Rescued 8 Year Old Declawed Gentleman and he is Still Hiding

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SandyCHA

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I wouldn't want any cat of mine to be anywhere near that rescuer you're talking to. Compassion, understanding, patience, and working with a cat's personality instead of demanding for it to act in some way isn't that person's strong suit.

Under the bed is this cat's safe spot. Once again, I'll tell you that my Poppycat took a very long time before he was comfortable in his new surroundings.

Have you tried cat music?

Have you tried ignoring him, and while providing for his needs so he can remain healthy and hydrated, allow him to come to terms at his own pace with all of his new normals?

We've repeated ourselves several times in this thread. We aren't going to change what we say, because our advice is based in empathy and love for cats as well as a deep concern for their health.
Thank you so much, that is why I came here because I feel the advice I am getting is just not good and just not working. Like I said this is a totally new experience for me in dealing with this poor guy and you don't know how much I appreciate all the advice you folks have given me. Cats are unique, strange creatures and boy am I learning that!
 

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What a handsome boy! I agree with all that's being recommended by the other members. Forcing kitty to come out before he's ready will delay his adjustment. I wonder if he stays under the bed because being hidden is a habit he developed after being left to live outside on his own. Chances are, he did this in the other places before he arrived at your house. I'm currently dealing with something similar. I rescued a young, female cat who was living outdoors near a neighbor's house. This was only 9 days ago right before a snowstorm. I was unable to give Kitty a private room due to insulation issues in my spare bedroom so she is set up in my living room under a long table with a tablecloth she can use as homebase. She stays there most of the day but then comes out late day/early evening, which we believe was her pattern when she lived outside. She is very vocal and in my case I've determined usually it's because she wants me to get up and be with her, even if she's just hanging out under the table. I've obliged many times at 2am. Other times it's because she's hungry (she may also be in heat). I sit on the floor or a small stool and I talk to her softly and she replies. I drop random treats that she bats at and eats and then she rubs against me. When I first go to be with her she usually takes a few minutes to come out of her safe spot (last week it took 15-20 mins so it's gotten much better). I recently learned to entice her with a laser pointer but I remember to be patient and let her lead. Since your kitty likes toys you could try using a laser pointer or a feather pole toy to engage him. Don't expect too much too soon. I understand you are anxious for things to progress. I understand as I am used to being with 3 male cats that are more like dogs who follow me from room to room but as you pointed out, this kitty's history is different. Give him the space he needs, make sure his food, water and litterbox are close to him and leave the door open. Visit him periodically, offer to play and drop yummy treats. He will come out and interact when he's ready. Good luck!
 
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SandyCHA

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I have taken the advice of many here and I have added a water and food bowl up near the bedroom in the hallway so he still has to come out from under the bed to eat. So he now has food available on both floors which he can get to. I know this is a slow process and he has been through a lot. But I agree, I also think the hiding has a lot to do with trying to keep himself safe while he was living outside and since he has no claws that probably made it worse for him. I now find out that one of the rescue places he was transferred to put him out in her house with 5 other cats and 2 dogs when she brought him in and I am sure that did not help at all! She had him two weeks before I got him and she told me he hid in the cat climber all day and would not eat. But here he is eating just fine and eating hard food the most which she told me he would not eat at all. I think he took alot of backward steps and I just have to keep letting him know he is now safe.
 
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SandyCHA

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Four weeks ago I adopted an 8 year old Maine Coon who apparently was left outside when his owners moved to Florida and did not take him along. He is declawed so I have to believe he was at one time an indoor kitty. After four weeks he still will not come out from under the bed. He comes out only at night when I go to bed, eats all his food and uses his box. He is not aggressive at all. Does not hiss or anything when I put my hand toward him under the bed. He is very gentle from what I can tell but just will not come out from under that bed! What am I doing wrong?
UPDATE - I had stated here that the rescue person told me that he was four paw declawed, however, I just frightened him by accident as he was hiding in the closet, he ran across my foot and left quite a scratch on the top of my foot so he indeed MUST have back claws at least!
 

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Please forgive me if I repeat anything already said or missed something but I just got the message about your post and wanted to respond immediately.
You are not doing anything wrong at all! You are saving Arthur! I love the name. That was my Grandfathers name.
There is a process to helping a scared kitty to adjust. His whole world got turned upside down when his previous humans abandoned him and abused him by declawing. He has endured a lot but is a survivor. Such a beautiful kitty! I never understand how humans can be so ignorant and so cruel. However, he has been saved by a human with a giant heart! Thank you! The whole world should be like you.
Now, start with Arthur by just sitting with him in the room or , even better, lay on the floor where he can see you but don’t pursue him. Let him observe you and begin to understand that you are not a predator or a threat. Don’t use a direct gaze at first. Look slightly beside him and do slow blinks. To a cat, slow blinks are a calm look. Try putting food as near to you as you can and still have him willing to eat. I know he may not eat with you there right now so offer it, lay there a little while and then leave. Repeat this process for several feedings. If he still won’t eat with you there then try putting a completely irresistible food on the dish. I use Gerber 2nd foods all meat baby food that is slightly warmed to enhance the scent. If that doesn’t get him to eat with you there, try anything he finds yummy. Kentucky Fried Chicken is something some people use. Others use canned all meat chicken with nothing added. No garlic, onions or spices, just chicken canned in water. Put the water on the dish too. Some cats love the liquid. Eventually you will find something he loves. When he eats with you in the room, every few feedings you can love the food a little closer to where you are laying or sitting on the floor. Food is a great bonding tool. Use it to share the time together. In time he should come fairly close to you and you can begin to try hand feeding him. This can lead to him letting you touch a little. Maybe even have him brush against your hand.
There is a tool many of us use to begin touching. A brush can feel good for a cat to rub against. Leave the brush under the bed at first to let him investigate himself. Then try using it just to hold near him at first. If he rubs against it, start using it as a bonding pleasure. A wand from a cat wand toy might be used. If he will begin to reach for the toy as it is dragged on the floor, you may be able to rub him with the stick part. It’s a way to start touching.
Always announce yourself as you come into the room. Use repetition in everything you do. The same phrase to announce coming in , another for giving food and another when changing his box, etc. Cats like to understand what is about to happen and they don’t like change.
Sleeping in the room with him is great. He can investigate his surroundings and you without as much fear. You are showing trust and vulnerability when you lay on your back and even more by sleeping in his presence. He can come and check you out without you even knowing. You may wake up to find him at the foot of the bed at some point.
Catnip can be another tool. Some cats love it but some don’t react to it. Worth a try. Feliway diffusers can help lower stress too.
Soft music or a radio playing can help to keep sort of a regular level of sound. All the new noises are scary at first. There is even music specifically geared to calm kitties that you can find online.
Keeping a nightlight on at night is a good idea too.
For now keep him in that one room. Let him get used to that and more settled before expanding his world again. He can learn about the rest of where you live after he knows that you are there as a permanent fixture and his protector. It is a good idea to give him a cat carrier or even a cardboard box to use as a safe sanctuary that isn’t where he is now. I like a cat carrier to use because it works for life! Every time kitty ever feels stressed or has to go anywhere( like the vet) he will have his carrier/sactuary with him as his safe place/security blanket. I keep my cat carriers out and open at all times and the kitties have a blanket there for naps or playtime. I always start them with a toy, blanket and I put special food treats there to reinforce that this is the best place ever for a cat! Lol It’s good to put a sort or something with your scent on it there and under the bed. It helps him to know who you are and become familiar with you. It will also be a comfort anytime in the future if he must be away from you or you must leave the house. Scent is very important to cats.
Time and patience are key! He has been through trauma. He needs time to learn that this strange new world and the human looming above are all about good things and are permanent. He won’t be dumped again and he is loved. Repetition, love, caring, patience, food water, litter box and time always work. These things will show him he can trust again and give trust. Cats are very loving and forgiving creatures and I can tell you already love him. Just give him time to know that. Please do keep us updated. I am sure I have left some things out and others will have more tips. Again, thank you so much for saving the life and heart of this beautiful kitty!:heartshape::goldstar::clap2: I’m sure he’ll be venturing a look out from under that bed soon.
 

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Ha! We crossed posts! A lot was said while I was typing. He already came out! Fantastic! He is expanding his world and hiding places. Good but you don’t want to lose track of where he is until you know he is used to you. I would not let him roam the entire house just yet. Kitten steps with this kitty at first. It sounds like he will come around well since he is littering you pet but sometimes when they feel a bit braver, they regress just a tiny bit because they become braver about their location. This is why you need to keep him from vanishing into some remote spot in the house. Get to know and trust each other and then give him more space.
Every cat is different. He will make progress at his own pace but don’t force things. I would not take up his food and I would keep litter boxes where he feels comfortable using them. If a cat is afraid to venture out to his box, he may hold his urine and this can cause some problems for him. Let him do what’s he feels comfortable doing in the room he feels safest. There is any need to rush anything. You have made tons of progress right where he is now. You’re doing great! Just keep things as you have them for a little while. When he starts to come to you and show you he is ready for more of his new world, you will know it. He will start acting comfortable and more like other cats you have had before. He may always be a bit nervous but he may become king of the house too!;)
I hope the scratch wasn’t bad. Clean it well. Usually cat have front claws removed because the “HUMANS” don’t want them scratching up the furniture. Ignorance and totally unacceptable but we hope that will be banned from all vet practices.
 
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SandyCHA

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Ha! We crossed posts! A lot was said while I was typing. He already came out! Fantastic! He is expanding his world and hiding places. Good but you don’t want to lose track of where he is until you know he is used to you. I would not let him roam the entire house just yet. Kitten steps with this kitty at first. It sounds like he will come around well since he is littering you pet but sometimes when they feel a bit braver, they regress just a tiny bit because they become braver about their location. This is why you need to keep him from vanishing into some remote spot in the house. Get to know and trust each other and then give him more space.
Every cat is different. He will make progress at his own pace but don’t force things. I would not take up his food and I would keep litter boxes where he feels comfortable using them. If a cat is afraid to venture out to his box, he may hold his urine and this can cause some problems for him. Let him do what’s he feels comfortable doing in the room he feels safest. There is any need to rush anything. You have made tons of progress right where he is now. You’re doing great! Just keep things as you have them for a little while. When he starts to come to you and show you he is ready for more of his new world, you will know it. He will start acting comfortable and more like other cats you have had before. He may always be a bit nervous but he may become king of the house too!;)
I hope the scratch wasn’t bad. Clean it well. Usually cat have front claws removed because the “HUMANS” don’t want them scratching up the furniture. Ignorance and totally unacceptable but we hope that will be banned from all vet practices.
Thanks for the good advice! Once I put food upstairs in the hallway (which I can see from down here)he has come out several times to eat! It is funny, once he comes into the hallway I guess he feels he has to explore a little more so he walks down the stairs and looks around, then he will go down and use his box! So putting the extra food dishes upstairs I think has at least gotten him out and about a little bit. I spent a lot of time this morning laying on the floor next to the bed with treats - he ate the treats from my hand and let me pet his ears and neck a little bit. Not long but progress I would say.
 
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My new vet (who just graduated in 2019) refuses to do de-claws, AND won't adopt cats out to de-clawing homes. So I have hope for the new generation of vets.
This one came to me declawed and he is about 8 years old they say. I have not made a vet follow up because I just can't handle him yet. He was vetted and got his shots with the rescue people and I do have his vet records for that. So once he gets comfy here I will get him in to be checked by my own vet and see how old they think he is.
 

pearl99

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Awww I feel for Arthur and his traumatic events before he came to you. It is so wonderful of you to have adopted him.
A lot has been said above and I'll add a few things, I haven't read every post so I may be repeating...
He sounds like he's made great strides since he's been with you. I've used a long stick to pet head and cheeks so I don't get too close, and it's worked. I see he comes up to you some but this adds more times for pets with you on the end of the stick and reinforces good things with you. I've also taped a brush to the end of the stick, some cats just loooovvvee being brushed.

I've also laid down on the floor and read a book or talked to my scared cats, and left some treats close to the bed while doing that.

It may be a long time before he gets out in the whole house comfortably, and that's OK. He certainly is having a better life than before with declawed, abandoned outside, moved rescues, and in a foster home with so many cats and dogs! He knows that and I know he is happier now.
I have one shy kitty that I do leave her food, water, litter in my bedroom/bathroom which is her favorite place to be. She does come out, having her vital necessities close gives her confidence that those needs are met and I believe it makes her feel safer to be out in the house. Otherwise she'd associate food and water and litter with fear. Once Arthur is comfortable you can move his food and water and litter. It took her a long time to feel comfortable. I am not liking the rescuer's advice. You can't force or rush cats.
And Arthur coming out at night is fantastic. That's when he can explore on his own terms when it's quiet and he's more confident. That will definitely help.
And absolutely a box for him. Some cats are real box cats and it can help them feel secure with the 4 box walls around them.
It is so wonderful you've taken him in and love him so much!
 
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pearl99

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I spent a lot of time this morning laying on the floor next to the bed with treats - he ate the treats from my hand and let me pet his ears and neck a little bit. Not long but progress I would say.
I would say great progress!! It took my Waffles 2 months before he would get on a chair I was sitting in (Arthur sounds like him), and then it was only for 2 seconds. But he built up from there. Arthur is making progress and hoping it will continue!
 

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I agree people suck! Who could move and leave this beautiful guy out on his own. Here is a photo I forgot to post above and I don't know how to edit!View attachment 369001
Those people are out of there minds. What a gorgeous kitty! I feed outdoor kitties and may have to move in the near future and I worry everyday about that. I could never leave the kitties behind without knowing someone is really taking care of them. I will never understand people like the ones who left this gorgeous kitty behind. He will come around. Just meet him on his terms and everyday try to gain his trust (through food, play, positive interaction). Thank you for being a hero to this cat. I am sure that even though he doesn't fully show it, he is grateful.😻😻😻
 
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SandyCHA

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Ha! We crossed posts! A lot was said while I was typing. He already came out! Fantastic! He is expanding his world and hiding places. Good but you don’t want to lose track of where he is until you know he is used to you. I would not let him roam the entire house just yet. Kitten steps with this kitty at first. It sounds like he will come around well since he is littering you pet but sometimes when they feel a bit braver, they regress just a tiny bit because they become braver about their location. This is why you need to keep him from vanishing into some remote spot in the house. Get to know and trust each other and then give him more space.
Every cat is different. He will make progress at his own pace but don’t force things. I would not take up his food and I would keep litter boxes where he feels comfortable using them. If a cat is afraid to venture out to his box, he may hold his urine and this can cause some problems for him. Let him do what’s he feels comfortable doing in the room he feels safest. There is any need to rush anything. You have made tons of progress right where he is now. You’re doing great! Just keep things as you have them for a little while. When he starts to come to you and show you he is ready for more of his new world, you will know it. He will start acting comfortable and more like other cats you have had before. He may always be a bit nervous but he may become king of the house too!;)
I hope the scratch wasn’t bad. Clean it well. Usually cat have front claws removed because the “HUMANS” don’t want them scratching up the furniture. Ignorance and totally unacceptable but we hope that will be banned from all vet practices.
I had one rescuer tell me it would be a good idea to take him out physically from under the bed and hold him for a while to let him know he is safe. I did not think that was a good idea and thought it would scare him if I did that. Would like your take on that idea? After five weeks would you attempt this or would it just send him backwards at this point?
 

pearl99

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Jcatbird will be around to respond but to add my 2 cents I would not do this that the rescuer said. My feeling it would make you the Big Bad Wolf to him. A lot of cats don’t like to be picked up, it can be frightening, not secure, and he needs to get to the point of much more comfort with you. Under the bed is security to him still. But he does come out on his own and he’s progressing :hyper:.
 

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You did a great thing and it sounds like you're doing everything right. Sorry I don't have anything to add on on top of the useful things the other wonderful people said. But I truly believe that Arthur will eventually come round and everything will work out well. You are keeping him safe and loved now. His situation has been improved massively in a mere 4 weeks thanks to you. Remember that. Now you just need patience and keep doing what works.
 

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Bless you for rescuing Arthur! His hiding under the bed is his way of establishing "base camp", just as any smart explorer will do. Arthur, unlike some other rescued cats/kittens, has known pain and dangers and abandonment (not to mention probably got rejected and possibly mistreated) so for him, the world is not a friendly place. For survivors such as he, doors and barriers are not keeping him trapped - they are keeping out intruders (as they do for us when we lock our doors at night). I appreciate what your local rescuers were saying about forcing him out (it's the same theory used when "sacking out" a horse) but each situation differs as do personalities. My advice is to verbally remind Arthur that he is free to be his own cat, take the time that HE needs and go on his schedule. Maine Coons have shaggy fur in general so I wouldn't stress about brushing him except for "comfort grooming" that will remind him of his kitten days with his mama kitty. Thank you for keeping us updated! :rbheart::rock::cheerleader::happycat:
 
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SandyCHA

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Jcatbird will be around to respond but to add my 2 cents I would not do this that the rescuer said. My feeling it would make you the Big Bad Wolf to him. A lot of cats don’t like to be picked up, it can be frightening, not secure, and he needs to get to the point of much more comfort with you. Under the bed is security to him still. But he does come out on his own and he’s progressing :hyper:.
See that is exactly what I thought. Glad someone here is agreeing with me. Trying to grab him might make him think, oh here we go again! They are putting me a cage and taking me away and I don't want him to feel that way at all. He came out during the day yesterday! I was so excited! He didn't stay out too long, but walked around a little! Funny he looks right at me all the while he is out and about and I basically try to ignore him, but I do gently tell him he is okay and I won't be grabbing him! I said to him yesterday, "how bout that sunshine Arthur! Isn't that nice" - first time he has been out during the daylight hours and it felt pretty good to me.
 
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