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Should I cover up her hiding hole?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I posted on this site a couple of weeks ago. I am fostering and likely adopting a young (approx. 6 months) feral cat. I have had her for a little over 3 weeks and I kept her in a large wire kennle (5 feet x 3 feet) with a cat bench so she could look out the window. After 1 1/2 weeks I let her out in her own room. The room has a cushion from a futon on the floor so I can sit and or nap in there, a small side table, her kennle which she likes, and a cat tree (5 1/2 feet tall) with 3 hiding holes in it. The cat can go inside the cat tree and sleep or look out but you can't see her. The problem is ever since I let her out of the kennle she is almost always in her hiding hole. When she was in the kennle I could put treats by her paws and she could see what me and my other cats were doing. She would even get off her bench in the kennle and come down to say hi to the other cats in front of me while I was sitting on the floor next to her kennle. If she's in her hiding hole I can't really put treats right by her paws. I did that last wek and I guess I invaded her space and she gave a big hiss and slapped my hand with her paw. On the bright side she could have really raked me and didn't. My hand came away unscathed.

Since I let her out I rarely see her. Only if I accidently surprise her and she doesn't have time to get back to her hiding hole before I walk in. One positive thing, The other day she couldn't contain herself and stuck her head out of the hiding hole while I was there playing with my other cat. She just had to watch us. She loves my other cats.

Sorry for the big preamble. Here is my question: Should I block the hiding hole? That would only leave her kennle as a suitable safe place. I do have a carrier in there that my other cats like to sleep in but she doesn't use it. I hate to take her security away from her. She sleeps in there too. She does seem to be a little more relaxed and isn't curling up so tightly in the hiding spot...but I don't see her much and she can't really see us too well. Should I leave it or block it?

Any advice is appreciated.
post #2 of 19
I would leave it for now, it appears that she feels safe in there, it is probably small and dark, but it makes her feel safe.

I think you just need to be patient and let her feel more secure, just keep playing with your other kitties while she watches. I think she will learn more that way.

Please keep us updated on her progress.
post #3 of 19
Hello,

I have a cat that acts a LOT like your kittie. In fact, when I first got Sadie she was the same age as your cat.

Anyways, when I first got her she would hide in spots I couldn't see her. So I covered up all the areas I could just so that I would actually be able to see her. I thought that maybe forcing her to be around me would help her adjust... that was a big no. It made her even more skittish and in the end she would find a hiding place anyway So after a day (yeah, it didn't last long) I took everything away and let her hide where she wanted to.

It took a while but after a while she would come out more on her own. She would still run if I came near... but now she was sitting on the chair in the living room and playing with Stanley right in front of us. She would even come over to sniff us once in a while.

I have had her for a year now and although she still is extremely skittish she is a LOT better. She even sleeps on the bed with me!

I say leave that hiding space for your kitty and let her come out on her own. If you try and force her to be around you, I believe it will only make it worse... that's what happened with me and my Sadie.

It takes a LOT of patience to deal with a skittish kitty... but in the end it is definitely worth it.
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
I see in the picture of Sadie you have a harness on her. How long did it take before you could get a harness on her? All 3 of my other cats go outside in harnesses, but they've been wearing them since they were tiny. I found them when they were 2 1/2 weeks old. Their mother, a feral cat, disappeared. I'd never had cats in my life and of course I kept the whole litter (3). Now I'm a cat person. How can you not be.
post #5 of 19
Lyric - that's how we became cat people too!

Please let your foster feral just hide. Spending as much time as you can in the room - ignoring her - just doing whatever you need (or can) do in there is best. Reading out loud is great, if you can. A radio tuned to a classical station can help. Feliway can help. Turn the radio off and sing, if it's your thing.

Getting a t-shirt all sweaty and leaving treats out on it for her is also a good idea. Even though you can't leave them out near her, or even if she won't come out to eat them while you're in the room - she'll come to associate your smell with good things, even if you're not there.

Don't know how much you've read about socializing ferals, but this is a good reference: http://straypetadvocacy.org/html/soc...feral_cat.html

The main thing is to just let her get used to her new territory on her own timetable.



Laurie
post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post
Lyric - that's how we became cat people too!

Please let your foster feral just hide. Spending as much time as you can in the room - ignoring her - just doing whatever you need (or can) do in there is best. Reading out loud is great, if you can. A radio tuned to a classical station can help. Feliway can help. Turn the radio off and sing, if it's your thing.

Getting a t-shirt all sweaty and leaving treats out on it for her is also a good idea. Even though you can't leave them out near her, or even if she won't come out to eat them while you're in the room - she'll come to associate your smell with good things, even if you're not there.

Don't know how much you've read about socializing ferals, but this is a good reference: http://straypetadvocacy.org/html/soc...feral_cat.html

The main thing is to just let her get used to her new territory on her own timetable.



Laurie
I second this advice. She needs someplace to hide as she gains her acceptance of her situation. Go in the room and talk to her, read a book out loud, put in one of your stinky t-shirts into her hole, but let her choose her time to come out.
post #7 of 19
my three cats were outside ferals.

all my rescues were outside ferals.

i agree with those that advise to let her hide. she will come out little
by little as she feels safe.

if you push the issue you will probably end up taking 10 steps back.

they progress slowly but all of the sudden one day, could be weeks,
you look at her and there she is making progress just when you have
convinced yourself that no way is she ever going to make any progress.

each cat has fooled me every single time. each time i swear there is no
more progress to be made they take a tiny step forward and then it happens
again where i think they are done making progress and they do something
else LOL !!

she'll get there. it may take lots of patience. and you could buy one of
those felt string type toys on a rod and do some interactive play with her
from a distance. the good thing about those toys is that you can stay a
good distance away and she can feel secure. even if she does not respond
at first eventually she will.

good luck !!
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
It's been 4 weeks now that Lyric has been in her room. She likes her room and is starting to feel more comfortable around me, albeit slowly. She now spends at least 50% of her time out of the hiding hole in my presence; mostly on the windowsill behind the cat tree. Still hiding but not as completely as in her hiding hole.

Last night I had to close the window while she was on the windowsil as a storm was coming through. She sat there while I reached around the cat tree and slowly closed the window. She then jumped off and went to the center of the room, stoped, looked back and gave me a small hiss and went into the bathroom. None of this was really done in a panic but she obviously didn't like me towering over her closing the window.

My question is at what point do open the door and let her out of the room? My fear is that I would never find her or see her again. I have three floors and LOTS of hiding places. I hate to keep her in this one room for so long. She does seem comfortable there and never tries to get out. My other cats spend a good portion of the day with her by their choice. All I have to say is "Do you want to go see Lyric?" and they run up the stairs and are waiting at her door. It's pretty cute. Many times one or more will choose to sleep with her at night. So she is not alone most of the time. I just wonder when she should finally be able to come out?
post #9 of 19
she is totally fine in that room.

in my opinion you should not let her out until she freely comes to you
and lets you pet her and even more importantly lets you pick her up
at will.

if she is ever sick or injured you have to be able to pick her up.

she is totally fine where she is. she has a window and you have all her
needs and wants in that room. food, water, bed, toys etc.

and as long as you go in there and visit with her as much as possible
she will come around.

she really is fine but its sweet of you to worry about her.
post #10 of 19
I think you can let Lyric out if the other cats are with her now and you don't need to do an introduction with them. The other cats will let you know where her new hiding place is, they will show you. Waiting for her to come to you in the other room could take a long, long time.
Pru, our feral, lives under our sofa during the day and comes up to our bed at night. She is very nocturnal. She was just starting to come out into the open in the living room and laying with Sam on our radiator cover in the day. This is after a year and a half. She loves to be petted when she comes to us in bed, but she still runs when approached. We just brought a dog into the house 3 weeks ago, and she hasn't been up to see me at night, it will probably take a few more weeks. This is a big step back, but she will take one forward again, I just can't tell when.
We have to corner her to catch her and take her to the vets. She lets us pick her up, no fight and is a sweetheart at the vets, I think because she is so afraid.
Ferals can take a long time to come around, depending on their age when taken in and how they were treated by humans before, which is always an unknown. Good luck, sounds like she is doing well with your other cats.
post #11 of 19
of course in the end you should do what you feel best but in my
experience with ferals, all my cats are ex ferals, if you let her loose
in your house it will take her much much longer to come around to you
then it would keeping her in the room.

i just think that in the long run you are speeding up the progress by keeping
her in that room as long as possible.

do some interactive play with her.

also i find that when i lay on the floor completly flat like i am going to
go to sleep and play with one of their mice toys or a ball or something
like that i am much less threatening to them and that helps them come
around faster.

whatever you do i wish you much luck. you'll do good !!

have you posted pics of this sweetie yet ?
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the great advice. It's extremely helpful since I have never dealt with a feral before.

Yesterday and today when I walked into her room she was still out and not in her hiding place. I always let her know I'm there before I open the door so she can go to her hiding place before I come in. Yestyerday and today though, she was still out when I came in. She did go to her hiding place but not for several seconds and it was not in a panic. She still won't play with me but I will keep trying from a prone position.

I haven't posted her picture yet because up until just recently I haven't been able to actually see her. I'm going to try to get a picture by this weekend. She sure is a beautiful little girl. A blue point Siamese with perfect white mittens or gloves on all four feet. Deep blue eyes. Almost white fur on her body. Makes me think she must have some Birman because of the white mittens? Picture is coming.

Thanks again.
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prettyboy View Post
my three cats were outside ferals.

all my rescues were outside ferals.

i agree with those that advise to let her hide. she will come out little
by little as she feels safe.

if you push the issue you will probably end up taking 10 steps back.

they progress slowly but all of the sudden one day, could be weeks,
you look at her and there she is making progress just when you have
convinced yourself that no way is she ever going to make any progress.

each cat has fooled me every single time. each time i swear there is no
more progress to be made they take a tiny step forward and then it happens
again where i think they are done making progress and they do something
else LOL !!

she'll get there. it may take lots of patience. and you could buy one of
those felt string type toys on a rod and do some interactive play with her
from a distance. the good thing about those toys is that you can stay a
good distance away and she can feel secure. even if she does not respond
at first eventually she will.

good luck !!
Just an FYI - I agree with this advice. She's still in the process of making the one room her territory - she hasn't expressed any need to have more space. And she's not alone most of the time - and this way you're still able to be in her presence. I keep things status quo.

Laurie
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Lyric has been with us for 6 1/2 weeks now. She has never shown any indication that she was wanting to leave her room...until this morning.

We've gotten to the point where I can stand in the door way with the door open and Lyric will come out and even lie down in the middle of the floor...as long as I stay in the door way and don't come in. If I come in she will go to her hiding hole in the cat tree. If I get between her and her hiding hole she might give me a little hiss.

Well this morning after I fed her, cleaned litter box etc. I was standing in the door way with the door open part way and here comes Lyric..calmly walking across the room towards me. She walked right up to me looking up at me and then standing right in front of me...she wanted to go out. She didn't appear to be afraid. I closed the door because I had to go to work. I could tell she was still standing there.

OK, here's my question: Is it time to let her out? Also, I am moving in about 3 weeks about a mile away. She will have to get used to a whole new house then, right now it would just be getting used to another room. I do believe she will go back in her room now as that is her sanctuary but at night the cats all go to bed in their room or in Lyric's room. They love their room and troop down there at night when it's time for bed. They sleep with one of the boys who just turned 11 yesterday. I think she would go back to her room at night but I'm not sure. She sleeps with one or more of my cats at night.

Sorry to ramble. Should I let her out as she wishes? Or wait until we move?
I'm really stressing as to how to physically move her. How will I get her in a carrier without taking a giant step backwards in building her trust? I have one in her room now but she never goes in it. I guess that's a whole other topic.

Any advice at all is very welcome.
post #15 of 19
you know i kind of want to say since you are moving in 3 weeks that
you should not let her roam around the house.

this way she will only be getting used to a new room and not an entire
new house.

and i think you should start feeding her in the carrier every day.

this way when the time comes you can just close and lock the carrier
door behind her and not worry about how you are going to catch her.

also when you move cover the carrier which a sheet or something. it will
help keep her calm. try to keep her in as quiet spot as possible during all
the commotion. but i would put her in her carrier BEFORE any of the
commotion. if she starts hearing loud noises and voices she might get
freaked and not go in her carrier.... so put her in carrier before anything
begins.

good luck !! i'm sure you are doing great !! it sounds like she is coming
along very nicely !
post #16 of 19
I agree, I would get her settled before the commotion.

She sounds adorable. I hope she comes around!!

Do you have an update? Have you spent the night in the room with her yet? You may get a breakthrough that way!
post #17 of 19
Sounds like you've made the right decisions - and things are going well! The move is going to put you three steps back - that's just the way it is. But Pretty Boy's advice is great. Just remember - she started making progress!

Hope all goes well! Of course - we love updates, as always!



Laurie
post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the encouragement. It's been right around 7 weeks now.

She has definitely become more comfortable around me. If I stay in the bathroom preparing her food or cleaning the litterbox she will come out in the room. Also if I stand in the doorway with the door open she will come out.

We had a breakthrough the other day I feel. I was giving the other cats "cookies" in the doorway and Lyric really wanted some too. She came within 1 or 2 feet from me hoping for a cookie. Also, every morning and evening when I open the door to her room she is RIGHT there. She wants to come out and she tries to poke her head out. I can't let her out yet because of the move. I thought she was coming through last night and I put my hand down and she hissed at me. I haven't had her hiss at me in a long time so I felt a little hurt. She WANTS to be part of things more and be able to go where the other cats go. She still won't play with me no matter what toy or wand type toy I try. She watches me play with the other cats but that's it. I know she likes to play because she is a kitten ( probably around 6- 7 months now) and I hear them going crazy in the room running around when I'm not there.

I feel like things are progressing. I just wonder if she will ever really feel or show affection like my other cats. Right now I feel like she views me as a necessary nuisance; I bring food, cookies, and the other cats with me.

She sure is CUTE Wow, what a gorgeous girl. She is a blue point Siamese with nearly white fur on her body and pure white mittens, and she has this little heart/triangle shaped face. Tooo cute.

It seems slow, but we are making progress. I just hope that she will be able to feel the affection that the other cats I know feel towards me and others in the family. It makes their life happier to be able to receive the love we give them and of course I LOVE affection they give back.
post #19 of 19
She will learn to love being loved - she has already made SO MUCH progress! I know it feels like forever. But it will happen. And it will be glorious.

When you have time and a lot of tissues, you should read through this thread: http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=38252

Unfortunately due to a server crash, the original thread was lost, but this is a link to the new thread started for "Pengy." A member (Noni - Michele) rescued an older, injured feral. Because of her funny walk, she was named Penguin. Michele's original post was found by someone in a google search, and it's posted somewhere later in the thread.

You have a younger kitten rescue - she wasn't abused, she wasn't hurt. So her timetable already is far ahead that of Penguin. But it might be really helpful and encouraging for you to read through Pengy's thread.

But do make sure you have lots of tissues handy!



Laurie
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