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Scardy Cat

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I'd like to find the best way to deal with a two-month old kitten that runs under furniture everytime we enter the room. We took him from our daughter's household ... she has two other cats and three dogs, three children and a very active, LOUD household. How can we calm him down and aclimate him the best?
post #2 of 4
How long have you had him? If you've only had him a few days, then this is normal behavior. Also, do you have a "safe place" for him to go, like a box with a hole cut out or some other small enclosure like that for him to hide in?

I would start by sitting on the floor near where he is and talking to him or reading out loud to him. Play some soothing music. Then progress to playing with him with an interactive toy, like a feather on a string or something like that. Put some treats down for him, but DO NOT try to pick him up yet or force him into accepting you. Just be patient and let him come to you. He'll warm up to you soon enough.
post #3 of 4
At 8 weeks, he's just a little baby. He should initially be confined to one room. Cats are all about territory, and he needs to feel safe in it - the best way to do this is to give him a fairly small territory to start with, let him make it his "safe" space. He should have a place to hide - if you don't want him under the bed or whatever furniture is there, make him a cave out of a box laid on its side, open, with a light blanket draped over most of it. Or cover a table with a cloth that leaves just a little open at the bottom.

As a kitten, he'll likely come around pretty quickly. But spend as much time as you can with him. Without any playmates, he'll be kind of needy, just like any baby. Leave toys out for him, try playing gently at first with an interactive wand.... to help him come to associate you with "good" things more quickly, get a couple of t-shirts really good and sweaty and put one under his food dish and put one in his bed.

Make sure he's got appropriate places to scratch. Cats also like to go vertical, so cat condos or trees or things he's allowed to climb are great.

And just give him time to adjust! Pretend you're a two-year old, something happened to your sisters and brothers and parents - you got taken to China, and put in a house. You don't know who these people are, you don't know the smells, you don't know the sounds - you don't know they want to help you. What you need are for them to just sit with you and let you feel comfortable. They would need to feed you at regular times each day, and then you come to trust you're not going to starve... slowly you'll be willing to leave your room and check out the rest of the house.... this is what's going on with your new little kitty.

Talk to him, sing to him, read out loud to him.... Let him watch and observe. Get down at his level, and sit sideways to him. Ignore him! Don't look him in the eyes - this is a sign of aggression.

If he is free-feeding on dry food, perhaps consider adding a regular treat schedule, or feeding him one or two meals of wet food every day - getting a regular schedule set for feeding, for playing, for treats, for cleaning his litter box, for changing and washing his water dish... will really help. Keeping that schedule for a week or two will go a LONG way to making him feel at home.

You could consider buying some Feliway. This is a synthetic hormone that mimics the friendly markers in cats' cheeks and helps reduce stress. Just don't spray it near the litter boxes or scratching posts.

But food is your friend here! Make sure whatever room he's in is safe for him (cords, small spaces, breakable stuff, &etc.)

And don't force "love" on him. You wouldn't want your new strange Chinese parents all over you at first either.

He just needs to have all his needs met, he needs to understand that's going to keep happening (thus doing everything on a schedule REALLY helps reinforce that) - and that builds up the trust, which is just an issue of time.

Of course.... you may want to consider getting him a playmate if he's going to be alone for long periods of time (if you both work...).
post #4 of 4
In my experience, the most important thing with the scairdey cat is patience. As others have said, he needs a place to hide (just make sure it's safe and comfortable), and you absolutely must not try and make him leave that safe place until he's good and ready to do it himself. When he feels safe enough in his hidey-hole, he will let you in to stroke him and pet him, which you should then do as much as you possibly can. But if he doesn't want you there, butt out: the last thing you need him to feel is that his hidey-hole is not safe!

It may take weeks, but I promise you it's worth it. The first time he takes a few steps out of his hidey-hole with you watching will be a beautiful thing!
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