On Saturday evening Deborah brought us a little feral grey tabby in need of more socialization. He was always the timid one of the litter. His siblings were handsome, interested kittens but Button held back. While his littermates were adopted, Button was clinging to his mother and would not open up to human interaction, which would make it difficult for him to be adopted. The difficult decision was made to separate him from his mother and bring him here to socialize with us.
This arrangement was not only better for Button, but also for Ginger, the female orange tabby who is still waiting for a home, and who seemed lonely after we adopted out her brother.
Button arrived scared and immediately crawled into the cubby hole. Ginger went in to find out what it was about and snuggled with him. A good start. However, once Button started to explore the room Ginger started to hiss at him.
Button would let us pick him up but he really didn’t respond to human touch. Biscuit and Ginger started shy, but as soon as we touched them they wold purr and melt. They were easy to socialize. Two weeks later Ginger was affectionate and reasonably confident. Button, on the other hand is not affectionate and just scared.
Button crawled onto Marie’s lap. Well, really into a safe hole under her legs but close enough. He mostly hid and we let him do this. Ginger came out and demonstrated how receiving pets from a human was fun. Button got interested in Ginger’s purring and came to investigate but when the two got close Button flinched and they both jumped back and hissed. I introduced Button to the under-monitor cubby, which Ginger had abandoned. He seemed to like being near me. At the end of the day he appeared very relaxed.
Marie decided to sleep in the kitten room to give Button more time around people and to make sure the play between Button and Ginger never got too rough. The sleep cycle of kittens and people is somewhat different. Kittens tend to go through several sleep, eat, play cycles during the night while most people just want to sleep. But this night, there wasn’t much sleep to be had. Between trying to comfort one crying kitten, cleaning up the vomit of the other, and enduring the random play and missteps of both throughout the night, she couldn’t have had more than 4 hours of actual shut eye. Poor Button spent much of the night pacing and crying – we think calling for his mother.
While not affectionate, Button wanted to be closer to both of us.
Mainly, he missed his mom and kept calling for her with loud peeps. Our girl Luna sometimes walks around the house carrying a stuffed toy yowling in a plaintiff way. We always thought she may be looking for her lost kittens. As soon as Button heard Luna he was at the door peeping as loud as he could. Eventually I let him out. In contrast to his shy behavior he strode boldly into our bedroom, ears forward, tail held erect. He wanted to be friends with Luna but she was decidedly luke warm. Eventually he settled under our bed. After he had some rest there I brought him back into my office. There he found a mouse and started playing with it.
Through the afternoon I would bring out the mouse toy and play with both of them. When focused on play they were willing to get much closer to each other without hissing. By evening, when I left off playing with them Button would continue and Ginger then join in. They still have moments of surprise and hissing. Ginger appears to be much more wary of Button than Button is of her. Mainly, Button is having fun and relaxing.
Next is to get him to really enjoy being held and petted.