Newly adopted scared cat is hiding

by Brad
(Cleveland)

I've extensively read all over the internet about how long it takes for a new cat to adjust to a new environment. I know it may take weeks or even months.


Still, I'm really depressed and worried that my cat will always hide out. Like forever.

He's one and a half. I rescued him from the local Cleveland shelter. It's been nine days. I'm not waiting more than a month. What can I do?

He's seen me put food in his dish and clean out the litter box from his hiding places. He's seen me put out toys.

I'm a first time cat owner. I play soft music when I leave. He's eating and using the litter box.

I can't confine him to a room, because I don't always know where he is. I've ignored him for a couple days and I talk to him also. What can I do?

My thoughts: First off, conCATulations on your new kitty! Welcome to the world of cat parenting. It's an amazing experience, but it can be stressful and cats can be hard to figure out sometimes.

It takes a lot of patience to work with a scared cat. It can take up to six months for a cat to fully get used to a new environment, but it's usually a gradual thing.

The fact that he's eating, drinking, and using the litter box is a great sign. Hiding, at this stage, is fairly common.

I can tell you from experience as well as from many of the stories I hear, that adopting two cats is easier than adopting one. When there's more than one cat, they tend to keep each other occupied, burn off stress, and learn from each other.

As you hinted at, the protocol is to confine a newly adopted cat to a single room. There are a number of reasons that's a good idea. One of the reasons you do that is because it's much easier for your new cat to gain control of a small environment.

The faster your cat gains some measure of control, the faster his confidence will improve, and he'll come out from under the bed or wherever he's chosen to hide.

It's also easier to control his environment and get him on a routine, and it gives him fewer places to hide.

I'm a little confused about why you can't confine him to a room. You should be able to lure him in there with food, water, and the litter box.

It's best if he sees you move the items in there, because you don't want to create a situation where he doesn't know where the litter box is.

The best way to lure him is probably to use food.

For example, you could make the move at meal time. Put his dinner down and make sure he sees you doing it. Wait until he comes for it. Once he's in the room, close the door.

If he were my cat, I'd try that. Just make sure the litter box isn't close to the food and water.

I'd spend a lot of time with him in that room. I'd make sure that I didn't make any threatening moves, and I'd use toys to coax him out of his hiding places.

It's amazing how distracted (and uninhibited) a cat can become when there's a feather or a rope on the other side of a door. But it takes patience. It takes sitting there, tossing a feather toy near him and then pulling it back in, over and over again.

Get yourself a Bird Catcher Pro EX and have at it.

You can break out some treats and place them close to him. See if he goes for it. Later, place the treats a little further away. Keep doing this, increasing the distance from the hiding place each time.

Nine days isn't that long. While some cats come out right away, others take much longer. Keep working at it.

You might be able to speed things up a bit if you use calming products, such as Feliway or Bach's Rescue Remedy.

Get him a tall cat tree so he can do some climbing and use a high perch as a safe spot.

If you do things a bit at a time and don't force him, he'll come around eventually.

I hope that helps and please let us know how it goes.
-Kurt

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sared cat
by: Anonymous

PLEASE give it TIME

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Fraidy cat
by: Ailurophile615

I think you are a fantastic person for rescuing a kitten. I totally agree that 1 room at a time would be best. If necessary, lure the cat with 1/4 can of WATER PACKED tuna. (Oil packed is likely to give the kitten diarrhea.) Catnip spray, or the real thing, everywhere. Feliway, Bach Flowers, Jackson Galaxy Solutions will help both of you. My most recent cat came home w/ me mid-May. She had had a wonderful, nurturing, stable life for 4 1/2 yrs. She was everything I wanted. Changing homes, she has had a difficult adjustment. 3 days ago, she jumped up on my bed while I was on it, for the 1st time. TIME. EVERYTHING HAPPENS IN THE CAT'S TIME. You probably have no idea what has happened to your baby. Kittie may have had several homes, been lost, abused, starved. LOVE & PATIENCE IS KEY. Love Baby.

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Maybe I Can Help
by: SavannahSeana

My situation was different, but...
My kitten ran straight under bed to hide. I put 2 dishes, 1 w/water 1 w/dry kitten food near her.I also placed a towel, stuffed animal & wind-up alarm clock. (ticking can mimic their morher's heartbeat.) I then SLEPT on carpet at bed's edge for a couple nights. Sounds strange, but...Anyway, when you sleep they sometimes creep up to sniff you w/out you being awake & trying to interact. Other than also giving cat their own space & TIME this may work. Also, they can pick up on your anxiety from worrying shout them. Kudos to you for having such a kind heart.

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