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Confessions of a Cat Breeder

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strange kitten problems

okay... I got this kitten about a week ago and I did expect her to be a little skiddish around the new area but she has shown very little signs of improvement. If I set her down in the middle of the floor she runs to the quickest hiding spot everytime with out fail. If I reach down to pet her she will flinch and do what she can to evade me. However, if I do pick her up or set her on my lap she seizes to put up a fight and just sits there like a lethargic ragdoll, and 9 times out of 10 her tail is showing signs of being pretty frightened and stand-offish sometimes however she has lashed out at me with malice and it isn't playful at all. She has a lot of Siamese in her... is this just the breed? All the other siamese cats I've had in the past have been pretty mellow... was that just luck or does this one have some behavior problems I should keep and eye on and how do I get her to be less tramatized?

Re: strange kitten problems

Dear Will,

Thank you very much for your question about your new kitten's behavior. Jasmine Kinnear is presently writing the next book in the Felines by Design series in which she addresses your very situation.

Jasmine has reviewed your question and has asked me to advise you that judging by your kitten's description she matches that of the "Sophisticated Feral" personality. Even purebred Siamese kittens can sometimes be born with feral tendencies.

Following is an excerpt from the soon to be published Volume 2 in the Felines by Design series entitled "Insider's Guide to Buying Purebred Kittens" that should answer your questions:

Sophisticated Feral: A Jewel in the Rough

Due to the aloof and distant nature of this feline personality as a kitten they are often misunderstood by both breeder and buyer. Loving patience is the key as this feline is slow to trust but gradually like a blossoming flower will mature responding to her owner's affections.

Unlike other Feline by Design personalities there are few differences that surface when comparing the female Sophisticated Feral with her male counterpart.

I have owned these special kittens as domestic pets and they have also appeared in my purebred litters. As they prefer not being held these kittens are sometimes difficult to sell. However as these babies mature into adults they almost always please their owners. They are a 'jewel in the rough' requiring a compassionate owner that is willing to permit these felines the luxury of time before bonding. This feline prefers a smaller space as she will constantly be on guard until she is comfortable in her surroundings. Unlike other felines her extreme caution must be accepted before she is willing to love her owner for a lifetime commitment. When her owner grants her this liberty her full loving personality will eventually emerge.

Feral kittens are best suited for the experienced cat lover who is willing to accept these babies just as they are. Like a long anticipated wait for a fine bottle of wine, these lovely cats are exceptional when they gradually become comfortable in their home. As the Sophisticated Feral matures they remain deeply attached to their owner in a manner unlike any other Feline By Design. With time and respect the results of the bonding, although a more prolonged and individual process, are truly outstanding. Once this feline is comfortable she will permanently attach herself to her owner considering their relationship a lifetime commitment. The extent of their initial distant nature eventually mirrors the extreme intimacy they will eventually share with their owner.

Just as they may have shown an initial indifference to their owner during the bonding process they will remain stubborn and continue to display a strong sense of self. This feline will utilize their inherited wild instincts even after becoming comfortable within their home. My own Sophisticated Feral is a beautiful nine year old domestic torbie named Tia. She will strongly object when I use perfume or have had a glass of wine before handling her. She trusts her nose first and only since maturing will she now accept that I am still her owner even when my scent is altered. These felines can quickly revert to their feral nature and take particular delight in chasing furry toy mice. Having thrown the mouse they become frustrated as they are convinced their prey should continue the chase and not lay still. These cats love heights and will be totally enthusiastic when their owner has provided them with a tall scratching pole with ledges.

Seldom are other kittens so extremely loyal when respecting senior cats in their home. Preferring the company of other cats they will be readily accepted in a multi-cat environment. Although the presence of other cats in a house will delay the progress of bonding with their owner this feline is a wonderful addition as a companion cat. Should you be seeking a companion feline it is better to choose a female Sophisticated Feral regardless of the sex or personality of your present cat.

Although selective when seeking their human soul mate, once chosen their character is completely altered. Gone is the indifference and in turn the long awaited affection is showered on their owner. As this feline bonds with her owner slowly but surely she abandons her fear and will gradually display aspects of her personality never before revealed. This quiet feline will begin to vocalize in loving tones her true devotion which will often surprise her owner.

(Sophisticated Feral continued in next response)

Re: strange kitten problems

(Sophisticated Feral continued from previous post)

Well worth the time this loving feline is a rare treat. The Sophisticated Feral should be considered as a present in disguise, a gift the owner receives by accepting her chosen baby just as she is. Given time and shown the respect she deserves this loving sweetheart will develop into a lifetime relationship as her owner's Feline Soul Mate.

This is a feline of simple pleasures. She loves her home and will treasure any time alone while her owner works. Upon their return she may either shower them with affection or will choose to continue sleeping until she feels the need for interaction. Conversely, during a weekend at home her owner may find the most unexpected displays of affection when simply entering a room where the cat has been sleeping. She is truly an unpredictible treat providing her owner with a lifetime of warmth and entertainment.

On some level our Sophisticated Feral has a sense for adventure. However it seldom surfaces as she is usually a predictable feline that maintains a rigid schedule of sleeping, eating and loving interaction with her owner. As she is a timid soul at heart her outdoor life is more comfortably suited to an apartment balcony. More often than not she will vocalize her desire to share this special outdoor retreat with her owner. Although the balcony is a part of her treasured territory she is most comfortable only when it is shared with her owner.

Every breeder will have kittens she does not find endearing or cannot relate to. There is even a sense of guilt when you sell such a baby because you wonder if anyone can bond with this kitten. A purebred feline is an expensive investment. How then can you accept payment for a kitten that may never truly desire or become a loving family member. This was a dilemma I faced as a new cat breeder. What do I do with a feral kitten that will not allow you to touch them?

As a breeder I experienced only a few feral kittens in my breeding program. I was working with Himalayan and Persian cats from unrelated bloodlines. Despite the Sire and Dam used, occasionally a feral kitten would be born in a litter of loving and responsive babies. It has been my experience that with the right owner these babies eventually learn to love and trust their owners. Once they have been removed from the cattery and are the only feline in their new home they make great progress.

Such was my first experience with a feral Himalayan male purchased by a French Canadian couple. He was from a single kitten litter and would only interact with his mother ignoring kittens from other litters and kept his distance from me. However he was the last Himalayan available and the only baby this couple were interested in buying. For the wife it was simply love at first sight. I had some reservations as to whether the love affair would last once he was in their home. This lovely male became a lesson in love for me after I saw him the following year. He was provided with unconditional love from his owners and while I had never been able to hold him he responded with the greatest affection to them. It was a wonderful experience to see this fearful male being held with such love and devotion by his mistress. They had named him Saphir and with their nuturing love and affection he had grown into a Saphire jewel of the highest quality.

Unconditional love and patience in a quiet environment will greatly assist bonding with the Sophisticated Feral. Male or female, purebred or domestic, the memory of these lovely cats linger with their owners for the duration of their lives. It is yet to be determined whether the key lies in the longer bonding time required to gain their affection or the complexity of their gentle personalities. For those willing to explore and understand the Sophisticated Feral, their reward will be in obtaining a feline's love unlike any other Feline by Design.

Please let us know how your relationship with your new kitten progresses.

Take care,

Paul Anderson
Webmaster - Confessions of a Cat Breeder

Re: strange kitten problems

There is one simple answer,spend as much time as possible with your kitten.
My experience isnt with pedigree cats, but as a kitten fosterer for the RSPCA (feral kittens) we had 4-6 weeks to convert feral kittens into cute adorable rehomable kittens (the kittens when they arrived were normally between 7-10 weeks old).
You will need to spend as much time as possible holding, and playing with your kitten. Try a toy it can chase, a mouse on a string, wiggly worm, anything that you can draw closer to you while the cat is distracted by the toy.
Even though your cat doesnt enjoy being held, put on a thick (clawproof) top and hold your cat, it may wriggle and claw at first but it will soon get used to the idea that you are not a threat.
Give the kitten treats, it will associate you with good things, then start only giving the treats when the kitten is sitting on your lap.
Progress wont happen overnight, it takes time to win a cats confidence, but dont give up, you need to get your kitten used to being held as soon as posible, the older the kitten the more it will revert to its feral nature if it doesn't have enough human contact.
All kittens are feral kittens, it is only human contact that makes them into domestic cats.
regards deb