Hissing

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I rescued a 2-year-old neutered male from my county animal shelter, it was a pandemic "virtual adoption" so I did not spend any one on one time with him and had no idea how fearful he was. After 5 months we have made some progress but he has never been closer than a couple of feet, I've never held him, had him on my lap, been able to pet or brush him. If I should accidentally get too close for his comfort he still hisses at me then scoots away to one of his hiding spots. This is my first cat and I think I'm doing things right, providing the things he needs to be a healthy and happy cat. If I remain patient will he ever trust me or is the best I can expect. Thanks for any insights.
 

rubysmama

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Hello and welcome to TCS. Sorry though for the reason that brought you here. Sorry, also, that your first cat is taking such a long time to become comfortable around you and his new home.

Do you know his history? It sounds as though he either was (semi) feral or abused, as normally even strays who are antsy at first in a new home, come around long before 5 months.

I do think if you remain patient, there's a good chance he'll come to trust you, and even love you. He may never be close to other people, i.e. visitors to your home, but I think there can be a bond between you and him.

Here's a TCS article with tips on How To Help An Abused Cat Recover – TheCatSite Articles that might be helpful, even if he's just nervous, and was never abused.

There's also:
How To Help A New Cat Adjust To Your Home – TheCatSite Articles (this one is more for bringing a new cat home)

And:
How To Get A Cat To Come Out Of Hiding? – TheCatSite Articles
10 Must-know Tips For Happy Living With A Shy Cat – TheCatSite Articles
16 Top Cat Experts Share Tips For Dealing With Timid Cats – TheCatSite Articles

Good luck. :catlove:
 

susanm9006

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Five months is a long time for him to still be hissing but some cats just take longer than others. He may have been a feral or poorly socialized which makes adjusting harder and longer. But you are doing the right thing, being patient and not pushing him. If he is nearby or in the room, spend some time every day sitting or lying on the floor. Cats find us less scary when we are at their level. If he likes food you can try laying out something delicious that encourages him to get a little closer. Or roll a ball or throw one of his cat toys just to get him interested in what you are doing. You don’t want to make eye contact but you do want to talk to him .

Speaking as the cat parent of a semi feral, he may never be a lap cat but that doesnt mean that he can’t be happy to be near/with you and to accept petting and affection. It just has to be at his own pace.
 

Mamanyt1953

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Spend some time each day sitting on the floor and reading aloud. Ignore him. Do not make eye contact...not yet. Eye contact can be seen as aggressive by a very fearful cat. Let him make all the first moves. Sitting on the floor like that presents you in a very non-threatening way, and reading aloud (don't be dramatic, just read the lines in a soft voice) allows him to get used to your voice, as well.

And the above information is ALL excellent! This is just one more tool in your toolkit!
 

maggie101

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Mamanyt1953 Mamanyt1953 has some really good ideas. Getting down at his level will make him more comfortable. When I rescued Maggie I had to show pics for proof she really existed. It took almost a year for her to be comfortable around friends of mine. Coco stayed under my couch for 3 months then bedroom for a year. Your cat will accept you in time. My cats peaches and Maggie have never been lap cats. If you pat him start behind the ears,their fav spot. Peaches I cannot pat if she's above me. She's owner of my apt
 

game misconduct

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I rescued a 2-year-old neutered male from my county animal shelter, it was a pandemic "virtual adoption" so I did not spend any one on one time with him and had no idea how fearful he was. After 5 months we have made some progress but he has never been closer than a couple of feet, I've never held him, had him on my lap, been able to pet or brush him. If I should accidentally get too close for his comfort he still hisses at me then scoots away to one of his hiding spots. This is my first cat and I think I'm doing things right, providing the things he needs to be a healthy and happy cat. If I remain patient will he ever trust me or is the best I can expect. Thanks for any insights.
i think he will in time keep giving the patienceand one day you will be rewarded and givin his love and trust as much as he will be able to not knowing his past or anything
 

EnelradSedir70

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I rescued a 2-year-old neutered male from my county animal shelter, it was a pandemic "virtual adoption" so I did not spend any one on one time with him and had no idea how fearful he was. After 5 months we have made some progress but he has never been closer than a couple of feet, I've never held him, had him on my lap, been able to pet or brush him. If I should accidentally get too close for his comfort he still hisses at me then scoots away to one of his hiding spots. This is my first cat and I think I'm doing things right, providing the things he needs to be a healthy and happy cat. If I remain patient will he ever trust me or is the best I can expect. Thanks for any insights.
Thank you for adopting a shelter cat. I think the answer is yes, but with some modifications.

I just finished mostly socializing a stray kitty prob 1 year old and had him for ten months. I have other cats, but even if I didn’t, I am not an advocate of letting a new scared cat roam all over the house. Sometimes it can be too much.

I suggest starting them off in a spare room with maybe a cat tree or two, maybe a small hidey box so they can get away when necessary but no beds etc where you can’t access them easily. Harp music is great too for cats.

Invest in a wand toy a foot or so long with skinny handle so you can start petting them with that gently and on their favorite spots (top of head, chin, back by tail). Plus you can play with it (I don’t recommend playing with the same toy you pet with though it could be confusing).

also, never leave food out they should eat with you in room until you start making progress with them on petting etc. Otherwise, no incentive to do anything with you if you just leave out for for them. Talk to them while they eat and Ignore them and let them just sit and take it all in and lose fear of your being a predator.

You might also want to get some pheromone plug in or spray. Leave their carrier in room so they lose fear of it. Never reach inside if they are in it. Coax them out with food, petting, play, then, you can start taking them out into common rooms and sit out there while you do things so they can watch safely. Eventually when improvements are made they can access more of the house and on their terms. ☺
 

theyremine

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Thank you for giving this kitty a chance and for being so invested to make it work. You'll get lots of great advice here just as I have through the years. Some words of encouragement/hope...My Rascal was a true feral who used to attack, now he is the biggest lap cat. Pepper, the least socialized of my former ferals, will still hiss at me even as she comes to me for petting and then flops over on her side purring loudly as I scratch her back.
 

Jerseymeow

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Thank you for adopting a shelter cat. I think the answer is yes, but with some modifications.

I just finished mostly socializing a stray kitty prob 1 year old and had him for ten months. I have other cats, but even if I didn’t, I am not an advocate of letting a new scared cat roam all over the house. Sometimes it can be too much.

I suggest starting them off in a spare room with maybe a cat tree or two, maybe a small hidey box so they can get away when necessary but no beds etc where you can’t access them easily. Harp music is great too for cats.

Invest in a wand toy a foot or so long with skinny handle so you can start petting them with that gently and on their favorite spots (top of head, chin, back by tail). Plus you can play with it (I don’t recommend playing with the same toy you pet with though it could be confusing).

also, never leave food out they should eat with you in room until you start making progress with them on petting etc. Otherwise, no incentive to do anything with you if you just leave out for for them. Talk to them while they eat and Ignore them and let them just sit and take it all in and lose fear of your being a predator.

You might also want to get some pheromone plug in or spray. Leave their carrier in room so they lose fear of it. Never reach inside if they are in it. Coax them out with food, petting, play, then, you can start taking them out into common rooms and sit out there while you do things so they can watch safely. Eventually when improvements are made they can access more of the house and on their terms. ☺
...never leave food out they should eat with you in room until you start making progress with them on petting etc. Otherwise, no incentive to do anything with you if you just leave out for for them. Talk to them while they eat and Ignore them and let them just sit and take it all in and lose fear of your being a predator.
I am in a similar position with our "shelter" cat. This is interestng advice and I had not read that anywhere. I will try this idea. Great advice!!!
 

Jerseymeow

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Hello and welcome to TCS. Sorry though for the reason that brought you here. Sorry, also, that your first cat is taking such a long time to become comfortable around you and his new home.

Do you know his history? It sounds as though he either was (semi) feral or abused, as normally even strays who are antsy at first in a new home, come around long before 5 months.

I do think if you remain patient, there's a good chance he'll come to trust you, and even love you. He may never be close to other people, i.e. visitors to your home, but I think there can be a bond between you and him.

Here's a TCS article with tips on How To Help An Abused Cat Recover – TheCatSite Articles that might be helpful, even if he's just nervous, and was never abused.

There's also:
How To Help A New Cat Adjust To Your Home – TheCatSite Articles (this one is more for bringing a new cat home)

And:
How To Get A Cat To Come Out Of Hiding? – TheCatSite Articles
10 Must-know Tips For Happy Living With A Shy Cat – TheCatSite Articles
16 Top Cat Experts Share Tips For Dealing With Timid Cats – TheCatSite Articles

Good luck. :catlove:
I have a similar issue. Thanks for the links.
 

di and bob

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I applaud you for taking this on, especially since it is not what you expected. In time, he will come around. sitting in the same room several times a day for short times and being on your phone and reading aloud would definitely help get him used to you and your movements. You earn a cat's love and when you finally get it, it is one of life's treasures. I always left a few yummy treats behind when i left to bring on good feelings too. I have definitely had cats take much longer than this to trust you, it WILL happen, all good things take time.....
 

susanm9006

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...never leave food out they should eat with you in room until you start making progress with them on petting etc. Otherwise, no incentive to do anything with you if you just leave out for for them. Talk to them while they eat and Ignore them and let them just sit and take it all in and lose fear of your being a predator.
I am in a similar position with our "shelter" cat. This is interestng advice and I had not read that anywhere. I will try this idea. Great advice!!!
I disagree with the advice regarding food. An absolutely terrified cat will go without food or water if they must come near you to get it. And going without for longer than a day can cause serious health problems. So please leave food, water and a litterbox in their safe room. They will come out to see you when they are ready .
 

japam

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Eating with you in the room is not a necessity, i feed two stray cats, both skittish, with anxiety issues, but i put the food on my patio and on most occasions go back in let them eat, and when finished remove the bowl, sometimes i will stay out about a metre or two away.

After 6 weeks i was able to stroke both, but what is more telling is that when i bring the food out since week 6, i started clenching my hand to a fist, something i read.

One of the cats will sniff it and has started head bumping my fist and rubbing his body all over my fist, and every time he does so, he tries to rub my scent on the other cat.

Whatever you are missing in your life, don't burden it on the cat, 'your statement is that all you can expect', illustrates this.

See the cat as a friend, not a pet, spend more time just watching the cat, and try to see things from the cats eyes, for example if you build a shelter on pen, have three exit points.

Have vantage points, where the cat can see incoming threats.

Test smells to see how cats will respond, i was cleaning carpets outside and noticed that the cats disliked the shake n vac lilly version also garlic.

Cats dont pet each other, head bump, yes, rub their body against each other yes, if they are buddies, sniff each other anus, yes.

Lastily, what's the rush, relax and just enjoy their company with no expectation.

Something i have also learned is if you have a technique you use to call them for dinner, use that same technique, to stop a behaviour you deem inappropiate, for example i use psst to call them for dinner, but if they are doing something i want them to stop, i just make the sound psst and it interupts their train of thought.

Another thing i picked up, was i built a shelter, 10 days ago, both cats watched me build it from a vantage point,once i finished building i went inside, they both investigated the shelter, and decided hmm, nice work, i could really use this, now they spend a good percentage of the day in there.

What they really liked is from the shelter they still can escape if they are cornered,left, right or a small leap onto a fence.

If your friend came over and in the mist of the conversation started petting you,would you not feel uncomfortable?
 

Mamanyt1953

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After 6 weeks i was able to stroke both, but what is more telling is that when i bring the food out since week 6, i started clenching my hand to a fist, something i read.
HUH. I have to wonder if that is successful because the clenched fist looks like a paw with the claws retracted? Something to ponder. I know you can get a running horse to veer away from you by raising both hands in the air with the fingers extended...it apparently looks like a big cat with claws out to the horse. Which is what made me think of that.
 

maggie101

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HUH. I have to wonder if that is successful because the clenched fist looks like a paw with the claws retracted? Something to ponder. I know you can get a running horse to veer away from you by raising both hands in the air with the fingers extended...it apparently looks like a big cat with claws out to the horse. Which is what made me think of that.
Peaches will bite me if I do that. Coco will rub against my hand. So it doesn't work for all cats. Different personalities. React differently
 

Jerseymeow

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I disagree with the advice regarding food. An absolutely terrified cat will go without food or water if they must come near you to get it. And going without for longer than a day can cause serious health problems. So please leave food, water and a litterbox in their safe room. They will come out to see you when they are ready .
We did have an issue when we brought Mimi home from the shelter. She did not eat for almost 4 days. So....for now I think she will eat when she wants. Once in a blue moon she lets me scratch the top of her head. She really enjoys it. Even still, I don't try to touch her more than about twice a week. Depends on the signals I am getting.
 

susanm9006

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We did have an issue when we brought Mimi home from the shelter. She did not eat for almost 4 days. So....for now I think she will eat when she wants. Once in a blue moon she lets me scratch the top of her head. She really enjoys it. Even still, I don't try to touch her more than about twice a week. Depends on the signals I am getting.
You were fortunate she is okay after four days of non eating. Liver failure can occur after just 24 hours in some. It can take years for trust to develop. My Willow had been with me nearly 10 years and I still see increases to her trust level every year.
 

japam

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Peaches will bite me if I do that. Coco will rub against my hand. So it doesn't work for all cats. Different personalities. React differently
Could it be the lotion or scent you have on your hand, does peaches think it's a toy or a threat.
 
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