How can I get my new kitten to get along and to be more sociable with me and my husband after a traumatic start?

My husband &I recently purchased 2scottish fold kittens from the same litter but were only able to take Hugo home first(at 11 weeks old) as Derek had flu &needed to stay with the vet a few days for recovery. He came home 7days after Hugo. We worried about Derek settling in as he had been through a more traumatic experience moving between the vet &cattery before we brought him home.

Hugo & Derek get on well with each other as they are litter mates, but had been seperated from each other for nearly two weeks. Hugo is very affectionate & was from the start, however while Derek was ok with being held &petted when we visited him at the Cattery (to get him used to us) at home he spends alot of time hiding from us, is very skittish &runs at any sudden movements. We have both kittens confined to our bedroom &ensuite till they settle.

Any advice on how to get Derek settled &to trust us more would be appreciated? we have plenty of toys for them &both use the litter tray with no problems.

Asked by Derek on Feb 28th 2012 Tagged socialising, settlingin, newkitten, behaviour, handling, fear, trauma, hiding, playing in Behavior & Training
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Izadore (Izzie)

Derek may always be a shy cat. However, that doesn't mean he has to spend his life in hiding. The most important thing to remember is that you cannot force Derek to change his personality. When I socialize a rescue cat, who may have come from any sort of horrific background and been through countless traumas, I find that quiet, patient persistence is the best way to proceed. Choose one of you to be Derek's "first friend." Visit with Derek and Hugo as frequently as you can. Try to engage them in calm, short play periods with a fishing pole/ feather teaser, or even a piece of yarn with a bottle cap tied on. If Derek should come up to you, don't grab him up even though it's tempting. Talk softly and casually with him, using terms of endearment and praise. Gaze over his head, not directly into his eyes unless he initiates it. Play with Hugo the same way to show Derek he has nothing to fear. Keep onlookers/children/other pets away for now. Love, patience and kindness will win out!

Izadore (Izzie) answered on 2/29/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I would just try to limit noise, visitors or any sudden movements around Derek until he gets used to his new home and new parents. My smallest girl, Destiny is kind of skittish and her first instinct as she hears feet stomping toward her is to run and hide or get up higher where she feels safe. But if I speak softly to her and use her name, she will stop and wait for me to pick her up for a cuddle instead. At first I was bewildered because she was my 8th Persian I raised from a kitten so why would she be like that? But then I just adapted my behavior for her shyness and she's fine. It's scary to be so small! Get down on his level but don't overwhelm him with attention. Let him come to you. Sit quietly with them when you feed them. Play with a toy like feathers on a stick while sitting on the floor so you aren't as gigantic and scary. Let him come to you. Good luck with your beautiful babies!!

Allie answered on 2/29/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Izzy and Allie have some great advice. I would add that it's a good idea to keep him in the bedroom until he's comfortable enough to approach you regularly. If you give him run of the house too soon he may find it's much easier to just run and hide. Try to spend a lot of quiet time in the room, not even playing with the kittens if they aren't pestering you, doing something low key like reading a book or using a computer, which reassures Derek that if your attention is not fixed on him you must not be very interested in eating or hurting him. Body language is important, too. It can be hard when you're so desperate to pet a cat, but if you can keep your mind calm and your demeanor calm it's makes the cat less nervous. Try to make limited direct eye contact and when you do make eye contact slowly blink your eyes- that is another way cats show each other that they are not a threat. When he does get close enough to pet use small short strokes like a mother cat's tongue.

Cali answered on 2/29/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer