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Feeling Discouraged

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I recently introduced myself, but for those who don't know, I recently (as in on Saturday) adopted a cat. I honestly believe that he hates me. I understand that Maddox is deaf, he is in a new home, and he doesn't really know me, but it breaks my heart that he doesn't even want to be around me. He hissed and swat at me today when i went to pet him. I don't expect for him to be all lovey dovey yet, but I'm feeling a little sad right now. I'm worried that he may not ever like me, and I'll end up with a cat that doesn't even want me around. I cannot give him back to his foster mom, b/c I would feel like I gave up on him and that would be just another adjustment for him. I don't know what to do.
post #2 of 22
My advice would be to have lots of patience. Will maddox let you gently pet him while he is eating?
post #3 of 22
Just be patient... right now your kitty has no idea that you are his forever mama and he's now in a forever home... cats need a good bit of time to adjust - I basically never saw Oliver when I first got him... the best thing to do is be patient and let him come to you - if he's comfortable with being out and coming up to you, let him sniff and inspect and slowly and gently give some pets, he doesn't yet understand how much you love him, but he will! Keep some blankets and maybe tshirts that smell like you around in areas that he likes to sleep and relax so he gets used to your smell... he hasn't even been with you a week yet so it is still way early! I also used to like put a few treats on the floor while Oliver was watching me put them down and then he'd come out to get them later and he'll start to associate "hmm, this lady's nice she leaves cookies out for me!" And don't force it, but if possible have him see you set out his food... try not to be nervous or frustrated around him... animals have heightened sense of your feelings to begin with and I'd imagine it's more heightened in a deaf kitty... just be patient! He'll come around on his own terms!
post #4 of 22
first off, don't approach him - let him approach you. one of my [many] cat books suggests holding out a fist - similar in shape & size to a cat's head - & allowing the cat to explore it... mine all like this, altho they'll let me initiate affection. but when Chip first came [he's my only adult adoptee] this is what i did with him. he was well socialized, just in an unfamiliar place, w/an unfamiliar human, & 3 other cats, all female - one of whom was quite determined he should know she was boss! he's ended up being one of the most affectionate of the cats, altho he still doesn't care for being picked up.
just give him time & space until he's ready... i know it's hard when all you want to do is this
post #5 of 22
Can you contact his foster mom to ask for some suggestions? I definitely would not give up yet, handicapped or not, any new adoption is going to take time. Him being deaf simply requires a special/different approach. Be aware at all times he reacts to his environment by sight and feel, He will feel your footsteps, doors opening and closing, but most importantly visualize the physical gestures, disposition, welcoming/comforting body language that will create the trusting relationship we have with our kitties.
post #6 of 22
As others have said, if he's been bounced around so far, he doesn't know that he's now secure and loved. All he knows is that he's in another new place, with entirely new threats and scary people and smells, and he's probably tired of it all. Ignore him when you can. When he comes to you, hold out your hand to him, but let him come to your hand to smell it.

Deafness is a very isolating handicap, and hearing is the cat's #1 sense, so keep in mind that he is, and always has been, lonely.

And I'm always discouraged at midnight, too, so don't let that color your feelings too much. Get some good sleep; the sun should be out tomorrow.
post #7 of 22
Please give it more time and don't give up.

This poor cat is in a new place with idea of what is going to happen, who you are or what is going to happen. He has no idea of what you expect of him or you are going to do in any situation. Strange scents and a strange place. Then you add in his ability to use his hearing to help him understand.

Try to avoid sudden moves and move slowly when you can. Talk to him, even though he can't hear you , because it will help keep your movements slower. A nightlight for your use - so you won't step on him at night - he won't know you are coming if he is sleeping.

Talking to the foster mom is a great idea as she may have some ideas of what he likes or doesn't like.
Any chance you can adopt one of his buds from the foster home? That might help him adjust faster. Instead of a seeing eye dog, you could have a hearing assistance cat.
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
Okay...please don't get aggrivated with me. Maddox is long-haired, and he needs to be groomed often. How can I groom him without dragging him out from under my bed? Should I just leave him alone until he is comfortable enough to come to me? I haven't seen him in days...I hear his bells, empty the litter box, and refresh his water and food, so I know he is okay, but what am I suppose to do? I am beginning to feel like a made a big mistake by adopting him. He hates me!
post #9 of 22
Well, I wouldn't worry too much about grooming just yet, that would be a little traumatizing for both of you.

When I first got Clyde I remember he really liked playing with the laser pointer. Have you tried that? It seemed to make him realize that we were "on the same team". Don't feel bad - you're bound to feel disappointed he hasn't bonded to you, but definitely give him time, and keep talking to us!
post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I used the laser the other night, and he seemed to enjoy it. It was dark, but I know he saw that I was the one moving the laser, cuz he would keep looking in my direction like I was crazy. I'm just heartbroken. If he doesn't show any sign of adjustment in over the course of a few weeks, I may just take him back to his foster mom. I am not expecting him to eat from my hand by then, but he should at least be able to look at me from under my bed and not take off toward the corner. He just seems to be terrified of me. I got Maddox not because he is beautiful, but because I wanted to give him a good home and I need someone to take care of for my sake. It's just heartbreaking when I have to deal with other issues and then come home to my "child" who hates me.
post #11 of 22
There are cats that take months to adjust to new situations. I've had animals that don't come around to even liking me for an entire year of being together. But it doesn't hurt me any. They'll come around eventually, maybe they wont. I'll love them for who they are. And I got my other animals who are lovey dovey enough to satisfy my cuddling needs hehe.
post #12 of 22
I'm having trouble thinking of helpful things. It is so hard to get them to trust you when they can't hear. Do you just sit on the floor in the same room, and maybe watch TV and put treats out in front of you but don't reach out or touch him when he eats them? And don't look him right in the eyes.

Also, I would definitely check with the foster mom and see what she thinks about getting a second cat - maybe another that fostered with him? I know the whole reason we got Clyde was because he needed other cats to make him feel more secure.
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
Maddox was put in a foster home because he does not do well with other cats; he was at the shelter, but was stressed and wouldn't eat for days. He just stayed put and tried to avoid contact with other cats and people. We think that he was abused before his previous owners put him in a box and left him in front of the humane society. I understand that he has trust issues, but what if he is a lost cause? I really don't think that he may be the cat for me, but I don't want to abandon him. He has already been through enough.
post #14 of 22
I think that he has been traumatized and is testing out the waters. Just like a person who has been through a lot he doesn't know if is going to be able to stay. He is unsure if this is forever.
My cat Mary was so skittish when she came home from the shelter. She hid under the bed and would not come out. Now she is a lap cat.
Entice him with yummy wet food, treats and toys. Make him associate you and your surroundings with good things. Since he has a handicap he has to rely on sight, smell and touch to familiarize himself so realize that his aggression could be fear.
The longer you hang in there with him the bigger the reward in the end. I have found with people I know that once a cat bonds they really bond.
Keep playing with him and keep treats on hand. Treats go a long way.
Find treats that are hands down cat favorites like bonito flakes or something.
post #15 of 22
Don't peer under the bed at him, he'll feel threatened. Sit on the floor with a feather wand and just wave it side to side on the floor he should soon come out a little to investigate. Overall I think it's just going to take lots of time and patience.
post #16 of 22
Another thing that helps is to lay on the floor and let him explore you by sniffing you. I still do this and the cats love it. They even comb my hair with their claws.
I popped in to see if things were improving.
post #17 of 22
I can't understand saying that the cat is a lost cause after one week. You may have a human concept of how long it "should" take for a cat to get comfortable. But here many experienced posters are telling you how long it *does* take an adult animal to adjust -- and that is *minimum* several months. I found it was a year before my cat was completely at ease. He started being affectionate after a few months, and he's gotten even more affectionate, more happy, and more catlike as the years have gone by.

You have to understand that this is an animal; he's not a person and he doesn't think like one, and he can't understand what you know: that he's safe and you want the best for him. It will take him time to learn.

(Though actually, I don't think even a human would be comfortable in a new home after just one week. It's unrealistic.)

What he needs from the human is to relax, stop worrying about him and wait. I'm sure you can do that. Judging his behavior, or trying to rush him into petting, will make it worse. Just go about your life. It will be that much more thrilling for you when he does come to you... which he absolutely will do.
post #18 of 22
I agree, just give it some time. We've brought several cats into our house over the years and some took quite a while to get used to us and come out. It's somewhat frustrating when it seems like they don't like being there or around you, but I think if you take some of the advice that's been posted, sooner or later everything will be fine.
post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone. We will hang in there.
post #20 of 22
What I did with my adoptees is to just sit in the same room, reading poetry or Harry Potter out loud in a soft voice and not even looking at them. Eventually they came to check me out - I now have a lap cat and while the other one is not, both love to sleep with me and follow me around the condo. Just give it time - in some ways cats have very long memories, and this one may be afraid to give his heart away again.

ETA - I hadn't realized your baby is deaf - I still think you're sitting and just reading out loud may be a good move - he may pick up your relaxed state while reading out loud and your focus won't be on him, making him nervous.
post #21 of 22
Originally Posted by Maddox's Mom View Post
Thanks everyone. We will hang in there.

Like everyone has said, it's gonna take some time... you kind of have to "teach" him that it's ok to trust you... just take baby steps - he'll start to get used to your routine and become more comfortable with his environment... oh, I'm not sure if someone has already asked this, but have you tried the feliway diffusers in your home? They're a little pricey, but they help to calm and sooth your kitty in stressful situations, so it'd be worth looking into
post #22 of 22
Originally Posted by Maddox's Mom View Post
Thanks everyone. We will hang in there.
I think that's the best thing you can do for kitty.

If you feel the need to talk to someone, feel free to PM me.

My mom once had a cat who had been abused, and the cat hid under the bed for a whole month after my mom moved to a new home. Kitty eventually came out, and went back to her friendly self.

It takes a little bit longer with cats who have been abused. Your cat may need additional time also because he is deaf. Don't worry, he doesn't hate you. He just needs, as everyone has been saying, time and patience.

I think I know how you feel... you only want to give him a good life but he just doesn't understand that. (That's how I feel when I have to give Nova medicines, and she is uncooperative.) If only we could communicate our intentions to them and see immediate results.

I'm glad you haven't given up on your cat. Good luck!
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