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Advice for new addition...

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hello, this is my first visit...My name is Lynxie, and I have some concerns about our new addition. My husband and I just recently adopted a cat(we have adopted 2 others, but were kittens, and they adjusted quickly). He is a Maine Coon, male, 3 to 5 years old, and extremely shy. His foster mom gave me some history on him, he was abandoned or just wondered away from his original home, and was living under the porch next door to her. It took him some time to warm up to her and her husband before he wondered into their home one day, they are foster parents for our local Feral and Rescue Shelter. We had a "safe room" set up for him, in which he stayed in for several days, until my husband left the door open, he escaped during the night, and wondered down into the basement. He is in a corner of the laundry area. My question is, how long will it take him to come around? I know that some can take weeks...I am worried about his general health....is he getting enough to eat, and is he drinking enough to keep him hydrated? How long should I wait before I become really concerned. TIA for any advice you can offer!!
post #2 of 7
I've moved your thread to Care and Grooming so that the experts can help you out.
post #3 of 7
Is the basement cat-proof, and is it warm enough? I'd be concerned, given that it's winter and you live in Illinois. If not, is it possible for you to safely (for his sake and yours) move him back to the "safe room" (which, by the way, was the correct approach when bringing home a new cat).

None of us can say if he's eating and drinking enough because you did not mention how much food you are giving him. Maine Coons are large-sized cats so they'll need more than the average amount of food. Since he's very shy AND has suddenly been placed in a completely new and scary (for him) environment, it is likely that his food and water intake might be very small for the time being, until he begins to settle in. That being said, you have to make sure that he's at least eating something, and drinking some water if you aren't giving him canned food. Cats can develop significant health issues if they go too long (24-48 hours) without food.

As for how long that will take, it depends on the cat. Since he's shy it might taken him awhile. There are some basic things that you can do to help him get acclimated, both to his new home and his new owners:

● Get a Feliway plug-in diffuser. This is a product that, when plugged into an outlet (like a lot of air fresheners on the market today), releases pheromones into the immediate environment. The pheromones are absolutely undetectable by humans, but they serve to calm most cats down and, consequently, make them feel more safe and secure, which is high on the list of cat needs. Feliway doesn’t work for every single cat, but its success rate seems to be pretty high. The Feliway spray is a good alternative to the diffuser, but people seem to get better results with the diffuser.

● Instead of or in addition to the Feliway, you can put a drop or two of Bach’s Rescue Remedy into his water. This would also serve to relax him and make him less anxious about his new surroundings. But of course you’d need to be sure that he’s actually drinking water. You could also rub it on the back of his ears or add it to his canned food. But you might frighten him by attempting the former, and may make his food less appealing with the latter.

● Spend some time with him in the basement or the safe room. Get down onto his level because your size can be intimidating to him. Read a book out loud, or do some chores quietly. Even just sitting there is fine. You want him to get used to your voice and presence, and you want him to not view you as a threat. Do not look at him directly in the eyes, as cats tend to see this as threatening behavior. If your eyes meet, you can slowly blink while maintaining your gaze. Cats do the exact same thing with each other to connote friendly intentions. Ignoring him is actually better than trying to force yourself on him, which is a natural tendency for humans to do. If your schedule allows you to visit him at regular intervals, that’s even better. Cats love routine.

● Play with him. Your best bet is to use a wand / fishing rod type toy. This allows you to interact with him, helping to build a bond, but makes him feel safer because you remain at arm’s length. Da Bird is widely considered to be the greatest interactive cat toy ever made, and might be a good starting point.

Really, these suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg. I’m sure other members will post with additional ideas. Good luck and let us know how things are going.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks Robert! The basement is warm, and he is eating some of his food. I put out some tuna or his favorite food, Fancy Feast. I have been reading to him, from the book "Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul"...I read to him a couple of times a day. I did get some Feliway, and sprayed is around the area where he is hiding....so, hopefully he will come around, on his terms. Thanks again for all of your help, and advice.
post #5 of 7
I'd honestly set him up in a room where it is more "part of the house", more activity, etc. Pop in to visit him a lot....just give him time.

See you got some Feliway, good plan! Perhaps also try Rescue Remedy?
post #6 of 7
I don't know how effective rescue remedy is for cats, I've never tried it, but I can tell you it definitely helps humans!!
Good luck with him, it's so good of you to be doing this for him... If it's too hard for you to get him out of the basement without totally freaking him out (reducing his trust for you) perhaps think about setting up a trap? that way you can slowly take him up to the "safe room" without freaking you or him out too much.

He's a lucky boy =D I love Maine Coons, I reeeally want one!
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Well, I finally got him out of the basement, and back into the "safe room"...I will have to close the basement door, especially at night, and leave the safe room door open (it's our bedroom)....I at least want him to get use to the smells of the other kittys...Maxi, my female, is the most interested, Mac, on the other hand is, well, let's just say "docile"..he is my pure white, blue eyed boy...he was a rescue, but, he was a kitten when we brought him home. Thanks for all of your help and advice
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