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Help With Supposedly Sweet but Scared 4 Yr Old Kitty

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I recently adopted a 4 yr old Norwegian Forest male show quality cat from a breeder, as she was getting out of the breeding bus. He had never been bred but wasn't nuetered. At 4 I found that a bit odd but didn't think to question. Anyway, she promised me he was very sweet and would have no problems adapting. Since day 1(3.5 weeks ago now) he hasn't warmed up and is barely eating or drinking. He hides and if I try and take him out or pet him from his hiding spot his hisses and grows and will try and scratch. I pretty much leave him alone to himself and leave food out. I have other cats and NONE of them act like he does. I have been in CONSTANT contact with the breeder and told her I fear for his health and well being and while she "feigns" concern it seems, she refuses to take him back. I am at a loss as to what to do. My vet honestly feels he will never warm up to us and I feel as though he has locked himself in his own prison. He doesn't play or come for love. I am willing to pet and spoil him but he won't allow it. He's never been around children before and I have 3 so that might be an issue as well but I don't know what to do at this point. PLEASE HELP!
post #2 of 16
Well, obviously the breeder lied.
But it is not so bad. Some cats take a longer time to adapt than others. You have to be patient. Don't try to push him to be petted or carried. Tell your children to be gentle and quiet. Maybe your new cat is not used to kids.
Is he in a room on his own? That's a good place for him right now. Leave food, water, litterbox for his use, and even toys. Whenever you go to him (even if he is hiding) talk to him gently. Make him feel safe.
You may want to also read the stickies here on cat introductions when he meets your other cats.
post #3 of 16
ignore him but do things like talk and read out loud so he can get used to the sound of your voice. chloe was the same way when i brought her home. i also used feliway to bring her out of her shell. i left little toys around in case she wanted to come near me and play.

heres 2 pics of her when she was getting braver, ie, not living behind the fridge anymore lol

post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thank you. So there is hope here? Cuz when I try and go near him to pet him he cringes. He runs and hisses and hides. My kids don't even get near him. He's hiding in his own room in the basement. I have other cats he just ignores but if he runs directly into him he will hiss and fur flies but not cat fights so to speak. I just want to make sure he's ok. He has food, water, and litter directly in his room at his disposal. I just don't want him turning feral and thinking no one cares. The breeder tells it that he was deeply bonded to her but if so why did she give him up? She says it's because she could only keep 4 kitties and she'd chosen her 4. He had to go. Makes no sense to me if she loved him so much and he obviously was happy with her?
post #5 of 16
Another thing to do would be put a sweaty t-shirt or sweatshirt wherever he is, so that he can get more used to your smell.

It's very possible he was used to being kept in a cage all the time. Have you asked the breeder about that?

I have heard a number of stories about cats who took months to warm up, but did so very suddenly. And a few people have had success with an anti-anxiety drug.
post #6 of 16
My feral Juno was 4 mo. when I got her. She would hide behind the hot water tank where we couldn't reach her. Even now,almost 2 yrs. later she hides if anyone comes into the house. She lets me pet her sometimes, but I still can't pick her up. She hides behind the couch and if my daughter looks at her she hissess.
post #7 of 16
Three and a half weeks is a very short time, for a cat whose whole world has changed. It's possible that this cat was well adjusted and happy in his old home... and now he's very upset and confused by the completely new environment and company. He's lost the owners he's used to, plus his brothers and/or sisters, and every place, smell and sound he found familiar. Plus there are hostile new cats whose environment he's invading.

It's very normal for newly adopted cats to hide for a good while. After I got mine from the shelter, he spent most of the first few months under the bed or frozen in one spot in the bedroom. He didn't seem to know how to play, didn't react to me or anyone else, was terrified of every noise. I think he was basically in shock. Within three or four months he started to act more affectionate, and it never stopped improving... he's become more and more playful, catlike and happy as the years have gone by.

I'm surprised a vet told you that the cat was just like this and wouldn't change. It takes time to adjust to a new environment.

Don't approach him or try to force him into petting, and the other members of your family shouldn't either. Just talk quietly to him when you happen to be in the same room. But don't go to him. Eventually he will get braver and come to you.

In this case the other cats may be a big part of why he's acting this way. He may be terrified and hiding from them. You should set him up in his own room, with food, water and litter, and keep the other cats completely separate from him. He needs to feel safe in the one room first. Then after a month or two you can start letting them interact a little bit, gradually increasing the time spent together but separating them again when the visit is over.

Basically, I think the cat hasn't been doing well because he hasn't been given what he needs now — namely, space, time and safety to adjust.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thank you all, especially emmylou. That's basically what I needed to know. I do realize his entire world has just been turned upside down but I'm afraid he'll retreat even more and never adjust. I just want some hope that he will eventually adjust. I want to know if there is ANYTHING I can do. He doesn't seem to drink any water and the past 2 days he has not eaten now. His new hiding place is behind my washing machine.
post #9 of 16
I know, it's normal to worry. I was doing some second-guessing myself when I first got mine... I think many owners of new pets do.

Could you move the water and food right next to his hiding place? That way there'll be a better chance he'll eat. Hopefully he is drinking at least... they can't go very long without water. Keep an eye on the water and food levels.

You might put a catnip toy nearby too; it might interest him when everyone else is out of the room.

Another thing to try would be giving him a protected place to retreat to, like a cardboard box with a hole in the side (like one of those cat condos) and a nice fuzzy blanket inside.
post #10 of 16
It is important that he eat and drink, especially eat. If cats don't eat they can go into liver failure. I would also suggest you spend some time in the room with him - visit him but do not try to pick him up or take him out of his hiding place. Read aloud to him or just talk to him. It took me 4 weeks for our Simba to come out from behind the head board. He was 6 months old when we got him and had spent most of his life in a cage at the breeder. When he did finally come around though, he was the most affectionate little guy you could imagine. He loved to be carried around like a human baby.
post #11 of 16
I can’t say anything more then what everyone else is saying, they are all great ideas.

Why I am really posting to this thread is because I am absolutely shocked that a vet would say that he probably wont warm up to you after only have him for 3 weeks... There is absolutely no way anyone could know, in any way if he will, or will not after only 3 weeks. Just had to rant on that one =) lol.
post #12 of 16
i got chloe dec 5th and it was valentines day when she jumped into my lap. i TOTALLY ignored her but she would come near me but YOU HAVE TO IGNORE HER!!! it piques their curiosity!!!

dont try to pick them up. that pushed chloe farther away (i had to do this
b/c she had to get her stitches out from her spay. it set back progress)

the sweaty shirt thing is a really good idea. feliway is too (i cant remember if i said that lol) talking out loud, even if your reading the cat in the hat or recipes -- as long as its in a pleasant voice. i realized that anytime i yelled at the tv (it was football playoff season) or when my fiance and i faught, chloe would hide for longer periods of time. i dont know how old your kids are, but you might point this out to them

kitty treats also work, esp if the kitty knows its name. i also left toys out by the treats so the kitty would associate good things with me. i also gave her winkies and blinkies often. every now and then i would try to left chloe catch me playing with her toys and then toss them over for her to play with
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much everyone. I just KNEW this was the place to come. I am going to put a shirt of mine in with him right now. I don't know if he spent his life in a cage, because according to the breeder he did not but I absolutely do not trust a word she says. As far as my vet goes...I am shocked to. She also suggested calling Animal control which I flat out refused. I told her I was NOT going to give him away. I wanted answers as to how to help him adjust. I cannot thank you all enough. I am going to move the food and water to whereever he is.
post #14 of 16
the first month or so i had chloe she lived in the little alcove in the back of the fridge (the one that makes up the crisper drawer lol) if i didnt hear her moving around at night or when i was studying (i was an online student so i was literally home 24/7) id pull the fridge out and make sure she was ok.
but basically if i hadnt been feeding her and scooping poop, i wouldnt even have known i had a kitten.

however, when i got her, i was told she'd been abused and that she would take a special person and that if i couldnt handle it to bring her back. thats actually where i learned the sweaty shirt thing from. now chloe likes to sleep in my dirty laundry. i wonder if i created a monster LOL
the person you got your kitty from sounds like they need animal control called on them. your vet doesnt sound very compassionate!
post #15 of 16
Originally Posted by momof3furbabies View Post
I don't know if he spent his life in a cage, because according to the breeder he did not but I absolutely do not trust a word she says. .
I find it hard to believe that anyone could keep an unneutered tom indoors without confining him to a cage or stud pen/room. He would spray up the whole house I also find it very hard to believe that an unneutred tom would make it to 4 years old without breeding. Golly, they would drive you nuts with the noise, especially if there were breeding females around

I'm sure he just needs time to adjust to the new place (remember to him it smells funny, looks funny, has a lot of loud new people in it --even if you aren't loud, it's all new noise to him).

I have seen it suggested that you can even create a tunnel system using cardboard boxes taped together so a scared cat can traverse the room without exposing themselves. One book that helped me was called "Think like a cat"
post #16 of 16
I totally agree with giving kitty a little 'chill out' space. I think when he knows that he is safe in his own room he will be confident enough to come out and eat and drink. I also think that it is a good idea to not knock on the door before you in but at least make your presence known before you do go in, just to ensure you don't startle him too much and give him a chance to run to 'safety' if he so chooses to. The greatest reward is when eventually they come to you of there own accord, however long that may take All the best! I found that a little catnip helped mine! Also, new toys, without the scent of your other kitties and then bring in some other ones of your other kitties. I just thought it was a way of saying that he gets his own toys too, like an equally loved member of the family, might just be me being silly though... Good luck
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