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Re-homing 3 very shy oriental kittens

(56 Posts)
BibiBlocksberg Tue 21-Jun-16 11:21:39

Hi all,

I currently work at a local cattery at weekends.

The lady who owns the cattery also owns and breeds siamese/oriental cats.

Found out last week that she has three oriental kittens (well, just over a year old now) who, despite her socialisation efforts have remained very timid and fearful of human contact.

They have been shut away in a bedroom of the main house together for some time now. They are healthy & will run around like little maniacs playing but as soon as a human enters the room they huddle together in their basket with eyes like saucers, trembling & hissing if you get too close.

Anyway, long story short, the cattery owner has not a spare minute in her day to help these kittens become less fearful of humans so I offered to try instead.

Thing is I've to realise that these three will need far more than I can provide (an hour after work each night, sitting with them quietly/talking softly/blinking/offering tasty tidbits etc)

They need to be in a home environment with someone who has the time to help them adjust to normal life and build up their confidence.

The breeder thinks this is a hopeless undertaking and no one will even consider these cats as pets. If that is true though then what is the alternative? They can't live out their lives in a bedroom with very little human contact.

Posting as i'm hoping for some opinions in the first instance - would you consider taking on a kitten like the above or are there any breeders here who have experience with homing timid pedigrees at all?

cozietoesie Tue 21-Jun-16 11:35:29

I'd split them up, personally, and rehome them as singletons to bond with their new people. Three shy kittens together are likely to feed off each other's worries. Have you tried dealing with any of them alone?

cozietoesie Tue 21-Jun-16 11:37:03

PS - have they all been neutered?

BibiBlocksberg Tue 21-Jun-16 11:49:29

Thanks cozy, yes, agree about splitting them up, insisting on all three being homed together would be a nigh on impossible task smile

The breeder did say similar last week ie she's thinking of putting them in seperate chalets in the cattery as they are likely feeding off each others anxities. Busy season now though so no spare chalets til later on in the year.

All three are girls and none have been spayed.

Haven't wanted to make them even more fearful by handling them but might have to to get each on their own & see what happens?

cozietoesie Tue 21-Jun-16 12:12:53

Have them neutered directly. I've only had Siamese boys myself, but there's no way I'd take on an unneutered female of that age - and having three together? Goodness. Who knows what hormones may be contributing to their stress?

I can't imagine what their 'breeder' has been thinking.

PovertyPain Tue 21-Jun-16 12:16:33

This breeder is an complete arse, IMO. She has bred these poor kittens but hasn't the time can't be arsed socialising them. Poor wee things. I think you're doing a very kind thing, trying to help. Were there other kittens and if so, what happened to them. Why has she not sold/rehomed these kittens before now?

cozietoesie Tue 21-Jun-16 12:18:28

Well - actually, I can imagine. I just don't like to.

PovertyPain Tue 21-Jun-16 12:20:16

Well - actually, I can imagine. I just don't like to.

I think we were birth thinking the same thing. sad

BibiBlocksberg Tue 21-Jun-16 12:33:53

I wonder about that as well Cozie (the hormones contributing to anxiety etc)

Also share your feelings about the breeder PovertyPain, she brought them into this world she ought to be responsible enough to help them move on properly.

She currently has another cat with kittens who are now six weeks old, they are all in the family living room and doing great (i get to fuss them all on saturday afternoons)

Some back story with the cattery owners husband being very controlling of her & her time etc

When I asked what happened to make the three bedroom dwellers so shy she said that that happens sometimes (genetics/born temperament)

I love cats but no experience with pedigrees/breeding so not sure if there is any truth in that.

Much as I hate the saying 'it is what it is' feel it applies to this situation and will try my hardest to find a home for the 'wild' three - in the absence of anyone else caring enough iyswim.

Thanks so much for your replies, really helps to talk about the situation!

BibiBlocksberg Tue 21-Jun-16 12:38:17

Forgot - reason given for not homing/selling before now is that no-one will want kittens this shy as people won't spend the time to get them to where they need to be.

Which is pretty defeatist thinking to my mind.

cozietoesie Tue 21-Jun-16 12:45:28

It sounds as if she's kidding herself. sad

cozietoesie Tue 21-Jun-16 12:53:46

PS - has she contacted the OCWT for help at all?

BibiBlocksberg Tue 21-Jun-16 12:54:11

Kidding herself as in 'no one will want them' so she doesn't have to let go of them you mean cozie? <being thick here> smile

She does have a few more 'stashed' away in her bedroom & another pregnant queen. Wondered if the bedroom dwellers re-homing had become suddenly urgent as the room will be needed for the new kittens.

Could speculate on motifs all day long, think i'll pop over & see her this evening to flesh out an action plan for re-homing the three older ones.

cozietoesie Tue 21-Jun-16 12:56:59

I'd go round as you suggested - if you can. This sounds as if it may be a wheels within wheels situation (her personal life) but the welfare of the cats is important.

BibiBlocksberg Tue 21-Jun-16 12:57:58

Didn't know about the OCWT, thanks, i'll research & mention to her tonight.

BibiBlocksberg Tue 21-Jun-16 13:06:32

Oh yes, going round there is not a problem as am welcome to pop in to chat to both owners & see to the 'bedroom three' anytime.

Never heard the 'wheels within wheels' expression before, just googled it, very apt!

The cats welfare is uppermost in my mind, not sleeping well thinking of them there alone all day & night (they have each other & a radio i brought them but still)

cozietoesie Tue 21-Jun-16 13:11:17

Probably one to tread very lightly, I fear. At this stage anyway.

Good luck.

BibiBlocksberg Tue 21-Jun-16 13:18:13

Mmmh, my overly logical 'lets get this sorted' attitude might be misplaced here, will bear that in mind, thanks very much.

Why do so many people ask for help they don't really want?

Always has been & always will be a mystery to me.

RubbishMantra Tue 21-Jun-16 14:11:55

Agree with Cozie, re. getting them neutered, hormones = stress levels, especially in such a confined space. And a female cat will find another female in season as a threat.

Can they be fostered (preferably individually) to somebody with experience of rehabilitating ferals? I know they're not feral, but are displaying the same behaviour.

I think the breeder should think about having the queen who birthed them neutered too, in case her offspring have a genetic "wild" disposition. And I hope she's not hanging onto them to breed from, to get her "money's worth".

Poor little mites. Thank goodness they have you looking out for them.

RubbishMantra Tue 21-Jun-16 14:42:43

*All kittens are born "wild", they've not been domesticated nearly as long as dogs. It seems as if through circumstance she didn't have the time/inclination to handle them enough in their first (most important) few weeks. In which case she should have employed a "kitten cuddler", essentially what you're doing now, but due to her negligence, from a distance.

Do they eat the treats you bring up to them, or wait until you leave the room?

What happens if you roll a ping pong ball/similar slowly towards them?

BibiBlocksberg Tue 21-Jun-16 17:10:59

They don't seem to recognise a treat just yet RubbishMantra.

Brought them some roast chicken & a handful of prawns (hey, they need pampering smile) left the open container in the middle of the room initially in the hope the smell might make them curious but nothing.

Wafted a bit under one kittens nose (i can sit near that one, the other two scatter in a panic) then left treats in front of her nose & retreated again, no reaction other than panicked breathing & saucer eyes.

In contrast, the living room kittens tucked right into their treats, jostling each other (and mum) out of the way to get more lol

Rolling ping-pong balls/making other toys move for the bedroom three also merely causes panic (although the catnip fish i brought looked chewed & played with after i'd gone)

RubbishMantra Tue 21-Jun-16 17:33:30

Maybe concentrate on the less freaked out girl? If you can gain her trust then maybe the other 2 will realise you're not a threat, and follow suit?

Do you leave the treats up there when you leave, and if so, are they gone the next morning?

Maybe try some tuna in spring water. My cats don't recognise prawns as food, they just look at me like wtf? And have you tried Kitty Crack (Dreamies). Mine favour the "Delicious Cheese and Tempting Beef" combo packs.

I noticed you said there was a back- story - dynamics between her and OH. If this is the result, quite frankly she should stop breeding animals, IMO.

I bet your heart breaks, seeing them frightened of a toy. sad flowers

RubbishMantra Tue 21-Jun-16 17:51:36

Just a thought (sorry, can't stop thinking about those little cats, who've been neglected for a year, until you came along) what about a laser pointer. Small enough not to freak them out, and won't make any noise. Just a dot on the wall, resembling a bug.

Does the breeder keep a window open for them, for fresh air, if they're cooped up in 1 room all of the time? Doubtful, because it's likely they'd escape. You could suggest a Flat Cat window screen, so they can at least get some fresh air. Only cost about £30, custom made to fit the window.

WannaBe Tue 21-Jun-16 17:58:41

How the hell is it that she has left these cats to their own devices for a year? sad and she's a breeder and runs a cattery? shock she should stop breeding for starters and should put some time into rehabilitating the cats she already has rather than exploiting the more sociable ones she has for money. angry.

I agree with a PP that if you can separate the cats from each other you will likely have better luck socialising them with people. Also they should be spayed ASAP, the woman sounds irresponsible enough to have them mated so she can sell their kittens before she palms them off somewhere.

BibiBlocksberg Tue 21-Jun-16 19:19:26

Thanks RubbishMantra (& everyone else posting here)

It's so lovely to see that i'm not the only one driven to help cats in a practical way. Have found over the years that a lot of people will notice the plight of an animal but it often stops at 'aw, aint it awful, someone should do something'

Makes me want to shout 'why don't you be that someone then'??'

Can't decide whether i'm simply a mad middle aged cat woman with an interfering 'god' complex or actually helping.

Good point about the prawns, my Jake (another rescue) didn't know what the heck they were when i met him, now a day doesn't go by where he doesn't ask for some smile

I have a can of tuna in the cupboard, i'll take that tomorrow & see what the response is.

The laser pointer is in my kitten 'kit' as well but not receiving a response atm, hopefully will in time.

Not much fresh air for the three kittens though i do put the window on the latch to let at least some flow in. Doubt the owner would want to fit a screen but i'll slip it in to conversation as a suggestion.

Can't go tonight after all as breeder is going out but am definitely going either lunchtime or after work tomorrow, i'll take some pics of the candidates then too, they are all so gorgeous (cream, caramel & jet black)

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