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Old October 24th, 2012, 08:53 PM
Lala Lala is offline
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kitten is scared....after a month

Hi there, I think I really need help and advice from people who have good Bengal experience and general kitten development knowledge. This is going to be a bit of a sad post, as my heart is literally breaking at the decision I have to make, and it is a very, very hard one. I need to decide if I should keep the kitten I adopted about a month ago or give it back to the breeder.
The kitten is adorable – very cute, sweet and kind. The problem is that he is not adjusting well in the household. When we brought him home he hid under the bed for about a week, then started to come out slowly. We (me and my husband) never ran after him, scared him or made him uncomfy. We play with him every day, each about 30 min and he loves it and purrs. He eats well and uses litterbox.
He is about 4.5 months now, and literally scared of everything. He would not let us pick him up, or approach him – he runs under the bed immediately. The only time I can touch him is when he is in his cat house – then he purrs and seems to love petting and attention. He never goes out of his safe room, even thought it has been a month we had him. If he does, then only for a few min and runs back under the bed – and we live in a 3 room apartment, so the place is small and not intimidating at all, there are no other cats/animals around. He sleeps most of the day and will come out only if attracted with the toy – he never comes to us unless to play or eat. He hissed at me for 3 wks when I was giving him food, but stopped this week. In general, he never jumps anywhere and prefers to be on the floor so that he can run away if he needs to. I am patient, but my husband is starting to get irritated, because it is stressful for him to feel that all he does scares the cat. He never jumps on bed or comes to sleep near us, even though we play with him in bed…. I called the breeder and asked for her advice, she told me that she suggests we don’t talk in front of him, address him only with the toy and walk without slippers. She told me that if this continues and we are not comfortable, she will take the kitten back and will provide me with the refund. She also told me that she is sure he will outgrow this and by 1.5 year he will be with us all the time – that he is a kitten and this is a normal development. I had 3 cats before, even a feral one, and based on my experience with regular domestic cats, this is not a normal development at 4.5 months, and a month in a safe and loving environment.
I am not sure how to proceed. I am attached to this kitten, obviously and want to keep him, but I am also honest with myself as of why I purchased a Bengal. A friend of mine has one, and he is very active, engaged with people, not a lap cat but a family pet. And I was very opened to the breeder about the personality of the kitten that I want. Many of Bengal loves could be very upset at me, for not wanting to work with the cat and not accepting him for who he is. I am working with him – all the time, but I see very, very little progress and I am afraid that I will end up with anti-social cat that does not like people – which is totally opposite of what I wanted when I was getting a cat.
If possible, I would like to hear feedback or opinions on his development and is it possible for him to turn out more friendly as the time goes? May be someone had a similar situation? Anything that can be done to make him less scared?
Thanks!
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Old October 25th, 2012, 08:23 AM
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marko marko is offline
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Personally....I'd give the cat more time to adjust. Some cats just like some people take more time to get comfortable. In terms of the personality you were expecting, with respect I feel that that is a bit unrealistic. Breeders cannot guarantee personality any more than a mother of a human child can. A human mother may want an extroverted child - but way too many factors are outside a mother's control to guarantee this in any way shape or form. Personality as far as i know is always a mix of genetics and environment. Sure, certain breeds have a tendency toward a certain personality but that's all it is - a tendency.

I would wonder if there are any loud noises around perhaps from the street or somewhere else that you are used to but not the cat. I would also 100% have this conversation with a vet as there might be a medical issue at play.

But to me, this cat does sound like it is making progress just not as fast as you want. (It's not hissing anymore right? comes out slightly more often right?) If I were a gambler I'd bet hard that the cat will get friendlier over time.

I hope other members with more cat knowledge than I have will also chime in here.

Good luck!
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  #3  
Old October 25th, 2012, 01:16 PM
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sugarcatmom sugarcatmom is offline
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Sounds like this sweet kitten really lacks confidence, which may partly be the fault of the breeder not sufficiently socializing him to a wide variety of situations, but like Marko said, could also just be the personality of this particular cat. There is a great chance that with the right care in your loving home, he will come out of his shell. Any chance you could adopt another cat his age, or perhaps buy one of his litter-mates? I think he'd probably benefit from some feline companionship to help him feel more comfortable.

Something else I would recommend is picking up a couple of Feliway diffusers. They simulate the facial pheromones that cats rub on stuff with their cheeks and can help imbue the atmosphere with a sense of calm.

Cats also pick up on our emotions so he may be sensing that you're stressed, and particularly that your husband is getting perturbed. If you can both manage to exude only happy calmness around him, he might start to reflect that back.

Good luck with him! Please hang in there. Often the cats that are the most challenging to "win over" end up being the most loving and loyal kitties you can imagine.
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Old October 26th, 2012, 12:49 PM
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Dog Dancer Dog Dancer is offline
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Didn't Jim spend hours on end sitting and reading to DU when she was so nervous? I think he said she would hide under the bed and he would sit beside it and just read a book out loud. After time the cat came to realize that this human was safe and not going to harm her and has since turned around to be a loving kitty. Won't happen overnight of course, but he never gave up. Good luck with your kitty, Bengals are beautiful.
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Old October 26th, 2012, 02:04 PM
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hazelrunpack hazelrunpack is offline
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Yep, DD, that's exactly what Jim did with DU. DU stands for Down Under, Lala, cuz that's where she'd go when humans came in the room--down under the bed. Eventually Jim won her over with patience and persistence and she's turned around almost completely. But it took a very long time, so be prepared for that. I hope she warms up to you soon!
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Old October 26th, 2012, 02:38 PM
Lala Lala is offline
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Thank you so much for support !

Yes, we got the Feliway deffuser on about day 4 - and I think it helped because the kitty started to purr and would let us pet her - and it was a big progress.

I was actually smiling about the DU story! Down under is a funny nickname for a cat! We are hanging in there, and will work further with the cat, but I have to admit it is very hard emotionally. Mostly because we understand that our kitty is unhappy in our home, and feels threatened. For the last days he started to go out of his safe room (our bedroom), so he is not DU anymore). However, he will be anywhere, as long as we are not around. Now he leaves bedroom at night, day and night because I am there. He will let me come to him and touch him, but he will stay away from me if he has an option. It is hard, and I am afraid that we are not bonding....

Do you guys think I should be persistent, approach him, touch him, pet him, or should I just ignore him?

Thank you so much again, support really helps...
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Old October 26th, 2012, 03:18 PM
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sugarcatmom sugarcatmom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lala View Post
Do you guys think I should be persistent, approach him, touch him, pet him, or should I just ignore him?
What's the little guy's name, by the way?

My opinion (and I'm sure there are those with a different approach that may be equally effective) is to let him come to you. Hang out in the same room with him, keep interacting with him using wand or fishing-rod style toys, randomly toss him treats (preferably healthier ones like 100% freeze-dried meat - Purebites, Halo Liv-a-Littles or Whole Life for example), and talk to him a lot. But I personally wouldn't force too much physical contact on him until he feels more comfortable and seeks it out himself. I've had the pleasure of transforming a couple of feral kitties into total love-bugs and I found the best way is to just go at their pace. They'll let you know when they're ready for more.

There is one more thing that could help. What do you feed your kitty? Does he have specific meal times or is he free-fed? If he's on the unlimited kibble plan, you might want to consider switching (gradually, so as not to cause him more stress) to regularly scheduled meals of wet food. He will start to associate you with food, and food makes cats happy, and therefore YOU will make him happy. If you need any tips on changing his diet, let me know.
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Old October 27th, 2012, 12:15 PM
Lala Lala is offline
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Dear sugarcatmom, thank you so much!

I think I will follow your suggestion and will see if it will bring some improvements - will report in about a week. May be he will feel more likely to communicate with us if he does not feel like he is under attention all the time.
His name is Mozart.

As far as his feeding goes, I use high quality dry food, but I mix it with a good amount of water, and he gets his meals 3 times a day, plus he has some dry out just in case. The reason I do this is because he does not tolerate ANY other food, even in miniscule amounts. I gave him a spoon of wet food once, and he had 3 bouts of diarrhea, and I could tell he was sick. Bengals have very sensitive stomachs....so for now I quit experiments and make sure he gets water via dry food soaking. So yes, he knows who is bringing him food quite well))) I also was giving him some healthy snacks initially when he would not let us approach him, it helped too to some extent. Now he is just waiting as he knows it is coming)))).
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Old January 20th, 2013, 01:33 PM
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cassblonde cassblonde is offline
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I know this is an old thread but I thought I would post my thoughts here as well.

In my experience with cats, or at least my two most recent ones, things just take a lot of time.

1. When we got a new puppy my then 9 year old cat, Mojo, had been an only pet for a year. He hated Susie, the new puppy, and would growl and hiss and carry on whenever he saw her. It took him something like 3 months to stop it, right around the time the puppy got to be his size. They did end up becoming friends and played together.

2. When we took in Chloe from the street I think it was something like 6 months before I noticed her actually asking for attention and climbing into laps. Before that she would tolerate attention all right but didn't seek it out.
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Old January 20th, 2013, 04:46 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lala View Post
Hi there, I think I really need help and advice from people who have good Bengal experience and general kitten development knowledge. This is going to be a bit of a sad post, as my heart is literally breaking at the decision I have to make, and it is a very, very hard one. I need to decide if I should keep the kitten I adopted about a month ago or give it back to the breeder.
The kitten is adorable – very cute, sweet and kind. The problem is that he is not adjusting well in the household. When we brought him home he hid under the bed for about a week, then started to come out slowly. We (me and my husband) never ran after him, scared him or made him uncomfy. We play with him every day, each about 30 min and he loves it and purrs. He eats well and uses litterbox.
He is about 4.5 months now, and literally scared of everything. He would not let us pick him up, or approach him – he runs under the bed immediately. The only time I can touch him is when he is in his cat house – then he purrs and seems to love petting and attention. He never goes out of his safe room, even thought it has been a month we had him. If he does, then only for a few min and runs back under the bed – and we live in a 3 room apartment, so the place is small and not intimidating at all, there are no other cats/animals around. He sleeps most of the day and will come out only if attracted with the toy – he never comes to us unless to play or eat. He hissed at me for 3 wks when I was giving him food, but stopped this week. In general, he never jumps anywhere and prefers to be on the floor so that he can run away if he needs to. I am patient, but my husband is starting to get irritated, because it is stressful for him to feel that all he does scares the cat. He never jumps on bed or comes to sleep near us, even though we play with him in bed…. I called the breeder and asked for her advice, she told me that she suggests we don’t talk in front of him, address him only with the toy and walk without slippers. She told me that if this continues and we are not comfortable, she will take the kitten back and will provide me with the refund. She also told me that she is sure he will outgrow this and by 1.5 year he will be with us all the time – that he is a kitten and this is a normal development. I had 3 cats before, even a feral one, and based on my experience with regular domestic cats, this is not a normal development at 4.5 months, and a month in a safe and loving environment.
I am not sure how to proceed. I am attached to this kitten, obviously and want to keep him, but I am also honest with myself as of why I purchased a Bengal. A friend of mine has one, and he is very active, engaged with people, not a lap cat but a family pet. And I was very opened to the breeder about the personality of the kitten that I want. Many of Bengal loves could be very upset at me, for not wanting to work with the cat and not accepting him for who he is. I am working with him – all the time, but I see very, very little progress and I am afraid that I will end up with anti-social cat that does not like people – which is totally opposite of what I wanted when I was getting a cat.
If possible, I would like to hear feedback or opinions on his development and is it possible for him to turn out more friendly as the time goes? May be someone had a similar situation? Anything that can be done to make him less scared?
Thanks!
Has the kitten been to vet for a checkup , maybe has the kiten is not able to jump up as it is hurting someplace. I would have a vet check out the kitten if he not trying jumping up . My dog Marty had to keep his lifting leg over and over to pee and wanted me to help get in the car. I took him to the vet and found out he has trick knees , he knees had to pop back into place.
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