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Brand new cat...

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
The rescue lady brought Sterling over yesterday. I have him for two weeks, a temporary trial period to see how he does. Right now i have him in my small bedroom with his water, food, litter pan, etc. He seemed to do okay last night. But this morning, I went up and he had wedged his way into the armoire, which has very little in it (the room is my sisters and she is not going to move in with me until spring of 2009). I didn't see anything wrong with this, so I let him be... and was downstairs doing dishes when I heard a crash. I ran upstairs to find that he had knocked the middle shelf off in the armoire. He had fled underneath the night stand. I went over and was talking softly to him. I went to pet his head and he hissed. Is that a normal reaction to fear, or does it mean that he is going to be a mean cat?? I am sooo new to this... always had dogs, but the psyche of a cat just blows my mind....
post #2 of 8
First of all it would help tremendously to know how old he is... Second, don't fuss about his mood now, he'll get over it. Third, don't try to drag him out from where he is, but if he doesn't come out on his own today, leave his food, water and box nearby and if necessary move the food out by a few inches each time til he's comfortable in the room. I'm more concerned though to know if he got hurt by the shelf - can you observe him for a while and see if he's moving around, etc? If in any doubt, then you may need to get him out into a carrier and over to the vet.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
He wasn't hurt and appears to be just fine. He is about 18 months old. I say about because he was a stray being fed by an elderly lady in a trailer park. One of the other older male strays attacked him and ripped open his chest, which turned into a festering sore. The rescue lady took him to the vets, got that healed up and has been looking for a home for him.

She did tell me this is his second placement. His first placement was a failure due to the expectations of the people who took him in. They were told that he was a shy cat that needs to get used to his surroundings before being allowed more freedom, and that they should keep him in a single room until he becomes comfortable with them in that room. Then he can be let out to additional rooms. They ignored that directive and he ended up trapped in their drop ceiling of their basement for several days. When he finally emerged they took him back to the rescue.

So I am planning on keeping him in this room as long as it takes for him to get used to me, but I am not really sure exactly what I should do. He is currently back in the armoire, which is convenient, because I can just open the door to check on him.

I bought a 32" scratching post today, which was the last thing I needed. Do you think I should put his food and water into the armoire since he is comfortable there? The litter box is right next to it, but will not fit in the armoire itself.
post #4 of 8
Can you tie the armoire door open somehow? It's one thing for him to hide in there, another to get used to the cave, and it'll only prolong things if he's allowed to stay in the dark. Do not put his food in there - even if he doesn't seem to eat for 2 days, he will get hungry eventually and come out. What you need to do is spend a lot of time in the room, just sitting and talking to him til he's really used to you and knows you won't harm him. It will probably get boring after a while, but try to keep it up til he's no longer hiding and just walks around. Don't try to pet him or anything til you're extremely sure of him and his reactions. After a while (days, wks, ??) if he's out of the cabinet, close the door quietly and just keep talking and sitting. If there's a bed in the room though, or other furniture he can hide under, see if you can block access to those temporarily (til he's not only comfortable in the room, but also outside of it to some extent - and try to be vigilant about sudden moves and unexpected noises. Some cats are just skittish by nature anyhow, but a balance can usually be found.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Well I am happy to report that when I went in today and sat on the bed, he came out almost right away, jumped up on the bed and started rubbing all over me. I rubbed behind his ears and on his belly and then we played with a feather wand for a while.
post #6 of 8
That sounds promising.

A cat will explore everything he can reach. The odds are good that that is exactly what was going on in the armoire, and it's unfortunate he had an oopsie from it.

Some suggest putting anticle of your clothing, like a sweaty T shirt in the room so he can get used to the smell.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
Some suggest putting anticle of your clothing, like a sweaty T shirt in the room so he can get used to the smell.
Well I have plenty of those! Thanks for the suggestion!

I have another question, I have read about "kneading," but I don't really know what that looks like. I think he may have been doing it while I petted him though. He was like working his front feet and his claws into the bedspread... does that sound right?
post #8 of 8
Yep, it looks like a woman kneading bread dough. Some people call it "making biscuits."

Kittens do this while they are nursing. It's a sign of contentment, usually.

Here's a video:

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