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New kitty still in hiding... getting concerned!

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
This is our first cat and we bought him/her from a friend. This kitty is 3.5 months old and has been in our home for over two weeks now. It eats the food I provide and uses the litter box, but either has powers of invisibility or waits until everyone is gone before venturing out. Is this normal? I can't even find him/her. He/she does not have a name yet because we have not been able to get to know him/her. Do I have a cat with abnormal behavior problems? How long is too long for this behavior to continue?
post #2 of 22
Sounds almost like a ferral kitten. Where did your friend get the cat from? Do you know any history on him or her? Its normal for cat to hide for a bit in a new place, but 2 weeks seems a bit long, unless it's not used to people. Do you have other pet that may scare the cat?
post #3 of 22
I adopted two from Bide-a-wee a brother and sister 10 years ago. When I brought them home they hid behind my sofa for I believe a good month. The only time they came out was for food and to use the litter box, I don't think my family and friends believed I even had a cat. They never saw them. It took a lot of socializing to get them out. My husband and I would get on the floor to their level and play with a rubber spider on a string, very slowly they got curious and came out, little by little they came around but it took a good couple of months. If I touched them they jumped like I did something to them. After that we have been so close and them so affectionate, its hard to believe they are the same cats. I know its frustrating, I thought I would never get them to trust me. Believe me it will happen. They were 4 months when I adopted them.

Good luck, hang in there.
post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 

The kitten is from a litter produced by one of my friends cats that has been with them for quite some time. A history of abuse is close to impossible. My friends can't hurt anything--they are vegan--and all of their pets seem quite content and comfortable. I do not have any other pets except for some salt water fish which should, if anything, help to lure our new kitty out. I do have two small children, but they have not handled the kitty yet. Do you really think feral is an appropriate diagnosis? Thank you for your reply.
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
It is encouraging to here that this may be something that will pass with positive results. I will "hang in" and do my best to provide a comfortable environment. If you have any other ideas as to what I could do to insure that our kitten does not remain reclusive, please let me know. Thank you for your reply.
post #6 of 22
if there were other cats in his/her home of origin, s/he may just still be very unsure about this new place. just bide your time - cats are notoriously curious creatures & i'm sure, in time, s/he will venture out.
welcome to TCS!
post #7 of 22
You probably have a very shy kitten, this time next year you will be laughing because he will probably be underfoot. When I have a shy one, it happens often around here cause I get ferals alot, I do a couple of things. First I sit quietly in the room when I feed them without attempting to touch them. This is so they get used to my smell and associate it with food. Second, I leave a shirt or some clothing that has my smell on it in the room at night so they can inspect it when I am gone and still get used to my smell. Third, after a week or so of this I bring out the crazy wheel. This is a toy you can get at most pet stores, it is a plastic wheel with a ball in the track. I spin it around and play with it myself, then I leave it in the room. Usually within a couple of hours they will play with it when I am out of the room. Within a couple of days they will get closer to me when I play with it until they just can't stand being left out of the game. Not sure why this wheel works but I have yet to find a cat that didn't get curious about it, oh and one puppy too lol. It is a process and there is no set timetable to how long this takes, although I can usually get them to play with me by the end of two weeks. You might also give the kitten a small stuffed animal for them to snuggle with, sometimes this helps. Kittens associate smell with everything so it is important that when you wash blankets it is sleeping on that in the beginning you always leave something with their smell on it. I use two blankets and wash one at a time so they have their comfy place. Short sessions are best in the beginning, about 15 minutes, and work your way up. Before you know it you will have a regular shadow. Good luck on your new little one.
post #8 of 22
those wheels are very popular - i think that was the 1st toy Firefox played with!
here's an example, so you know what to look for - there are several different types/colors...

post #9 of 22
Originally Posted by Dr. Keys View Post

The kitten is from a litter produced by one of my friends cats that has been with them for quite some time. A history of abuse is close to impossible. My friends can't hurt anything--they are vegan--and all of their pets seem quite content and comfortable. I do not have any other pets except for some salt water fish which should, if anything, help to lure our new kitty out. I do have two small children, but they have not handled the kitty yet. Do you really think feral is an appropriate diagnosis? Thank you for your reply.
No I would not say feral then. I thought perhaps it a kitten your friend may have taken in. Glad the kitty came from a good home!
It does sound like you just have a shy kitten. Follow the advice the previous posters have given and she wll come aroud, she is just not as bold as some other cats.
post #10 of 22
If you at least know which room the kitty's in, would it be possible to close it off from the children for a week, or at least a few days, to see if maybe the cat will feel more secure that way? If it begins to, then you can follow up with the suggestions made in the last note here and eventually close off the hiding places in the room, then very gradually introduce the cat to the rest of the house, but one place at a time, being very sure potential hiding places are blocked off (if only temporarily) - remember a little cat can get into the smallest space!
post #11 of 22
Perhaps another kitten from the same litter would help the shy kitty open up a little and play?
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
Now there's an idea!! Too bad I'm afraid of it. From no cats to two is a big jump for me but it may be the most humane solution. I am positive that my new kitty is very lonely and longing for his/her mother, and I am sure that a sibling is about the only substitute for momma that would suffice. I will mull this over. Great suggestion! Thnx!!
post #13 of 22
First I got my Molly. I fell in love with two of the kittens I was looking at when a family friend was finding homes for a litter of kittens. A week later I went back and got the other one, who no one wanted and who now is my lovely girl.
2 kittens are really no harder than one. They play together, keep each other entertained, and bond together. My girls are so much happier together than alone.
Of course there is the factor of twice the cost, etc., but having two of the same litter is a wonderful thing. I think Molly would have been incredibly lonely had I not gone back to get Polly.
post #14 of 22
I agree 2 cats are better then one, my first two made the adjustment better than if they were by themselves brother and sister. They used to sleep together with their paws around each other.
post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for your input. It seems that 2 may be better than one. Lets see if I can talk my wife into it. I'll report back with update. Thanks again!
post #16 of 22
Sounds as if you have a very timid kitten! Not feral as it was raised in a domestic environment and born of a pet cat, but a very shy individual - was he/she (sorry I know that you cannot possibly know the gender if you cannot get close enough to check but I find it uncomfortable to call any cat 'it' if you know what I mean, it sounds so impersonal!!!!) handled much as a little kitten? Maybe if (s)he has not been handled at all would result in more wariness.

It is normal for a little hiding to take place in a new home, my longest new home adjustment was 9 hours for an adult but that was an Oriental shorthair, a very people-oriented and affectionate breed and even in a new environment they will need a cuddle from whoever is around before too long, it's just a matter of waiting for it with that breed but many cats are a lot more shy and can take a month or two to stop being nervous.

If (s)he is eating and using the litterbox then try not to worry too much just yet. Is (s)he in the room where you sleep? You know you are bigger than them and can seem scary when standing up, also if you the big human is happy to go to sleep in the room they are in it means that room is safe, you feel safe, safe enough to sleep - sleeping where they can see you is a really good signal that there is nothing around for them to fear Sleep = secure place with no danger, nothing to threaten while you sleep, from them, from you, from others. If that makes sense
post #17 of 22
After adopting my boys together I am very convinced that 2 kittens from the same litter together is the answer. They get a built in playmate and they don't do destructive things cats do when they are bored. They have someone to play with 24 hours a day. I rarely have to pull out toys as much because they play their own games.
When I brought Saffron in from outside she cried all of the time and was needy. I caught her sister, who was a spitting hellion, and never ever heard another cry. They adore each other and comfort each other. They sleep together and wrestle.
I bet if you got another one the shyness would abate quicker.
The other thing is that it really is not all that hard to take care of two. Since they would be littermates you don't have as many personality issues. Doing while still a kitten is the easiest way to do it. Adult cats are more set in their ways and may or may not want a cat friend. But kittens love company.
post #18 of 22
Thanks for this thread, has helped me heaps with my new 12 week old rescue kitty!

Will just have to wait and see what happens, its only been a few days tho!

I hope your kitty comes out of hiding soon, or is happier with another kitty.


post #19 of 22
I hope your talk with your wife goes well. My cats are so close and have been since they were teeny. They even prefer to share one litterbox.
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
Not such good feedback from my wife on a second kitty This is her first and it was difficult talking her into this one. On a good note; tonight, for the first time, our new kitten came out and played for a good 45 min. All four of our family members were sitting around the living room and I coaxed kitty--still nameless--from under a love-seat with a synthetic rabbits foot tied to a long piece of elastic string. It seems that kitty's instinct over-road his/her fear. Once kitty realized that he/she was amongst us it was too late. Kitty recognized that nothing bad had happened and hung around a bit--even after I put the toy away. It looks as though all will be well. The wife and kids got a real kick out of watching kitty repeatedly stalk and pounce upon my "virtual mouse." Such beautiful instinct seamlessly transformed into grace!
post #21 of 22
This is, of course, good news! A little play is good for all us...
post #22 of 22
Once they start coming out the process should go a quicker now. They are so much fun to watch. More entertaining then televison.
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