|Purred: Wed Jul 17, '13 9:24am PST |
|There are two primary ways to try to bond with Keiko. First, with food. Sit next to her in the kitchen (or wherever you feed her). Don't try to touch her at first, but talk to her in a soft, calm voice. Start to bring her plate of food gradually closer to you. Eventually, see if you can pet her. Expect her to run away the first few times, but never scold her. Simply move away and let her come back and finish her food. Once she gets to where she will let you pet her while she's eating, try to coax her up on the sofa or a chair with you using treats. The trick here might be finding treats she really responds to. Leave a treat on the floor a few feet away from you. If she eats that, then put another one on the floor closer to you, then another right by your feet. Then, get her attention with a treat and see if you can guide her up on the couch near you, then give her another treat right next to you, then one on your lap. Again, if she balks and runs, don't raise your voice. Just give her a few minutes and try again.
The other way to bond with a cat is with play. Wand toys are fantastic because you can interact without the fear of cat claws in your hands. They also allow a skittish kitten to have some distance from you while still having interaction. Again, there might be some trial and error because not all cats like the same toys. Mine are crazy about feathers! Allow Keiko to sniff the toy, then move it slowly away from her and see if she'll follow it. If she does, then start to move a little more and a little faster. Every so often, you have to let her catch the toy to satisfy her predator instincts or she'll lose interest. Once you've got her engaged, start using the toy to lure her closer to you so that she chases the toy to a position either next to you or on your lap. If she comes on your lap, praise her, pet her, and give her treats! Ideally, a good play session would be followed by a good feeding session as that is how cats act in the wild--they hunt, then they eat, then they sleep.
As for why she's so skittish--she was taken from her mom and her littermates too early. The first 4 weeks of a kittens life is about getting their legs underneath them (literally) and the next 4 weeks is about learning how to be a cat among other cats. Kittens wrestle with their littermates and establish that bond. Absent that socialization time with their siblings, they can have issues playing nicely with others. You can get her socialized and she will begin to trust you, but because she was taken from her family at 4 weeks, it will take some time.
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