New adoptee still staying in safe room after two weeks

justice1937

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I have recently adopted av14 year old male cat whose owner died suddenly. He has been in his safe room for two weeks, eating and using his litter box. He enjoys my petting him and sits on my lap. But he only comes out of his safe room at night, and never during the day. I can tell he's active at night as his treats are gone each morning. Is there any way I can help him be comfortable enough that he leaves his safe room during the day. Many thanks, Joan
 

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Two weeks is actually not very long, and as you say he is coming out when he deems it safe, then he is making progess. His world has changed and he needs time. You could try putting other dafe places around the house - a covered box on its side would even do. Put things in his room that smell of you so he really gets to feel safe with your smell, and the same in any box or hidey hole you make for him. Play with him often in the room, especially with wand toys that demand his attention and maybe he can be gradually drawn out. But in fact, I think he just needs time.
 

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When we first adopted Sinbad and Tempest, we were warned that it was likely to be upwards of 5 weeks before Tempest would come out of her safe room. All you need is patience and love, it sounds like he is doing great.
 
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justice1937

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Many thanks for your responses. It is more than helpful to know it is his timetable but he is progressing. When he first came home with me, he didn't eat and after a few days he started. Unfortunately, I subsequently learned he had been dealing with constipation, took him to his vet for X-rays and enema, waited three more days and he finally pooped. With the illness of his previous owner, his meds were probably missed and now, we are on schedule, hopefully he won't have to deal with that again. He's still enjoying the nightlife in our home, during the day, comes to the door of his safe room, looks out and sometimes moves a few yards down the hall. I can tell when he is sitting on my lap in his room, he shows interest in the "outside" but still afraid. I had been reading 3 ton5 days of hiding was "normal" so I am grateful to learn some cases take longer. In the meantime, lots of love, Joan
 

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I think '3 to 5 days' might be a typo.  It should be 3 to 5 weeks.  But all cats are different.  My foster cat who was adopted recently was sleeping on the bed w/the new family the first night.  Other animals in the house factor in to the time needed as well.  It's new noises and smells.  If he will let you, carry him to another part of the house and play with him so he gets some time out during the day, or lead him out of the room with a toy.
 

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Just make sure you spend as much time with him, getting him used to you, as possible--he'll make it out of the room when he realizes you aren't always in there. :)

Depending on how he is (very skittish, or not skittish at all), you could take him into others rooms with you. It's important not to try this with every cat, so you need to be able to judge if your kitty will lose all the progress he's made, or if he'll take to the new experience fine. If he's been exploring during the night, I would probably go for it, and take him with you to explore new rooms.
 
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justice1937

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Yesterday it was two weeks in his safe room. And last night, I went in to be with him for a while before going to bed, and he followed me out of his room. He was very activ, we played and petted in the hallway. He looked around corners, but stayed in the hallway with me. :clap: First time he has set foot outside of his room when we were still up and awake. He seemed very happy, I know I was. BToday, he seems a little less sure again. Wondering if that is normal, stepping out and then back a bit. He's doing well physically, eating and litter box all OK. I know he moves through our home during the night, last evening was the first time he chose to leave his room and come to me. Alleluia
 

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He'll get there! Sounds like he trusts you and is adjusting well.
 

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Although it's a little hard to say "normal" and "cat" in the same sentence without giggling, yeah, actually, it is.  Progress with cats is rarely linear.  It is more likely to be a series of loop-the loops, or the resemble the maze at Chartres Cathedral, or even a picture of time-lapse lightning bolts.  You and Kitten-boo are doing fine.  He's getting there...his way.
 
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justice1937

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I am so very grateful for your optimism, that he is doing well as he determines well. We are committed to offering this kitty the best life he can live. As life is full of surprises, our only working shower is now the one in his bathroom and of course, that is his favorite place. Today's challenge, figure out how to take care of both of our needs. Again, it is comforting to read your messages. Joan
 

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Yesterday it was two weeks in his safe room. And last night, I went in to be with him for a while before going to bed, and he followed me out of his room. He was very active, we played and petted in the hallway. He looked around corners, but stayed in the hallway with me. :clap: First time he has set foot outside of his room when we were still up and awake. He seemed very happy, I know I was. BToday, he seems a little less sure again. Wondering if that is normal, stepping out and then back a bit. He's doing well physically, eating and litter box all OK. I know he moves through our home during the night, last evening was the first time he chose to leave his room and come to me. Alleluia
That's definite progress! :clap: Some cats are just more cautious than others, and he's "feeling" his way around, so some days he's going to be bolder than others, then regress a bit when his own courage frightens him. He'll get to the point where he comes out and stays out.
 

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Yesterday it was two weeks in his safe room. And last night, I went in to be with him for a while before going to bed, and he followed me out of his room. He was very activ, we played and petted in the hallway. He looked around corners, but stayed in the hallway with me.
First time he has set foot outside of his room when we were still up and awake. He seemed very happy, I know I was. BToday, he seems a little less sure again. Wondering if that is normal, stepping out and then back a bit. He's doing well physically, eating and litter box all OK. I know he moves through our home during the night, last evening was the first time he chose to leave his room and come to me. Alleluia
It sounds night time is his favorite time of day, maybe because it's quieter and darkness represents safety?  Maybe that's why he explored with you last night.   I learned with my first group of feral kitties to never put a cat on a timeline, because they will NOT be rushed into anything. 
 

losna

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I am so very grateful for your optimism, that he is doing well as he determines well. We are committed to offering this kitty the best life he can live. As life is full of surprises, our only working shower is now the one in his bathroom and of course, that is his favorite place. Today's challenge, figure out how to take care of both of our needs. Again, it is comforting to read your messages. Joan
Do you have a box or crate you can put in the bathroom for him to hide in while you shower?
 

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I think the "normal 3 to 5 days of hiding" is more, if your cat doesn't come out from under the bed for the first week, don't worry. Socializing within the safe room and being curious about what's beyond it is wonderful. My newest cat came to us particularly scared of the world, and stayed completely out of sight for the first few weeks. We had to seal under the bed and keep the closet closed. In exchange for blocking his bolt holes, we set up a bed for him inside a box on its side, with a blanket draped over the opening as a curtain. After a few months, we had to force him out of his safe room by removing his treats, then his toys, then all his food, and finally his litter box; first to the hallway just outside his room and eventually downstairs. When the litter box moved, we took his bed downstairs as well.

You can use some of these techniques if he's really fearful, but it sounds like he won't need them.
 

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Yesterday it was two weeks in his safe room. And last night, I went in to be with him for a while before going to bed, and he followed me out of his room. He was very activ, we played and petted in the hallway. He looked around corners, but stayed in the hallway with me.
First time he has set foot outside of his room when we were still up and awake. He seemed very happy, I know I was. BToday, he seems a little less sure again. Wondering if that is normal, stepping out and then back a bit. He's doing well physically, eating and litter box all OK. I know he moves through our home during the night, last evening was the first time he chose to leave his room and come to me. Alleluia
That's how Helen was. She stayed in the closet for the first week, and the room a little longer.

When she started to get the nerve to explore, it was a few feet at a time. First the back hall, as far as the kitchen doorway, haunches bunched ready to spring back to the safety of the room. A few days later, as far as the Fridge, then the diningroom doorway........always ready to run back at the first startle. It was nearly 3-4weeks, when she explored the whole house, but by then she was completely comfortable with us......she only came out because she was peevish that I'd not come back to see her in a few hours


Her favorite trick is to sit in the kitchen doorway and stare at you until you come to her and pet her!
 
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justice1937

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Folks who love cats are the absolute best, and you have all shown me that. Especially helpful have been your notes indicating he is making progress, even a little bit each day. The last few evenings, he's ventured into the kitchen when we were there. And last evening was terrific. I had spent time with him in his safe room, he loves sitting on my lap. Came out to our family room, we're watching TV, and out he comes, plops down next to my chair and rolls over for a tummy rub. He stayed only a few moments, got startled and ran. He's always a little more brave in the evenings and we understand that. Last evening was such a gift. My thanks to you, Joan
 

Mamanyt1953

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Well done!  Oh, WELL DONE!  Do you realize how huge it is that he wants you to rub his tummy?  For a dog, a tummy rub is just nice.  For a cat, though, it is an ultimate act of trust, to allow you near his most vulnerable body bit.  You've got this licked.  He'll be lounging all over your house now in no time flat.  WELL DONE!
 

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Folks who love cats are the absolute best, and you have all shown me that. Especially helpful have been your notes indicating he is making progress, even a little bit each day. The last few evenings, he's ventured into the kitchen when we were there. And last evening was terrific. I had spent time with him in his safe room, he loves sitting on my lap. Came out to our family room, we're watching TV, and out he comes, plops down next to my chair and rolls over for a tummy rub. He stayed only a few moments, got startled and ran. He's always a little more brave in the evenings and we understand that. Last evening was such a gift. My thanks to you, Joan
Good news!!  
 
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Kat0121

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Folks who love cats are the absolute best, and you have all shown me that. Especially helpful have been your notes indicating he is making progress, even a little bit each day. The last few evenings, he's ventured into the kitchen when we were there. And last evening was terrific. I had spent time with him in his safe room, he loves sitting on my lap. Came out to our family room, we're watching TV, and out he comes, plops down next to my chair and rolls over for a tummy rub. He stayed only a few moments, got startled and ran. He's always a little more brave in the evenings and we understand that. Last evening was such a gift. My thanks to you, Joan
You're doing really well. It took my Henry (he's my permanent foster that I got in January. He had been at the shelter for 8 years) 7 months to come out of his safe room. He needed to do things at his own pace. Just relax, let him know that you are there for him and everything will happen the way it's supposed to. There's no real "time frame" for dealing with a skittish cat. Give him control of the relationship and his confidence will grow. He'll relax more and become more and more curious about everything. 

You're a very special person to give a home to a senior kitty. He's a lucky boy. Thank you for caring about him. 
 
 

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