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 Post subject: Shy kitten after 10 days
PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 4:18 pm 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 4:03 pm
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Hi. We have two 13 week Bengal sisters who have been with us for 10 days, arriving at 12 weeks. They were litter trained and handled by their breeder although they lived in a barn and weren't used to a busy home environment. The breeder thinks it is possible she may have a different father and be a week younger than her sister.
The livelier sister has started to come to us for affection. They are both playful together although the livelier one is more curious and confident. Pebbles was the runt of the litter and is submissive to her sister. She will sometimes play with us and will tolarate a cuddle from one of my daughters. She is terrified of me especially since I had to take her to the vets and hides if I come anyway near.
I have tried to follow all the advice and guidance about settling new kittens, and it has worked like a charm with Pickles but after 10 days in I am wondering if Pebbles will ever come to trust me.
We lost our 16 year Bengal neutered male not so long back. He was incredibly gentle and affectionate and I can't help worrying that this kitten will never settle!
How long can it take with a naturally timid kitten?
Thank you everyone


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:01 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm
Posts: 8017
Welcome to the forum and congratulations on your babies. HANG IN THERE!!! If you've read many of the posts here dealing with getting kittens adjusted -- you'll find things work out in the end. Just takes time and patients. The little one needs to gain confidence -- it will come with time. Every kitten is different when it comes to adjusting to a new environment. It is traumatic, to say the least! The fact that they were kept in a barn limits the socialization with humans. But now you have the opportunity for these two to just blossom! The babies will go at their own pace. One is obviously a little more comfortable than the other one -- but give it time. Bonding takes time. Pebbles will soon learn to trust you.

I love it when topics like this go "it's like a light switch turned on." One day the kitten is aloof, the next day, the kitten is like a totally different cat! Be patient -- play with your kitty, sit and talk to your kitty. Don't be over aggressive with picking Pebbles up. And I'm sure the vet visit didn't help! But ... give it more time. 10 days is not a long time when you consider years and years with your babies.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:16 pm 
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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
Many bengals, especially young ones, aren't really cuddlers. They just aren't, and may never be, so you can't hold that expectation against them. For mine, one of mine now regularly cuddles with me, but it took her 5 years to figure out that this is what she wanted to do :lol: The other one still isn't. Neither are fearful of me though, and we have a great relationship. I'm just throwing this out there as an example, so that you don't judge your bengals by what another cat was like.

As far as your cat liking you in particular, I would suggest thinking of it this way... every time he comes into contact with you, his attitude towards you shifts a small amount, based on the encounter. He walks past you in the hallway and you step on his tail, he becomes a little more fearful. He walks up to you in the kitchen and you give him a nice fat piece of chicken, and his estimation of you goes up a little bit, etc. You mentioned taking him to the vet, that's obviously a big negative for him. But playing with bengals is a really really big deal, so if you are his play buddy then that is going to average out in a hurry. So what you have to kind of do, is to be aware of how each interaction with him looks from his perspective, and try to tip the balance in your favor.

If one person in the family is the person who takes him to the vet, and administer pills, and give baths, and administer flea treatments etc., and another is the one that plays with him and gives him snacks etc., then who is he going to like better? So you just need to think about that, and try to tip things in your favor. Perhaps distribute the "bad stuff" amongst other family members if possible. More play, more treats, less trying to pet him or pick him up (if he's not receptive to that) and so forth for you. He definitely will come around, if you give him a reason to.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:41 pm 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 4:03 pm
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Thank you both. I think you are right, it just takes time. Today I caught Pebbles at a sleepy moment and she curled up on my lap. I don't mind if they are not cuddley cats but I would like her not to be terrified! Think it will be my husbands turn to do the next vet visit!


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 4:04 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm
Posts: 8017
You don't know what a big moment that was to have Pebbles in your lap! Even for just a few moments!!! That is a HUGE step. You've also got two sisters who will bond with each other in time and the human element may be to simply feed, clean litter boxes, take to vet, quick pat on the head, etc. I do EVERYTHING for Raiden. The hubby gets all the love from him. The only time Raiden snuggles is in the winter time when he's a little chilly and wants to lay on the blanket that is covering up the hubby while we are watching TV. More patience and time is all you need.

Keep us updated on the progress. We always love happy endings.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2016 9:08 am 
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Senior Bengal

Joined: Sun May 29, 2016 2:52 pm
Posts: 53
Brian you give really good advice. And I have to say it's very true. I'm trying to get my boyfriend to share the negatives with me equally as well as the positives and it's amazing how much these kittens are changing in their attitudes. Like the op I have two that seem to be adjusting at different rates.. Kira is the shy one and still hisses if my BF comes too close to her but with me she seems to be relaxing a bit more although still very skittish. It's been one month now and it's really like night and day compared to when they first arrived. Even though their confidence with me is changing I've also noticed just their general demeanour around the house is changing. They are beginning to really explore!

To the op I'd say just give it time. It really does make a difference.. Also, my vet noticed that my bengals are still very "feral".. Weary of humans... So he deliberately didn't handle them too much on their visit to avoid giving them neurosis about coming to the vet. I think maybe try taking them to the vets a couple of times just for a checkup.. No needles or over the top handling.. Then they'll learn that vet isn't such a bad guy.. I'm learning along with you and it's certainly interesting :-)


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2016 3:10 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm
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Just know that you do not want to take your kitty to the vet unnecessarily! It's not just handing by the vet, but there are other animals there, barking, meowing, noises -- lots of humans. Just not a great environment to socialize a cat! It's not going to work. You can socialize your cat by spending time with it, talking to it, being nearby when it is eating, petting when you can. So sad when breeders don't work hard on socializing the kittens for their owners and rely on the owners to do it at a later time.

Sometimes this can take weeks, months -- even years. But never give up and have the patience to give the kitty its own space and time.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 10:45 am 
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Senior Bengal

Joined: Sun May 29, 2016 2:52 pm
Posts: 53
Ahhh right.. Sorry bad advice then lol no it's just because my vet felt that it was required instead of upsetting them too much.. The again my vet seemed very quiet.. We were the only ones in there and it's by appointment only as their emergency centre is in watford (another building).. He's also going to do the microchipping and spaying under the same surgery as well as fixing Kiras hernia.. I want to get the cats used to go into the carrier without fuss which I figure if they get hurt every time will create a complex?


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 3:40 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm
Posts: 8017
The key to getting a cat used to a carrier is to keep the carrier out in the open, door open and allow the cat to investigate and go in and out without problems. I bought a carrier that is top loading, which really helps. It is easier than tipping a carrier up on its end and trying to get the cat in that way. It is very rare to find a cat who just LOVES being in a carrier. I have a friend who purchased a set up where the carrier is part of an entire play system and the cats go in with no problem. She only has to put treats in there and then closes up everything and off to the vet she goes. Doesn't stop them from screaming in the car at the top of their lungs. If you want them to get used to the carrier and the car, just take them for frequent rides. No need in paying unnecessary costs to a vet just for the sake of getting them used to a carrier. Not sure why a vet would recommend unnecessary visits. It will be hard enough when it comes to spaying and microchipping and other surgery along with annual wellness visits.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 7:42 pm 
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Senior Bengal

Joined: Sun May 29, 2016 2:52 pm
Posts: 53
I think maybe it's a different system. It doesn't cost me anything to go for a check up as I pay a monthly fee of £13 per cat. This pretty much includes their medical costs and I just need insurance in case of death or theft etc. They get 2 annual check ups and free de working and flea treatment. But yeah if in the states or elsewhere then probably not great idea to visit that often!


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 8:43 pm 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 4:03 pm
Posts: 7
Very useful advice from everyone, tha ks! So they will have been with us for a month on Friday. Pickle is becoming very affectionate and communicative, asking for food and enjoying cuddles. shyer Pebble is also having some snuggles. Unfortunately I got over confident tonight and grabbed her for a cuddle, she jumped out of my arms in terror and is now back to running away if I enter the room so will have to start over regaining her trust again! I feel we have made great progress and they seem to choose to be near or alongside us much of the time despite being very deeply bonded with each other already.
They have their second vaccines this weekend which leads me on to a new quandary about whether to introduce them to outside or not. pickle is facinated by the views from the Windows and seems a bit bored with her numerous toys already. So I will probably be posting for advice about that issue soon! Thanks all


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2016 2:06 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm
Posts: 8017
Yes, it can take time to build trust in a new kitten!!! Your babies are still too young to be put outside! The world is just too big out there for them and you are still having some trust issues with one of them ... so don't be in a rush to make them outdoor cats. I'm not in favor of allowing a cat free access to the outdoors unless you have it enclosed for them. I don't care where you live -- too many dangers out there and we just had a member post about their bengal who was hit by a car. Years ago, one was killed by a horse. Another one was found in the driveway after being attacked by something. Do not put them outside unless you are prepared to lose them at some point. Walks on a harness and leash are fine. Even an outdoor enclosure (portable or permanent) can help if you want them to have the fresh air and sunshine. You want to keep your babies safe and enjoy them for years and years.


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