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She's so skittish!!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Our kitten Kismet is so skittish! Bowser is such a snuggler... We can carry him around like a baby, he sleeps with us, etc. Kismet will come sit next to me (not on my lap, but near me) when I watch TV, but only if i'm very still, if I move, she's out of there! Maybe some of this can be attributed to the fact that she's a shelter rescue, or maybe she's got got a catitude? At first I thought she was just a little busy-body, too curious to sit still for a bit, but now i'm not sure. Any tips?
post #2 of 5
Rosie can be like that, and i've had her from the age of 6 weeks. But when she jumps down the look she gives me as if she's well huffed!!
post #3 of 5
Yes, skittish animals have a lot of nervous tension and can become excitable in unpredictable ways.

Here are my best three tips:

1. Give it time. Nano was very skittish when I first rescued her -- she wasn't used to being inside -- but she is continuing to improve and become more comfortable. She still has memories of the streets, but now there are also positive memories of living in my apartment so she has grown to trust me and her daily environment.

2. Reassure her with your voice. I just call her name or say "it's okay, Nano" each time I observe her stand up suddenly with a start because of some ambient environmental noise. I don't go rushing up to physically touch her -- just my voice to offset whatever sound gave her an alarm.

3. Let her explore. The refrigerator kicking on or off used to cause cause Nano to go on-guard. One day I opened it up to restock it with soda and bottled water, and as I sat there for ten minutes, Nano came up to me and start meowing. She poked her head inside the refrigerator, then put her front paws on the shelf and nosed around. Instead of chasing her off, I went on to my next chore and let her have another ten minutes of exploration. Ever since then, she's never "had a start" when the refrigerator cycles off or on. I could repeat similiar stories for other household items such as plastic garbage bags and vacuum cleaners.

I'd say I've seen a ten-fold improvement in Nano becoming less skittish in the last six months. She used to get up with a start at least 25-50 times a day (unnecessarily -- not counting things like an alarm going off), now it is more on the order of 1-3 times a day and still improving.
post #4 of 5
I have two kittens from a local humane society that I am socializing for that very reason. I started by keeping them in the bathroom for a couple of days. I would lie down on the floor and read from a book in a soothing book (book subject doesn't matter). I also played with them while sitting down. I put a very sweaty shirt of mine near their food so they would associate good things with my scent. Gradually, I would pet them while they were eating or playing. It has been four weeks and I am now getting kisses and being rubbed against although one of them still doesn't like being picked up.

I hope that helps. Good luck with the new addition. Give her some time. She is in a new and unfamiliar place and it must be scary.

post #5 of 5
My cats are both from a shelter(brothers) one of them is extreamly out going the other is the same way, we've had him for almost 2 years and he still is like this
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