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New Cat Won't Eat, Drink, or use Litter Box

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I've been doing research to try to figure out what to do and I saw a similar thread on this topic. I recently got a new cat, his name is Gus Gus. He's a five year old orange tabby. The home we got him from was getting rid of him because of their two large dogs. I guess they were keeping him locked in the basement away from the dogs for about half a year. He's extremely shy and nervous.

We brought him home Thursday. It doesn't appear as if he's eaten or drank anything since then, and he hasn't used the litter box. The first night he hid under my bed. The second day we tried to move him. He spent the night under the book case. After reading some blogs about giving him his own space, I moved everything back to my bedroom (cat box and food/water) and let him back into my room to hide under the bed. I put the food and water under the bed.

I've tried sitting with him for a bit. I can pet him a bit when I reach between my bed and the wall. He doesn't respond to cat treats or toys. I don't see any use in the cat box and the water and food don't appear to be touched at all. All he does is huddle against the wall. It's been about three days, so I'm concerned about him making himself sick from lack of bathroom use and getting dehydrated.

We left wet food out before and he didn't touch it, but I haven't tried it since he returned to my room. Any suggestions on what to do? Should I contact the vet? A friend said it could take up to a week, which would be fine if I knew he was going potty and drinking. But I keep checking the litter box and such and they're untouched. Please help!

post #2 of 11

First, can you call his old home and find out what kind of food he's accustomed to?  If it was kibbles, you'll need to start him with that, then gradually begin adding the wet to the dry to switch him over.  I'm thinking (and really HOPING) that  he's actually drinking a little bit.  This can get serious very quickly for a cat.  The lack of using the box is also worrisome, combined with the rest of it.  You may need to schedule a vet visit.  In fact, I'd consider that. and ASAP.  I hate to disrupt him even more, but they can advise you as to any health problems that he may have after being in that basement for so long, and with, I imagine, little real attention.


As for getting him used to you, one of the best ways I know is just to sit in his room with him, on the floor, and talk or read to him.  I've seen that work wonders time and time again.  Patience is the key on this one.  It can take several weeks for a shy cat to get his bearings and his confidence after a move.

post #3 of 11

Cats can't go long periods of time without food. If he really hasn't eaten anything since thursday he needs to go to a vet ASAP. 

post #4 of 11

Do you have a feliwy diffuser running?  If not, get one of those to help him de-stress. Give him some tuna or plain meat baby food to see if he'll eat something. 

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

I don't have any feliway but I can look into it. We spoke to the previous owners and got his food, they seemed equally concerned. He hasn't really moved from his spot. I contact the vet tomorrow to see what they suggest doing.

post #6 of 11
Poor baby! And bless you for working diligently to try to find a solution @Mary Smith!

You've been given good advice. I would try offering the canned food again. Also, if possible, pick up some Gerber stage 2 chicken & chicken gravy or turkey & turkey gravy and see if he will eat this.

Shy cats do often take longer for shock of change to wear off. Hoping he makes *some* progress during the next 24 hrs!
post #7 of 11
You should check if your cat is deppresed. Check:3 Ways to Tell if Your Cat Is Depressed - ...
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the advise! The good news is he did potty last night. I coaxed some water into him before I went to bed and then left him to explore the living room by himself. When I got up, he did go hide again, but I saw that he used the bathroom. So hopefully this means we're making progress!

post #9 of 11

That is progress!  Do you have a small syringe without needle?  You can, if necessary, syringe feed him till he kick-starts.  But drinking and using the box is a huge step in the right direction, as is the fact that he is now confident enough to explore his new surroundings, even if only when all is quiet and he is alone!  PLEASE keep us posted!  You are now a part of our community, and we want to know how Gus Gus is doing, how you are coping, and, when he's all sassy and owning his space, we would LOVE pics!


I'm so glad that you found this site, and I feel honored that I was the first to offer you some support and assistance, meager tho it was!  That's how I got here, looking for assistance and support!  WELCOME!  Oh, and there is a "New Cats on the Block" forum, over in General Forums, where you can introduce yourself and Gus Gus to the community at  large.

post #10 of 11

If possible, confine him to just one room for a few days, until he becomes more comfortable with you and the routine. He might be overwhelmed with so much new space.  Then, as he relaxes, you can open up more of the house for him to explore.

post #11 of 11
Congratulations to you and Gus Gus on the progress. Some cats take a long time adjusting. I agree to confine Gus Gus to one room and put everything he needed in that room. Just act like he is doing fine and keep to a daily schedule of changing his water, food & litter. Talk to him and live him as much as you can. He will join the family when he is ready. I went thru this with the Siamese mix I got from shelter. She hid for two weeks. Good luck and be patient. Gus Gus will reward you in time smile.gif
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