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New cat is very shy and hides constantly

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Four days ago I adopted a cat who was supposedly rescued off the streets by his previous owner. She said he is very sweet.. Since I got him home he has done nothing but hide. He wedged himself between the hot water heater and the wall and couldnt get out. A friend had to literally drag him up the water heater to get him out! He refuses to eat, drink or use the litter box. I do have another cat but he is very social and loves attention. The new cat, Lucky, is now in my babys bedroom alone with nowhere to hide.. His food, water and litter are in there as well. My baby doesnt sleep in her own room yet so I figured that would be a good room for him. I check on him often and always talk to him and pet his head which he seems ok with. Both myself and my oldest daughter have been scratched while rescuing him from getting stuck in his hiding places.. Hes on the fat side. How can I get him to relax and not hide? I am pretty sure he was abused because he is afraid of everything. My husband keeps mentioning rehoming him but I refuse. that will only make him worse. As far as Im concerned hes home.. His forever home. I just hate seeing him like this. What can I do?
post #2 of 8
Oh, that poor baby. Thank you for taking him in. heartpump.gif Think of it from his point of view -- he's been taken from his home, his family, everything he's known so far in his life. It's natural he's going to be a little scared, so just give him some time to come around.

You've already done a good thing by keeping him in just that one room. Leave him in there until he seems comfortable with you coming in and out. If you have a CD player, you can put harp music on to calm him. Something else that might calm him is a Feliway plug-in.

When you visit him in his room, try to do it on a schedule. Cats love to know when things are going to happen every day. Also when you visit him, bring him nice, smelly wet food so he associates you with food.

If he seems scared when you come in, you can try laying down on the floor during your visits, then progressing to sitting and finally standing as his comfort level also progresses.

During your visits, when he's still timid at first, don't look him directly in the eyes. In cat language, that's aggressive. Just sit and read a book, work on the laptop, whatever until he seems comfortable coming up to you. You can also trying waving some wand toys or tossing a scuttly mouse around to see if he's interested in play. You can bring treats to hold out to him if he's interested.

Try leaving a cardboard box with a nice fluffy towel in there so he has a secure bed and hiding spot. Make it his safe zone; when he's in the box, don't bother him.

While he's timid at first, try not to reach out to him too much or force him to touch you. Let him come to you.

He shouldn't take that long to come around, as he's lived with humans before. (The tips I gave you above are also for socializing feral cats, if you ever happen to take one in.)

When he seems comfortable with you and your other family members, we have this thread on introducing new cats in your house to resident cats. Make sure to take that nice and slow to avoid any fights.

Good luck!!! vibes.gif
post #3 of 8

Dont feel bad ladybell I did the same thing even after reading how to introduce cats on here...adopted a 4 month old male that was rescued from a kill shelter..brought him home and opened the car carrier and he ran with my 4 yr old male chasing right after him...he got away and hid under the couch..made his way to the laundry room and hid behind the furnace..this was a blessing in disguise because the laundryroom door to the kitchen is slatted so they could smell each other without getting at each other..this was on a Friday..that night before going to bed I put his bed, food, water and litter box in there...

the next morning I got up and he was laying in his bed and I could see he had been eating and using the litter box...also, the older cat was parked right outside the door..several times that day I would go into the laundryroom and he would let me pet him but he wasnt coming out..the next day, Sunday I opened the laundry room door and by late afternoon he would come out into the kitchen...next thing i know him and the older cat are playing, running up and down the stairs chasing each other...so he ended up in my room..for the next week he lived under my bed and would only come out when I was asleep or gone..

this went on for about 10 days when out of nowhere one evening Im in the downstairs livingroom and here comes both of them running down the stairs chasing each other..from thtat day forward he was fine and part of the household..for awhile he was still skittish and not sure of me but that has past..he will sleep on the couch next to me, let me pet for a long time and will jump on my bed in the morning when he is hungry..he learns everything he does from the older cat...as I type this they are chasing each other around the house...give it time and have patience..

post #4 of 8

It's perfectly normal for a kitty to hide when in a new home.  He NEEDS to have some "safe places" to hide, whether it be under a bed, in a closet, or in a box.  I wouldn't let him out into the rest of the home until he's confident and is no longer hiding when you enter the room.  He's getting his bearings and learning a new place, new sounds, new smells, new humans.  Just be sure he continues to eat, use the box, and drink.  Also, don't leave food down for him 24/7.  Be the food provider so he'll associate good things (food) with you.

post #5 of 8

Squeaky, our new orange/white cat, was like that - a very shy, frightened kitty when we first got him.  He didn't like our 14 1/2 year old kitty, Baby, who had just lost his longtime playmate.  He also came from a house dominated by a Schipperke named "Batty" who used to steal his food.  Two months ago, however, we had to put old Baby to sleep - and we still miss him.  Since Baby's passing, Squeaky has blossomed into a gorgeous, loving house cat.  He needed to be by himself, as it turned out!  By the way, he also caught his first mouse the other day and he didn't know what to do with it!!!  I hope your new kitty adjusts and blossoms, too!

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Lucky is slowly coming around (he is also orange).. Me and my daughters spend time with him daily in "his room". He will now nudge and nuzzle us and has even been caught purring! If we pet him for a while he will tolerate being picked up too. He is a very loving cat, he just seems to be terrified if everything. Even my other cat, Iddy (hes the one in the pic). If Lucky senses Iddy around he will start growling.. So I dont let Iddy in there. I do worry about whats going to happen when Lucky feels safe enough to come out and be with the family. Iddy likes to be a part of everything and I worry that he will cause Lucky to go back into hiding. On another note, has anyone used soft paws? Do they work and how much are they? Iddy keeps puncturing my screens with his claws while batting at the strings for the window blinds.. I also thought it may be a good idea to put the soft paws on both kittys before Lucky decides to take on the house.. It would be harder for them to hurt each other that way.
post #7 of 8

I don't think Lucky has been abused. As mentioned his behavior is very common and normal an even cats who have had a wonderful life will react like that in a new environment. Some come around quicker than others while some take weeks. I had one foster cat once who hid in the rafters in my basement for three weeks and after she came out it took another month before I could come near her. But once she figured out that I'm not going to hurt her she became the sweetest cat ever. It just takes time and patience. Please know that there is nothing wrong with Lucky. His world has come apart and he doesn't know if he's safe or not.

If Lucky is currently in a room with nowhere to hide I would give him somewhere to hide to make him feel a bit more comfortable. What I do with new fosters is provide them with a cardboard box to hide in. I put it on the side and put it in a corner. You can easily get him out of there and even interact with him in there. It's not as bad as sitting behind the water heater. Cats instinctually like little cubbyholes and it'll help him feel a bit more safe when you're not in there.

To make him feel more comfortable I would go into his room and interact with him on the floor. Laying down helps because it makes you look less big and scary. I'd just lay down and talk to him and let him smell your hand before you touch him. He'll improve a little every day and before long he's be just another family member. That he growls at your other cat now doesn't mean that they will never get along. I'd read up a bit on how to introduce cats to each other and follow the advice.

 

As far as the soft paws goes I would wait to put that on Lucky until he's a lot more comfortable with you and the whole situation. It takes a while to put them on and if he doesn't cooperate it can turn into an uncomfortable experience for him. It may be a good idea for your other cat and for Lucky at a later point. But if the main problem is damaging the screen while swatting the blinds cord I would just put the blind cord out of reach. I have put a little hook high up on the window frame to hang the cord on so that the cats can't reach it. It's a safety issue too since animals and kids can get strangled by the blinds cord.

post #8 of 8

My cat aggy is a shy cat. Try buying a fabric box and then bring the box on your bed in your bedroom.Then show the cat in the box.Then the cat bring  the box In the living room in front of the TV during the day,and in the night  in your room.Then take her out of the box 2 weeks later.Walk cat around the house.Do it again once everyday.Show the cat the food and water bowl(Let the cat eat and drink water.Then let the cat go back in the box.Once the cat is confident going  around the house 1 time.Go around 2 times the next day.When she is confident going around 2 times.Upgrade the cat to regular cat bed.then the cat will go to the food and water bowl and back on her own(Works great if you feed Meow mix cat food.)keep bringing the cat and the bed to the living room every day and now you have a nice cat but she WILL NOT DEFEND HER SELF!!!That is your job.She now is no longer a shy cat

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