Rescued 8 Year Old Declawed Gentleman and he is Still Hiding

pearl99

In memory of Pearl, my labrador. RIP Pearl.
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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.
My cat Waffles was like this and in time he’s become a loving lap cat. I swear he’s grateful for a home. He had been a stray. He’s always been a “low cat,” he goes low under a bed or the coffee table when he’s scared. I still can’t just walk up to him and pick him up after 4 years but he is very affectionate.
I’m so glad Arthur is out more!
 
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SandyCHA

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:happycat: :cheerleader: :clapcat: :banana1: YAYYY!!! WOO-HOO!! Arthur is coming out while you are nearby -- even in DAYtime!! For a boy who lost his God-given defense, that is a HUGE advance in his emotional recovery. Your local rescue chose well when they placed Arthur with you
:yess::agree:
You don't know how much I hope you are right! Thanks for your vote of confidence.:redheartpump:
 
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SandyCHA

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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.
I am so frustrated. Is is just me? After almost six weeks he still won't come out from under that bed except to eat and go potty! Some days he will let me pet him and rub his ears, some times when I go up he pulls away from me. I guess I am having a bad day. I feel very defeated.
 

FeebysOwner

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Patience and perspective, and caring for him as you do, are the things you need to keep in mind when you get frustrated and feel defeated. Think about how bad things might be for him if you hadn't stepped in to be his caretaker. You have made his life so much better, and in time he will reward you for it - more than he already is!
 

pearl99

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I agree with FeebysOwner FeebysOwner . He may not let you come up to him regularly for a while yet. I agree too with keeping your mind on how wonderful of a home you are giving him, and what you've rescued him from.
He's still getting comfortable, and when he is more relaxed you will reap rewards. Some cats are always shy but focus on the progress from where he was.
 

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Hi! Without looking back at your thread, I apologize that I don't remember if this article has already been posted for you.

I'm not necessarily suggesting he's been abused, however there are some things in this article that may be of help to you.

How To Help An Abused Cat Recover – TheCatSite Articles
 
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SandyCHA

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Hi! Without looking back at your thread, I apologize that I don't remember if this article has already been posted for you.

I'm not necessarily suggesting he's been abused, however there are some things in this article that may be of help to you.

How To Help An Abused Cat Recover – TheCatSite Articles
Thank you for that. We don't know his history so we really don't know how he was treated the first 8 years of his life. But he is declawed which leads me to believe he did have a good home and was not let outside until they decided to dump him and leave him on his own. I think I am just having a frustrating day with him. I feel so bad that he lays under that bed day in and day out! He is eating just fine and using his box at night. Some days I just feel like I am doing something wrong. I go up several times a day, take him treats and he does eat them out of my hand. Will sometimes let me scratch his ears, and sometimes just back away. He is not mean at all. Does not hiss, bite, spit none of it. In fact pretty laid back in that sense. I just don't want to be doing the wrong things. The folks on here have been SO helpful I can't thank you all enough trying to get through this!
 

FeebysOwner

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What you just said made me think of another possibility - what if his previous owners were just so otherwise preoccupied that he really didn't have that much attention from/interaction with them? This can happen with people who love their animals and take care of their basic needs without realizing there is truly more to care than just that. What if being by himself most of the times is what he considers to be normal?

If this theory were true, it could conceivably take an even longer time for him to realize that there is 'more' to what he can have from/with you. Even if none of his background involved actual abuse, there still may be some 'takeaways' from the article that Furballsmom Furballsmom shared.

Early on I gave you the link to a TCS article about living/dealing with shy cats. There is probably some overlap between these two articles, but more information is certainly better than not enough! So, here is that link again!
10 Must-know Tips For Happy Living With A Shy Cat – TheCatSite Articles
 
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SandyCHA

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Patience and perspective, and caring for him as you do, are the things you need to keep in mind when you get frustrated and feel defeated. Think about how bad things might be for him if you hadn't stepped in to be his caretaker. You have made his life so much better, and in time he will reward you for it - more than he already is!
He is warm and safe and well fed. Hopefully he comes around. Thanks for your continued support and advice.
 

tabbytom

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I am so frustrated. Is is just me? After almost six weeks he still won't come out from under that bed except to eat and go potty! Some days he will let me pet him and rub his ears, some times when I go up he pulls away from me. I guess I am having a bad day. I feel very defeated.
Sometimes you have to accept it as it is just him and that's the way he is. It may take a little while longer for him to stay out or stay out a little longer. Every cat is different regardless where they came from what they have gone through.

You may have heard that some are lap cats, some are not. My boy isn't one. Some love cuddles and petting but some don't. In other words, one cannot compare cats with cats as they are of different characteristics. Just like hoomans.

6 weeks is still too early for some but at least your cat comes out to eat and go potty and occasionally petting. With him pulling away, it could be just his mood. Sometimes I want to pet my boy, he pulls away to or move away. So I let him be. Sometimes he lets me pet him and stay where he is. It's just him. So, it's non of your fault if your cat does that.

You are not defeated. Please don't feel that way. Your cat can sense it and may loose confidence in you. So don't ruin the 6 weeks. Just let him be what he is. Consider it a bonus if he lets you pet him. There are some cats of our members here take 2 years or more to be socialized and they are not defeated. Everyday, every step is a step of love, patience and routine. We cannot force the cat to do what we want them to do, it's always on their terms. You cat is thankful to you that you brought him in. He's not letting you down. It's just him.
 
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SandyCHA

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Thank you all! I just have never experienced this before and it has been new and different for me. Have never had a rescued cat that had been left outside! I can't imagine what he went through.
 

tabbytom

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Thank you all! I just have never experienced this before and it has been new and different for me. Have never had a rescued cat that had been left outside! I can't imagine what he went through.
Yes, just bear with him.

My boy is also a rescue and he was kind of being abused as when he was found alone, he had a gaping wound near his anus exposing his raw flesh. So his behavior is different from other cats that were weaned off properly and had stayed with his mommy for at least 12 weeks. He was only a scrawny 3 weeks old kitten when I rescued him.

So I understand where you are coming from as it has been past 5 years since I have my boy and he is still not open to petting or being carried unless it's all at his terms and if he wants me to carry him.

Just give your kitty all the love he needs.
 
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SandyCHA

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Could pain also be an issue? Was the kitty examined specifically for his declawing/digital amputations? There are many instances of long-lasting damages from declawing.
I know that the rescue had him vetted and he got all his shots. Nothing was mentioned about his declaw and he doesn't seem to be slowed down at all from it.
 

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I know that the rescue had him vetted and he got all his shots. Nothing was mentioned about his declaw and he doesn't seem to be slowed down at all from it.
I may be the exception to the rule, but I have had 3 cats that were front paw declawed and none of them experienced any problems with it. I hope that is true for Arthur as well!!!
 
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SandyCHA

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I may be the exception to the rule, but I have had 3 cats that were front paw declawed and none of them experienced any problems with it. I hope that is true for Arthur as well!!!
I have to agree as I have also had two cats in the past that were front declawed by laser and they never had problems either. I think it all depends on who does it and how you have it done. I also hope it is true for him.
 

pearl99

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I add that it was 4 years before I could walk up to Waffles and pet him, and now it’s only a few pets. Everything else is on his terms. I’ve had him for 4 1/2 years.
Once he started hopping on my lap I had to sit really still for awhile so he’d stay.
If he’s in a cat tower he’s too scared if I walk up to pet him. It’s the way he his, but he’s very happy.
Just let Arthur be Arthur and keep up the sitting with him and talking to him, giving treats and so on with him calling the shots and follow his lead.
You are doing a great thing for him.
He knows he’s safe overall.
 
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