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Scared of us when we come home

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
We rescued two abandoned feral kitties about a month ago. We work mostly from home, so we're here most of the time - at least one of us is. When we do both go out, it is generally when they're asleep (during the day), and we usually come home while they're still asleep.

We've returned home twice while they were awake (we were only gone an hour). Shelly is just fine - wants to explore the grocery bags, etc. Lazlo, on the other hand, acts almost like he doesn't recognize us. He backs up, looks scared and freaked out. If I reach down to pick him up for a cuddle, he squirms away (and not like when he just doesn't want a cuddle), with claws if necessary, and races to his safe "hiding" place.

We coax him out with a treat, then play with him, and he gets back to normal.

Is there something we can do? Is this something that just takes time? Is there a chance he'll always be like this?

Thanks - don't want to scare our kitty just by coming home!
post #2 of 6
One month isn't really a long time for a cat to get very used to new people and a new home. In time the cats should be much more confident and relaxed, not assuming right off that someone entering the home could be dangerous. Right now, the one cat seems to be in surival mode, where the sudden appearance of a person could be dangerous.

Cats also do not actually have keen eyesight for details, and more so recognize others (people and animals) greatly by smell. Your cat cannot make out your face clearly when you first come in, so needs a while to get brave enought to get close enough to get a close-up look at you and to smell you to know you are you. Once he has lived in your safe, loving home long enough, he likely will not hide when you first come in. Being as he was a ferel, he likely will always be cautious when someone first comes in, though. Actually, two of my cats are timid when we first come in the house, backing up and taking long, careful looks before approaching. They were not ever ferel cats and one of them was born and raised in my house, no less. So some of it is just natural cat behavior.

Likely in a few months you will be wishing the cat moved away when you bring in groceries, instead of trying to get at whatever you have brought home. I have the darndest time trying to bring in an unpack groceries with all my "helpers" nosing around the bags.
post #3 of 6
One of my cats acts like this and he has been living with me for 8 years!!! I agree with galensgranny, that this is just the way some cats are. So...just let him have a few minutes to get adjusted and he will come to you on his own!
post #4 of 6
My Ophelia acts a lot like this. I *think* she was raised by a semi-feral mama cat until she got stuck in between the walls of our apartment when we stepped into her life. She is not at all comfortable around people except me and hubby. When we come home, she high-tails it out of the room. Now, only almost 3 years later, she will at least turn to look when we say her name, and if we approach her with our hand out in a non-threatening manner (palm down) she will sniff us and recognize us. It has taken a while. I think most of it is just her personality, which we can't change only adapt to.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thank you! I feel sooooo much better knowing it isn't something we did. And now we can try giving him a little time to recognize us instead of just approaching him and scaring him completely off. I love this site!
post #6 of 6
They do not respond like domesticated cat. I have a couple here I have had for years and when I come into a room unnannounced several of them flee like the devil is after them. Make an unexpected loud noise, and they run as well. I always stop at the doorway and announce my arrival with my special soft kitty call. That way, they know it is me and expect me to come through the door and aren't so startled. You will want to be careful when they are on your lap because a sudden loud noise could set them off and you will get scratched or bit. Not because they dislike you, but because they are programmed to respond in a survival mode and it the only thing they really know how to do.
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