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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 1:14 pm 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2018 11:23 pm
Posts: 2
Hi

I've had two bengal cross brothers since they were 6m old, and now 3 months on, one still seems to be skittish and afraid of human contact.

He just will not be touched or stroked, unless eating (and even then he is still skittish). The only time when contact is possible is when is he resting, espec on the cat tree. He seems ok with it, but he never purrs. The other brother is fine, being affectionate and with no issues with being handled.
However both the brothers play well together. They have a cat tree and plenty of wand toys. They get played with a lot and that part doesn't seem to be an issue.
But one brother still acts shocked and looks at me like an alien whenever I return home and runs off if I approach. He never approaches me unless I'm sat still and even then it's just for an inquisitive sniff.
They were neutered after a few weeks but that didn't change the behaviour.

TBH I'm not too concerned about the lack of human contact as long as he is "happy". My main concern is really about if he escapes outside (currently kept indoors), then how will I retrieve him?
Also how can I handle him for taking him to the vet? The first time I tried to handle him he scratched me very deeply, and I ended up having to entice hime into the basket with food, but I'm nto sure this is sustainable! Also if I do let them outside eventually I fear he will just run off with no way of retrieving him, because of this apparent human fear.

Any ideas?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2019 2:25 am 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2008 11:07 am
Posts: 114
My oldest male I rescued at 6 months and I could not even touch him for about 9 months... it took him years to really come around. I am not sure if he was traumatized before I got him or if he was just a fearful cat. Over the years he actually became my most cuddly cat, he will sometimes act scared for no reason (PTSD?) but its rare these days. If I lay down he will literally crawl into my arms and turn into a fluffy mush ball.

Luckily when he escapes he is so scared he just freezes and I can grab him. If he ever gets away, maybe set a live trap right away with his favorite snacks. Hopefully it never comes to that.

I use a soft sided carrier with the vet, it opens on both ends and I leave it out and it's basically a kitty fort. They also like a small dog carrier one I have (hard sided), its more roomy than the small cat ones and fits a soft cat bed inside. The nice part about the plastic ones is the top comes off so its easier for the vet to check a scared cat over who won't exit a carrier willingly.

Wear leather gloves if you have to to protect yourself if he is not willing to get inside the carrier. None of my cats like going to the vet and will run if they figure it out.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2019 6:01 am 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:00 am
Posts: 4441
Location: Portland Oregon, USA
I'm not sure there is a silver bullet for this stuff. I think for the most part you just have to chip away at getting him comfortable with you and building trust. If he's food motivated, then you can make some inroads through treats. I've developed a routine with mine where they get a meat treat out of the fridge every morning, and they look forward to it, and it's a good bonding thing. If he's very play motivated, then that can also be a big positive for you to be a favorite playmate for him. But these things take time.

Some don'ts though...

1. Don't fall into the trap of forcing affection or physical contact on him when he's not receptive towards it. It doesn't "get him used to it", it just makes him resent it, and you.
2. Unless it's a life-or-death type of deal, try to avoid having to use excessive physical force to get your cat into the carrier, and then once at the vet, getting him to get shots and so forth. That leads to sort of a death-spiral of lack of trust and increased stress. I fell into that trap myself with one of my cats, Serafina, and it's taken a lot of years to rectify that, and I probably never really will completely rectify that. I think if I were to do it over again, I would:

a. See if I can get a vet to come to my home to do the exam if my cat was just too stressed out.
b. Using a sedative is another option. At times I've been able to slip that into Serafina's food prior to an exam, which makes that go better. Talk to your vet about this option.
c. Make sure that the vet is cat-saavy enough to know not to use a bunch of physical force get give shots and so forth. Now that I've seen how both good and bad vets approach that stuff, I know better than to settle for such a vet.

As far as getting him back into the house, again, I think you just need to work on bonding with him. The fact that he's a scardy-cat will mostly work in your favor in terms of him being a flight risk, as the outside will probably scare him too, and once you've bonded with him, and he's gotten real comfortable with the house, he'll be a very low-flight-risk cat I'm guessing. Make sure he gets a chip though, and a break-away collar (preferably with a bell on it) is always an option too.

Scardy cats can be kind of awesome because once you do bond with them, then you have a pretty special relationship with them, so keep the faith.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2019 4:02 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm
Posts: 9057
First of all, welcome to our forum. It's obvious one of your babies was not socialized. You didn't say where you got these kitties from. Every cat has its own personality and the bonding process can be immediate or it can take a while. The key is to not rush the kitty. That just frightens them more. Brian is right -- try to entice with treats. Being in the vicinity of the kitty, talking softly to it can help.

As for the carrier issue -- most cats do not like being in one. I think the soft-sided carriers do better with stressed cats. No cat loves going to the vet. My vet is sneaky. I don't even see her giving Raiden the shots. She's busy talking and the vet tech is busy stroking Raiden -- and I have to say, "what about the shots?" And she says, "Already gave them."

Now for getting outside -- even being vigilant when opening doors, a cat will still escape. When bringing in groceries, I close Raiden in our bedroom until all bags are inside and then let him back out. Unfortunately, he will still escape. I was waiting for the DSH to come inside the front door and I felt a push and I opened the door, but it wasn't the DSH. It was Raiden who promptly ran down the front steps. He's so stupid that he stops and I can grab him. Of course, he walks on a leash twice a day, so I know he would return home if he ever got away from me (and a coyote or a cat fight didn't get him).

It is obvious your kitties have completely different personalities. Has the scaredy cat bonded with the brother okay? When you have two, sometimes there is that strong bond and the human can feel like a third man out. But .... Just continue spending time with your kitties, try treats and even play time will help with the bond. This kitty may just need more time and patience.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:11 pm 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2018 11:23 pm
Posts: 2
Great info from all - thanks!
They were from a private seller (I know I know) but the pedigree breeders are incredibly expensive and I'd had a Siamese cross before with no issues. Plus I seem to get on with all cats I've met before so this one being very reticent was a completely new experience.
The brothers do get on well together which was something I definitely wanted after my prev sole Siamese used to howl plaintively if I was inaccessible behind a shut door for more than a few minutes! It made for interesting work conf calls!

It's good to hear that things can change even after several months, so that gives me renewed hope! :-) I'll continue with the softly sofly approach and never force contact, and try out the treats approach. I'll investigate the soft carriers too.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2019 4:33 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm
Posts: 9057
Bengals love wand toys, so try to engage both of your cats in play time. Confidence is extremely important to a cat -- and three months just may not be long enough. I'm, sure you will see a change for the better in the coming months if you just continue to work at it. Keep us informed.


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