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new cat owner, have a few questions

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
my wife and i adopted two kittens, Houdini (male) and Gypsy (female), from a shelter (they're about 10 weeks old, both from the same litter). we've had 2 dogs for the last 5 years so having cats is a completely new experience for us.

the male (named Houdini because he kept trying to escape from the kennel at the shelter) is the more adventurous one. he follows me around a lot so i have to keep an eye out to make sure i don't step on him or kick him when i'm walking. a few days ago i was on the couch and didn't realize he was next to me and when i turned, my hand hit his face pretty hard and now he won't let me get near him. he's fine with my wife, but when he sees me or even hears my voice he runs and hides. what can i do to show him that i didn't mean to hurt him? i was hoping after a day or two he'd get over it, but he still runs and hides any time i get anywhere near him.
post #2 of 6
You need to replace the bad memory of being hit, with a good memory. I would seek him out often, pick him up, cuddle with him, pet him, give him a treat. If you can do this often, even when he is protesting, then he will realize you aren't the enemy.

I have to force medicate my older cat a couple of times a week. I make sure I pick her up often and cuddle her, when I'm not forcing medicine down her, just so she knows she is loved, and every encounter isn't going to be unpleasant.
post #3 of 6
Cats can have surprisingly long memories, but they also forgive. Right now, I'd just try to sit quietly in the same room he's in, perhaps reading a book aloud in a quiet voice; maybe have a few treats handy to gently put near you if he starts coming near you. But, don't push...he's still a little afraid. Also, if you could be the one doing all the feeding, and cleaning all the litter boxes right now, that would put you in the 'beloved provider' category a bit more at the moment (and your wife would probably love you too!)

Maybe sit on the floor and if he does start looking in your direction, hold your hand out toward him, loosely curled into a fist - I've read that since that approximates a cat's head in size, they're a little less afraid than when there's a towering giant over them bending down to pet them. And, approach from straight ahead - don't sneak up on him.

And, while it may sound a little goofy - tell him you're sorry and you didn't mean to hit him. I've accidentally stepped on my boy's tail (the same day i dragged him to the vet for a dental cleaning, so you can imagine how little he trusted me that day!) and I did tell him I was sorry and hoped he felt better and loved him. He came around. But, with cats, do try to be patient and let them come to you.

And bless you for adopting and taking in the pair - believe me, you'll be rewarded with a lot of love from them.
post #4 of 6
I think playing is a great way to bond as well. Get out a feather on a stick or some other toy you believe he will like and engage him in play. Treats work well also. Even if you can't get near him, throw him the treats while talking to him. He will soon learn from your tone of voice and actions that you are not gonna hurt him again.
post #5 of 6
Originally Posted by darlili View Post
Cats can have surprisingly long memories
My Sherman must not have gotten one when they were handing them out. He's the most forgetful and silly cat, who never learns.

Are the kittens getting wet food meals? If not, a wet kitten food would really be great for them since kittens can forget to drink enough water. Many cats and kittens go crazy for their wet food meals and it's a good way to suck up. In other words, take over feeding these meals as much as possible and your male kitten should forget about about anything bad associated with you and start thinking of you as the one with yummy food.
post #6 of 6
Try food/treat bribes and toy bribes for awhile. Hopefully he will forgive you soon.
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