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Extremely shy kitten

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi guys, just need some advice on how to help one of my foster kittens. I have a momma and 5 female kittens (about 5.5 weeks old now). 4 of the kittens are very gregarious and outgoing. But there is one, Callie, who is painfully shy and does not like people. I got them at about 2 weeks old, and I thought there was only 4 kittens in the carrier for awhile since Callie stayed under her mom's tail or in the far back corner the whole time. Since then I've tried to get her to come out of her shell a bit, but I have had no success (it probably hasn't helped that I've had to grab her a couple times to take her weight when someone had the poops for a few days).

If i'm in the room doing stuff, she'll hide in the carrier. If i sit still and talk quietly and dangle some toys she'll come out and play a bit with me...but any sudden movements send her darting away. She eventually will come out and play with her sisters, or explore, but not within a foot of any person in the room.

Any ideas to help me get this little one to feel a little more comfortable around people. I worry what will happen when she has to go up for adoption.

thanks everyone
post #2 of 8
Try to be creative. Maybe you can hold her in one hand, right next to her Momma, and pet her with the other hand. Keep using toys and feather dancers with her, to get her playing in your prescence. Offer little treats like that cheese in a can...a little squirt on your fingertip so she is coming to you for goodies.

Keep up with the feather dancer...sometimes I will start the "petting" with the feather dancer. It is almost like some kitties are too sensitive to touch, so they are frightened by petting. If you start the petting with a toy, then in time you can progress to petting with a hand, etc.

Remember, if the litter was outside, she is the kitten who would be most likely to survive. Her shyness is a skill. You just need to work to try to overcome it.

Best of luck, and keep us posted about her progress!
post #3 of 8
Here is a hopeful story for you. I was worried about my "runt" of a litter of 7. He was like your Callie. I just pet him when he let me and was very gentle with him. By 7 weeks old he was getting only slightly better. At 8 weeks, my best friend choose the pathetic little boy to take home. After getting him away from his gregarious littermates, he came out of him shell. He was put in her bed the first night home where he bonded with her and hubby. He now cuddles with them all the time. Anyone can reach down and pick him up and he doesn't even run from loud noises anymore. I spent some time over there last night. I can hardly believe this is the same kitten! He is comfortable, happy, and confident in his new home! So, there is hope! You will see a huge change in the kittens between 6 weeks and 9 weeks. My less than cuddly ones are becoming more lovable everyday!
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Oh that's wonderful to hear. Knowing how loud and scary the petsmart can be during adoption fairs, I was worried that she would be terrified and hiding and never get adopted. She has a wonderful and adventurous personality when she comes out of her shell. I'm just going to have to keep trying. Since they are all doing well again I should have to be grabbing her for weighing anymore.

Fingers & Toes crossed

Beckiboo...good idea about the feather dancer. I'll have to go get a new one for them (my guys plus the other fosters destroy the silly things in days!).
post #5 of 8
Mine devour the feather dancers, too. I got some toys that were just a plastic stick with a length of fabric attached...they pulled some of them right off the stick, but we still use the fabric...its about 1 inch wide by 3 feet long. It is that fuzzy material that people make scarves and blankets out of...you can cut it and it never shreds.

It makes a great cat toy. When I have skittish kitties, I tie a length of the fabric to my belt loop, so whenever I walk down the hall, the kitties watch me for "fun", instead of running in fear.

Based on Pxxiegirls post, I would try some alone therapy for the quiet kitten. Take her into another room sometimes so she gets one on one attention...maybe it will help?!?
post #6 of 8
Some kittens are just shy, like some people. My little Gina hides when people come over but she can't get enough of snuggling with me, playing with toys and getting brushed. I think she is just a bit timid.
post #7 of 8
I read somewhere that maybe you should help her with acknowleding you with food. Feeding her by hand, and giving her extra attention. I think the feeding by hand will help her to associate you with food, and not harm. We went through this with Jack for a couple week's after we got him. He was fine with cat's, but not with us, and would cower at even the sight of us. Patience does help, and I used the food method myself, and he's gotten a ton better. Still a little reluctant sometimes, but nothing like he was.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
I was thinking of trying the food thing...but with the five of them all over me and momma too...there's just no way to do anything individually. I would take her off somewhere separately, but I think that would just traumatize her more (i.e taking her upstairs would cause her to see my cats, my other fosters etc). I'm just going to have to let it be and try to keep coaxing her out with play. I think we had a bit of a setback when i startled her and sent her running off into the corner. Poor thing.....
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