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Adopted a new cat and totally lost - Please help me with the basics

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Today I went and adopted a 1 year old female cat. Its chipped, vacced and basically everything is above board.

She won't eat or drink and its been nearly 9 hours. She either chases her own tail around the house or naps. I'm very concerned for her.

I've spent the last few hours sitting with her putting the food and water infront of her. She has now become hostile towards me.

My only experience with caring for a cat was for a few months when my roomate had to leave for a family matter. It was a joy, her cat was loving and easy to look after.

My mother and grandmother live with me and have cared for cats for over 20 years. They also have no clue of what to do.

Is she just scared still? We got her from the humane society. Are we just missing something obvious? We weren't told of any kind of behavior like this from the shelter and they warned us of another cat that was moody.

I'm just getting very worried here.

Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 9
Sometimes it takes a while for a cat to become comfortable in new surroundings. She needs time to get used to her new home. You could take her to the vet to rule out any physical problems but then just give her some time and let her approach the food, water and you in her own time. Every cat is different and maybe she is not used to the type of food you have provided. Maybe some wet food along with the dry, if that is what you are using would be helpful.

Keep us updated on how it is going. Thanks.

post #3 of 9
She probably is a little bit shy from just being in a new home - its a pretty big change to go from a shelter to a new home with all its new sights and smells and what now.

Probably the best thing you can do for this girl is to put her in a room by herself, if you can. Keep the lights low, give her food, water, and a litterbox. If you can manage it, play some soft classical music or something else soothing in the background.

Don't force her to interact with you at first - spend a little time in the room with a book and just quietly read out loud. She will eventually come to you, but let her make all the first moves.

Once she is used to the room she is in, you can slowly start introducing her to the rest of the space. I don't know what your living situation is, but if its more than one room, just let her go one room at a time, as much as you can manage.

If you have the money for it, you could also invest in something called a Feliway diffuser. (I hope I got that name right...) Its supposed to be good for calming kitties down.

It may take a few weeks or so, or just a few days for her to come around. Just be patient, she will!

I hope these suggestions help you - thank you for giving this girl a new home!
post #4 of 9
Welcome to the world of cats!

Thank you for rescuing an older kitty in need of love and a home.

You may find this piece helpful: http://www.thecatsite.com/Care/18/Br...a-New-Cat.html

It is in the cat care section - up next to the logo at the top. You may want to spend some time reading through a number of the articles in the Cat Care section and the Cat Behavior section of The Cat Site.

Your kitty is scared and terrified - she doesn't know you as someone to trust. She may not really know what love is, so she may not really know she wants it.

Cats are territory oriented, so Sandtigress' advice to seclude her in a room at first is a great idea. Make sure she's got boxes to hide in, places she feels safe. This is the most important thing first - that she feel safe. Spend time in there, letting her get used to the sounds of the house, of your voice. When she's comfortable, she'll watch you, or she'll come to you.

In the meantime, you can take an old t-shirt, get it really sweaty, and put it out in the morning in her room with treats on it. Do that again in the evening. This will help her come to associate you with good things.

Cats learn best, easily and quickly by association.

Keeping a regular schedule of when you go into her room to read, to just hang out, to fill her food dish, to clean her water dish, to scoop her litter - this will help. Cats love things being regular (if possible). Also, a low knock on the door before you enter will help her too.

The most important thing is that she come to feel comfortable where she is - this may take time. As she gets comfortable with her new space, she should be learning that you want nothing from her.

Make sure there are little toys scattered in there for her to play with. I dont' know her background - she may not know what play is. But if she does, she'll probably play with the things when you're not around.

Wand toys are great - but do NOT leave them anywhere she can get at them when you're not around.

The most important ingredient in bringing a new cat home is time. The next step is trust. And that comes with comfort levels in the new space - and time.

And we're here for any further questions. But the articles are loaded with great info.

You may also want to check out socializing ferals information in the Caring for Strays and Ferals forum. Your kitty isn't feral - but the same tricks for socializing ferals works with all cats.

post #5 of 9
How is your new kitty doing now?? Has she eaten anything overnight?
post #6 of 9
Everyone has been offering excellent advice.

I want to add that maybe try a different kind of food. When I first got Cindy home, she wouldn't eat either. I went to the store and got a bunch of different cans of food (she was getting dry at the shelter, and wouldn't touch it here) and finally found something she would eat.

Also I want to second the advice of getting a feliway diffuser. It's either called that or Comfort Zone. It's not especially cheap, but at least for Cindy, it worked wonders.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
thanks for the great advice, she has a room to herself now. a bed and lots of natural places to hide (behind stuff, ect)

she finally ate today, we figured the original food was too hard so we just cooked up some rice and fish for her. she couldn't get enough.
post #8 of 9
Glad it worked out. The others provided good advice. Nine hours isn't very long at all. It can take weeks or even months before a new cat is used to the home and confident and comfortable there, so just be patient and know that a lot of the behaviors you'll see aren't reflective of the cat's real personality. Expect some strange stuff as she settles in.

Maybe you should introduce wet cat food... could be that she's never eaten dry food before and is used to wet.
post #9 of 9
t sounds like she is settling in. I can't offer any advice that is better than what you have received! Keep us posted and please post photos!
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