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New Foster Kitten...Need Advice.

Bailey_
December 13th, 2009, 01:21 AM
We aquired a new foster kitten today, and she is currently in our spare room with a covered bed, kitty post, litterbox, food & water by herself.

The rescue was having difficulty placing this little girl b/c she is so "fiesty". She is fairly friendly, will scamper over to greet you and let you pet her if she is standing on the ground, but the minute anyone tries to pick her up she lets out this awkward low meow and when she makes eye contact with anyone she will hiss. She is about 4 months.

She has hissed about five times at me already when I simply looked at her, but she seems to like DH. At this point she's only been here for a few hours and has not met any of the other cats or dogs.

Any suggestions on how to continue socializing her? If this behavior was happening at the rescue, is it her personality or because she is just in the process of adjusting to her new environment? How can we make this process more appealing to her?

Bailey_
December 13th, 2009, 10:02 AM
I also thought I should add that this kitten, as we discovered last night, is much more intense than any other cat/kitten we've ever had in our home.

Last night we played with her with the feather stick, and she went NUTS. She didn't really seem to 'play' with it like your average kitten, compared to actually hunting it. She pulled the stick out of our hands a few times she played with it so aggressivley. And then, when she caught the feathers, she'd start growling and walk away and attempt to carry the entire stick back to her little bed with her. If we tried to pull the stick from her and get it back, she would plant all fours on the floor and position herself - the only thing I can explain it would be like a dog playing 'tug' and continue growling.

We don't know much about where she came from, she was picked up as a stray - I have a feeling she has certainly hunted before!!

She also does not have a tail - just a little bob. We asked if she was part manx, but the rescue wasn't convinced that her tail hadn't been docked to make her look like a manx. I'll post pictures today.

clm
December 13th, 2009, 11:02 AM
I would say she's hunted before, likely because she had to. She'll come around, once she realizes she doesn't have to hunt to eat and people are a good thing to have around.

clm

14+kitties
December 13th, 2009, 12:43 PM
I would say you have a feral cat on your hands. And one that sounds like it has not been socialized by it's mother too. It's possible that mom was killed before she got a chance to show kitty how to "play nice". Sounds like kitty may have had a hard start on life.
Is the tail a clean cut/break? The cat may have got it caught in a door or a trap or something that caused injury and the tail died off on it's own and fell off.
It takes time and patience. Tons of patience.
Some sites for you to read..........

http://www.messybeast.com/feralkit.htm

http://tlcadoptions.netfirms.com/TLCWildKitten.htm

http://www.ehow.com/how_6548_tame-feral-cat.html

One of those articles says to rub your hands over the kitten's face, gradually working your way up to kissing the kitten. It is possible to do that with time. Trey, who I trapped back in Feb, is approx 4 years old. Before he saw me I doubt he ever saw a human. He is now at the point where I can pick him up and give him a short cuddle and kiss his head. I think that's pretty neat.

Bailey_
December 13th, 2009, 02:23 PM
Thanks CLM and 14 for your thoughts.

14, I am not sure if it's a clean break. It looks a bit slanted, and she can wag it so it's probably an inch long.

If she wasn't socialized by her Mother, how can that affect her?

14+kitties
December 13th, 2009, 11:01 PM
I don't know many vets that would bob a cat's tail unless there was a medical reason for it. If they do it to obtain a certain look on a cat that is not going to be a show cat they are crazy.
A kitten that has not been socialized by it's mother does not know how to play or react to other animals or humans. Mom would have taught her/him once they get too rough to knock it off. She would have hissed, swatted and possible growled at the kitten if it got too bad. She would be teaching the kitten how to use the litter or ground if feral and bury it. She would be showing the kitten how to hunt and to bury their food if unfinished. There are many other things as well. All in all it would turn the kitten into a well behaved cat as long as mom was comfortable with humans too. If not then the kitten would be taught to distrust humans.

Love4himies
December 14th, 2009, 07:59 AM
I think 14+ is right, you have a feral, or at least a semi feral kitten on your hands. It sounds so much like Rose and Rosebud during play and Rosebud when I picked her up. Rose taught her to be wary of humans :sad:.

How old do you think the kitten is?

Do you have a cat who is very good with kittens who may be able to socialize her?

When you pick her up, can you distract her with a yummy treat (if she is feral, raw chicken may be a good one) or a favourite toy so she is not totally focused on you, but will associate happy feelings with being picked up?

I can't see any vet cutting a cat tail except for medical reasons. Perhaps the tail was injured :shrug:.

Bailey_
December 14th, 2009, 11:24 AM
Thanks L4H and 14!!

The more research I've been doing on the Manx, I'm beginning to believe that she is. I've attached pictures for you to see what she looks like. Let me know what you think.

Over the past day we've already made a lot of progress with her. She is incredibly curious and outgoing little kitty, not seemingly afraid of anything. She will walk right up to you if she wants you to pet or pick her up. She also has stopped hissing at me, so I'm thinking that the problem was part that I was a new person in her life and she was in a new environment. L4H, the rescue guessed her to be about 4 months old.

She took to eating RAW amazingly easy.

The pictures are taken an hour ago - of her first official 'exploration' of the main floor of our home.

clm
December 14th, 2009, 09:15 PM
She's absolutely adorable. :lovestruck: So much fun to have a kitten around. Her little bob tail is sweet too. I have no idea how to tell if it's a natural bob or not.

clm

Love4himies
December 15th, 2009, 08:07 AM
She is beautiful, and with her taking to raw immediately really confirms my suspicions that she was born feral or semi feral. I have had three foster litters with a feral background and your description of your little one's personality fits them to a tee.

14+kitties
December 15th, 2009, 09:49 AM
To me, especially in the one pic, her bob does not look natural. It looks like it comes to a sudden stop. My sister had a Manx years ago. His tail went into a natural curve, even though it was very short, and have fur growing over the end. Perhaps it's just the angle of the pic but it doesn't look that way with your little one.
She is a cutie.:cloud9: Four months? She looks pretty tiny for that. But that could be because of her rough start on life too.

MyBirdIsEvil
December 15th, 2009, 10:43 AM
To me, especially in the one pic, her bob does not look natural. It looks like it comes to a sudden stop. My sister had a Manx years ago. His tail went into a natural curve, even though it was very short, and have fur growing over the end. Perhaps it's just the angle of the pic but it doesn't look that way with your little one.
She is a cutie.:cloud9: Four months? She looks pretty tiny for that. But that could be because of her rough start on life too.

I agree, looks like the tail got chopped off. I've seen actual manx and I've seen cats that had tail injuries, and this looks like the latter. Maybe got run over by a car or something and fell off? Or attacked by something, who knows, could have been anything.

lUvMyLaB<3
December 15th, 2009, 10:47 AM
I do think she could be a stumpy tail manx, some manx have almost no tail, but they can also have the short stumpy tail.

It is likely that she was feral, or not. It is very very possible that she went hungry a lot as a kitten. This is something i have dealt with many times. A feral cat mother would have taught her a great fear of humans, and your little girl seems to have issues around food.

Hunting games, and raw food seem to create larger reactions. I had a kitten similar to yours, that was super skinny, the mother didnt have much milk and she didnt get regular meals, he was fine with a food dish, petting ect, but give him raw food and he would viciously attack anything that came near it. She is trying to protect her food because she really doesnt know when she will get more.

The more you can hold her and have her around the better. I would try to not feed raw food until she knows there will always be more. Find a food she doesnt protect, and give her that and get her used to people and animals around when she eats. Anything that gets this aggressive reaction i would avoid for now so it doesnt become habit. Do you have another young playful cat for her to play with? In time when she knows there is lots of food, it should stop as long as it doesnt become a habitual reaction. Give her time, and tons of love and calm reassurance, she is young and she can get over this. Good luck!

Bailey_
December 15th, 2009, 12:05 PM
Thanks everyone!!

To me, especially in the one pic, her bob does not look natural. It looks like it comes to a sudden stop.

Yes, this is why we were questioning it. It does seem rather sudden, and if you look at her from above, it is not a curve or straight across cut - it is slanted.

I have noticed that her front legs are much shorter than her back legs - which made me think that maybe she was indeed manx, or part. Her ears are very large too, kind of fox-like - I'm not sure if you can tell from the pictures.

Either way, she is adorable!!:lovestruck:

It is likely that she was feral, or not. It is very very possible that she went hungry a lot as a kitten. This is something i have dealt with many times. A feral cat mother would have taught her a great fear of humans, and your little girl seems to have issues around food.


Thanks LML. I agree - she certainly has issues with food. She seems to be constantly seeking food out, will walk right up to my daughter and stand on two hind legs in an attempt to sniff/lick whatever she is eating at the time. She's very curious about food!!

I would try to not feed raw food until she knows there will always be more.

Okay. I still have a bag of Orijen that we used to feed our other cats before we started them on RAW - I'll give her that for now.

Anything that gets this aggressive reaction i would avoid for now so it doesnt become habit.

We did continue with the feather toy, not really thinking about this possibility, but thankfully she's okay playing with it now. She still goes bonkers, but she seems to realize that it's a 'game' now. She will release it once she catches it and is no longer growling.

We have two other young kittens for her, but we've been keeping her seperate and probably will until the end of the week. I'm sure all three will have a blast playing together, it will probably be really good for her to be around other kittens who are well socialized.

Unfortunatley, our oldest female cat doesn't really have anything to do with the kittens. She ignores them and doesn't really take too much interest in them.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts/advice!!! Hugely appreciated.