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Kitten afraid to be touched

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
6 months ago, I acquired a 5-month old Bengal from a grey-market breeder. The breeder told me the kitten was "afraid of strangers" but the breeder handled her O.K. When I brought the kitten home, it was obvious she was terrified of all people and unwilling to be touched or picked up. Dakini has gotten to the point where she will eat goodies out of my hand and come when called, and she loves to play with me, but she runs if I try to pet her and screams when I try to hold on to her. I have had to catch her a few times, which is very difficult, and she becomes terrified and avoids me for days afterwards. At the same time, she is so needy that she drives her 4-year-old companion crazy with excessive attention-getting behavior, until he growls and hisses when she comes close. Has anyone dealt with such a cat? Other than practice endless patience, what can I do?
post #2 of 6
The kitten is probably an F1 or F2 which means they are pretty close to the wild cat. This is a trait usually displayed by them. I would just keep working with her. Keep trying to reassure her that you are not the enemy. If you pick her up, just make is very brief and then put her down. If you pet her, make it a quick on. Try to move slow with her. The treats help too. It may take some time, but she may come around. It is very possible though that these are going to be traits she will have forever.
post #3 of 6

Hi, we have 3 bengals. Tigger is 1 years old and she doesn't like to be held very much, either. She screams pretty loud. She doesn't like to be petted much, but when we do, she loves it -- it just depends on her mood. Also, Tigger is a semi-timid cat, which is part of her problem. Do you have papers on her to show what generation she is? Sandie is right -- it is possible she is an F1 or an F2. But, from what I have heard and read that F2 & F1's can be really nice, but it takes a lot of time and patience. It may just take more time than expected.

Oh, you know what might be of help? Buy one of those cat wands with either the feather or party foils attached. The ones with the foil make a lot of noise, and ours love to chase it around when you play with it!! You might be able to get her to play and become more friendlier that way!!
post #4 of 6
I also adopted a 7 month old bengal kitten - which was considered VERY,VERY,VERY,VERY, VERY SHY from a breeder. He is now 16 month and the sweetest cat I have every seen - needy Yes, but what a love. I have also encountered many of the problems you mentioned. I bribed him with food - which is always a hit - and sat with him for hours at a time in the same room, just reading so he could get used to me. In time he decided to plop himself into my lap, curled up and went to sleep.
Everything is still on his terms. He only allows himself to be held if we are walking and then only for a few minutes, he is not a lap cap and never will be - BUT he sleeps in my arms at night. He progressed from wanting to be close to a human being, just circling, to a wonderful loving pet.
He is very much attached to me, strangers are another story, he is still skitish with them and will never be the kind of cat that will run up to anyone and great them and YES, he has his quirks, but I would not give him up for world. If you want to talk you can e-mail me at hell603@webtv.net and I'll provide you with my tel#. Best to you and your little one.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi all who answered!

Thank you so much for the advice. I don't have papers on the kitten, so I don't know about her ancestry. I've already found out about the "fishing pole" wands and several other toys, and I spend a lot of time playing with Dakini. She likes long grass stalks best. Second best is a styrofoam insert from a case of wine, it has twelve deep cups where the wine bottles sat. I turned it on its side and put a toy in each opening -- twelve easy mouse holes! Sounds like more of the same and more patience will likely keep us going in a good direction.
post #6 of 6
I also have a cat that was like that as a kitten, I found that just sitting on the floor in a room with the doors shut helped a great deal, because although they make a fuss when you pet them or pick them up they still crave attention. If you just sit there talking quietly to them with a cheerful voice, they will eventually come up to you and probably even walk on you! It will take time and patience but you have to build the cats trust for you. When it does come up to you don't grab it immediately let it walk on you a bit and just give it a quick stroke as it pads around. This worked with one of our, so I hope it helps you out a bit!

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