I have a skittish kitten, how can I help her adjust?

She is about 6 months old and has lived with us since she was 6 weeks old. We also have another 6 month old kitten and a 6 year old chuachua. The animasl all get along. We call the kitten the one who likes to be around us but don't look at me or speak to me or I'll bolt away.

Asked by Member 1018881 on May 10th 2011 in Behavior & Training
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Izadore (Izzie)

It's odd that a kitten who has lived in the same home all it's life would be so skittish. Delilah likes everyone to think she's skittish also until I sit down at night and then she's all over me. I've never seen a cat who doesn't like to play with those fishing pole cat toy things. You might try to get the two cats involved in playing. Nothing intense or crazy, but play with them as often as you can. Keep new toys around to keep her interested. Cats get bored easily. She sounds like a kitten who wants to be accepted on her own terms. For the time being, try to avoid physical contact with her such as picking her up, carrying her, etc. When she comes into a room, casually say, "Oh, hi, "kitty" (use her name)! How are you?" and go back to what you were doing. When people come over, let her accept them on her own terms. Let her explore on her own. If she bolts away, don't follow her. As she matures, she'll probably come around, but she needs to do it when she's ready.

Izadore (Izzie) answered on 5/11/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I was an extremely skittish adult cat. My family brought me home from my shelter, set me up in my own *private* room, with everything I needed. I got comfortable there and *thought* I wanted to explore the rest of the house. At the sign of my curiosity they let me out, but the rest of the house was really overwhelming.

I hid, under the bed, under the dresser, coming out to eat and use the litter boxes only in the dark of night.
My family would sit in whatever room I was hiding and read, out loud, from books to me. I learned the cadence and sounds of their voices. They lured me out with "extension" toys (fishing pole and long wand types) and permitted to play with the toys while never *imposing* their touch upon me.

In time, with treats, reading and playing, I came out of my shell and deemed these humans "trustworthy" That's when the real fun began. They were open to the idea of cuddling and so much more, but they were ever so patient and waited until I was ready to initiate.

Member 287356 answered on 5/11/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Cody is a very skittish cat. He came to us a young adult from a life he didn't want - living outdoors. It's taken him 4 years to come around but he is still a very nervous cat, I think he always will be. Some cats are just more shy than others. Is the 6 year old animal a dog? Their could be tension there. You may not see it happen. Since cats tend to be most active at night, while you are likely asleep, there could be issues between the animals that you aren't seeing.

I suggest giving that kitten some space, a sanctuary all her own a place she can hide out in and feel safe. Were the other animals in the home at the same time or introduced later? It takes time for some cats to adjust to new things, sometimes a lot more time than we think it should take them. She may always be a nervous kitty.

Cody answered on 5/11/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


One hint I have is to not look kitten directly in the eye. My mama has had lots of cats, dealt with feral cats, formerly ferals, and she says that when you look a skittish or defensive cat straight in the eye, they think it's a challenge or act of aggression. I was lucky to be adopted as a rescue when I was 8 weeks old, but as a kitten of a feral cat, I had lots of feistiness in me, so mama speaks from experience. Separating from mom at 6 weeks can be scary 4 a kitten.

Try just looking to the left or right of kitty, or above or below, so that kitty is still in your field of vision, but there's not direct pupil to pupil contact. Talk soothingly in a soft, low, even tone & just "chat" with your cat, looking off skance. Try it out as an exercise that you do daily, especially around feeding time, so that receiving food is associated with your pleasant and non-challenging demeanor. What you think is normal (looking straight at them) may not seem so normal to a scaredy-cat. Hope this helps!

Oliver answered on 5/11/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


My cat was really skittish as a kitten. I found if I was able to spend time alone with him - no other animals around - picked him up and cuddled him a LOT - actually massaged his back, head, legs and paws - he quieted down. There are entire book written on pet massage. Now he's a baby - can't wait till I sit down or got to bed - wants to be right next to me - could cuddle up like a teddy bear. I also had a CD of very soothing music - called "Music My Pet" that I would play - we'd both nap when that was on!!

Member 599041 answered on 5/11/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I am a 7 or 8 year old skittish boy, I like being around ofur kitties and I also wuv to be petted and loved, but I do tend to run away and hide sometimes. I was a street cat until a nice lady fostered me and then mama adopted me. It's taken me a long time to settle in at my furever home but tell your mama to give you time. You're still a young kitty. I have been with my mama fur 2 years now and I am getting more and more used to her. Also the comment about spending time alone with you is a good one. Mama always does this with me and my siblings. We each have our private time. Try that.

Solomon answered on 5/16/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer