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Dr. Lisa
Dr. Lisa, DVM (Veterinarian)
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 511
Experience:  Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Integrative Medicine (Western and Homeopathic)
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My kitten is very jumpy and nervous about everything.

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My kitten is very jumpy and nervous about everything. Out of no where she will get startled and start floping around. Which is typically when she is in my arms. Besides the numorous scratches involved (she is getting neutered & declawed within a month) she gets very scared. Is there anything I can do about this?

Hi,


Thanks for asking your question on Just Answer. It is not normal for a kitten to be so jumpy and anxious. I would make sure that she has had a physical exam by a veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical problems. If she is otherwise healthy, you can consider a multi pronged approach to solving this issue:


1. I would start with a product by Vetri Science called Calming syrup. It is a natural product for cats and dogs and I have had great results using this for anxious animals.


2. You can use a Feliway aerosol diffuser which emits pheromones that only a cat can smell. The cat usually will become less anxious.


3. If those products don't work, some of my clients have had great success with "Rescue Remedy", available at a health food store. This is a natural product as well that is safe in cats.


4. You need to also work on the desensitization and socialization aspects of your cat's problem. You should gradually expose her to noises, people, and other things which scare her. Use treats that she likes at a distance where she is not scared. Over time, close the distance and feed her treats as long as she ignores the situation. If she is stressed, you've moved too quickly and need to increase the distance between her and the thing she's scared of. Eventually, she will be o.k. with the things she was afraid of. This technique is called desensitization and counterconditioning -- here is a link to more information about this:


http://www.westwoodanimalhospital.com/BhvArticles/CatFear_CC%20&%20DS.htm


As far as declawing is concerned, please realize that there are other options -- there is a product called Soft Paws which are nail caps that cover the nails and prevent scratching and clawing. Declawing is an amputation and is very painful. Kittens can have lifelong complications from this so please consider your choice carefully.


I hope this helps - please let me know if you have more questions.

Dr. Lisa and 2 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Dr. Lisa Boyer's Post: My concern is that she will start to get jumpy without warning. I know that fans, hair driers, and water are a triger, but half the time I have no idea what triggered her reaction. What should I do in that aspect? Also the products mentioned above, can I get them at a Petco or Pet mart type of store? Or do I need to go to a specialized store?

Hi,


Start with the calming syrup. You have to pick the things that set her off the most and work on those. So, I would think a hair dryer would be a good place to start. Find the distance that you can turn on a hairdryer without her reacting -- let's say another room. Run the hairdryer and feed her treats at that distance. It should be nothing but calm behavior. Then, the next day, move a foot closer and try again. Do this daily for 5 minutes. It is a slow process. Eventually, you can have her right next to the hair dryer and she won't react. The calming syrup with this technique should work well. I'm not sure how old she was when you got her, but if she was removed before 8 weeks from her mother, then this is sometimes what happens with improper socialization (not your fault). The period of time between 4-7 weeks is important for kittens. If they are removed too soon, they can have behavioral issues.


Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Dr. Lisa Boyer's Post: Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX your help.

You're welcome. Good luck!!!!!!!