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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 3900
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
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My boyfriend and i adopted a 5 month old calico kitten about

Customer Question

My boyfriend and i adopted a 5 month old calico kitten about 6 weeks ago. She was very afraid, but we went by the book introducing her to our home and other 8 month old female cat, keeping her in the bathroom and slowly introducing them. In the first 2-3 weeks we had to give her medicine orally for a respiratory issue, and allowed us to handle her with no issues. Once she had the run of the house and was getting along with our other cat, she stopped letting us pick her up. We could only pet her. Recently she has stopped letting us even pet her, even when she is eating. The only time she allows me to pet her is at 4 am when she is sleeping next to me (which she only does bc she wants to be w the other cat, who is super bonded to me.) When we got her she would let us cuddle her and would purr away. I'm really upset because we want to pet her and interact with us, but I'm not sure which direction to go in: Ignore her and let her come around? Chase her and force her to be handled so she gets used to it?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  William Withers replied 1 year ago.

Hi -- I'm a licensed veterinarian with over 25 years of experience and believe I might be able to help you out. But I'd have a few questions first if that is ok?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Expert:  William Withers replied 1 year ago.

Has she shown any signs of being aggressive to you or your boyfriend or you other cat? Does she seem more inclined to bond with one of you over the other? Have you tried offering her any things which might ease her anxiety? I've owned a couple of cats personally over the years who are more "standoffish" so I definitely know your frustration on doing the right thing.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No agression towards either of us at all. She will sleep near me and allow me to pet her during the night, so i guess more bonded to me, but at first it was my boyfriend she preferred. We got Feliway plug ins, we offer her treats, play with her with toys on string/sticks and I used to pet her when she'd eat because I read that was a way to get her to associate me with something good. She is otherwise a happy cat who plays, purrs etc. She just seems to be regressing with us.
Expert:  William Withers replied 1 year ago.

It sounds like you are doing all the right things. I would err on the side of letting her come to you, perhaps with a few more tricks to get her to relax. There are several companies which might "Relaxing" or "Calming" treats or liquids which are usually all natural and very safe. The one I am most familiar with is GNC brand "Calming" - these contain tryptophan and a variety holistic products such as herbs which can help with anxiety and could help her out. The Feliway is definitely worth continuing. The other very safe alternative is to regularly (once a day or every other day) give her some catnip - most cats will enjoy rubbing on this or eating a little bit and then after having a little burst of silly energy (which is fun to watch for itself), get very mellow and this might help her also ease into more interaction with you both.

Expert:  William Withers replied 1 year ago.

I hope this helps and is a satisfactory answer. Please remember to rate my response since that is the only way I am compensated for my answers. Good luck with your little one and please let me know if you have any other questions and I'll do my best. Take care.

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