Thursday, March 13, 2014

Teaching Charlotte to play


Since Charlotte is skittish in new situations and with new stimuli, each opportunity to play brings new challenges to do it in a way that teases her kitten instincts and pushes them to over come her fear.

Here is a video of how she plays with a toy she is used to playing with.  She tends to 'retreat' to safety and wait and observe before needing to pounce again.

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The first time I broke out the turbo scratcher and made the ball go around she ran and hid for quite some time. Then she would come out and observe it from the safety of her 'Basket of Safety" - for some reason she has deemed this basket a safe place, akin to being under the sofa.

Charlotte in her Basket of Safety looking at the Turbo Scratcher
Charlotte in her sweater reaching out to touch the ball

After watching it for a while she'll reach out and attempt to play with it, but it is hesitant and she is still quite unsure of it. Most kittens can not resist looking at the ball when it spins around the track very quickly, so after Charlotte got used to the sound and realized it wasn't growling at her, I spun the ball VERY quickly..

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She seems to really like it, but you can feel the internal turmoil in her of the want to play and the want to get away.. you can't really see it in the video above, because you can not see the entire room, but she will hunker down next to the toy, and when I spin it, she will often get up, run over the toy, do a circle run around the room sometimes even running back over the toy again, and end up hunkered down next to it again waiting for me to spin it again.  At one point in the video she has climbed up on my shoulder and I attempt to show her on the screen.. it really is far cuter in person then it is on this video.. I can only hope I captured some of it for you.

She still hesitates when playing with the fishing pole toy too.  As much as she loves it, after one of her more spectacular moves she'll run under the couch and .. well frankly I don't know why she does it.. but I recorded us playing and it went from an almost four minute video to what you see below with all of her 'time outs' edited out..

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I think we are at the point where I can't do much more for her here.  I'll try to bring her upstairs to another room and see how long it takes her to adapt to change. I wish I could bring her to work, because I know it would be a huge benefit to her... so much so I am tempted to do it over the weekend when there is no one to object.. She simply needs to be introduced to new stimuli and survive, and each time she does it will build her self confidence that she can tackle new things and it will help her be a better pet.

16 comments:

  1. You are doing a great job of teaching Charlotte how to be a kitty!

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  2. Charlotte looks so cute in her safe basket.
    With you help, she sure will build self confidence and play more :-)

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  3. I think it's fine if Charlotte always hangs back a bit and needs to check new things out carefully, even toys. You've done a wonderful job with her!

    And my goodness, Derry will be 7 in June, with me for over 6 years now, and still is hesitant and wary of new things, or will run if I pick up a pillow and carry it, or a garbage bag or whathaveyou. He's my scaredy cat and it's okay. :-)

    So Charlotte seems normal to me...We all have different personalities and we just take each other as we are, yes? (NOT suggesting that you shouldn't build her confidence, just that she might always tend to be skittish with new things/situations and that okay!)

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    1. Yup. It is perfectly OK if she never is able to deal with new things in any other way but this, but while she is still young and there is still time to mold her and help her understand and build her self confidence, I'm going to work on it.. My own kitty Eli is 12 and he still scrabbles and runs for the proverbial hills at new sounds..

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  4. She's really come so far since you've had her. It would be great if she went to a home with another cat who could show her how much fun being a cat is, and to give her more confidence.

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  5. Charlotte is delightful and I love her little sweater too :-)

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  6. Great work with Charlotte...she is such a beautiful girl. Glad to hear she is making strides but understand your feelings....paws crossed the right home will be able to work and play with her and she will over time be a confident kitty.

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  7. You are such a good and patient foster mom. I think the time you spend building her self confidence will pay off big time. My little feral kitten (now 4 years old) is a loving 2 person cat because he was only socialized by my husband and me. Mickey Mouser runs in terror from visitors and hides in the basement. I don't mind if no one ever sees him. I do feel sad that he's so frightened.
    Maggie

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  8. You're doing a fabulous job with Charlotte. Whoever does become her forever pawrents will be getting a beautiful wonderful cat thanks in big part to you!

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  9. she's coming along slow but sure,xx Rachel

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  10. the more you know, the easier to educate her new family. :) but it certainly seems like she is learning that things are ok - even after they seemed scary.

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  11. I have an empty room right now if she needs a get-away overnight ;-) Then I could cuddle her.

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  12. She's making progress...thanks to you. :)

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  13. It sure sounds like you are doing a wonderful job with Charlotte. She is lucky to have you. And she is one of the most adorable little kittens I've ever seen!!! Irresistible.

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  14. I just love that little kitty so much! More Charlotte, please! Congrats on her progress. You're doing a great job. :)

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  15. Faraday will always be skittish - as Charlotte, we suppose...?

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