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I need advice on skittish Piglet!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Piglet is one of my foster Mom kitties. Her sister Eeyore totally hides from me, except for accepting cheese off my finger. But Piget will sneak around the room with me there, and even eat in front of me. However, if I try to pet her, the area where my hand is touching shrinks away from me. It is like her body does a wave, so there is little or no contact between us!

She has been the neglected cat of a hoarder type situation. I believe she learned to run when the person entered the room, and come eat after she left. She is not technically afraid of me, but she is extremely wary. She looks forward to eating cheese off my finger, but otherwise prefers absolutely no contact!

There is no "need" to tame her, as she will go back to the original owner who loves her dearly. Of course she will be spayed first, and there will be less cats in the home as the kittens have all been surrendered. But for the two or three months that Piglet is "mine", what can I do to help her feel more safe in my presence? To learn that human attention is a good thing?

She comes from a multicat home...and will return to be one of 9 or 10 kitties. I think she has always had her social needs met by other kitties. I want to change that. Any ideas?!?
post #2 of 5
Thread Starter 
I figured something out. Whenever Eeyore would come out to eat, I would talk to her, and she would run and hide again. I realized that these cats have been "taught" to hide when their owner was in the room, feeding them canned food and calling "here kitty kitty". So no matter how much I appealed to them, if I talk in my "here kitty kitty" voice, they run. Like Pavlov's dog drooling!

So yesterday I started whistling, as I do to call my dog, when feeding the girls. It seems to be helping. I hope they can learn to associate the whistle with positives like canned food and treats from my hand. I saw more of Eeyore tonight than I have seen in days, so I hope it is working.

Any other ideas?!?
post #3 of 5
Wow. That's like...backwards. Maybe do the whistling for a bit, then start inserting singing amongst the whistling? Then just high talking instead of singing? I can't think of anything else, that is just so different from anything I've ever heard of!
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
They come from a hoarder home, so I think they just didn't get enough attention to really tame. Yet they were never abused, just neglected. If I can teach them to come to a dog whistle, I will just let their owner know to use that signal with them, once she gets them back.

I just wish there was more I could do.
post #5 of 5
I feel your pain.. After one year I still can't get Suzie to voluntarily let me pet her. We've chatted here before about her when she was younger, but to refresh your memory she was found stray at 13 weeks with Cookie her littermate. She used to be very hissy and hide.
We have progressed. She will hang out in the living room while I watch Tv, and will sit near me. What I have done is hold food out to her and made her come close to me to eat it. Finally last month I got her to eat out of my hand. She used to try knocking it out of my fingers.. Sometimes that worked because she has pretty sharp claws. She will play with toys but lets the boys who are more aggresive have most of the fun.
If she is caught she will not fight us holding her but I don't like to do that because I know she doesn't enjoy it and I think we lose some of her trust. I have groomed her on occassion because I don't want her to get massive hairballs or anything.
I know she is busy being a momma but have you tried interactive toys.. does she care anything about them?
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