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Socializing kittens...puzzled.

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,
Cats/kittens have owned me my whole life and I have never quite encountered this.

We adopted 2 from the ebay animal board and they came to us at 14 weeks old from Mobile, Alabama. Momma cat was a stray, but not feral, by the time she was rescued she was already pregnant and she had 3 babies (she is now spayed). The 3rd baby stayed with momma and we adopted Duke & Cosmo.

They are very loving, beautiful kitties - except they don't like outsiders AT ALL. As an example, my BIL's girlfriend is a HUGE cat lover and we spent the weekend all together at the cabin and she tried her best to get them to warm up - nope, no dice, even after 3 days they wanted nothing to do with her. And they're like that with everyone. They ONLY want me or Jeff.

I'm not used to that as ALL of my other cats have been very friendly and social. Mine are (as of today) 6 months old, so I'm not sure if this is just a kitten issue and they will relax as they get older...but I'm wondering if anyone has any tips that might help to socialize them with strangers? (BTW, they are indoor only so they would only be introduced to strangers WE bring in which is family & friends) They are really adorable and everybody wants to hold them so if there's anything I can do to help them I would appreciate any advice.

post #2 of 7
Maybe because of their pasts they don't trust anyone but you two. I don't really see that as a problem. If you really want everyone to pet them you could try holding one of them while allowing them to be petted but I don't think they would go for it.
post #3 of 7
Lora, this is typical behavior of kittens from stray cats.I would just allow them to hide, it isn't neccessary for them to be social with anyone but you really, is it? Take lots of pictures of them, and show those off, but forcing these two to accept people (strangers) holding them and petting them, could lead you to have two aggressive kitties that feel trapped in an other-wise loving home.

These kittens were more than likely not handled at an early enough age to understand that all people do not have to be feared. Just leave them be, if they are pursued by people, it will just increase their anxiety and could lead to sickness or behavior problems.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks Hissy, just to add so you get a clear picture...Momma cat was/is fully tame. She was rescued and had her kittens AFTER she was rescued so they did have human involvement right from the start.

They don't actually hide (usually, only a couple of times they have), but what I mean by strangers is "family" and that we don't have a choice of. We go to the cottage on weekends and our island has 6 branches of family on it. To the kitties they are strangers, to us they are family.

I am OVERLY protective of kitties and if they don't like being held, I immediately take them away from whoever is holding them. Please be rest assured that my babies needs come first. Even when I take them away, they don't run & hide....they just don't like strangers to them.

The weird thing....when we first got them, I would have thought based on this behavior they would have done it to us but they didn't. They've loved us right from day one. Duke was cuddling Jeff within 2 hours of getting home, and that was after an 11 hour plane ride LOL.

Having said all this, I'm obviously not going to force them into anything, that would be counter-productive to say the least....just wondering if anyone has any tips to help socialize kitties so that it's easier for them to cope since we can't remove family from the picture.

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks Charcoal, but their "past" consisted of being in a loving home environment as momma gave birth AFTER being rescued into her forever home. From the rescuer, it is clear that momma was dumped (probably because she was pregnant) because she is extemely affectionate and had no trouble whatsoever adapting to her new home.

post #6 of 7
Well it sounds like part of the routine to have the invasion of the family. Once the kittens adjust to the disruption in their routine day, they should be better for it. I misunderstood your first post you talked about the mom being a stray, so I thought the kittens were born outside, not in a home-
post #7 of 7
Originally Posted by Charcoal
If you really want everyone to pet them you could try holding one of them while allowing them to be petted but I don't think they would go for it.
I think this is probably the best suggestion here, really. Since they trust you, I would say try holding them while others pet them. Have you already tried this? If so, what happened?
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