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Scared kitty. What should I do?

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
I brought home Opal tonight, and she's been really scared. I had her out of her carrier in the car on the way home (about a 3-4 hour drive because of traffic) and she curled up on my lap and slept the whole time, but she would hide her head whenever I tried to look at her. Then, when I brought her in, she was scared and acted like she wanted to hide, so I put her carrier down with the blankets from her old house, and she got right in it and hasn't come out. She keeps meowing every 5-10 minutes and she doesn't act scared of me, but she's obviously scared of her new environment.

I don't know if I should stay in there with her or leave her alone. I don't know if when I talk to her and pet her if it calms her down, or it scares her, or just peaks her interest to make her stop meowing. She was purring and kneeding like crazy, but she's still really scared so I don't know if that means anything. She took a nap and I fell asleep in there with her, but then she kept waking me up by meowing. Is she meowing for other cats that she was used to? Is she home sick?

I feel so sorry for her, but I don't know how to make her feel more comfortable because I'm scared anything I do will just scare her more. I put a little of the food she's used to in there and she ate it, but she hasn't come out to go potty or drink water...or anything.
post #2 of 41
I moved your post because you really do need breeders to help you. I know what I would advise, but I am used to ferals and they are not the same. She is more than likely scared, confused and lonely. If you have a stuffed animal she can cuddle with that might help-
post #3 of 41
You just have to give her time. She'll come around in a few days. It sounds like your doing everything right. Make sure her food and water are right next to her carrier.
post #4 of 41
You might also try putting her litterbox right near her carrier (in sight). That way she can slip in there and go if she needs to and feel safe about getting right back to her carrier, since at the moment that's her safe zone.
post #5 of 41
Thread Starter 
I was laying down by her carrier and fell asleep when she started meowing so I talked to her and pet her. She came out and was acting really odd, manic -like. She kept rolling all over, purring, and head butting. I thought she was getting used to me and wanted to be loved on, so I was petting her when all of the sudden she bit my finger, hard enough to draw blood. I kept petting her because I thought it was an accident and she kept snapping at my fingers, but she was stilling rubbing against me, purring, and trying to get my hands on her. So I kept loving on her but I kept my fingers away from her head. Then she turned around and bit my arm. Hard. I don't understand why she's acting like this. Now she meows whenever she can't see me, but she acts mean when I pet her. I don't understand what's going on. I'm scared to touch her because she'll bite, but I don't want to avoid her when she wants to be loved on. Help, please.
post #6 of 41
How old is she?
post #7 of 41
Thread Starter 
8 months.
post #8 of 41
Thread Starter 
I don't want to touch her, so I had my roommate pet her and she was fine then she bit him and drew blood. She kept wanting me to pet her, but I can't. He says that I should let her bite me but I don't want to, and I don't think letting her think it's okay to bite is a good idea because she can't bite Cupid when they are allowed to see each other. But maybe she's just scared and doesn't realize she's biting so hard? I don't know how to get her to be comfortable. She's gone all over the house, except for Cupid's room, meowing the whole way with me following her, and seemed fine. My roommate said I should put her in her carrier for a while, but she doesn't want to be in there and she's trying to get out. I'm scared she's going to hurt herself.
post #9 of 41
I assume she's spayed? Because that's a little like the behavior when they're in heat. Most likely she's overstimulated. Some cats get overstimulated easier than others. Do you have some Feliway or other calming sprays? You might want to just read to her and talk to her without making eye contact for a while until she gets more used to you. Do you know how much human contact she had before you got her?
post #10 of 41
Hmmm, is she spayed? The reason I ask, is because some (not all) of the behavior you're describing is heat related behavior. The rolling and head butting, then she bites when you pet her (over-sensitized).
post #11 of 41
From what I have read so far, I agree she seems overstimulated. that is if she is already spayed. If she is not spayed and she is 8 months old, it would not suprise me that she is going into heat.

I would suggest putting her into a smaller room with her carrier, food and litter box and just letting her get use to being in that room for a few days before letting her have the run of the house. I would also talk with the breeder and verify how much human contact she has had as well.

If she is spayed and has had human contact, I would chalk the biting up to her just being overstimulated and needing to get use to her new home. It will get better, she just went through a airplane ride, being in a new home with new smells and not being sure what is going on.

I am here if you need me though...
post #12 of 41
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone. Being overstimulated makes sense. She's been through a lot. She's spayed, and I know she was at least handled by her breeder and her breeder's husband. It's hard to describe her behavior. She walks around meowing up close to everything, like she's a bat trying to 'see' her way through the house. She obviously wants to be touched, but she bites. I watched her bite my roommate twice, and it's like she doesn't even realize she's doing it. She keeps rubbing around and purring and then out of nowhere, she bites, but she doesn't stop being lovey. The second time she bit him wasn't as hard and she licked his finger afterwards. I can't let her bite me like he does. It hurts. I don't think she's doing it to be mean because she hissed at me when I went to get her out of a corner, but she didn't bite me or snap at me. That was before she started biting while being pet. Now I'm scared to even touch her.

Last night, I ended up leaving her in her room, out of her carrier. She meowed for a little bit, but then she settled down. Poor Cupid doesn't deserve this stress. I can try the Feliday stuff, but I'll have to order it on-line, so it won't even get here for a couple of days.

post #13 of 41
Most pet stores sell the Feliway, I would check locally first.

I would just give her a few days in a room closed off from the rest of your house. Go in and spend time in the room without approaching her, I would just let her come to you. If she is in a corner do not try to take her out of the corner, if that is where she is, that is where she feels safe.

Hang in there, it will get better! As far as Cupid, when she Opal is in a room by herself, he will be able to go to the outside of the door and smell. When he hears her meow it really should not stress Cupid out, but he will be curious, that is totally normal. Make sure to give Cupid lot's of attention throughout all of this as well!
post #14 of 41
Oh sweetie!

I think that everyone has given you some wonderful advice so far! As they have said, Opal will be nervous of her new environment and it is still early days!! I think she will be a bit funny for a little while because of the flight and moving homes!

I think if you treat her arrival as a general new introduction (ie. let her get used to the smells and sights) she will settle soon!! You are doing a fantasic job so far, from what I can tell!

Is Cupid feeling the stress? I know it is very difficult, but if you can try to stay as calm as possible it will prevent both Opal and Cupid from becomming stressed! (I have been being as calm as possible with the 'problems' with my three and things have improved dramatically - with the addition of more feliway plug ins!)

I hope that things get much easier for you soon!

Sending lots of Calming }}}VIBES{{{ to you, Cupid and Opal with lots of
post #15 of 41
Stop petting her for awhile. Let her just adjust to the new house, the new owners the new smells. Everything is so different for her. Give her some time to just relax. Sounds like maybe she wasn't handled as much as you were led to believe.
post #16 of 41
Thread Starter 
I spent all day cleaning and clearing out a smaller room for her away from most of the noise in the house, so hopefully that will help. I haven't tried to pet her, but I didn't last night either and she kept coming to me and trying to get my hands on her (until after she bit me when I kept them behind my back).

She spent all day hiding. She won't go into her carrier now--probably because my roommate made me shut her in there. I took the door off so maybe she'd know she can't get locked in there now, but she hasn't seen it since I did that because she's hiding. She hasn't eaten either.

I think Cupid is used to her meowing now. It made him shake at first, but I slept in his room with him last night and I could clearly hear her meowing, but all he did was look that way and look back.

I'll call Wal-Mart and the pet store to see if they have Feliway, but I doubt it. The pet store doesn't carry much, and the other pet store doesn't have any cat stuff period.

Her breeder told me it may take about a week for her to adjust, but I just never imagined that it would be like this.

Thanks for the replies.
post #17 of 41
She comes up to you and bites you? yikes!
post #18 of 41
i don't know if this will help...but all of mine did a little biting when they were babies. i tapped their noses & said "no" in a very firm voice whenever they bit me. now, on the rare occasion when Cable is overstimulated & i don't notice it in time & she bites me, she immediately runs off. i think it's because she knows that's not acceptable behavior. they were all quite a bit younger than Opal, tho, so i don't know if this will work with her. this method was recommended by one of my cat books because it said the mother cat uses the nose tap to discipline her kittens. it's really a light tap - just to get their attention. maybe after she gets used to you & your home she'll settle down. good luck!
post #19 of 41
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by bengalbabe
She comes up to you and bites you? yikes!
Yeah, but not just to bite. Last night, she hopped in my lap and was nudging my hands (when she finally came out). About 10 minutes into petting her (and she was nudging for more the whole time, purring and all), she bit me. Then she kept trying to bite me while nudging for more and rubbing against me. I'm trying not to be scared of her. I truly believe she's not doing it to be mean or because I'm doing something she doesn't like, because I've picked her up before she bit me the first time and she never tried to bite. My roommate has picked her up since then, when necessary, and she hasn't bitten him. It seems like it's just when she's being loved on. Cupid does that sometimes too, but he has never bitten that hard--not even close. It could be true that she's not used to being handled. If she's still doing it in a week (ugh), I'll try the nose thing.

I'm just hoping that this ordeal isn't so traumatizing that it changes her, because I think she'd be really sweet if she wasn't so scared. She purrs and kneeds a lot, and obviously loves to be loved on. She has given kisses a few times also. She's had a rough couple of weeks because she just got spayed last week (still has stiches; I saw them when she rolled over on her back), and she got a rabies shot the same day of her flight.

The room she's in now has nothing but a chair, a computer desk, a cat condo, her litter box, her food and water, a small toy tree, and her carrier. I hope that helps.
post #20 of 41
Just checking in to see how things are going. I hope that Opal got some sleep last night and is feeling a little better.
post #21 of 41
I am sending prayers and good wishes. I hope things get better soon. there are some really wonderful, wise people here who know a lot about cats! I will check back to see how you all are.
post #22 of 41
Thread Starter 
She is doing much better! She ate and went potty in her litter box. She is sleeping in Cupid's condo, which I hope gets her used to Cupid's scent. It has a clean pillow in it, but the carpet on the outside should have him all over it.

I'm going to go in there later and read her a magazine. I just hope that when she jumps on me for lovin', she doesn't bite. I think if she does I'll just put her down and leave the room. Maybe it means she's had enough, even though she wants more.
post #23 of 41
Originally Posted by Purr
She is doing much better! She ate and went potty in her litter box. She is sleeping in Cupid's condo, which I hope gets her used to Cupid's scent. It has a clean pillow in it, but the carpet on the outside should have him all over it.

I'm going to go in there later and read her a magazine. I just hope that when she jumps on me for lovin', she doesn't bite. I think if she does I'll just put her down and leave the room. Maybe it means she's had enough, even though she wants more.
i think that's a good response - you're not hurting her, but depriving her of the lovin' because she's biting should help her to stop, IMO. glad to hear she's doing better!
post #24 of 41
Thread Starter 
I think Opal was kept longer (and named) because the breeder was going to breed her but decided not to. Several people have asked that.
post #25 of 41
I am so glad little Opal is doing better! Give her and Cupid a belly rub from Aunt Carla
post #26 of 41
Thread Starter 
I talked to her breeder and she said to say no firmly when she bites. She said that she got a lot of stimulation there and she never bit them. I went in there to read to her and she came over to me and started rubbing against me and nudging my hands, so I pet her. She tried to bite me and I said no and left the room. Now she's crying for me to come back in there and it's so pitiful. I want to --especially because she's scared and I want to comfort her--but she has to know biting is wrong, right?

Her breeder said that she had a brother she played with and a mother, and that she probably misses them. She said that other breeders said it could take up to a month to get a teenage kitten to adapt.
post #27 of 41
Thread Starter 
The situation with Opal has become extremely emotionally draining. I tell her NO and leave the room when she bites, but my concern is that she doesn't understand. She cries for me when I leave and it breaks my heart. Her breeder said I should give her more time alone, but I think by her actions that she's ready for me to come in there and be with her. She comes out of her carrier as soon as I go in there now, and even comes to the door and greets me.

I'm scared to touch her, which I think is making it hard for us to bond. When I pet her, I keep my hands out of reach so she doesn't have the opportunity to bite, and when my roommate gets home, I take him in there and let her bite him instead. I moved when she has sniffed for longer than I feel comfortable with and I can tell that it's making her a little (more) uneasy. She won't sit still while I'm petting her, but she purrs very loudly and keeps walking aound me the whole time, kneeding into the carpet with each step--and she keeps ALMOST rolling on her back, but then she stops herself.

Since she's used to having a brother, and Cupid and her have communicated through the door, I'm wondering if it would be easier for her if she meets Cupid and can bond with him, and through him (and seeing me love on him), get used to me as well. However, even if that would help her, I don't feel comfortable giving her contact with Cupid while she is still biting.

I would feel better if I just knew if anything I'm doing is helping her. She also barely eats. She eats about 5-10 pieces of kibble a day, and hasn't pooped yet. She drinks a lot of water and has gone wee in her litter box twice. She's been here since Friday night. If I have to take her to the vet, it would set her back and destroy any progress we have made. I just don't know what to do.
post #28 of 41
It just occured to me that a savannah breeder that I know had this problem with one of her savannahs-the biting and wanting to be pet and everything you described. Come to find out it was a hormonal imbalance. Is opal spayed yet? If not that may be the problem.
post #29 of 41
the eating/drinking/pooping problem sounds serious - it might be related to the biting - who knows? i'd take her to the vet as soon as possible. christmas is coming up - you don't want to have to deal with a sick cat over the holidays - i did that last year & it was terrible! trouble finding vets that would even see her, because of the season. if you take her now, the vet will probably feel obligated to care for her thruout whatever the problem is.
post #30 of 41
Breathe! I know the helpless "I'm a bad mommy" feeling because I'm going though it myself right now.

You should be able to get Feliway from a vet... that's where I got mine. It might cost a little more (I did price comparisons online today 'cause I am now using it) but not by much.

I generally use "The New Natural Cat" by Anitra Frazier, and in it she talks about a big cat named Purr who bit. She said that when he did it she as so surprised she relaxed toward him and started to cry and whimper like a kitten. He never did it again.

I know I'm just a newbie here but I have worked with a lot of shelter cats and if you are projecting "I'm scared" to her, then she is going to pick up on that. Perhaps you could try just sitting in the room with her and focus on a pleasant memory or scene? Think positive!

I'm not sure what to do about her not pooping though except massage (or get your roommate to do it) her belly to move things along.

Hope some of this helps and good luck!
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