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View Full Version : Our kittens are scared of hands?


August 15th 07, 11:33 AM
Hi guys!

About four weeks ago, we adopted two kittens from a rescue centre,
Stella and Misha. They were aboue nine weeks old at the time. When we
initially got them back home, they were very scared, hiding at every
opportunity, and hissing at us.

After some time, they stopped hissing, and thanks to the aid of a
trusty shoelace, we played with them. They even crawl over us, and
climb up my t-shirt!

The problem is, they are impossible to stroke. As soon as a hand is
extended in their direction, no matter how slowly, they quite
literally jump and run away. Repeated attempts to introduce a hand
results in them starting to shake, which is very upsetting.

As I say, they're quite happy to climb and sit on us, and they even
rub against our legs sometimes. They like chewing on our feet, arms,
legs, everything... but when a hand is seen, they run away.

I was wondering... is this because they were hit by their previous
'owners'? Not much is known about their past. They were found locked
in a cupboard, so obviously the owner did not care.

The only explanation I can think of is that they were hit or shaken.
No matter how hard we try, they always run from hands. We have tried
just holding our hand out when they are at a distance, but they don't
come any closer. I did once get Stella to eat food from my hand, but
she jumped and ran away after a few mouthfuls.

I am not sure how common this behaviour is, or what we should do. Is
is just a matter of time? It is hard to try and stroke them
forcefully, because they start shaking.

It just seems very strange because they do not seem scared of us or
anyone else, as such, but just hands.

Any advice very much appreciated.

Many thanks,

Ron.

bobblespin[_2_]
August 15th 07, 02:40 PM
wrote in news:1187174036.621182.218920
@g4g2000hsf.googlegroups.com:

> Hi guys!
>
> About four weeks ago, we adopted two kittens from a rescue centre,
> Stella and Misha. They were aboue nine weeks old at the time. When we
> initially got them back home, they were very scared, hiding at every
> opportunity, and hissing at us.
>
> After some time, they stopped hissing, and thanks to the aid of a
> trusty shoelace, we played with them. They even crawl over us, and
> climb up my t-shirt!
>
> The problem is, they are impossible to stroke. As soon as a hand is
> extended in their direction, no matter how slowly, they quite
> literally jump and run away. Repeated attempts to introduce a hand
> results in them starting to shake, which is very upsetting.
>
> As I say, they're quite happy to climb and sit on us, and they even
> rub against our legs sometimes. They like chewing on our feet, arms,
> legs, everything... but when a hand is seen, they run away.
>
> I was wondering... is this because they were hit by their previous
> 'owners'? Not much is known about their past. They were found locked
> in a cupboard, so obviously the owner did not care.
>
> The only explanation I can think of is that they were hit or shaken.
> No matter how hard we try, they always run from hands. We have tried
> just holding our hand out when they are at a distance, but they don't
> come any closer. I did once get Stella to eat food from my hand, but
> she jumped and ran away after a few mouthfuls.
>
> I am not sure how common this behaviour is, or what we should do. Is
> is just a matter of time? It is hard to try and stroke them
> forcefully, because they start shaking.
>
> It just seems very strange because they do not seem scared of us or
> anyone else, as such, but just hands.
>
> Any advice very much appreciated.
>
> Many thanks,
>
> Ron.

I would try wearing dark gloves, or mittens, or a piece of fabric which
will hide the look of hands. If they let you pet them that way,
eventually they might realize that what is at the end of your arm is ok.
Looks like this is going to take some time for them to trust your hands.
Poor little guys were probably badly treated.

Bobble

cybercat
August 15th 07, 03:59 PM
> wrote
>
> I was wondering... is this because they were hit by their previous
> 'owners'? Not much is known about their past. They were found locked
> in a cupboard, so obviously the owner did not care.

I would say they were abused, even if just frightened or handled
roughly, poor babies.

Patience and gentle love will do it, Ron. And lots of their favorite
treats, delivered one at a time. This is a good time to get cats used
to being brushed, having their feet handled, that sort of thing--if you
can get them near you for that long. Maybe sneak the brush in when
they are not looking, and if they find it feels good they will begin to
associate nice things with hands? Treat will definitely work after a while.

bookie
August 15th 07, 04:43 PM
On 15 Aug, 11:33, wrote:
> Hi guys!
>
> About four weeks ago, we adopted two kittens from a rescue centre,
> Stella and Misha. They were aboue nine weeks old at the time. When we
> initially got them back home, they were very scared, hiding at every
> opportunity, and hissing at us.
>
> After some time, they stopped hissing, and thanks to the aid of a
> trusty shoelace, we played with them. They even crawl over us, and
> climb up my t-shirt!
>
> The problem is, they are impossible to stroke. As soon as a hand is
> extended in their direction, no matter how slowly, they quite
> literally jump and run away. Repeated attempts to introduce a hand
> results in them starting to shake, which is very upsetting.
>
> As I say, they're quite happy to climb and sit on us, and they even
> rub against our legs sometimes. They like chewing on our feet, arms,
> legs, everything... but when a hand is seen, they run away.
>
> I was wondering... is this because they were hit by their previous
> 'owners'? Not much is known about their past. They were found locked
> in a cupboard, so obviously the owner did not care.
>
> The only explanation I can think of is that they were hit or shaken.
> No matter how hard we try, they always run from hands. We have tried
> just holding our hand out when they are at a distance, but they don't
> come any closer. I did once get Stella to eat food from my hand, but
> she jumped and ran away after a few mouthfuls.
>
> I am not sure how common this behaviour is, or what we should do. Is
> is just a matter of time? It is hard to try and stroke them
> forcefully, because they start shaking.
>
> It just seems very strange because they do not seem scared of us or
> anyone else, as such, but just hands.
>
> Any advice very much appreciated.
>
> Many thanks,
>
> Ron.

poor littel sweethearts, it always amazes and upsets me when i hear
about people who have hurt and abused kittens, a person to do such a
thing much have a very sick mind and no soul at all.

as soon as I read the title i thought 'probably been hit by previous
human at some point' so yes you have to get them to associate hands
with nice things, liek treats, strokes, brushings etc.

you could always get a feliway diffuser or spray in order to calm the
atmosphere down around them and promote a feeling of well being.
please persevere though, they have obviously had a very traumatic
start to life and they need you know to look after them

hugs and purrs to them both, bookie

Lynne
August 15th 07, 05:58 PM
on Wed, 15 Aug 2007 10:33:56 GMT, wrote:

> Hi guys!
>
> About four weeks ago, we adopted two kittens from a rescue centre,
> Stella and Misha. They were aboue nine weeks old at the time. When we
> initially got them back home, they were very scared, hiding at every
> opportunity, and hissing at us.
>
> After some time, they stopped hissing, and thanks to the aid of a
> trusty shoelace, we played with them. They even crawl over us, and
> climb up my t-shirt!
>
> The problem is, they are impossible to stroke. As soon as a hand is
> extended in their direction, no matter how slowly, they quite
> literally jump and run away. Repeated attempts to introduce a hand
> results in them starting to shake, which is very upsetting.
>
> As I say, they're quite happy to climb and sit on us, and they even
> rub against our legs sometimes. They like chewing on our feet, arms,
> legs, everything... but when a hand is seen, they run away.
>
> I was wondering... is this because they were hit by their previous
> 'owners'? Not much is known about their past. They were found locked
> in a cupboard, so obviously the owner did not care.
>
> The only explanation I can think of is that they were hit or shaken.
> No matter how hard we try, they always run from hands. We have tried
> just holding our hand out when they are at a distance, but they don't
> come any closer. I did once get Stella to eat food from my hand, but
> she jumped and ran away after a few mouthfuls.
>
> I am not sure how common this behaviour is, or what we should do. Is
> is just a matter of time? It is hard to try and stroke them
> forcefully, because they start shaking.
>
> It just seems very strange because they do not seem scared of us or
> anyone else, as such, but just hands.
>
> Any advice very much appreciated.
>
> Many thanks,
>
> Ron.

It could just be that the kittens were not socialized to humans or
handled at all by humans. There may have been no abuse whatsoever, but
you will still have to desensitize them to their fear of hands. I
suggest offering them smelly treats from your hands. Do this very
gradually. At first, show them the treat in your hand, then set it down
and pull your hand away. Do this for a while until they seem calm. Then
let them smell it in your hand, put it down, let them eat it. Continue
this until they are very calm. Next, let them eat it from your hand.
Keep your hand very still, open, on the ground or whatever surface.
Gradually make it so that they will perhaps follow your hand for the
treat, then hold your hand very still while they eat from it. Perhaps
add another treat with your other hand to the hand they are eating from.
Let them guide you in how you progress. Once they associate your hands
with good stuff, both hand, (alternate hands, and sometimes put a treat
in both) move your hands closer to them, without touching them, and gauge
their reaction for how to proceed. Give it time and they will learn to
trust you. Eventually you should be able to gently touch them. Then
give them treats, back off, do it again later. Progress at whatever pace
they are comfortable with.

Good luck!

--
Lynne

mariib via CatKB.com
August 15th 07, 06:26 PM
wrote:
>Hi guys!
>
>About four weeks ago, we adopted two kittens from a rescue centre,
>Stella and Misha. They were aboue nine weeks old at the time. When we
>initially got them back home, they were very scared, hiding at every
>opportunity, and hissing at us.
>
>After some time, they stopped hissing, and thanks to the aid of a
>trusty shoelace, we played with them. They even crawl over us, and
>climb up my t-shirt!
>
>The problem is, they are impossible to stroke. As soon as a hand is
>extended in their direction, no matter how slowly, they quite
>literally jump and run away. Repeated attempts to introduce a hand
>results in them starting to shake, which is very upsetting.
>
>As I say, they're quite happy to climb and sit on us, and they even
>rub against our legs sometimes. They like chewing on our feet, arms,
>legs, everything... but when a hand is seen, they run away.
>
>I was wondering... is this because they were hit by their previous
>'owners'? Not much is known about their past. They were found locked
>in a cupboard, so obviously the owner did not care.
>
>The only explanation I can think of is that they were hit or shaken.
>No matter how hard we try, they always run from hands. We have tried
>just holding our hand out when they are at a distance, but they don't
>come any closer. I did once get Stella to eat food from my hand, but
>she jumped and ran away after a few mouthfuls.
>
>I am not sure how common this behaviour is, or what we should do. Is
>is just a matter of time? It is hard to try and stroke them
>forcefully, because they start shaking.
>
>It just seems very strange because they do not seem scared of us or
>anyone else, as such, but just hands.
>
>Any advice very much appreciated.
>
>Many thanks,
>
>Ron.

I agree with Lynne that the kitties were probably not at all socialized or
handled by any person. They're still very young enough that patience &
persistence will allow them to develop more trusting behavior. I had a
gorgeous orange tabby cat Ginger taken from a caged research environment when
he was 3 months old & before he was ever used in any experiments. Yes, he was
removed without permission (as in stolen) by a friend who knew my beloved
tortoiseshell cat had just been killed & we were all devastated. I was told
he'd been born there & had only ever been in a cage by himself away from the
other cats & dogs. When he came to us, he didn't at all behave like a cat &
whenever anyone picked up a broom to sweep up or if he was approached by a
male, he cowered, shaking badly. Slow patient gentle handling turned him into
a very loving cat who enjoyed being around people & he lived a very good life
with us for 16 years, dying in the end from chronic renal failure.

So take your time & follow all the suggestions here & you will be rewarded!
M.

--
Message posted via CatKB.com
http://www.catkb.com/Uwe/Forums.aspx/cat-health/200708/1

Cheryl
August 16th 07, 03:25 AM
On Wed 15 Aug 2007 06:33:56a, wrote in rec.pets.cats.health+behav
ups.com>:

> It just seems very strange because they do not seem scared of us or
> anyone else, as such, but just hands.
>
> Any advice very much appreciated.

I have one afraid of shoes. So it's hard to tell why they get
phobias, even if they were never abused. But yours may have been. I
agree about the brushing suggestion. You can even get a soft bristle
brush, tape it to the end of a long handled wooden spoon so that
there is distance between you. I did this with a feral cat, and she
loved it. I can now pet her and comb her, but she's still afraid when
there are two hands near her. She loves feet, though.

--
Cheryl