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Help! New cat ower, worried about strange behavior.

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
So recently I found my 7 month old kitten, Nubs, went my neighbors moved away and left her behind in the snow. She's only been with me 3 weeks but has always been very friendly and playful, and never skiddish. One thursday I went to the SPCA because I thought Nubs could use a friend. The manager told me a story about this beautiful calico girl whom had lived her whole 3 years of life in the shelter. She was wonderful! When I pet her she even rolled over so I could scratch her belly and I immediately fell in love. I named her Bunny.

Once I got her home she completely changed. The second I set her down in the house she immediately ran under my kitchen table and under one of the chairs and has been their ever since. When I lay down on the floor and pet her she acts the same way she did in the shelter, rolling around, purring, rubbing her face on my hand, but she just wont come out.

I'm wondering if the hiding under the table is because she's been so used to living in a cage and she doesn't feel comfortable out in the open or if she's afraid of the other cat. I lay on the floor and pet her for at least an hour and a half a day (I'm a writer so I have a lot of free time). Is there anything I can do to help her want to come out or feel more comfortable?
post #2 of 10
I am sure others with more experience will be along soon.

I think you are doing well if she responds to you. Try to see things from her view. She has lived her entire life in a small space and now she is in a brand new, large, scary place. Most cats aren't comfy with change. It will take her a bit to adjust.

There are a few stickies here (permanent threads found at top of the forums) on how to do introductions. Please read over those. They have a lot of helpful advice.

It is wonderful you rescued these two. Would love to see photos when you can

post #3 of 10
i'm pretty sure she's just scared and unsure.

I always thought you were suppose to put a new cat in a small area first, let them get to know it a little so they feel a little more comfy. then start broadening their 'space'.

whatever the case, I think it'd be best to just get her somewhere small, and put litter, food and a couple toys there. Be sure to go in and play with her. when she seems like she's no longer skittish or worried, maybe open the door, and on her own terms she'll come out and start exploring, but leaving everything in that first room will give her a place to retreat that she's sure of.

Many more experienced peoiple around here than me. But that's my thought.

She's showing you affection and trust already though. I think you'll be just fine
post #4 of 10
Ditto the advice on the small area. Try to give her a safe room where she can stay for a while. She has only known a cage for three years, she will need time to adjust. All cats do. Believe it or not, it sounds like you are off to a good start
post #5 of 10
When I brought my first two home we had the same problem, they would only come near us if we were laying down, I think they knew humans are awkward and slow so they would have time to run away if need be. But we patiently sat on the floor with them with a stick and a string on it attached to a rubber spider and we'd swing it back and forth, nice and easy, eventually they would come over and start trying to swat at it. A little while every day. Your at their level being on the floor so your not towering over them. It takes time but eventually they do start to trust you. Now my two are all over me no matter what I'm doing. I also socialized to ferals like that. It takes a lot of patience. Good luck
post #6 of 10
When I first brought Cindy home, she spent a good deal of her time under the bed. What advice I read was to spend time with her, so I or DH would lay on the floor beside the bed and talk to her and stuff. She eventually got braver and came out. Right now she's in a curl on the couch next to me and the only time she heads under the bed is when she thinks we might be planning on taking her to the vet. I would just be patient and loving, and your kitty will get comfortable in her new home.
post #7 of 10
Cats are super attached to territory. Anytime you move them they'll react with uncertainty. The fact that she still let you pet her tummy first day in a new place says to me that she's going to be everything you expected when you met her at the shelter. Don't panic! She's doing exactly what she's programmed to do. In a few days or so, you'll see her start to settle into her self.

Congratulations on your two new kitties! You're in good company on TCS! We love when people adopt!
post #8 of 10
Awwww!!! Congratulations and thank you for adopting!!! Your poor new kitty is scared and overwhelmed! Kinda like Bambi in the meadow lol... remember? hehe Put its litter box as close to where it is right now. (When stressed, these little guys can make some nasty messes.>:P) And make sure the 1st kitty is using this box too. If its possible, try not to relocate the new kitty.) Every nighttime feed, in a dish that you move progressively farther away. It may also be a good idea to cage your 1st kitty in a carrier. (Cats are nocturnal and prefer to be out when we're asleep.) There are a lot of things that can go wrong when we're not watching. Keep the 1st caged for a couple nights at most (unless the last few nights have been noisy lol. If thats the case, keep them separated at night until you feel comfortable that one basically won't kill the other.) During the day, when you are home, try spending some time on the couch with your kitty. Take it out and and give it lots of love And remember these days!!!! They will be priceless lol From time to time, get up and leave, and come back a little later. Pull kitty out if she went back under the couch, give her a treat... 1 piece of dry food is enough... kitties can get fat really fast and I have never had a healthy cat refuse one yay!!! After a few days, hopefully your new kitty has established that you = yummy; So should come out when you are around. If it hasn't come out after a week, you may want to talk to a vet about some psychological or neurological disorders. Don't worry! There are treatments if that is the case. They actually have the same disorders and medication-counterparts as humans.)
post #9 of 10
Please, my experience and the information I learned from rescuers and those on TCS is to NEVER pull a cat out of their safe hiding place unless it is for an emergency (cat is injured). You become like a predator when you pull them out and they could react out of fear to protect themselves.

Others here have given great advice. How awesome that you gave this girl a home.

A vet visit is not needed if she was healthy and vet checked at the shelter unless you have reason to believe she is ill. I have had rescue cats that were feral and stray/tame that hid under a bed for weeks sometimes months. That's ok. Let her come to you. That's why it is suggested to give her a safe room all to herself to adjust to smells and establish territory.

If she is happy under the table....leave her there. Put a cardboard box turned on it's side so she can hide if she wants. A carrier, clothes basket or storage box will work. I would put a table cloth on so it hangs over the side. That will give her a safe feel. Can you work on your computer/laptop at the table? Ignore her when you are working there and she will get curious.

I would NOT cage the other cat. If they are bothered by each others presence, put her in a different room. Actually, playing with the other cat (if they are ok seeing each other) will help her learn how to interact with you. This has worked with many shy and feral cats.

Good idea to have litter box somewhere close and food and water on the opposite side yet close. Cats don't like to eat and use the box in the same space.

You are doing great. Leave her there and spend time with her on the floor. Play with wand toys or a string tied to a stick. Let her come to you. That is MOST important.

There are other tips that can be offered. She will come along in her own time. Three years is a long time to adjust from.
post #10 of 10
Would love to hear an update.
I second the advice given here.

Her behavior sounds normal and typical. My cat was the same - she actually squeezed in behind the stove and refridgerator in a nook in the kitchen. It was v. difficult getting her out All that, and she had wrapped herself around my neck at the shelter and licked my face. She wasn't as confident as I thought she would be.

Establish a routine, a "safe place", and wait for her to come to you. You can pet her if she's willing and available, etc. My cat's safe place was the window perch. She wouldnt come off it unless I was out of the room. I put her litter and food nearby. If she seemed receptive I pet her but did not move her. If I picked her up she panicked and fought to get back to her perch. I didnt overwhelm her with attention.

By the third day, she was jumping off the perch and running to me for pats. Then the suck up period began - which I always love.

It really is about their time table, not yours. I am confident you two are on your way! Thank you so very much for rescueing that sweetie after all that time. She's a lucky girl
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