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Hiding cats- help

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

My sister got two cats who are about 6 months old about a week before Christmas. They were strays, the woman she got them from had caught them and their mother to get them out of the cold. My question: The cats have been hiding ever since. How long did it take your cats to come out and be comfortable with you? Mine were 6 weeks old when I got them and played with us the first night, so I don't know what to tell my sister. Did you do anything special to get them out and get them used to you? She has their food and litter box in her room, and they come out for those, but only when she's asleep or not there. I was thinking of giving her some catnip to try to entice them, but I don't know if that's a good idea since they're still terrified of her and my parents. Any ideas?

post #2 of 5
Strays take awhile for them to warm up to you. Have your sister go into the room where they are and sit on the floor and start reading out loud to them, softly. Do this about 10 minutes every day. If they start to get bold and come out to see her, tell her not to make eye contact with them, just ignore them. Let them tell her what they are comfortable with.

Play classical music very softly for them during the day in the room, dim the lights. Set up some empty cardboard boxes with holes cut in them so the cats can pass in and out of the boxes easily around the room. Let them know they are in a kind place and there are escape routes available. Weight the boxes down with books so the cats don't tip them over.

Take a shirt that your sister got really sweaty and put it underneath their food bowl. Buy an interactive toy- feathers on a stick are the best, but I just use peacock feathers. Sit on the floor and just move the feather around from time to time, again, if they come out of hiding, don't make eye contact. Strays and ferals run by a different code than do domesticated kittens and cats. It takes time for you to find the trust issue, but once you do- it is wonderful! Here is an article that I wrote about ferals, perhaps it will help you and your sister to understand some of what you might be up against.

Good luck!Ferals
post #3 of 5
It could take months for the kitties to get used to people. Your sister needs to spend time in the room ignoring the kitties. Maybe she could just sit and read to them. She shouldn't react if they come out or reach toward them in any way. I'm sure Hissy can give you a lot of advice as she rescues kitties all the time. She is an expert in this area.
The younger kittens haven't learned to fear people yet and are easier to bring around.
post #4 of 5
Hissy beat me to it! LOL
post #5 of 5
LOL I think we posted at the same time.

Also kittymama- you might want to check out this thread here. When Sandie first got Lucky, she was so overwhelmed by the immensity of the cat's fearfulness that she almost gave up. If you read her story, you will see that she now has a wonderful companion that trusts her explicitly, because through all of us guiding her she learned that with ferals, you take your cues from them, and you lower your expectations of what they should do. Again, they are completely different from a cat who has been brought up with love, like at Dragon Lady's cattery or in a private home.

Lucky's Story

I have fourteen ferals, and i love them all and they respect and love me back. I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world.
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