of information on how to introduce cats here http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22301

What may help is to do a search on how to socialize a kitten or cat in the search area above and see if following those instructions will help. I will see if I can find some info for you. There are many experienced with socializing here. Hopefully someone come along with more suggestions. This is a great place for help.
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
thanks for the great respond.

the male was 2 months when i got him , he was so scared that he just run away and hide for some months. i have an small open space home and i let him out the first day and explore all of the house. when ever i tried to come near him he just hissed at me and scratch me and was so scared.

he has been neutered and also she has been neutered.

i will try the building trust tips with her. and try to feed him with a spoon. see how it is going.
what do you think about feeding her only when i come instead of free feeding ?

post #5 of 6
LDG is very experienced. Follow her advice about getting two of your shirts that you have worn for awhile or gotten sweaty. Leave one of these shirts under the food bowl of each cat. I would personally not change the eating habits just now. Let things stay as normal as you can. They will have the scent of you from your shirt under each food bowl to associate you with good things. What I have done after a time of leaving my shirt with the food is to put the food out and move away some and lie down on the floor face down with my eyes closed. They may get curious, come out to eat, or come sniff you. Don't move. Let them come to you.

Try to do everything on a schedule. Clean food bowls, feed, fresh water, scoop litter box, etc. Cats love a schedule. He will start to wait for you because he knows what happens at certain times.

Hang in there. It just takes time and it has to be on their time, not ours.
post #6 of 6
Skimble is exactly right!!!!!!!!!!! Having that schedule will SO help. And keep their eating habits in place, though if they do free feed, I would consider adding one wet meal a day. It gives another excuse to interact with them with food on a schedule.

And spending as much time as you can down at their level NOT looking at them or trying to interact is probably the most important part. When they do get curious (and they WILL), IGNORE YOUR INSTINCTS AND DESIRE to reach out and pet or love on them. Let them sniff you - and just do your best to keep ignoring them! Once they know they can approach you without any reaction, they'll get more comfortable. You'll get used to the signals they're sending, but if you're sitting sideways and one approaches you, maybe SLOWLY slide your hand across the floor to let them sniff. If they run, it was too soon. If they sniff, let them. Maybe the next day if it happens again, lift your hand a little, and guage the reaction. Maybe move a finger up the cheek - just one light pet.

However, it can take a long time and be frustrating - but it is actually best to wait until they headbump you. With Lazlo it took 3 days. He was 8 weeks old. With Tuxedo, it took 8 months. The others, we kind of forced ourselves on. They're love bugs now - but Tuxedo is the most expressive about it. So.... I guess my point is, just remember that these cats will be with you for another 15 - 20+ years (God willing!). The 2 months to 10 months or whatever it will take is worth the investment to have an amazing relationship with kitties that used to be terrified.

Also remember - with scaredy cats, it's often 2 steps forward, 1 step back. You may be petting your kitty one day, and have him hiss at you the next. That's what we're here for - answering questions, here for support, and here for the VENTING when you need to!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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