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New Kitten, Very Shy & Scared

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi guys =]

For starters, I'm not new to cat ownership. I've grown up with barn cats allll my life and we've rescued many a kitten from various things. 2 years ago I brought my first kitten (offspring to a barn cat) inside and named her Zoey. This last May she escaped from the house (as she often liked to do), which is fine because we live way out on a ranch and she usually just prowls the yard within my sight. But one night she escaped and nobody knew, and she never returned... =[

Last fall I brought in another kitten, while we still had Zoey. The kitten was orphaned by her mother and when we found out, her littermate was already gone. She was only about 2 weeks but we nursed her and she became a healthy cat that we named Harley, due to her Harley-Davidson-worthy purring levels!! She had special needs, having a partial cleft pallet, so she became an indoor cat as well.

Since our loss of Zoey, Harley has become quite a bit wilder, I'm sure from lack of interaction with another cat although I play with her often and she does have toys. She doesn't care for me, but she loves my mama- Zoey loved me. I miss having a cat to cuddle and sleep with, and Harley misses a playmate I know.

We have two litters of kittens living on our porch currently (we have a few to several litters every year) and they got kinda wild, with lotsa places to hide. Well I captured one last night (after convincing my reluctant parents to welcome another feline into the house!!) and chose it as my victim, hehe, just kidding. Anyway I put food and water and a litter box in my room and put him in there. He is about... 2 months old? He is so adorable, but he is very very shy. He only hides under my bed and sulks, never coming out to explore. Last night he slept in bed with me, under the covers then between the pillow, and I guess slept there all night. He woke me up at 3:30 with his cries and I took him to his food and water and he ate and drank, and later in the morning he peed in the litterbox.

However he still has no interest whatsoever in human interaction. He spooks greatly at the sight of you, if he is out and about which has only happened once. I have to drag him out from under the bed to see him at all. He hisses a little but once is in your arms, is very docile.

I know it takes a while for them to settle, but I'm a little worried. Any advice? As far as toys, all I have right now is a jingle ball and laser and he won't show interest in either. All suggestions are welcome!! =]
post #2 of 10
I took a feral kitten in once, at that age he will come around. I'm sorry to say there's not an awful lot you can do but give him time. I used to sing softly to mine and pet her but didn't pick her up when she obviously didn't want it. From my memory within 4 or 5 days the hissing just about stopped and she started to enjoy being petted. That cat turned into a total cuddlepuss

If you can try and get him an interactive toy like Da Bird, or some other toy involving a string with something on the end for you to dangle for him. In my experience kittens can't resist this kinda toy.

It's only been a day, I'm positive he'll come around soon. What have you named him?

Sorry to hear about Zoey
post #3 of 10
If you have a small room, like a bathroom, to keep him in at least some of the time, it might help. Go in there and talk to him. Don't look him in the eyes (that's aggressive to a cat), and don't try to hold him. Just talk to him. Some say reading to him will work, get him used to you, your smell, and your voice.

The fact he slept in your bed with you indicates he does actually want interaction.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you both for your kind and assuring replies =]

karenjet- I haven't named him yet, he has yet to show his true colors. I'm thinking PJ though because today I put him in my lap while I ate my lunch of a PBJ and he liked licking the peanut butter and jelly off of my fingers, haha And I hope to get to town tomorrow, if not then very soon, and will make a run to PetCo for him and be sure and pick up Da Bird.

mrblanche- I don't have another room, unfortunately. He doesn't mind being held, and he doesn't resist much except at first with the hissing. He is docile in your arms, but give him a chance and he skedaddles for his little corner under the bed and will only come out when I fetch him. Would it be best to just leave him be rather than trying to hold and pet him? Yes and he slept rather of his own will in there last night... He only cried a few times, for his mama and littermates, and I would start to sing softly and he would instantly quiet. I also had the radio playing softly all night.
post #5 of 10
I just got a new 5 month Calico kitten from our local shelter. She lovely, affectionate and VERY vocal. My Persian Little Bit has already accepted her, but my Korat Cassie is real ticked off at me. The kitten( I'm thinking about calling her Taffy) can be a little wild at times, but I think this can be cured. I've had to squirt her with a water bottle for getting in the trash several times. And she did a real bad #2 on my bed( I showed the litter box to her and she used it beforehand) so now I'm washing my bed sheets. I do think she will learn quickly though. I just hope Cassie dosen't stay mad at me long. I've tried to pet and reassure her that she's still top cat and I love her, but I guess it will just take time.
post #6 of 10
Please, oh please, get the cats spayed! I hate to be the voice of doom always, but they will keep reproducing and even barn cats have a limit. Do you want all these kittens? Do you know how many unwanted kittens are doomed to death every day? You say they have litters each season, well stop that!
Im sorry, report my post, but this is just wrong.
post #7 of 10
I love the information here. I just got a kitten from a friend - was probably a drop-off at her country house, so I ended up here when looking for information on what to do since he's been hiding nearly the entire time. It's been quite a long time since I ended up with a kitten, especially one that has been outside all its life. Usually I get them when they're already grown.
But I do want to say I fully agree with Trillcat - please, please have them spayed or neutered. They won't then be contributing to the overpopulation problem (like where my kitten came from). But another reason is because cats and dogs that are not altered are so much more likely to develop cancers. So please get them fixed! Thanks!
post #8 of 10
Hi All,

CaitiKatt: Can I firstly re-iterate what Trillcat says about getting the cat's neutered...there are enough problems with overpopulation without adding to it!

Re your very shy kitten.. I get the impression from your story that while kittie has been around your land from birth, she was nearly 8 weeks old before you brought her inside.

Her shyness, in this case, seems likely to be based on 'lack of socialisation'. I had same problem with one of the kittens I took in from foster care. When I met them (brother & sister) at the foster home...the gal had to scramble around to grab her and give her to me to stroke - I think the kitten just submitted out of fear, and 'endured' the petting (reminded me of an abused child).

Once in my own place, she hid on me for about 2 months. I let her come to me in her own time, and now 1 year on, while she'll always remain skittish, she comes up to my bed and sits for hours, happy in her own confident way.

Long story short...don't force her...give her time to come to you and then when she does, you'll know you've truly earned her company!!

Hope it works out:-)

post #9 of 10
Quiet patience and TLC are the key when dealing with a new kitty. I've had the best luck sitting on the floor near where the kitty is hiding out and talking to them, reading to them, singing, then putting out a few treats. I do this for a couple of days, then start playing with an interactive toy like a feather on a wand.

Be sure to put food, water, and litter box near where the kitty is so s/he has easy access without freaking out. Most likely kitty will come out when the house is quiet.

Don't force the kitty by picking up or pulling out from under wherever they're hiding, unless it's a dangerous place for them to be.
post #10 of 10
Someone just wrote about basically the same issue in the Caring for Strays and Ferals forum - this will be a very helpful thread on socializing:

As to the cats breeding on your property - if you're old enough or if your parents are willing to help transport them, you can look for low-cost places to have them sterilized to stop the cycle of breeding. If you need more barn cats any given year, there are plenty to be found with out having to let them breed.

You can also go to and click "cat" and type in your zip code - a list of kitties comes up. Each one has a rescue organization listed next to it - all rescue orgs will have some type of contact information. You can call around and ask if they know of where to have low-cost spays/neuters done for an outside cat colony.
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