New Cat Putting Our Clothes In Litter Box/food

trizzo0309

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Hello all, here's the information about our new cat and hopefully we can get some help as we really need it.

Got a 2 year old cat from a rescue two weeks ago. Previously he was at the rescue for 18 months and the lady told us he took some time to get to like people and was shy.

We put him in our bedroom with no other animals around and he was very scared and hid underneath the dresser and our bed.

He didn't eat for the first 72 hours then we slept in a different room as him and he ate finally. We decided to sleep in the same room as him again and now he eats at night or when people are not around.

When people come in the room he hides under the bed/dresser and hissed occasionally. We haven't gotten close enough to pet him yet or for him to smell our hands.

The last three-ish days we have been coming into the room/waking up to seeing clothes from the hamper put into his litter box/food dish. He'll go into our hamper, drag underwear/shirt out and place them over both areas which are separated by about three feet.

What do you guys think? It's been an extremely frustrating couple weeks and he's sweet cat but we haven't seen any of that in him. He plays rarely but never gets close to us. We don't want to ever return him to the rescue but we need to start seeing some progress or figure this cat out as the stress has been incredible seeing him not happy.
 

Ms. Freya

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Thank you for rescuing this boy! As odd as this sounds, I think him going and getting your clothes is actually a good sign that he's not afraid of your scent. :thumbsup: If you want, you can try leaving the odd piece of dirty clothes around on the floor for him. We often recommend people put a sweaty shirt or something with their scent by anew cat's food to associate the smell with something positive.

Depending on how timid and shy he is (and he sounds pretty shy), it could take a long time for him to warm up. Our Wendel was with us for a few months before anyone could touch him and Random spent the first few weeks with us peering at us from around the back of a shelf and occasionally hissing. The good news is, from your post, it sounds like you are making progress with him.

One thing I found worked with Random was to hang out in his room with him, but not look at or approach him - basically just get him used to the idea that I lived there too and wouldn't come after him or push him. I'd sit on the floor and read to him or crochet and tell him about my day. Eventually, once he decided that I really wasn't going to hurt him, he slowly began doing things where I could see him, then eventually he wandered out for pats and started actually hanging out with me.

You may want to have a look at the Caring for Strays and Ferals forum here: Caring for Strays and Ferals
They often have some excellent advice for helping cats socialize.

Good luck with him - it sounds like you're doing a god job so far! I'm sure he'll wander out before you know it and I know oters will likely be alng soone with some socialization ideas that worked for them.
 

sargon

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I agree that the clothes thing, annoying as it may be is probably a good sign overall, since he wouldn't be doing it if he wasn't warming to you.
 

red top rescue

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I think he is using your clothes to "bury" his litter and his uneaten food. I have one who does this with any uneaten food, but she has a covered litter box with lots of soft clumping litter in it, so she just buries in the box for long periods of time until everything is well covered. If possible, I would suggest separating the food and litter by more than three feet. Put the food on one side of the room and the litter as far away on the other side as possible. See if that makes any difference. Yes, it does sound like he had a feral background, and being in a shelter for so long has not given him any socialization with humans. He might do well with another cat around. My ferals do best in pairs or more, and often are much more spooky and stand-offish if they are alone. I had one case where I had raised 4 feral kittens and all had adoptive homes, two together, and then one each to be a companion to an existing kitten. but at the last minute one person canceled because their kitten got sick, leaving me with one lonely kitten at the end of the day. He totally freaked out being alone, and it was so bad that I went out instantly and got two more kittens to keep him company. He bonded with one of them instantly and eventually those two were adopted out together. They are inseparable. If you are able to adopt another more laid back and friendly cat to be his companion, and yours, that might make everyone happier. If not, just know that you are his guardian and over time he will grow friendlier, but don't expect anything from him, just give him the space he needs, and yes, you will learn more by reading in the strays and ferals forum, as Ms. Freya Ms. Freya suggested above. I've had two boys here that have taken nearly 10 months before allowing me to pet them.
 
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