Newly adopted cat

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by MvWyk, Jul 31, 2014.

  1. MvWyk

    MvWyk In the Brooder

    Nov 16, 2013
    Ivory Coast, West Africa
    Hello there.
    Me and hubby adopted a 7month old cat from our neighbors who immigrated 4 days ago.
    She seems to be coping well, hiding during the day but at night time is when the trouble starts, she starts meowing the whole night and we can't get any sleep. What can we do as hubby is really tired during the day?
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Crowing

    Apr 8, 2013
    Maybe don't let her hide during the day, spend more time socializing her with you guys. Otherwise perhaps she's just biding her time until she feels brave enough, when the house is quiet, to come out and search for her owners. (Her previous ones.)

    She's only 7 months, she shouldn't be so strongly bonded to them and should come out into trusting you guys pretty easily given some time and TLC. Cats my family got never had an option about it, with so many kids around they very quickly became bold and assimilated into the family. That included strays or the offspring of dumped cats gone feral, many of them will tame easily if given food and some often forced initial contact. As long as the contact ends well they soon learn not to fear you.

    If she is able to be handled, and doesn't overly stress about it, I suggest taking her out of her hiding place a few times a day and holding her, in a nice and soothing way, talking to her, stroking her, etc. Just helping build positive associations rather than letting her run on her predominant program, which may or may not be too timid by nature to seek to initiate a connection. They can get into a habit of hiding without justification for it sometimes and being allowed to avoid contact for too long can reward averse behavior towards it, if all they get from you is food and words, not touch and positive reinforcement.

    It is still only 4 days or so, not a big issue right now especially with a 7 month old, but I wouldn't let her stay away for too long if she shows no signs of making an approach towards you or your husband. She's already sounding a bit timid and generally that's pretty easy to change with a little effort towards establishing trust and showing them affection.

    Some cats will remain timid for life if nobody takes the time and effort to connect with them, I've tamed adult cats whose own owners couldn't handle them simply because they never took the time to make a connection happen, they just waited for the cat to initiate it. Some cats will never initiate. They often become dangerous with time as they lack trust and reach adulthood with some fundamental opportunities to tame them having been skipped over. Cats revert in a few generations back to their wild state if not kept tame so good to make inroads while she's young.

    Many cats are 'eye-shy' and staring directly at them is a hostile threat as far as they understand. Blinking, squinting slightly, looking away, etc can do wonders for helping tame terrified cats, since that's quite simply how they communicate to one another that they do not intend harm. Even feral cats can rapidly build trust for humans who communicate in ways they understand, and that's one of them. It's one of the most important universal body language behaviors you can use to gain trust from pretty much any cat. If they're willing to meet you halfway, that lets them know it's a possibility you're open to.

    If she has special treats she loves, you can use that to lure her out of hiding, though when she's eating something that inspires her instincts it may not be the best time to try to pet her or pick her up, obviously.

    Best wishes.
  3. MvWyk

    MvWyk In the Brooder

    Nov 16, 2013
    Ivory Coast, West Africa
    Thank you so much for your helpful information. I closed the bedroom door for her to be closer to me but she went under the couch. I removed her from there, put here on my lap but she only wants out of my arms. She then ran outside into our enclosed porch where she stayed most of the day but this time she was on the couch where I sat next to here for a while but she kept running up and down to see if the bedroom door was open, ignoring me when I talk to her. She is not a shy cat at all but only comes to you for TLC when standing. She is very paranoid, any sound or movement especially strangers makes her drop low to the ground, run and hide. I take her daily outside with a leash but she freaks out completely for everyting. I am not sure if it is a good thing, I don't know if this is making thing worse. Hopefuly it will get better by the end of the week. Will keeo you up to date
  4. jwood

    jwood In the Brooder

    is she fixed? they can meow and yowl a lot when they are in heat...and being 7mths she's right at that age to start if she hasn't been fixed already.

    But it sounds like she is pretty skittish. I worked for animal shelter for 10 years and we always suggested keeping a newly adopted cat in their own room for the first 7-10 days. she is obviously overwhelmed with her new situation and keeping her in a small room would help her get used to her surroundings on her own terms. She would need everything in her room with her (litterbox, food, toys, etc) and you would have to go in there a lot to spend time with her. But this way she gets used to you guys and also has a place she feels is safe. We would normally tell people to open the door and let her explore the house when she's ready (for example she's ready when she's trying to scoot out, pawing at the door etc). You could also provide a cardboard box or something similar for her to hide in instead of furniture...not sure if you can get a blanket or something from her previous home? Cats like to be surrounded by their familiar smell so having something to lay with from her old house may help her feel more comfortable.

    She will probably always be a bit skittish but a slow introduction to the house is best for any cat.

    Good luck!
  5. chooks4life

    chooks4life Crowing

    Apr 8, 2013
    Yeah, it's not 'one size fits all' with animals just as it's not with people. My suggestions worked for us but that doesn't mean it will be guaranteed to work for you. Cats can be pretty resistant to adjusting to new people, it generally takes a fair while, and many cats are kind of a 'one person' animal.

    Some animals don't want anything much to do with people, so if this doesn't work out in the long run you could consider rehoming her unless you're too attached. The thing about kids is that they persist with invading the animals' space, handling the animal, etc, the cats quickly got used to it, whereas adults generally don't have the same kind of interest and time to do the same.

    Wonder what sort of handling she had before, to only come for affection when you're standing and not when you're sitting. Maybe there's a reason she's avoiding people. Could be something as simple as someone playing too roughly with her, even when the cat starts it they can take it personally if the human plays with them rather than remaining passive, especially if they're a nervy cat; also, being a kitten, there's a good chance she went through or may still be going through the usual phase of scratching and biting in rough play with humans, and perhaps got disciplined and now doesn't trust humans when they're sitting since she's misunderstood the context of the punishment or rejection or whatever happened.

    Depending on what the ambient temperatures are around your place, she may do well with an outside cage for the night times, I don't know. One of my cats loved cages, found them very soothing, she was a very high anxiety cat for the first few years of her life. Almost gave up on her quite a few times. She mellowed out into a lovely family member eventually, but that's not to say she didn't almost get herself rehomed numerous times in her younger years; when we got her she had already formed a very negative opinion on humans and not without reason too. She hated people for the first few years of her life.

    If it's not too cold, and if you can make her a nice outside run or something, it may give her some time to settle overnight while your husband catches up on sleep.

    Anyway, hope it works out for you guys.
  6. poodlechicks

    poodlechicks Songster

    Apr 2, 2013
    Do you have any other animals in your house? I am assuming she is spayed. Did you visit her former owners often and play with the cat at their home? If so, talk to her the same way you did when she wasn't yours. It might bring her some familiarity. If you've been to her former home, do you remember how they fed her or played with her? Repeating the same routine with her might bring her some relief from stress, provided she had a good experience with the former routine.
    Something you can do is the cooked chicken treat. Never failed me. You sit down next to the cat and offer a bit of cooked chicken. Don't push it into the cat. Just offer the food and don't make any move toward the cat or eye contact. You may talk in a soothing, low volume voice.
    Please, don't walk this cat on a leash outside just yet. She seems to be taking her time in getting used to a new environment, so introducing another new activity for her is not going to help now.
    If you have a toy for her, say that one that looks like a fishing pole with a toy at the end, it would be great. Again, don't force her to play, but place the toy end near her and pull it slowly, imitating the movement of prey. When she comes out of hiding, keep moving the toy to entice her to play. The idea is to make the transition from food to you, from toy to you.
    If you force your physical presence on the cat, she might take longer to come out of hiding. Transitions are always good. And make sure your husband plays with her as well, so she can see that only positive interactions come from both of you.

    Feed the cat during the day and away from hiding, but still in a quiet place of the house. Sit at a reasonable distance from the cat, so she thinks she isn't cornered.

    All activities are to take place during the day. Night time is quiet time. Even knowing cats like to roam at night, she needs to learn to do it quietly, not be awake at night out of desperation. For that to happen, she needs enough stimuli during the day in order to settle at night.

    I take it that you've already been to the vet with her and nothing physical is cause for her discomfort.

    Good luck! With a bit of patience and persistence, she will surely make a great pet.
  7. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    She could be meowing for many reasons, but I've found stress can certainly cause them to act that way. We just had to put down our one cat and the two of them have been together their whole lives, for 15 years. The other cat me owed and me owed for the first few nights looking for her sister.

    It seemed to really help playing with her during the day to tired her out. The fishing pole toys are great for that. She will also have to get used to you and your home as well. For some cats, changing homes can be a pretty big deal.
  8. Quackers Mama

    Quackers Mama Chirping

    Aug 8, 2014
    Houston, TX
    How's she doing now? There's been lots of great advice, a lot of what I was going to say lol. I agree with @poodlechicks with not taking her outside on a leash, as you've said noises spook her. I hope she's adjusted to her her new home, & everyone is happy & content. It's going to take patience & time to gain her trust.

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