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New Cat From Shelter

Discussion in 'Cat Behavior' started by Nadee7658, Nov 20, 2018.

  1. Nadee7658

    Nadee7658 Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Nov 20, 2018
    I lost my beloved cat Binks about a month ago to IBD. I adopted Binks when he was 3 years old and had him for the last 7 years . He had a lot of health problems on and off but I loved him very much . When I was 24 , I had to have a hysterectomy and he was an amazing companion. His death shocked me and was very unexpected . Last week I decided to adopt another cat , since I missed the companionship and love . I went to the same shelter I adopted Binks from and fell in love with a sweet cat named Charlie . He didn’t get up much when I came into the kitty room he was in but when I petted him , he was very friendly and rolled over . I decided to adopt him and took him home with my brother . The shelter never mentioned that he was skittish or timid . I live in my parents basement which is about 400sqft and is finished besides a small crawl space for storage . I let Charlie climb out of his carrier on his own and he immediately ran to a covered cat bed. After a few minutes he emerged and started rubbing himself all over me and my brother . He stayed with us for about an hour getting pets and lounging before he ate dinner . I went to take a shower and my brother started knocking on the door to tell me Charlie disappeared . We found him hiding in the crawl space besides some boxes . We took him him out of the crawl space since I wasn’t sure what was back there and he was meowing very loudly . After about an hour he calmed down and went back into the covered cat bed . I sat outside the cat bed for an hour and he came out and sat with me and continued to rub himself on me for petting and check rubs . I went to bed and when I woke up Charlie was missing . We found him lodged underneath a couch that has a very narrow opening . I left him there for most of the day and he wouldn’t come out . We deduced to take him out of the couch since it was narrow and dangerous and he began meowing very loudly , he ran back to the crawl space and I left him there for 24 hours . He stayed back there and didn’t eat or use his litter box , which at that point he hadn’t used the bathroom for 48 hours . I called the shelter and they told me he was overwhelmed and I needed to put him in a bathroom. I live in a very small house so I put him in the very tiny bathroom in the basement and he has been in there ever sense . I put his food bowls , litter box , and covered cat bed . The first night was rough but he did come out and start to interact with me . He also used his litter box to pee and poop. He also ate his dinner . We are on the third day of him being in the bathroom and it doesn’t look like he is ever going to come out . Everyone in the home is an adult and has visited with him seperatley. I visit him three to four times a day to feed him and hang out . He always comes out and he likes to be picked up. He is just very very timid. The nosies of people walking around upstairs scare him as do the pipes and any doors opening . I leave the bathroom door open so I can be with him and he can get used to the noises but he continues to hide . Sometimes I go in there and he doesn’t come out of his cat bed for over 30 minutes . I think Charlie is a sweet cat but I’m starting to wonder if he is the wrong fit for and my family . Him being in the bathroom is very stressful since we all are sharing a bathroom and it is chasing a little chaos in the home. I don’t have any where else to put him. He is also afraid of my mom and sometimes my brother . He seems to like me and always comes out to see me even if it takes a little while. My main concerns are is he always going to be timid and hiding , what if he doesn’t leave the bathroom etc . I have had an another cat before my cat that passed away and have never had this issue . Both cats were very friendly and adjusted to the home quiet quickly . I’m worried that Charlie would do better in a very quiet home with only one person living there . The shelter told me he lived with the same family for all three years of his life and he was relinquished due to their new born being allergic to him. No other issues were mentioned . I spent some time with him tonight and he allowed me to pick up him and he licked my face and was looking around the basement since the door was open. I stayed with him for about an hour. When I left he looked scared and was lodged in the shower behind the litter box. I want to give him time to adjust and I do think he is sweet but I don’t think a timid cat is a right for me . Any advice ? Maybe I moving too fast or I am not over the death of Binks , who was very friendly and came up to strangers . Thanks for reading .
     

  2. rubysmama

    rubysmama Forum Helper Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Nov 25, 2013
    Canada
    Hello and welcome to TCS. Condolences on the loss of Binks. :alright: I hope Charlie will soon settle into his new home and help heal your broken heart. :catlove:

    It's not uncommon for a cat to hide when first brought to a new home. Here is a TCS thread on What Was Your Cat's Behavior Like In The First Day? that you might find interesting.

    TCS also has some articles that might have some tips for you.
    How To Help A New Cat Adjust To Your Home
    How To Get A Cat To Come Out Of Hiding?
    10 Must-know Tips For Happy Living With A Shy Cat
    16 Top Cat Experts Share Tips For Dealing With Timid Cats
    14 Cat Experts Reveal: How To Get A Cat To Like Me
     
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  3. di and bob

    di and bob TCS Member Top Cat

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    Nebraska, USA
    Charlie is doing what every cat does in a situation like this. He has gone through a tremendous, scary change in his life, and all cats hate change. It will take months before his true personality comes forth. He is feeling very insecure right now in a strange place with his routine totally changed. It's not unusual for a cat to hide, often for weeks, after a major change. Do not compare his personality right now to Binks, he is a different cat that is scared and uncertain and will come around in time with your comfort and encouragement. Do not drag him out of hiding places, put food/water/litter box nearby and let him feel safe. Leave the door open on the bathroom now and see if he is more comfortable. Try to encourage him to come out with play and treats,talk softly to him and do not stare at him, that is a sign of aggression. You are still grieving, and the distraction of a new love will add to Binks love already in your heart, not change it or subtract from it. Welcome and comfort him and you will be blessed for it. Things will work out, just give it time!
     
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  4. Nadee7658

    Nadee7658 Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Nov 20, 2018


    Thank you so much for your reply and for your condolences! I really miss Binks. I will check out the thread and read the articles for some tips that could help. I would hate to take Charlie back. I appreciate you taking the time to read my post.
     
    rubysmama purraised this.

  5. Nadee7658

    Nadee7658 Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Nov 20, 2018

    Thank you so much for your reply ! I do think Charlie has been through a lot . It must have been traumatizing to go from living with the same family your whole life and suddenly living in a shelter and now you are somewhere else . He seemed calm at the shelter and while he didn’t come up to people , he wasn’t hiding or scared , his perched on a high cat tower . I think he has a very sweet personality since he seems happy to see me and always likes to be petted and picked up. I will try leaving the bathroom door open today while I’m down stairs to see if he can get used to the noise and think about coming out . I haven’t taken him out of his hiding places in the bathroom just the dangerous ones in the couch and crawl space which I currently have blocked off . I do miss Binks greatly and I am trying not to compare little Charlie to him. So thanks again for the reminder ! I can’t have children and I really love the company of cats and I have to remember that every cat is different just like people .
     
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  6. Kflowers

    Kflowers TCS Member Top Cat

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    It's good to block off the dangerous hiding places while leaving him safe ones. The covered cat bed sounds like a wonderful hiding place. I've stuffed towels, sheets, and blankets under furniture (file cabinets) and taken the feet off chests of drawers and other chests -- the feet/legs were clearly too spindly to be safe anyway. Just put them away to maybe be used later.

    You're doing fine. Be patience and you'll find the cat behind the fear.
     
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  7. Nadee7658

    Nadee7658 Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Nov 20, 2018
    I have the couch and crawl space blocked off. Last night I picked him up and he stayed cuddled up with me and licked my face few times . I’m going to leave the bathroom door open today and see if he wants to come out . I think you guys are right and patience is the key .
     
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  8. Nadee7658

    Nadee7658 Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Nov 20, 2018
    Update : Charlie seems to be regressing today. We left the door open and he is very scared and hiding out in his covered cat bed. When I shut the door he came out to eat and use his litter box . He won’t eat though with the door open or come out of the cat bed . I am a little frustrated but I do have a cold as well so that could be it . I am just not seeing enough progress I guess .
     

  9. losna

    losna TCS Member Super Cat

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    Aug 3, 2014
    Is there anywhere you can keep him that is smaller? When we adopted Belit, we kept her in the bathroom for about a week because she was so nervous and scared. Her litterbox was in there, I kept her water bowl filled, brought her food at meal times, and spent time in there with her every day.

    When she was settled and started expressing curiosity about leaving the room we let her have short forays out to explore, and eventually gave her free reign to wander when she was fully comfortable.
     
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  10. Nadee7658

    Nadee7658 Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Nov 20, 2018

    The bathroom in the basement where I live is very small. It’s about 30sqft. I came to spend time with him tonight around 10 and be came right out even with the door open. I was alone with him though since the rest of the family went to sleep. I gave him some rubs and picked up him and took him out of the bathroom to look around the rest of the basement . He was curious and felt comfortable since I was holding him. I took him back to the bathroom and he actually left on his own!!! He only came out for a few minutes and got scared and came back. But I am so happy that he actually left . He seems very comfortable with me so I’m not sure if he is afraid to leave the bathroom because my mom and brother are around . Thanks for your reply. It is much appreciated .
     
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  11. rubysmama

    rubysmama Forum Helper Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Nov 25, 2013
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    It sounds like Charlie is taking baby steps forwards, so that's good. He also seems to have chosen you as his purr-son. :petcat: Hopefully as time goes on, he'll be more comfortable around your mom and brother.

    Do you have a picture of Charlie you can post for us to see? :camera:
    How To Add A Picture To Your Forum Post
     
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  12. di and bob

    di and bob TCS Member Top Cat

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    Nebraska, USA
    Small steps......I think you are expecting too much in too short a time. If someone picked you up, put you in a cage, transported you to a place that you did not know the language or what they expected and everything was totally different then what you had been used to, I would bet it would take you a while to get used to things too. He knows you and is starting to trust you, of course your mom and brother are even more of a stranger to him and are more frightening. He may have even been abused by a man and your brother is especially scary, a lot of cats are afraid of men, they are louder and more aggressive appearing. Start leaving the bathroom door open for longer periods of time, maybe even all night at bedtime and see how it goes. He may be a little more active at night right now and will explore on his own.
    You saw that even in a shelter environment he rolled over and greeted you, and he has even rubbed against you and allowed you to pick him up in his new home, so all is not lost as you imagine. If he hides somewhere now, just let him there and put water, food, etc. nearby for now, he HAS to feel safe in order to lose his fears. I have had cats hide for several weeks and they turned out fine. You are doing good, carry him around like you were doing to build his confidence, sit quietly besides his hiding place and offer treats and talk to him. i would bet in a month he will be a whole different kitty!
     
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  13. Kflowers

    Kflowers TCS Member Top Cat

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    Everything the others said. This is huge for Charlie and he's doing really well.

    One thought, check the doors and windows to the basement. It's possible a neighborhood tom, or once tom, is marking them as his turf. That would be frightening to Charlie as the marking is telling him to back off. If you find the spray spots, spray them with white vinegar, not enzyme cleaner. You want to tell the spraying cat that this is your turf not his.
     
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  14. Nadee7658

    Nadee7658 Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Nov 20, 2018


    Here is a bad picture of Charlie ! Since he is in such a small bathroom it’s hard to get any photos of him. I left the bathroom door ajar today during our morning visit and he tried to open the bathroom door . He seems to be getting more curious which is good . I have my mom and brother visiting him separately so he could bond with them individually .
    [​IMG]
     
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  15. Nadee7658

    Nadee7658 Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Nov 20, 2018
    I think Charlie is a Maine Coon Mix but I am not a 100 percent sure
     
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  16. Nadee7658

    Nadee7658 Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Nov 20, 2018

    We do have a tom cat that hangs around so I can check outside to make sure there are no markings . The other thing I thought of us , he could be smelling Binks since he lived in the basement with me as well. I did thoroughly clean the basement and I bought Charlie a new litter box and all new toys .
     
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  17. Kflowers

    Kflowers TCS Member Top Cat

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    Jul 28, 2018
    Once he explores the basement and realizes he's the only cat in there, he'll be fine. He's beginning to suspect he may be the only cat now, or he wouldn't be exploring. He's listening all the time. And he's a beauty.
     
    rubysmama purraised this.

  18. rubysmama

    rubysmama Forum Helper Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Nov 25, 2013
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    What an adorable little fluff-ball. :redheartpump:

    Glad to hear he's getting a bit braver and starting to explore.

    If that's the case, he's likely to be a big boy once he's fully grown.
    :purr:
     
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  19. Nadee7658

    Nadee7658 Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Nov 20, 2018
    Update **: Charlie is slowly coming out of the bathroom and exploring at night . I actually was able to play laser light with him yesterday as well as with a dangly toy . He comes out right away when I come into the bathroom. I am going to have to start transitioning him out of the bathroom since sharing a bathroom with 3 other people is incredibly hard . I’ve had the week off from work so it hasn’t been as bad . Any tips on transitioning his items out of the bathroom especially his litter box ? I have a cat tree coming on Tuesday that’s nice and high with a covered hiding spot . I am going to put it in the living room for Charlie . He seems to like high places .
     
    rubysmama purraised this.

  20. Nadee7658

    Nadee7658 Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Nov 20, 2018
    [​IMG]

    Charlie’s new sleeping spot in the bathroom !
     
    Kflowers and rubysmama purraised this.

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