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Need advice

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
A few weeks ago someone hit a cat outside my friend's house. He took it in and had it patched up, altered and vaccinated. Then he gave him to me because he doens't want another cat.
This cat (Rockstar) is really shy and defensive. It's been almost two weeks and I haven't seen him since the end of his introductory period in the bathroom. I'm pretty sure he isn't feral since he always uses the litter box and when he swipes at me he never extends his claws.
I'm thinking about getting a second cat, for a few reasons.

One, Rockstar should have something in the house that he isn't afraid of, to ease the stress.

Two, I should have a cat in the house that doesn't hate me, because this is really depressing.

Three, I have a theory that if Rockstar bonds with the new cat, and the new cat is friendly to me and has my scent on it, it will help Rockstar get used to me.

I haven't decided between a kitten and a full grown cat. I think a kitte would be less threatening to rockstar and more fun for me, but a full grown cat would already be litterbox trained and be more able to defend itself if Rockstar is agressive.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 13
I think if grown up, so a cat-sociale cat would be best.

So he will be friendly both to you and Rockstar.

Second, if you "catch" Rockstar, limit his room. Keep him in one room, or two, with some shelter for him, toys, food, litter....
So he will get quicker used to you.

Try also with the Feliway...
post #3 of 13
Perhaps a young cat? Not a kitten, but not too old, either. Like a yearling, or a teenager, if there is such a thing in cat years?

Good luck!!

post #4 of 13
Thank you for adopting this rescued this kitty!

Do you know how old the kitty is? Did the vet have any idea?

As to adopting another kitty, it might be a good idea for your morale if you adopt one you're sure is people friendly. I don't know how much it would actually help Rockstar. There is just no way to know in advance whether cats are going to be friendly with other cats. After our first rescue, we rescued a second one so he had a friend. It is all too apparent that he would have been perfectly happy as an alone kitty. We have six cats, and just brought in a 7th that we're fostering - and he was REALLY close to his brother, misses him like heck, and desperately wants to be friends with one of our cats. Our kitties tolerate each other and share their space well, but just don't really play with each other and don't snuggle with each other anymore (they did as kittens). So our new foster is bumming about everyone hissing at him (even with the slow introductions).

Right at the moment, look at your Rockstar this way. Think of him as a four-year old child that was on vacation with its parents from the U.S. in China or something. They got separated, the child got lost, and someone hit him with a car, he had to go to the hospital to have surgery, tests, and got poked and prodded in a terrifying environment. Some Chinese family adopted him and took him home. He is TERRIFIED. Everything smells different, everything sounds different, looks different, smells different - it's not his bed, he doesn't recognize any of the toys and doesn't know what to do with them. Two weeks is a very short time to expect this little child to love his new parents and to feel comfortable in his new home.

To cats, territory is the most important thing. That's why it's important to start with the small space. If you can, I would recommend moving him into a bedroom or something. He needs a place to hide (a box on its side is good, under a bed is good, under a table with a cloth over it is good.... ). A night lite is good so it's not completely dark at night. A radio tuned to a classical station is very calming.

Purchasing Feliway and using that helps to reduce stress. It is a synthetic pheremone that mimics the "friendly" markers in cats' cheeks. Spray it around at cat-head height - but not near litter boxes or anything you want him to scratch on.

Spending as much time in the room with him as you can - but IGNORING him is important. Read out loud, work on a laptop, watch TV (not too loud), sew, fold laundry - do whatever you can think of in there. Just let him get used to you.

Keeping a routine is VERY helpful. In socializing cats, what you are doing is earning their trust. At first, you just have to establish that you don't want anything from them, and you're there to give them stuff they need. Cleaning the litter box, cleaning and filling the water dish, filling the food dish, and serving a meal of breakfast, lunch, or dinner at the same time every day really helps accomplish this. And just being in the room, doing something else, is very non-threatening, and gives them time to check you out and get used to everything.

Food is also a great motivator. Baby food (Gerber all meat, chicken, lamb, veal or beef best) held out on a spoon can be a good thing. Sitting on the floor with your side facing kitty holding out that treat may encourage him to come out of his shell.

Also, don't look Rockstar directly in the eyes. This, to cats, is a sign of aggression. Look at his forehead or over his head. In fact, "looking" at him with your eyes closed is a great trust builder. Sit on the floor with your side to him, close your eyes, and slowly turn your head and "look" at him with your eyes closed for 10 - 20 seconds, then slowly open them. After time, you may find he "slow blinks" back at you. All of our kitties do the "I love you" (I trust you) slow blink - several will keep it up for a couple of minutes, and if we wink just one eye, they'll wink just one eye back.

Your kitty doesn't hate you. He's been completely uprooted, traumatized, and doesn't understand what's happening to him. If he was loved, he was lost or abandoned, and so you've got that trust hurdle to cross too. Just give him some time - he'll come around.

Now none of this is to say you shouldn't get another kitty. But if you adopt a "user friendly" kitty, he'll make the territory of your home his, and then this kitty will have that introduction/integration barrier to tackle as well. That's not necessarily a "bad" thing, just something to consider.

Hope this helps,

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the great advice. The vets think he is 3-4 years old. He'd definitely been on the street for a while.

What is feliway? Where do I get it?

He may have come out from under the bed while I was awake. I think I saw him out of the corner of my eye.

I haven't gotten a second one yet. I guess I'll give it a little bit to see if he warms up to me.

I can't really trap him in one room. My apartment is pretty small and I don't have a room I can spare.

I had him in the bathroom for a while when he first got here but he just hid behind the toilet and I think under the bed at least is more comfortable.
post #6 of 13
You are doing a great thing by keeping this cat and giving him a home. If he has been on the streets for awhile, he just needs a little time and patience before he can trust you. As much as you want to hold him and make him feel secure, sometimes the best thing to do is to just leave them alone and let them come to you on their terms. He will probably surprise you when you least expect it. Just give him some time and some space and everything will work out. Please keep updates coming. Good luck!!
post #7 of 13
Originally Posted by Splat763 View Post
What is feliway? Where do I get it?
feliway is a synthetic hormone that mimics the comforting pheromones cats use to mark their territory. if your place is small, you probably only need 1 diffuser: feliway
it's also sold at most pet stores, if you don't want to order online.
post #8 of 13
You really are doing a wonderful thing, adopting Rockstar. My one feral, Tweety, was 2 when he came to live with us. I don't have an extra room either, and he spent the first 2 weeks, at least, under the bed, then moved downstairs under the table. He was using the litter box and exploring during the night, because I heard him. It really just takes time and patience. I spent a lot of time on the floor talking to, and feeding, a cat under my bed. While he's not a lap cat by any means, he does come to me for attention. Oh, he doesn't hide any more, he's part of the family.
post #9 of 13
When I kittynapped my feral kitty Gus, He hid in the basement for over a month. He always used the litter box and ate his food, so I knew he was alive. I used just talk to him, one day he decided to come out and say hello. Now he is a sweet lovey big boy. I think you just need to give him some more time. He'll come around.
post #10 of 13
Everyone gave you great advice. My Brady was in our computer/spare room for at least a month and mostly hid behind the bureau. The first 2-3 days I wondered if I had made a mistake driving an hour away to adopt him. We eventually took the bottom drawer out and put a soft flleece blanket down. he would love to go in there and sleep. etc. Usually when we walked in the room he would hide way in the back behind the bureau. All you could see was the bottom 4 inches of him....I guess he figured we couldn't see him lol. Now he is a real love bug after 1 year and gets more affectionate every day. Brady was also a stray but only 4 months old when we adopted him. All cats are different but time almost always brings most of them around. That.... and good food and attention.
post #11 of 13
It is so great you took this cat in!I will pray everything works out for you
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well I got some Feliway last week. It doesn't seem to have had much effect so far.
He's under my computer now. Tonight was supposed to be his boosters but we couldn't get him in the carrier. :-/

Thanks for all the encouragement. I'll keep on trying with him.
post #13 of 13
He is going to come around... Just keep loving him, talking to him... Be patient and don't take it personal; he is just traumatized. I made great progress with my Lucky girl, but all on her own time. Each little progress is amazing, and you end up loving them like crazy... And he will love you too! Good luck! As far as adopting another kitten, I am not sure if that is a good idea for now... It will be another obstacle for her to overcome. Just my opinion...
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