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6 month old cat terrified of being caught or picked up

Posted by newhomeseeker (My Page) on
Wed, Oct 7, 09 at 11:37

My two older kittens (about six months old)were found outside when a stray cat gave birth to them in my garage. They lived outside on the back porch with shelter until they are about 2-3 months old and then I brought them inside and they lived in the basement until they were weaned. They are both males. I am fostering them through an animal rescue. THey have not been brought into the rescue for adoption yet (no idea why, they keep saying they will call me next week..) One is orange and the other is gray. The orange one (simba) is very timid. This is suprising because as a kitten he was the aggressive friendly one. He would always greet me when I brought food and would love all over me. THe gray one (Grayson) was the timid one. He didn't like to be handled. I could carry Simba around and he never hid from me. The only thing I ever saw them run from was the lawn tractor.

I did notice one time when he was about two months old that I tried to pick him up (they were venturing pretty far from the back porch and that is when i decided to bring them inside) and he was terrified of me and scratched me. I didn't think anything of it at the time (just thought I'd startled him) but now he is like that all the time. He does not want to be picked up or touched and will not come to me. Once you do get ahold of him, he is very friendly and purrs like crazy and I try to handle him a lot but nothing seems to work. I have to take him to the rescue once a month (to be neutered, for shots and flea treatments) and he is very difficult to catch. Once he is in the cage, he will let you love all over him and if you pick him up he never struggles or tries to get away. He is just terrified of the initial contact. I have never done anything to hurt either of the cats so I don't understand it. His brother had the exact same upbringing as him and the brother is not afraid of anything. He RUNS to me and throws himself at my feet and purrs and purrs like crazy. He will sit on my lap and while he is timid with strangers at first he is nothing like his (scared) brother.

I beginning to wonder if something happened to traumatize Simba (neighbor kids or something) when he was little)

I want him to find a good home and am worried that once he's at the adoption shelter he might escape and they will not be able to catch him. It is not like he is afraid of people (he will sit in the living room (sometimes I let them upstairs) and just groom himself as long as we are sitting on the couch or not directly next to him. But if you move toward him he will run.

Is there anything I can do to break him of this or make him more comfortable? I want him to be adoptable and to find a great home. He's not feral nor was his mother (she was very friendly) and he started out very friendly and outgoing. I don't know what happened.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: 6 month old cat terrified of being caught or picked up

I have a year old female (born in the "wild") we started feeding her mama last year and about a week or so after she got food again, her milk came back in, and then appeared out of the weeds, a very small kitten (her's) and she weighed a pound! I took her in immediately, she was not more than 4 weeks old, half way weined (more out of survival than anything, since her mama had no food and hence no milk to nurse her). Anyway, this cat has had the life of luxury, she's got full run of the place, other cats around, NO KIDS, a big 75 lb pitbull she loves on relentlessly, we have a very quiet home. Nothing to startle her, except the dog barking when the door rings, that sort of thing.

She to this day runs away when my husband attempts to pick her up. And it's rare that she lets me pick her up without an attempt to bolt. There is no good or logical explanation for it.

To the contrast, 2 of the other ferrel cats (her mama and one younger cat) have also become part of our cat family, they stay inside at night and sleep on the deck during the day, never out when it's cold or rainy etc. They BOTH will come up to us and "ask" for affection, no running, no bolting etc. The younger cat was so wild when she firt came around that you could not get close to her at all or she'd flee. Forget about touching her...now, she sleeps on the bed between us...

meanwhile the pampered puss is a fraidy cat, go figure.


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RE: 6 month old cat terrified of being caught or picked up

Thats a funny story, sounds so familiar. My 5 yr old little female is timid about being picked up (she startles easily) and she'd never had anything bad happen to her at our home. I found her as a kitten and back then she let me give her two baths in the sink and use a blow dryer on her. Today she hates being held. She will struggle and cry. If she hears her cage (meaning road trip or the vet's) she will hide and you have to tear furniture apart to get ahold of her. But nothing like this male kitten. He is TERRIFIED of being caught. But once you have him in your arms no struggling, no meowing he just goes limp and purrs and lets you love on him. But he is scared to death (you can see it in his eyes) if he senses you are trying to catch him. He will run around like a wild cat. LIke his life depends of staying away from you. His mother isn't feral (probably a house cat that someone threw outside) and he was the sweetest thing as a little kitten, handled daily. I have no idea what traumatized him or how to ease his fears.


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RE: 6 month old cat terrified of being caught or picked up

What comes to mind when I read that last post was figure out something that he really loves (some treat) and then bribe him to come to you, let him come on his own terms and build on that. IE: dont touch him or go towards him for awhile, just give him the treat, then gradually make subtle gestures, eventually towards him, picking him up, or somehow get him to climb up next to you (set the treat next to you etc). I found that my ferrel kitty (the one that sleeps on the bed with us) is fine as long as there is NO, (NONE) eye contact. The minute there is eye contact she stiffens and resists. SO I'd get close to her and look away from her, eventually she was ok, but even now if there is prolonged eye contact she will change her demeanor.


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