Help with adjusting a new kitten?

Krienze

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We adopted Jasper, and he adjusted great. But Mia's a little less socialized than Jasper is. She's huddled in the back of a crate we have to introduce the animals to each other with, and isn't interested in the food we put down for her. She's hissed several times at Jasper, though that could be because he's kind of obnoxious and keeps trying to boop her through the bars. Other than that, she seems to just be chilling and watching.

Mostly I'm worried about the best ways to keep her from becoming too scared with the dogs. Any advice?
 

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Hi. How old are they? And, were they adopted at the same time? When were they adopted? A cat/kitten who is huddled in the back of a crate and isn't interested in food had better be one that you just very, very recently adopted. It sounds to me like Mia needs a safe room - not a crate - all of her own so that she can be more relaxed, and, for now, away from the other pets. Are you aware of proper introduction steps? If not, there are several articles on this site that might be of help. I will be happy to provide them to you if you aren't already aware of them.

More details about the circumstances/situation would really be helpful for members on this site in order for them to be able to offer you some advice.
 
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Krienze

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Hi. How old are they? And, were they adopted at the same time? When were they adopted? A cat/kitten who is huddled in the back of a crate and isn't interested in food had better be one that you just very, very recently adopted. It sounds to me like Mia needs a safe room - not a crate - all of her own so that she can be more relaxed, and, for now, away from the other pets. Are you aware of proper introduction steps? If not, there are several articles on this site that might be of help. I will be happy to provide them to you if you aren't already aware of them.

More details about the circumstances/situation would really be helpful for members on this site in order for them to be able to offer you some advice.
Unfortunately, we don't have a separate room that she can have all to herself which is why we've been using the large crate. Yes, though, the one huddled in the back of the crate (it's more like a big cage, actually) is Mia -- the newly adopted kitten. Jasper's not afraid of any of the other animals. And I'm hoping her nervousness is just because it's her first day.

She and Jasper are litter-mates, but were not adopted at the same time. We adopted her about a month after adopting him. She was adopted today (took her to the vet and had her tested for everything, she's negative and the vet gave her a clean bill of health.)

They are around 7 months old.

She's very affectionate and will let me pet her, though too much noise will send her running again.She seems confident with me when I'm petting her and seems to LOVE attention, I was able to sit on the floor and pet her, but was hesitant to pull her to far out because she seemed comfortable hiding in the corner.
 

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You've got to work with the space you've got! It might take longer to get her more comfortable being in a cage though. Maybe cover some portion of the cage so she feels she can sort of hide when she needs to? How about using your bathroom with the door closed to allow her some time out of the cage while you sit with her?
 

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Totally normal and expected that she is fearful in a new place with other animals. She likely doesn’t remember her brother since it has been a while and he has a different smell. So she is going to hiss at him and even take a swipe at him if he gets too close. If youhave to keep her in a crate then cover all but the front with a blanket so that she has a back corner she can feel she is hiding in.

In any case, kittens do adjust quickly and she will probably do much better in a couple of days. I would try to keep the dogs away from her until she has had longer to adjust and explore. Hopefully they are trained to sit, stay and “leave it” to give her some space.
 
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Krienze

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She's perking up in the crate now. It seems like the more I reach in and touch her, the more she comes out of her shell a bit.

Our other cat, Sammy, just came over to sniff around her and she seemed fairly relaxed with him. She moved to the middle of the cage instead of the back an is now exploring it. She kind of seems interested in coming out actually, though I'm going to give her just a bit before I open the door. Either way, she isn't huddled anymore and doesn't seem tense with fear.

No hisses between her and Sammy save for one as he was walking away -- she hisses at Jasper, I think, because he's obnoxious as heck and keeps trying to reach in to 'boop' her or swipe her food (even though he ate, little pig x.x)

Either way, seeing her moving around is such a relief.
 
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More good news and some relief for you, I am sure!!!
VERY! She's back to huddling again, but this time it's more in the middle of the crate and it's more like laying and observing and less huddled. Honestly, I think she might just be napping at this point.
 
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Small update: I thought she wasn't eating because she was scared.

Turns out she doesn't like wet food.

I have never had a cat who didn't like wet food!
 

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Small update: I thought she wasn't eating because she was scared.
Turns out she doesn't like wet food. I have never had a cat who didn't like wet food!
Glad that you figured this out, and now know she will eat something! You can worry about trying to transition her to some wet food down the road!
 
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UPDATE:

She's still nervous. She doesn't like loud noises (like the sound of the dogs going nuts when they get let out) and that causes her to huddle back a bit. The good news is, she seems to gain confidence when you pet her. She's very, very comfortable with humans. I'm not really sure how she was fostered, but she's severely under socialized and seems skittish. It sort of breaks my heart, but I refuse to give up on her! She has a lot of flea bites, too. and seems so under weight compared to Jasper, who was her litter mate. So it makes me wonder what kind of conditions she was kept in.

Today we placed Jasper in the 'crate o' meeting' and let her have free reign of the house. So far, despite her hissing at him when she was in the crate, she seems to stay near the crate with him in it. She either sits beside it and stays still while he reaches his paw out to 'pet' her, or goes to sit in a corner. This morning she huddled in her litterbox when the dogs were put out, but a few pets and cuddles and she was coming out a bit. Now, outside of the crate, she's finding corners -near- it that she's sitting in. I say sitting, because she's not really huddled. She's just sitting, even grooming herself from time to time.

She doesn't seem to know how to play. The chimes on the feather scared her, but when my mom tossed a little ball toward her, she did get interested in that and she'll watch the laser. Currently unsure if this is new-home jitters or if she really just doesn't know how to play.

When in the crate, she's pretty good with the dogs. They sniff and she's fine, though she'll hiss if they get a little too rambunctious near her. With our cat Sammy, she doesn't really seem to hiss at all, unless he gets WAY to close for her comfort and even that seems rare. She mostly seems to hiss the most at Jasper. She'll hiss at him even if he's far away from her crate. Which is why it's kind of odd that she seems to stay near the crate with him in it, or that she'll let him pet her. It could just be a reintroduction phase for her, since from what I understand she'd been sort of sick so they separated her from the other kittens (no worries, we took her to the vet the second we picked her up and she tested negative for aids, feline leukemia and heart worms! Vet said we have a perfect kitten.)

As I write this, she is still in the corner -- but I just heard the sound of a ball rolling. I looked over and I see one of the balls we bought near the corner. I think she might be semi-playing, but can't be sure. I'm trying to give her space to come out on her own (though she doesn't seem to mind being babied at all. I'm just not sure if coddling too much is a good thing.)

Look, we had a nervous cat once -- CiCi. We could never help her recover. She'd been separated from her mother too young, never had real cat interactions and was heavily abused. So we did our best to make her comfortable. I really want to see Mia blossom, so any advice you guys have would be so appreciated.

FeebysOwner FeebysOwner I did want to mention to you that I took some of what you said into consideration and I'm in the process of clearing out our old guest room. It's become a 'storage' room of sorts. I have been decorating it in my mind. I'm thinking we can turn it into a little kitty play room. My mom wants to use it for our crafts (we make and sell handmade goods), and that's fine. I think. The cats don't seem to mess with anything (so thrilled... Jasper and Sammy are not at all interested in yarn! my crochet is safe!) but I think we can put up some cat trees and shelves in there, and there is a big window I think a window sill cat shelve might work GREAT in. Until then, we have a huge master bathroom we might put her in. Our dog, Benito, was abused when we found him and has never gotten over 'flooring' -- yeah that's an issue we have, believe it or not. He walks fine on carpet, but will NOT go into my moms bathroom (vet suggested maybe a bathroom was a room he was abused in, but we'll never know.) so considering that room is a 'no dog' room, I'm thinking it might be a good place to set things up for her until the other room is cleaned out. My only issue with that is I can't -see- her that easily. So I'm thinking we'll only put her in that room at night.
 

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I am glad that you are working on a safe room for her! And, you could consider setting up a folding gate (see more about that later in this post) to place on the bathroom door so you could see her in there whenever you place her there. The lower part of the gate could even be covered with a blanket/towel so visibility is limited as you see fit. I think the bathroom - and, then an upgrade to a bedroom - is good because it allows her to 'check out' and become comfortable in a smaller space initially, which isn't as overwhelming as a large room. That might be partly why she huddles reasonably close to the crate/cage when you let her out of it - a big room to deal with, not to mention that she might not be too sure when another animal might 'show up' which at this point probably makes her feel vulnerable. She does sound like she is coming around a bit - so, I think you will continue to see more positive changes and her confidence building up over time.

About the folding gate - you can by shelving from a DIY store, set it on its side and hook as many sections as you need together with zip ties. The zip ties act as a hinge so the 'gate' can be easily folded open and closed. The shelving can be bought in lengths (in this case for your purposes, heights) as tall as the door if need be. Here is a pic for illustration:
 

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Krienze

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I am glad that you are working on a safe room for her! And, you could consider setting up a folding gate (see more about that later in this post) to place on the bathroom door so you could see her in there whenever you place her there. The lower part of the gate could even be covered with a blanket/towel so visibility is limited as you see fit. I think the bathroom - and, then an upgrade to a bedroom - is good because it allows her to 'check out' and become comfortable in a smaller space initially, which isn't as overwhelming as a large room. That might be partly why she huddles reasonably close to the crate/cage when you let her out of it - a big room to deal with, not to mention that she might not be too sure when another animal might 'show up' which at this point probably makes her feel vulnerable. She does sound like she is coming around a bit - so, I think you will continue to see more positive changes and her confidence building up over time.

About the folding gate - you can by shelving from a DIY store, set it on its side and hook as many sections as you need together with zip ties. The zip ties act as a hinge so the 'gate' can be easily folded open and closed. The shelving can be bought in lengths (in this case for your purposes, heights) as tall as the door if need be. Here is a pic for illustration:

Yeah, I'm not really sure what her situation was like at the fosters though I believe she was kept isolated, which is probably part of her problem. We might have to wait on a gate, mostly because our state is on 'stay at home' orders, sigh.
After I initially posted, I went to check on her. She let me pick her up, so now she's sitting with me at my desk, walking around, forcing me to pet her and cuddling in my arms. I definitely don't have to force her to accept affection, she loves it. Almost seems starved for it, actually. But man, the more I hold or pet her, the more I feel like I realize how bony she is. I don't think she ate well at all.
 
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Krienze

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Anyone got any advice on how to get her to eat?

She's so thin, but seems so uninterested in food (she ate a few cat treats though, like two of them)
 

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Didn't you say she doesn't like canned food? You could try getting some nutritional pastes to see if she would eat those - perhaps even start to entice her to eat something other than dry. Do you have any idea what she was eating before? If you aren't trying to give her that food, I would buy it and see if that would 'jump start' her to eating again. How about canned tuna or chicken in water? Baby food meats (no onion, garlic, etc.). Another thing members have suggested on this site is Kentucky Fried Chicken or a similar type chicken - again, just with the idea to get her eating more. All of these are temporary solutions until you can convince her to eat her own food (for balanced nutritional reasons).

Maybe some ideas in this article?
How To Get Your Cat To Start Eating Again – Cat Articles
 
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Krienze

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WELL, I thought she didn't like canned food. She ate just a small amount of dry food then was done with that.

So, I took a spoon and put some wet food on it and very gently booped her nose so that she was forced to lick it. The second she did, she started gobbling up the food on the spoon and is now devouring an entire can of wet food.

I really think she must have been kept in some really bad care =(
 
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Krienze

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Thankfully she seems to only eat what she wants, but MAN! She was gobbling it there for a bit. I'm sort of glad she realizes she likes the wet food, because feeling her hip bones is concerning
 
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All right, end of the day update time:

So she stayed out pretty much all day. When she wasn't being held (contently do) she was hiding. Sometimes far from Jasper's crate, other times right near it.

She ate some of a can of cat food and the rest of it is now in the crate with her, and a bowl of water. She has access to a litter box and just went inside of it the second we put her in the crate (she didn't use the one out in the house but I am thinking that's because it's too small and maybe I need to order a larger one.)

We're making headway in the room we're clearing out for her, but we still have a bit to go, so she's back in the crate for tonight.

She's still hissing at Jasper and we haven't introduced them face to face just yet, because I'm worried about a cat fight breaking out between them. Jasper's not aggressive, but he is incredibly playful.

After talking to the woman at the rescue, she said the woman who was fostering Mia had a lot of cats and worked a lot of hours, so that might play a roll in why Mia is as under socialized as she is. The woman said Mia doesn't like to play with other cats -- but I'm unsure how much of this is accurate vs how much was just her being isolated because the foster was to busy to really introduce the cats, etc. What do you guys think here?

She IS moving around her crate a bit more freely and seems interested in the noises Jasper is making, I THINK.

She definitely does not know how to play though. We tried the feather and laser and neither of those really got her attention. She has a few stuffed toys in the crate, but hasn't played with them either.

All in all, I guess she seems more lively today than she did yesterday. Would love to hear thoughts and feed back, as well as suggestions on what I can do to help her adjust to the house and other animals.

She does not seem motivated by food, I don't think, sadly. So I don't know how effective behind the door feeding would work with her.

Edit: The dog spooked her by accident and now she's back to huddling up, but she's alert and watching still. No hissing at the dogs.
 
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I think she just needs more time to adjust, and more attention. Keep doing what you are doing. Giving her a bit more space than the crate should help. Where I am at, places like Lowes/Home Depot are considered 'essential' stores, so I would hope they fall into that category where you are. If not, baby gates, you could probably order on line, might be an option - double stacked, if need be.

The playing will probably come some time down the road. More time for her to get accustomed to things is in order before she really is going to feel like playing. She is absorbing what is going on around her, and that is taking up most of her focus.

If you are worried about 'beefing her up', go with some of the ideas in the article above.
 
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