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Am I impatient, or is this Normal?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Still a bit worried about Franz and Maddie not getting along. Here is the nighly scenario I come home to. Franz and Maddy are both under the bed when I get home. It takes Maddy about a minute to realize it's me, and comes out to join me. Sometimes Franz, will leave the bowels of the bed and perch himself on the bedroom windowsill. However, if I go into the bedroom to do anything, undress, turn a/c on, etc., he returns to under the bed 95% of the time. About a half hour to 45 min later it's dinnertime, sometimes he sauters out, with much bowl rattling, sometimes not.Eventually he does, sometimes an hour later. When he comes out I close the bedroom door, and make him stay out in the livingroom with us. (maybe this is a bad idea, I don't know) He eats, and then runs to his computer cubby, which is right next to me. He lets me pet him, groom him, pick him up purrs, but with eyes dialated, but also will roll, belly up, for a belly rub. But if I carry him to anywhere else in the room he freaks and runs to his cubby. While all this is going on, Maddy is playing blissfully. After some TLC with him, I play with her. He doesn't seem to care, and his vision of her, is partially obscured by the cubby walls.

Bedtime...I carry him to bed, making a big fuss over him. He cuddles with me like mad, making his big plops, that I love all over me. Maddy, has no interest in the bed, so that's fine.

This AM was funny. I woke to Franz's 5:30AM galloping, however this was different. It looked as if he and Maddy were involved in a game of Hide and Seek. She would pop her head out from the bedskirt, he would bat her, it looked gentle. She also had a ball she was playing with under there. He would run away (gallop) return and repeat...always a different spot under the bed.This lasted about 20 min or so. It looked like play. I did not have my glasses on, and they were not near by, so I could not see the position of his ears...what do you guys think?

What worries me most is his hiding under the bed and cubby, all the time, it's like he's depressed. When they meet in the same room it seems okay, he smells her rear, etc. The other day he actually gave her three licks on the side of her head and walked away...what do you think of all these signs?????????????

Sorry this is so winded, you should read my nurse's notes!! LOL
post #2 of 13
It sounds like you have a shy kitty But from what you say, it sounds like they get along alright. I'm sure you'll get lots of other comments though.
post #3 of 13
Originally Posted by Mom of Franz
When he comes out I close the bedroom door, and make him stay out in the livingroom with us. (maybe this is a bad idea, I don't know)
I wouldn't do this. Let the cat go where he's comfortable and let him come to you. No aggressive moves towards him, though talking to him is good. Someone out here suggested reading to cats and I thought that was a brilliant idea. You might want to try reading to him while he's under the bed and see if he comes out to see you. And the key is really being patient. It may take months. My two youngest were feral cats when I got them and it took 3 months for them to really get used to me and their new environment. But now they love me and really want to be around me.

Originally Posted by Mom of Franz
This AM was funny. I woke to Franz's 5:30AM galloping, however this was different. It looked as if he and maddy were involved in a game of Hide and Seek. She would pop her head out from the bedskirt, he would bat her, it looked gentle. She also had a ball she was playing with under there. He would run away (gallop) return and repeat...always a different spot under the bed. It looked like play. I did not have my glasses on, and they were not near by, so I could not see the position of his ears...what do you guys think?
This sounds like playing to me... and a really cute form of playing! Cats are so much fun!

post #4 of 13
Hi Barbara! Sorry I don't know the background to this story, so it's not quite clear if you're worried about their interaction or just his behavior in general, and I don't know if you're being impatient, because I don't know how long you've had Franz.

If you're worried about their interaction, I don't see anything in your post of alarm. If they're both under the bed together, it actually seems like things are fine!

I don't know if you've already read the articles on Introducing Cats to Each Other, or Bringing a New Cat Home. Both would be extremely helpful to you, though you're past the point of using most of the recommendations in Introducing Cats.

Cats, when in a new environment, are stressed at the least, and terrified at the worst. It usually takes time to build a relationship of trust with their new humans. The very best thing to do is let the cat go at his own pace. Don't push contact if they don't want it. Try to engage them in play with wand toys, but if they're uninterested, don't worry about it. Don't close Franz out of his "safe" space - let him be safe if he feels the need. This may be frustrating for you in the near or even intermediate-term, but it will develop a much stronger bond and feeling of trust on his part in the long term.

Just be in the same room with him. Read to him. When you're not there, leave a radio with classical music playing on in the room where his safe space is. I've said this a lot already today, but it is just so true. With new cats and new introductions, sometimes it's three steps forward and one step back - sometimes it's even one step forward and three steps back.

The smaller his space initially, the safer he feels. It's always best to have a "safe" room for any cat when first brought into the home - one room with food, water and litter as far away from those two as possible. Put a really sweaty shirt under his food/water bowls, let him get used to your scent and associate it with good things.

Sit in the room with him - ignore him. Read out loud. Sing with the radio. Just sit there and read a book. Let him get used to the new smells, sights and sounds.

Imagine you're between the ages of 5 and 8 and you're taken away from whatever you know - no matter how horrible - and you're dropped into the middle of a family in China. Imagine you're territorial, and there's an older sister or brother there, willing to play, but perhaps challenging you too. You don't understand the customs or what the people around you are saying. It'd take you a few weeks or a few months to get used to things, to feel comfortable, to know what's yours and not, to know what to expect from those strangers around you. This is what Franz is going through now.

Since Franz and Maddie don't seem to be fighting, I wouldn't worry too much about them. I'd just focus on doing what I could to make Franz comfortable in the environment. Happiness will come with trust.

Here are some things that may help your understanding of what's going on:

Bringing Home a New Cat

"I'd Like You to Meet...." Introducing New Cats

And lastly, just because this thread has SO MANY useful tips both about making a cat comfortable in your home AND introducing cats, please take a gander at this thread, even though it is a feral cat that is being socialized: Socializing Lucky...

Also, I almost forgot to mention. There are two products that may help ease his transition - and one of those should help both Maddie and Franz.

The first is Feliway spray (or plug in). Feliway is a synthetic hormone that mimics the "friendly" hormone in cats' cheeks (the scent-marker they leave when they rub on you and things). This, in my experience, really helps in new introductions. It is a comforting smell for them - we can't smell it. It can be purchased from most pet stores, and is easily ordered online at petsmart.

The other product is Bach's Rescue Remedy, which is a flower essence that really helps calm stressed cats. Here's a link to a discussion about that (even though it's in a health thread about a UTI): http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...=Rescue+Remedy

With cats, it can take days, weeks or even months to adjust to a new environment. Start small - or go back to small , and let Franz go at his pace. So often with cats, less is more.

Hope this helps a bit.
post #5 of 13
Barbara, sorry to hear Franz and Maddy aren't getting along as well as you had hoped they would by now. It must really make you sad for Franz to spend so much time hiding. I also wonder if it would be best to allow him in the bedroom if that is where he feels most comfortable at the time. Then, he will join you at the computer when he is ready. I'm happy to see he still enjoys your special bedtime routine! Please continue to let us know how they are doing!
I also sometimes write long nurses notes! Better to be thorough than not state enough! Stephanie
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks Laurie...didn't think to give any background! DUH!. I've had Franz since March...he's a 16 lb Maine Coon mix, neutered, about 8 yrs of age. He has a "shy with people history". Infact they could not bring him to adoption events at his rescue home. Took me a while to bond with him, a good month, but one we hit it off we hit it off big. The Magic Hairbrush was a lifesaver! LOL! Maddy arrived, from the same rescue about 3.5 wks ago. she is just under a yr, spayed, and is about 80% blind. She was found as a little tyke with very infected eyes, they were only able to save one. However she gets around as if nothing has happened. With all good intentions, I separated them at first. Maddy in my bedroom. I have a small apt, had little choice. However Franz. meowed day and night to be let in. In gave in. All went essentially well except for some non-lethal batting, hissing and posturing, and stopped completely in a couple of days. Maddy would not even use her litter box after the big intro, insisted on using Franz's giant one, he does not seem to mind, even though she does not cover. The group I rescued Franz from said he " got along with every cat and dog", so I'm hopeful. And they had him about 8 months. I have tried the Feliway spray, before and since Maddy...I see no difference, Bach flowers, seems to have lost it's touch.

Hope this is enough info Laurie...any help is appreciated!
post #7 of 13
Laurie talks about the concept of a "safe" room. For my two feral boys their safe room was my bedroom because that's where I had them stay for their first couple of weeks after I got them and one of them is still most comfortable in the bedroom. He's ok in the rest of the house, but he really lights up when he's in the bedroom. Every one of my friends who's been so lucky as to meet Casey has met him upstairs. It's kinda funny that he's still so attached to the bedroom after a year and a half, but I let him do what he wants and make sure he knows that I appreciate how happy he is in that room.
post #8 of 13
I remember now, reading about Maddie (Flowerbelle lost an eye too). Armed with all that info now , it seems to me that things are just fine between Maddie and Franz. With our Spooky (and we live in an RV, so no separate room, period, uness it's a teeney kitten in the bathroom!), it took her about three months to become completely comfortable in the new home and with the other cats. She was at times aggressive against the others that were already residents. Now, when we bring a new cat in it takes her about six weeks to accept that cat (such as Flowerbelle ). But she snuggles with anyone who will snuggle with her now.

And if Franz is people-shy, the progress you've made with him - being able to brush him, his wanting to be with you in the bedroom, etc. is truly just amazing. I wouldn't worry about a thing. When we brought in Spooky, Lazlo stopped sleeping in the bedroom for months.

At this point, I think the best advice is to just let Franz hide when he wants to, where he wants to. Maybe put a cat bed or mat of some kind down wherever he's hiding to make it a little more cozy for him. He'll come out when he's ready, though enticing him with a toy or something from time to time wouldn't hurt.

In the meantime - enjoy your brushing sessions and sleeping together! This is so much more than so many have in just two months!
post #9 of 13
Barbara i agree with Laurie in letting Franz hide. Rosie did this with Sophie in the beginning until curiosity got the better of her

And you mention he gave her a few licks?, thats brilliant!! . The day i saw Rosie licking Sophie i could have done cartwheels there and then

My two play hide and seek as well!. If Sophie is in the living room, Rosie will pop her head round the door, make a chirrup noise at Sophie as if to say"come on chase me", then dash off with Sophie hot on her tail

Don't worry about Franz hiding under the bed or his cubby, Rosie can do this from time to time and just watch Sophie play. Franz is just taking everything in that Maddie is doing
post #10 of 13
I adopted a girl about 3 weeks ago that has yet to come out from under the bed unless it is to eat and use the litter box. She is a 2 year old Main Coon mix, lived originally with a homeless person, and was adopted about a year ago with a cat lady. Emily lived under her bed for about 6 months before venturing out, and suspect she will do the same here. (The cat lady moved across the country and Emily couldn't take the long transport.)

After 2 weeks under the bed, she started responding very positively to me. I lay on the floor near the bed and give her big head scritches. Last night, I forced the issue and pulled her out to give her scritches on the floor next to the bed. I let her go after about 1 minute so as not to scare her. My goal is to get her to realize that life outside the underside of the bed can be a fun place. The bed is her happy place. Away from the bed needs to be a happy place for her also.

I have had no issues with the other cats. They go under the bed and sleep with her and groom her. Our alpha male and female go into the room and sleep with her. Only Koko (my 1 year old "teenager") growls at her, but that's her personality.

You work on their timeclock not yours. I have no expectations less than a 6 month adjustment here, and if it goes shorter than that, I will be happy. If it takes longer, then it takes longer. Find out what they love best and give that to them when they are out of their "comfort zone", to make other places feel safe for them.

Good luck!
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Oh yes Rosie...I could have done the cartwheels too! They probably would have come with the padded wagon if I did...oh wait this is NYC....not a chance...yawn, yawn, ho hum! I love your Rosie & Sophie posts, they are an inspiration, and give me hope with my two babes!
post #12 of 13
Awww i'm pleased they do.

Stick with it Barbara and before long they will be the best of friends you just see

Keep us updated though on their progress!.
post #13 of 13
Hi Barbara, I think they seem to be doing OK. It took mine much longer before I could let them in the same room together. Now they are all inseparable. It seemed to happen all of a sudden. I think you would hear hisses and the like if they weren't playing.
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