Mimi was in the shelter a really long time

Boris Diamond

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I've had several cats that took months to settle down into their new home. One was a feral and one was a purebred. I have another cat that I have had since July that still needs to be isolated - he had bad injuries and had given up. He is so fearful, the other cats don't like him. But I still feel that with patience he will come around. Sometimes it takes a while.

It sounds like you are doing the right things. As others have said, patience is the key. My purebred bit me every time I tried to pet him. It took six months, but he became my very best friend and a cat that I will always remember how special he turned out to be.
 
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Jerseymeow

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Time, patience, food, and love. Interactive wand and lure toys, perhaps?
Thanks. I have wand toys and other toys. She ignores my attempts and plays at night alone. I have a Feliway diffuser and our Vet prescribed Royal Canin "calm" dry food. She sometimes returns my slow blinks. I think I have been very patient and caring. She likes her cat tree and hiding spot.
 
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Jerseymeow

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I'm so sorry to hear this. It must be so demoralising.

Have you tried using a Feliway diffuser? It never did much for me but it can't hurt.

Also, if she is hissing at the window, perhaps cover it up. It sounds as if that is another source of stress for her. Perhaps a neighbourhood cat is visiting?
Yes. Feliway diffuser, and she is on Royal Canin "calm" rx dry food. Your comment about the window is interesting.
 
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Jerseymeow

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Thanks for the article. It was helpful. I have been doing everything the article suggests. I appreciate all of the help I have received from TheCatSite people. It's just so many weeks of being hissed at multiple times a day kinda gets to you after a while.
:hellocomputer:I bet. Did you cover the window? It causing over stimulation was a good suggestion. Did you try the Sheba meat sticks? Hang in there. Stay patient. She has had her world turned upside down and under a bed is better than in a cage.
:hangin: :heartshape:
 

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Of course, it gets to you. But try not to take it personally. This is a cat who has been disappointed by humans over and over again. She will be slow to trust and will test you every step of the way, although I can see the beginnings of trust in her. Step by step. When she does realize that she cannot drive you off, and that it is safe to finally give her heart to you, she will give it with all of her being. Hang in there. You are doing better than you think you are.

Oh, and do give her some time when you just ignore her. No pressure on her at all. Don't even look at her. That lets her have a bit of "decompression time."
 
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Jerseymeow

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Of course, it gets to you. But try not to take it personally. This is a cat who has been disappointed by humans over and over again. She will be slow to trust and will test you every step of the way, although I can see the beginnings of trust in her. Step by step. When she does realize that she cannot drive you off, and that it is safe to finally give her heart to you, she will give it with all of her being. Hang in there. You are doing better than you think you are.

Oh, and do give her some time when you just ignore her. No pressure on her at all. Don't even look at her. That lets her have a bit of "decompression time."
Thank you. Reading this actually made me teary.
 

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I always remember author M S King writing about an adult cat they adopted called Sugar. It took 3 years for her decide her new hoomans were OK. He was so fed up with this beautiful creature hissing at him daily and then one day, she liked him and then became his most adored kittykat. Who he now refers to as St Sugar since she's passed.
 

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I always remember author M S King writing about an adult cat they adopted called Sugar. It took 3 years for her decide her new hoomans were OK. He was so fed up with this beautiful creature hissing at him daily and then one day, she liked him and then became his most adored kittykat. Who he now refers to as St Sugar since she's passed.
Yes. One of the things that really helped me when Willow was so slow to adjust was talking with a cat rescuer who told me about the feral that lived in the ceiling of her basement for three years. She said she knew he was eating, drinking and using the litterbox so she just Let him be. After three years he just came upstairs one day, totally tame and now her absolute best friend.
 

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Yes. One of the things that really helped me when Willow was so slow to adjust was talking with a cat rescuer who told me about the feral that lived in the ceiling of her basement for three years. She said she knew he was eating, drinking and using the litterbox so she just Let him be. After three years he just came upstairs one day, totally tame and now her absolute best friend.
A wonderful "tail"! Cats are like us. Some are outgoing, some not. Many are shy or not social because of life experiences. Think like a cat...who's thinking and experiencing similarly to a human...and it helps.
 

Whenallhellbreakslose

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Sorry, I am a little late to this thread. I am sorry to hear that your newly adopted Kitty MiMi is not adapting to her new home very well. It saddens me when I hear about cats who spent many months or years in cages. That is so psychologically unhealthy. Cats need interaction, they need to be played with and loved. It sounds like Mimi didn't have too much of that. When I was trying to nurse a young sick shy out door kitty back to health, I had him in a crate for 3 weeks giving him medicines and trying to put weight on him. I talk to him, feed him(even spoon fed him). I even started petting him with one of those hair grooming gloves. I had to have him investigate it first, but he grew to love being groomed. This was a bonding tool. I eventually won him over and lifted him out of his crate (that was in my garage) and held him. The little guy loved that. So everyday I held him and praised him and made him feel comfortable and most importantly loved. I got a hold of a old play pen and put toys in there for stimulation. At first he just sniffed them, but as his health was returning he started playing with them. This interaction with me and his toys was helpful for his mental health and his overall health.

You have gotten lots of good advice on this thread. I think you are trying your best, but you have to look at this kitty as special needs for the moment. It was very unhealthy spending practically her whole life in shelters barely getting a chance to leave her crate. You are trying your best to make this kitty comfortable (which is the first step when bringing home a new kitty), the next step is creating a bond through trust. This is where the problem lies, if this kitty was in shelters and mostly just sitting in her crate, than their was no real interaction with people other getting fed and having her crate cleaned. This is all she knows, so by you trying very hard to bring her out of her shell, it may have the opposite effect. It is going to take time. You need to meet her on her terms and work from there. Trust needs to be built because she is very unsure what to expect from you. Praise her, give her treats when she does something that looks like she is progressing. Play with her with toys she likes, have also toys she can play with alone. Pet her and groom her, when she allows it. Also have some cat perches that she can hang on, perhaps you can put one near a window, so she can look at the birds or you can have her watch birds on TV. You need to make her world bigger as she progresses. Living in a shelter in a cage deprived her of quite a number of things. Lastly, (and I am not sure this is the right solution for your kitty, but I am putting it out there) have a friendly cat visitor over. My friend had a nervous kitty and thought she needed a companion, so she got another cat- the most mellowest, friendliest orange tabby. It helped tremendously. The male kitty was so comforting to this stressed out kitty. She got more confident each day because she was around a more adjusted socialized kitty. Do you know in many zoos they raise Cheetahs along dogs because dogs seem to help the cheetahs be more calm and socialized? So it could help, but I am not sure if your kitty is open to other cats. It may make things worse. So proceed carefully if you chose to do this.

Well, I hope you find this reply helpful. I wish you and Mimi all the best.🙂
 

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Such a great post, Whenallhellbreakslose Whenallhellbreakslose and full of very valuable information!
I look at cats in shelters as incarcerated cats, because that's what they are -- cats behind bars, in cramped quarters, most of them in solitary, but having to deal with the stress of other cats' voices and smells, and if they're really unlucky, which most of them are, they also have to endure dog barking, incessantly. Some of the shelter personnel are wonderful. The volunteers, especially. Some are not. It's a far-from-ideal environment and many of them have to deal with it for long periods of time. Then (in "normal" times) they have to deal with often loud people, screaming kids, and people that should NEVER be allowed to adopt.
Extrapolate any situation -- how would a human feel? How would YOU feel, in their place?
 

Whenallhellbreakslose

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Such a great post, Whenallhellbreakslose Whenallhellbreakslose and full of very valuable information!
I look at cats in shelters as incarcerated cats, because that's what they are -- cats behind bars, in cramped quarters, most of them in solitary, but having to deal with the stress of other cats' voices and smells, and if they're really unlucky, which most of them are, they also have to endure dog barking, incessantly. Some of the shelter personnel are wonderful. The volunteers, especially. Some are not. It's a far-from-ideal environment and many of them have to deal with it for long periods of time. Then (in "normal" times) they have to deal with often loud people, screaming kids, and people that should NEVER be allowed to adopt.
Extrapolate any situation -- how would a human feel? How would YOU feel, in their place?
Forget it, I wouldn't fare out well. I am all for foster networks and having cats live in a home as part of a socializing program and to get away from living in the shelter. The good news with this Pandemic is that a growing number of people who were not open to fostering animals began doing it and said it was the most rewarding experience and they continue to foster. I also heard of people who woke up to the plight of the homeless cats while quarantined and are now taking care of outdoor kitties and getting them tnred. This is fantastic! It gives me hope. 🙂
 

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Forget it, I wouldn't fare out well. I am all for foster networks and having cats live in a home as part of a socializing program and to get away from living in the shelter. The good news with this Pandemic is that a growing number of people who were not open to fostering animals began doing it and said it was the most rewarding experience and they continue to foster. I also heard of people who woke up to the plight of the homeless cats while quarantined and are now taking care of outdoor kitties and getting them tnred. This is fantastic! It gives me hope. 🙂
...and I've read that a lot of them are being returned. But that's to be expected in a society like this one. Those who are "foster failures" (adopted) do give much hope. And yeah, those who are taking it farther and doing TNR and rescue/adoption are wonderful.
 

Whenallhellbreakslose

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...and I've read that a lot of them are being returned. But that's to be expected in a society like this one. Those who are "foster failures" (adopted) do give much hope. And yeah, those who are taking it farther and doing TNR and rescue/adoption are wonderful.
Well, i hope the right people are drawn to fostering and taking care of ferals. My local TNR group goes into classrooms teaching kids about caring for community cats. They also teach them how TNR helps communities. I hope these interactions with children makes a lasting impact. We need more caring people helping to make this world a better place.
 

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Whenallhellbreakslose Whenallhellbreakslose and tarasgirl06 tarasgirl06 , I think it would be wonderful to start a thread about flaws in the system, with both shelters and fosters. This is a subject that needs to be explored in depth. I hope that one of you will do that. I will certainly take part in the discussions!

Now, back to the subject at hand, J Jerseymeow , how is Mimi coming along?
 
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Jerseymeow

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Sorry, I am a little late to this thread. I am sorry to hear that your newly adopted Kitty MiMi is not adapting to her new home very well. It saddens me when I hear about cats who spent many months or years in cages. That is so psychologically unhealthy. Cats need interaction, they need to be played with and loved. It sounds like Mimi didn't have too much of that. When I was trying to nurse a young sick shy out door kitty back to health, I had him in a crate for 3 weeks giving him medicines and trying to put weight on him. I talk to him, feed him(even spoon fed him). I even started petting him with one of those hair grooming gloves. I had to have him investigate it first, but he grew to love being groomed. This was a bonding tool. I eventually won him over and lifted him out of his crate (that was in my garage) and held him. The little guy loved that. So everyday I held him and praised him and made him feel comfortable and most importantly loved. I got a hold of a old play pen and put toys in there for stimulation. At first he just sniffed them, but as his health was returning he started playing with them. This interaction with me and his toys was helpful for his mental health and his overall health.

You have gotten lots of good advice on this thread. I think you are trying your best, but you have to look at this kitty as special needs for the moment. It was very unhealthy spending practically her whole life in shelters barely getting a chance to leave her crate. You are trying your best to make this kitty comfortable (which is the first step when bringing home a new kitty), the next step is creating a bond through trust. This is where the problem lies, if this kitty was in shelters and mostly just sitting in her crate, than their was no real interaction with people other getting fed and having her crate cleaned. This is all she knows, so by you trying very hard to bring her out of her shell, it may have the opposite effect. It is going to take time. You need to meet her on her terms and work from there. Trust needs to be built because she is very unsure what to expect from you. Praise her, give her treats when she does something that looks like she is progressing. Play with her with toys she likes, have also toys she can play with alone. Pet her and groom her, when she allows it. Also have some cat perches that she can hang on, perhaps you can put one near a window, so she can look at the birds or you can have her watch birds on TV. You need to make her world bigger as she progresses. Living in a shelter in a cage deprived her of quite a number of things. Lastly, (and I am not sure this is the right solution for your kitty, but I am putting it out there) have a friendly cat visitor over. My friend had a nervous kitty and thought she needed a companion, so she got another cat- the most mellowest, friendliest orange tabby. It helped tremendously. The male kitty was so comforting to this stressed out kitty. She got more confident each day because she was around a more adjusted socialized kitty. Do you know in many zoos they raise Cheetahs along dogs because dogs seem to help the cheetahs be more calm and socialized? So it could help, but I am not sure if your kitty is open to other cats. It may make things worse. So proceed carefully if you chose to do this.

Well, I hope you find this reply helpful. I wish you and Mimi all the best.🙂
Thank you for your very kind thoughts and advice. I was not prepared for how timid Mimi is. Due to covid, the shelter had been closed to the public several times with employees/volunteers sick, so I did not spend any time with Mimi in the shelter. We did a "foster to adopt" and met the shelter worker outside. Mimi was suggested by the shelter as a cat that needed a home. So, we gave her a home. Some of the issues are mine, realizing over time that Mimi is not just "timid". Mimi is extremely fearful, and gaining her trust is going to take time. She has a two cat trees in two windows. She has lots of toys, but I cannot play with her, because she retreats into her hiding space. Lately she will stay in her tree if I stay on the other side of the room.
 
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Jerseymeow

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I do have a question....
If I go anywhere near Mimi, she hisses at me most of the time. So, I have not tried to get close or touch her for weeks. She likes me about 6 feet away from her. I do have a cat brush and also grooming gloves. But I have not used them.
In the first month of caring for Mimi she did let me pet the top of her head a few times and she liked it. Those "frozen" days are over. I think she has become more assertive and that is a good thing. Perhaps it is "more assertive Mimi" who is hissing at me.
So...what do I do? Keep my distance? I have tried treats and toys. She ignores me.
 

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I do have a question....
If I go anywhere near Mimi, she hisses at me most of the time. So, I have not tried to get close or touch her for weeks. She likes me about 6 feet away from her. I do have a cat brush and also grooming gloves. But I have not used them.
In the first month of caring for Mimi she did let me pet the top of her head a few times and she liked it. Those "frozen" days are over. I think she has become more assertive and that is a good thing. Perhaps it is "more assertive Mimi" who is hissing at me.
So...what do I do? Keep my distance? I have tried treats and toys. She ignores me.
Well, obviously, J Jerseymeow , Mimi is very knowledgeable about COVID and is social distancing:lol:
Seriously, time, love, and patience. Let her come to you. Continue thinking loving thoughts and going slow. She has obviously been traumatized. As with anyone else who's traumatized, trust takes time. I speak from experience.
 

Whenallhellbreakslose

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I do have a question....
If I go anywhere near Mimi, she hisses at me most of the time. So, I have not tried to get close or touch her for weeks. She likes me about 6 feet away from her. I do have a cat brush and also grooming gloves. But I have not used them.
In the first month of caring for Mimi she did let me pet the top of her head a few times and she liked it. Those "frozen" days are over. I think she has become more assertive and that is a good thing. Perhaps it is "more assertive Mimi" who is hissing at me.
So...what do I do? Keep my distance? I have tried treats and toys. She ignores me.
I am wondering if MiMi was just taken off the streets when younger and put in the shelter. She may have not have been properly socialized from the start. The Pandemic has caused setbacks in shelters everywhere which affected the animals.

I am sort of short on time, so I am posting an article I hope helps you. Don't give up on Mimi. Keep meeting her on her terms. She will come around.🙂
 
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