An opinionated feline in Edmonton, Canada who lived with a retired cat behaviourist, Greyce provided behavioral advice to cats in need until her death in July 2014. Because her entries are useful even today, the blog remains posted.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Kitten Scared of Humans: Parker Tries to Fit In

Dear Greyce,

I am having trouble adjusting to my new home. I am afraid . . . very afraid.

I am 15-week-old Burmese male who came (via airplane) to my new home a few weeks ago. When I arrived, Herself took me to a bedroom that she uses as her closet/library, opened my kennel door and left the room. About an hour later, she came in to check on me.

That was too soon for me because I was just coming out of the kennel. So when she opened the door I bolted out and hid. The next day she had to get me out of my hiding spot so we could go to the vet and get my check up. But now I'm getting used to my room. And only my room. While I live in a three-bedroom house, I have not been outside my room because Themselves are afraid that I will hide somewhere else and they will not be able to find me.

I have a well-established routine. Every morning Herself comes in with my wet food; she stays for about 45 minutes. Then she checks on me again just before leaving for work. When I am alone, I have access to dry food via a timed feeder. As soon as she gets home, she brings my second bowl of wet food and stays with me for about 30 to 60 minutes. She returns later and spends another one or two hours sitting on the floor in my room, either watching movies and playing with me. Just before bed, she comes in to say good night.

Himself comes in from time to time and gives me treats. He plays with me, usually later in the night.

I am eating and drinking well. I am brave enough to eat beside Herself's leg when she brings my meal(s).

And I have no problems peeing or pooping. I got a bigger litter box than the one I started out with because I shovel litter on to the floor. I also like to bring my teddy bear and one of my toy in there.

I love being perched on a box on top of the desk so I can look outside. I have a cave bed that I cuddle in, with a towel and my teddy bear.  And toys  . . . lots of toys: jingle balls and mice and an s-shaped track with a ball in it that I hit and chase back and forth. And I like to play with Themselves using anything on a string. My hiding place is under a chair.

So what is the problem? I hiss at my purrsons. And I run away and hide when they move even the littlest bit.  Even though I will eat next to Herself's leg or let Themselves give me treats, I will run away right after that.

Herself  tried to hold me a couple of times, but I resisted and cried until she let me go. Now she is afraid to touch me. In the hope of helping me relax, she installed a Feliway diffuser in my room last week.

It bothers her a great deal because she has had cats before, but never one like me. Can you explain why I behave this way? And what we can do about it?