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New scared kitten

amy125amy125 Forumite
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I’ve just bought a new kitten today. I already have cats and they get on really well and are well looked after. With this new Kitten (Jemima) I’ve noticed she’s very scared. She hisses at me occasionally and growls and does also at my other cats if she’s spots them but I’ve been keeping them out the way of her for now and just introducing their smells. She’s very skittish and some times flinches and backs away if I go to pet her. I’ve gave her a safe place to go to and I have been trying to feed her some nice treats. Maybe I just need to build some serious trust? She came from a house with 4 young children and I’m worried she may have suffered some kind of abuse. Any tips on how to make her feel comfortable and trust that I’m a good owner?

I would never want to give her up because of her current aggressive behaviour. I’m a big cat lover and it is breaking my heart to see a kitten like this. 

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  • PollycatPollycat Forumite
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    amy125 said:
    I’ve just bought a new kitten today. I already have cats and they get on really well and are well looked after. With this new Kitten (Jemima) I’ve noticed she’s very scared. She hisses at me occasionally and growls and does also at my other cats if she’s spots them but I’ve been keeping them out the way of her for now and just introducing their smells. She’s very skittish and some times flinches and backs away if I go to pet her. I’ve gave her a safe place to go to and I have been trying to feed her some nice treats. Maybe I just need to build some serious trust? She came from a house with 4 young children and I’m worried she may have suffered some kind of abuse. Any tips on how to make her feel comfortable and trust that I’m a good owner?

    I would never want to give her up because of her current aggressive behaviour. I’m a big cat lover and it is breaking my heart to see a kitten like this. 
    The bit in bold.
    She needs time to get used to her new surroundings.
    She's been taken from a place with 4 kids who may not have abused her as such but may have been a little rough with her.
    She's now in a strange place with smells of other cats.
    Give her time to come to you for petting.

    You've only had her a day, it's a little early to be even thinking about her 'current aggressive behaviour'.
    Even a kitten straight from her Mum into a new house without any other cats would maybe feel intimidated and frightened.
  • hob_nob_bobhob_nob_bob Forumite
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    Agree with Pollycat here. Your new kitty needs time to adapt to their new environment - it's all new to her at the minute and she's bound to be scared and anxious.

    Is there a room she can have as her safe space where you could put her bed/litter tray/food? Letting her settle in gently and in her own time should help, and let her come to you when she's ready. Same with introducing her to your other cats - slowly is key.
  • cattomcattom Forumite
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    she's been taken from the only place she knew in the world, and placed in a completely alien enviroment, through no fault of her own. its going to be very stress full for her. 
    best thing is to just give her some peace and quite, and leave her be. she will get used to her new surroundings, she will have to. hopefully she will get on with the cats you all ready have, it will certainly make life easier for everyone if she does.
  • RobM99RobM99 Forumite
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    Essentially, cats don't like change - and this is a BIG change, Poor thing needs time to settle.
    Now a gainfully employed bassist.
  • amy125amy125 Forumite
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    Thanks everyone, yeah I’ve given her her own room with her food and litter in etc and it’s her little safe place. Not forcing any affection on her until she comes up to me. I know it must be a massive change for her poor thing. Just wanted to see if anyone had some tips to help out. I’m sure with time and patience she will be fine. 
  • theoreticatheoretica Forumite
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    I know some people who swear by feliway - you may already have this.
    But a banker, engaged at enormous expense,
    Had the whole of their cash in his care.
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  • SilvertabbySilvertabby Forumite
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    Just give her time - the little mite's world has been turned upside down.  Don't push her - just leave her food, water, tray etc within easy reach in her quiet place and she'll eventually come to you.  Bit soon, perhaps, but have a feather stick ready for when she wants to play!
  • MovingForwardsMovingForwards Forumite
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    Don't force yourself on the kitten.
    Talk to her when you go in the room, but keep your distance.
    Sit down and chat about your day, what's on TV, what the others are up to, anything just so she gets used to your voice and smell.
    After a few days, move an inch or two closer, but keep talking. If she backs away, go back a few inches.
    Do that over a few weeks / months and she will settle.

    Don't try and fuss her, wait patiently until she is ready to approach you.
  • lindsay54v3lindsay54v3 Forumite
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    As others have said, don't approach the kitten yourself, allow her to come to you and just be relaxed in her presence, if you get overly nervous or tense she could sense it and reflect those feelings. If you stay low to the ground (i.e sitting or lying down on your front) you'll seem less of a threat to her as your height won't be so intimidating, avoiding eye contact can also be helpful initially. Keep some small kitten treats on you at all times if you're in the same room as her so if she does approach you can reward her for being brave! Get a cat toy with some reach and leave this is the room with her so she can familiarise herself (set it near the door so she doesn't need to be near it from the get go). You can then use this toy at a later date as a way of bonding without having to be super close to her, gives a level of distance. If at any time she seems spooked, back out of her space, let her know you respect her. 

    Try moving your cats to another room and shutting the door, place a bowl with some nice treats near the kittens room to entice her then open the door a little bit, just enough space for her to walk through. This will give her the choice of whether or not she wants to come out and explore. This will also leave her scent in a main area of the home, and the other cats will then grow used to this scent as she will grow used to theirs. Wait until she's confident leaving the room and then introduce the other cats one by one at slow intervals, don't have them all in the room or it will be overwhelming. If your other cats are comfortable being held or sitting on your lap, try and do this to stop them approaching and scaring the kitten away. And as hard as it may be, wait a while before petting her. Give treats and let her be in your space without being touched, and when you do get to petting make sure she can see your hand approaching, or let her approach your hand first! 
    During this time make sure you still give all your current cats the same level of affection, this will hopefully prevent them becoming territorial over you and therefore hostile towards the new kitten. But if your current cats are fairly calm they should hopefully initially take little to no interest in the kitten and tolerate her being there and eventually grow to bond with her :)

    At this point in time it most likely will just be nerves rather than aggressive behaviour, same way nervous dog often get viewed as aggressive is the actions can be very similar, but it's the reason behind the actions that needs to be focused on. This process could take anywhere from a few days to a few months, but if you move at her pace you will hopefully have a lovely new family member!
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