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 Post subject: Still scared
PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2014 11:14 pm 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Fri Oct 17, 2014 10:41 pm
Posts: 1
Hi,
I recently agreed to "foster" an approximately 5 year old boy Bengal for two weeks that was on the E-list at the pound. Having just lost my 19 year old boy kitty and 14 year old girl within 6 months of each other I was still devastated and not yet ready for another pet. HOWEVER.... at the two week mark, I decided that this boy deserved a name (Elbeezee) and better home than a shelter and possibly several other homes because his personality isn't all cuddles and loves. In fact, it has been a month and a half now and I still cannot touch him.

I pretty much have given him the house to himself, bought several toys, covered bed to retreat in, feliway diffusers and feliway collar (which was a chore to get on) and after several varieties have found his favorite wet and dry food (which I try to temp him with). I lay on the floor as close as he will let me and talk to him, I sit on the floor next to him and do homework, one night I even grabbed my pillow and blanket and slept by his favorite spot. Still nothing?!

He doesn't engage with toys, although he does love catnip (who doesn't) and he will "chirp" at me when he wants his wet food... still I cannot get close. When I slowly slither my way on the ground towards him (hands hidden which lets me closer) he gets himself ready to bail with quickness, I have figured out at what point I need to stop and I will lay there and talk to him until he's had enough. I really want this guy to be happy, but without knowing his history I don't know what kind of environment he came from. I took him to the vet, he's very healthy minus gum issues, neutered and unfortunately declawed, so somewhere along the line someone spent money getting this boy. He's absolutely beautiful and I am trying to be patient, I just want to know if there is more I can do.

My questions are:
1) should I try to "foster" a kitten to see if a friend would make him more comfortable? If so, I am thinking young female...
2) Is there anything else I can do to make him comfortable or entice him?

Thanks for any advice


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 Post subject: Re: Still scared
PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2014 11:41 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:03 pm
Posts: 535
I don't think adding a kitten to the mix would help. If he isn't comfortable with you or your home yet, adding a new cat could make him upset or aggressive.

I would keep talking to him and being patient with him. You don't know why he ended up at the shelter, he could have had behavior or aggression or destruction issues, the way he is now with you may be huge progress for him. It can take a cat a long time to get settled and comfortable wih you touching him. One of my boys was hit at his previous home and it took him at least six months to trust that we weren't going to hurt him and for him to relax enough to enjoy touches. Because you don't know his past, you have to be extra patient and let the relationship move at his pace. He will reward you in time, his time. Good luck and it is wonderful that you are fostering him.

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 Post subject: Re: Still scared
PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 5:09 am 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:00 am
Posts: 4111
Location: Portland Oregon, USA
Zarathustra wrote:
1) should I try to "foster" a kitten to see if a friend would make him more comfortable?

Definitely not. He's insecure as it is, there's no sense in making things worse by adding another cat to compete with him.
Zarathustra wrote:
2) Is there anything else I can do to make him comfortable or entice him?

It sounds like what you have tried is pretty reasonable. I'll bet you can continue to chip away at this, given enough time. Personally though I would also not give up on the play angle. To me that really is the way to a bengal's heart.

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 Post subject: Re: Still scared
PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 10:37 am 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 2:47 pm
Posts: 3809
Location: UK
Make sure he has some high places that he can sit up high and observe proceedings without getting too much involved.
Cats like this may end up scurrying from one low spot to another and they will be panicking at the same time, letting him get up high, safe and being able to observe, may settle him down a bit.

Cats form deep bonds with their territory, uplifting and rehoming a 5 year old cat away from its original home is bad enough, but this boy has been in a pound, so is going to take a while to settle in.
Some cats are laid back, they take moving in their stride, but others even well cared for, non-abused cats can find moving really stressful.

De-clawing itself, due to the ongoing pain and the lack of claws can really upset cats, so this problem about not wanting to be touched, may be long standing, but it may not, and I would definitely not be giving up yet.

The wet food may be the key, can you remove any dry grazing and feed him set meals. Routine and the desire to be fed may be your best friend.

You just need to wait and let him come to you, he is too big and too old for you to try and force the issue, it may be days, weeks, months, it may be years.
6 weeks is no time at all, one day he may just get it that you are not "bad" or "scary" and the feeling of achievement in taming the "beast", is one of the best IMO.

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 Post subject: Re: Still scared
PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 2:41 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm
Posts: 8016
Sometimes it can takes months and months for a traumatized cat to finally come around. All you can do is love him and give him space and time ... and you need extra patience. Do not give up on the little man. And do not bring another cat into the mix right now. I know that cats typically adjust easily to new surroundings, but this little guy has obviously been through a lot. We're used to welcoming pets into our homes by holding them and petting them. And we yearn for that bonding. It will happen .... spend time just talking with him. Get down to his level.

Someone else here posted about their kitty .... and months later, the cat jumped up next to them on the couch for a snuggle! They were so excited! So be patient and keep trying to entice in with toys. You have no idea what he's been through in his short life.

Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Still scared
PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 11:06 pm 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:50 pm
Posts: 21
While it may not *sound* like a solution, you may find that starting some "clicker" training with your scaredy cat may really help him become acclimated to human touch and contact. There are a number of people in the Yahoo cat clicker training forum (https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/cat-clicker/info) who clicker train/work with non-socialized shelter kitties (all types, not just Bengals) to help them develop a tolerance for people and eventually a connection to them--with the goal of making them more adoptable. And they report some pretty solid successes!

One shelter volunteer wrote: I've found that when working with shelter cats that are timid or fearful, targeting to your finger can actually a useful step in getting them used to having your hand near them, as a stepping stone to allowing petting. It helps them to see your hand being near them as a positive thing rather than being threatening.


Here's even a "study" on clicker training with timid shelter cats: http://misbehaving.dk/wp-content/upload ... INAL31.pdf


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 Post subject: Re: Still scared
PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 11:29 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2014 11:22 pm
Posts: 730
I really think you just need to give him time. 7 weeks or whatever it is may seem like a long time to you but it's no time at all really particularly for an older cat.

Our kitten Dexter who is now 5 months is very timid. We have had him for over 7 weeks now and he has bonded more closely with me than the rest of the family but even so he is still a bit skittish. I accept this and possibly it's just part of his personality but this personality is growing bigger and bigger every day as he gains in confidence and trust.

There is no rush take your time and try and relax. I think cats can sometimes pick up on our own anxieties and this just makes matters worse.

I would not introduce a kitten. I think he needs time to bond with you on his own terms without any other distractions. You are doing everything right by the sounds of it you just need to give it more time.

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RIP my sweet baby Dexter, Snow Bengal 19/5/14 to 5/3/15 and my lovely dear old friend Muskey, Brown Burmese put to rest aged 15 on 14/11/15.

Debbie


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