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Lack of social skills

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I have two cats - Percival (1 yr old neutered male) and Phoebe (8 yr old spayed female)
We have had Phoebe since she was a year old, we got her from our local animal shelter. Last Sept we found Percival and his sister in our backyard. We searched for the mom, but no luck. WHen I took them to the vet, he said they were no more than 5 weeks old and to feed them soft food. They both took to it fine.
Eventually, my brother took the female kitten at 8 weeks. Since then Percival has had some behavorial issues. According to my brother, his cat has had very similar problems, although because she is an 'only pet' it isn't as much of an isssue.

Percival seems to have a basic lack of social skills. He will readily initaite play with both Phoebe and our dog (11 yr old minature schnauzer). However, the problem is that he doesn't know when to stop. He doesn't seems to understand what it means when Phoebe growls and hisses at him or when she simply tries to walk away. He will be submissive toward her (belly showing, tail out, ears not flattened) then try to play again. He almost never gets really agressive, but we have had to give him "time outs (5 min shut in a bedroom to calm down), sometimes it works, sometimes not. We also have to keep them separate when we aren't home due to their size difference (Percival=16 pounds / Phoebe=8 pounds). Because of his lack of boundries and understanding 'back off', we are afraid he could hurt her accidentally.

He also seems to be wanting to suckle when he drinks. He will knead his water bowl or the floor around his water bowl when he drinks. He also gets fixated on small bottles (like a water bottle, or a small soda bottle). He will try to grab it and will nuzzle the mouth of the bottle.

I have read in various articles, that when kittens are taken from their mother too early, they can exhibit a lack of social skills. I am wondering if there is anything I can do to help him.
We have even considered getting him a kitten bottle and feeding him water with that, then weaning him. I am also considering getting the Feliway Comfort Care Kit to calm him down.
I hate constantly having to keep them apart when not supervised. But we can't trust him. Sometimes they are great together, but he just doesn't have boundaries.
I would really like to help him through this.

Thanks so much!
post #2 of 4
I think you're on to something regarding the link between social skills and early separation from mother. I don't know what to do at this point. Except I don't think the bottle idea will work. One thing about time-outs, though, five minutes isn't enough time. A cat can take 24 hours to come down from an agitated state. If you use time-outs, separate him for the rest of the day and the night and bring him back out for breakfast. Obviously, he needs litter, bedding and water, and possibly food, depending on your feeding schedule, in his time-out room.
post #3 of 4
My two kittens had the same problem as yours. They were abandoned by their mother at about 2weeks and were hand raised.

I think you just have to try and accept their behaviour. They will grow out of it, and your kitty will probably start copying your older cats behaviour.

You could try distracting you kitty when he's getting to boistross with your other cat. Try pulling some string along the floor or distracting him with a favourite toy.
post #4 of 4
I agree with Anya......He is only a year old, so still quite "kittenish" and probably needs more play time than his older counterpart wants to share with him.
A cat fishing pole will give him a lot of exercise without wearing you out. If you and him have a play session in the AM and again in the PM it may go a long ways to protecting your other pets from being over stimulated by his baby energy.
He will probably begin to mellow out before too long....as he becomes an adult.
In the meantime I would seperate them when you are not going to be around to supervise if you are concerned that he is too big and too rough and might hurt one of your other pets.
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