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Hi! I'm a Newbie!....Help!

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I recently adopted a 3-5 year old white, long-haired, blue-eyed cat, named Maddox. Maddox is deaf...and VERY skittish. I brought him home on Saturday night, and he did not eat for two days. Two nights ago he sneaked out and took a few bites of food (the same he has eaten for the passed year), and then he darted back under my bed (his favorite spot) once I looked in his direction. He recently started using the litter box. He has peed only twice; no bowel movement yet. He does not like to be held, but he does like for me to pet him. He freaks out at the sight of anyone. Even when I enter the room he takes off. I don't know what to do. I know I haven't had him long, but I'm afraid that he will always be like this. I really want us to work out, but he is soooo not cuddly or loving. I have never owned a cat before, and I'm feeling a little discouraged right now. I don't know what kind of past he has, but he is terrified of people. Since he is an adult, can that be changed? I do not want to give up on him.
post #2 of 13
I'm deaf myself and I've owned a deaf dalmation. I think it applies to deaf cat. I turn the light on to inform the deaf pet I'm here. Do not make a lot stomping noise on the floor, it would scare the cat while sleeping or gazing. Tap the cat's back to get attention. I don't have a lot offer but just based on my experience with the deaf dalmation. She passed away on May 8, 2006.
Also do not let him go outside at all. He is in higher risk of getting injured by car, animals, etc.
If you know American Sign Language, great... If not, You can go on
and pick the words to learn the sign and sign it to the deaf cat. Identify the object first then sign... it takes practice and patience to communicate with your cat this way. You can't talk verbally so that's out of question. lol
Hope this helps!!!
Good luck!
post #3 of 13
Hello Maddox's mom!! Welcome to TCS! I'm sure your new baby will be fine after he gets settled in. I hope you'll post pictures soon!!
post #4 of 13
Welcome to The Cat Site and you deserve commendation for taking on a "special needs" cat --- especially for your first one!

My advice: don't panic. This (the running and hiding, the "holding it in", etc.) is common behavior for many cats, deaf or not, when they are moved from a location that is familiar to them. Territory is very important to a cat and when the cat is suddenly in unfamiliar surroundings, it can be extremely stressful. Throw in the fact that he is deaf, and the stress increases greatly.

Don't force yourself on him. Don't force him to do anything. Just keep him in a nice small room with everything that he needs, including a couple of "hiding places" like empty boxes. Let him get used to the smells and the vibrations of the house and its occupants on his own timetable. Get a T-shirt nice and sweaty and put it under his food bowl, or put treats on top of the T-shirt. That'll help him associate your scent with good things. Play with him using an interactive, fishing pole type like Da Bird. With this toy, you keep your distance so he doesn't feel threatened, and he can focus on playing instead. Look into Feliway diffusers, which release "happy" synthetic pheromones that mimic the ones found in his cheek. Or add a few drops of Rescue Remedy to his water. Either or both of these might help to calm him down.

And of course you want to avoid sudden movements or "sneaking up" on him.

As taterbug said, it is highly, highly likely that he will be fine once he settles in. Within a few weeks you'll shake your head at how far he's come along. Cats just need to feel secure in their environment before they can be cuddly or loving.

Good luck and feel free to ask lots of questions!
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks, you guys! I feeel so welcome

Thanks for the advice. It is really, I mean, really hard not to just pick him up and force him to cuddle. He's so fluffy! I really just want him to get comfy. So, should I just ignore him and act like I don't know he is here?
post #6 of 13
I really don’t know much on this issue but I wanted to say thank you for adopting him! It’s really amazing for you to adopt a special needs cat as your first pet. Cant wait for pics!
post #7 of 13
Yes, I'd ignore him and let him come to you. Cats -- particularly ones who are in a new environment and scared -- can interpret direct eye contact and attention as threatening. Someone who's calm but doesn't give much attention is showing the most catlike behavior in the cat's view. This is how cats act with each other; direct gazes are a threat, and looking away is polite and proper.

You've only had the cat a few days. Expect it to take several months before the cat stops feeling scared and is fully confident and comfortable in a new home. My cat spent most of his time under the bed for the first few months, particularly retreating there to sleep. Cats are very territorial, so being in a new, uncharted environment is very scary for them; so they hide and tread very carefully until they know it's safe.
post #8 of 13
Originally Posted by Maddox's Mom View Post
I know I haven't had him long, but I'm afraid that he will always be like this. I really want us to work out, but he is soooo not cuddly or loving. I have never owned a cat before, and I'm feeling a little discouraged right now. I don't know what kind of past he has, but he is terrified of people. Since he is an adult, can that be changed? I do not want to give up on him.

I completely understand how you're feeling -- my roommate and I have adopted 3 rescue kitties, and the first two were simply scared to death of us when we initially brought them home at around age 12 weeks. We were able to toss them in the litter box, show them the food bowl, and then they disappeared under furniture for the next couple weeks. I still have some adorable photos of the little girl hiding under end tables and hissing madly at us.

What I can offer is that they got better. They're still a bit skittish, particularly around new people, but they definitely love and trust the two of us, and will follow us around the house (although I'm a bit in the doghouse for "harboring" our newest kitty addition and her kittens...). We just let them live in the same space as us for a week or so, and then started giving them treats and petting them as they ate. We also spent a lot of quality time playing with them with a laser pointer from afar. Now they come scampering out for a snuggle whenever we get home from school/work.

I guess that what I'm saying is that it'll take time, but I would be shocked if he didn't eventually grow to love and adore you. Give him time to settle in and realize what a good thing he's got going on!
post #9 of 13
Welcome. It's perfectly normal for a kitty to hide out for awhile until they get used to their new home. Our Simba hid behind our headboard for a full month.

I think Robert gave you good advice - keep kitty isolated to one room for now with food and water at one side and the litter as far away from the food as possible.

Your bedroom is a great place to isolate him because you will be there all night every night and kitty will know you are there, smell you, etc.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice, guys. I am going to try to start over with him now. I will ignore him, try not to make direct contact, and not force him out. I'm only worried about the grooming thing. He sheds horribly. He needs help with grooming. Should I do this or wait until he is more comfortable with me?
post #11 of 13
Definitely wait till he is comfortable with you before you attempt to groom him. You may even find the shedding will diminish once he calms down. I know my boys shed horribly when they get scared!

Sit on the floor of the room and read or watch tv. Don't reach for him. Let him come to you. You've gotten a lot of good advice.
post #12 of 13
Originally Posted by Sweets View Post
I know my boys shed horribly when they get scared!
when it's vet time for Pixel, i swear she somehow 'lets go' of her hair, i get so much on me!
welcome to TCS - i'm sure Maddox will come around - all of the advice you've gotten is superb!
post #13 of 13
Mine also shed profusely when stressed... I think all cats pretty much do. I volunteer at a local shelter in the Cattery, and you can tell the more anxious cats because when we pull them out, the fur just flies off... I had one out yesterday... she was fairly calm, but I was petting her as I carried her around the room... I kept getting handfuls of fur. It's normal in a stressful/new situation.

Maddox will be fine... just give him plenty of time to adjust. I didn't see my female for three days after bringing her home... she hid under my bed. Now, I can't get her off my lap!! She's my Velcro Kitty. Well, they both do that, but she's worse.

Just sit on the floor where he can see you and ignore him, as the others have said. He'll come to you when he's ready.

Congrats on adopting an adult... special needs kitty at that. We have a difficult time getting people to adopt adults during kitten season... I'm glad to see that some out there are willing.

Awaiting pictures of the beauty hiding under your bed...

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