Rescued 8 Year Old Declawed Gentleman and he is Still Hiding

Jcatbird

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
7,789
Reaction score
40,647
Location
Southern U.S.
You have saved him already so this will never be a defeat. Never! I know that to you it seems he has been there a long time but cat time is different from human time. Have you ever noticed how many hours a cat can sit or lay still? We could never do that! They have a different perception of time. As for pain, cats don’t show pain if they can avoid it. As an outside kitty it would have been dangerous to show any weakness. Predators seek out the weak or injured as easier prey. Cats instinctively know this and hide pain if possible. I hope Arthur is not in pain but keep that in mind as you go forward. I really think he needs a lot more time. Laying on your back near him is a very good way to encourage him to approach and even to rub on you or even climb onto you at some point. A friend here had a very traumatized and abused kitty that was given up on by all rescuers. He would not eat and remained sort of frozen. It was worst case scenario! The friend took him from the rescuers and to his home to spend his “final” days in a quieter place. He was not expected to live much longer. The friend did not want to give up on him. This cat was an amputee and had survived a lot but seemed to have given up on humans. Over the first days we talked a lot about this kitty. Laying on the back with kitty and giving him a place to hide beside his new human was first. We came up with a plan together. He tented a sheet over the bed and over the edge of the bed where the kitty could remain hidden but still lay near the human. I felt that if the human gave him some of the comfort a mom cat would offer, it might help. Using a tiny brush or even the corner of a warm washcloth to do short lick type strokes on his ears and later across his eyes and face would imitate a mother washing her baby. Love licks to a cat. The cat responded after a bit with purring and seeming to relax his muscles. (All this while under hiding and human laying on his back on the floor) Then it progressed to the human curving his body slightly to partially encircle the kitty but not close him in. This done while offering warm , Gerber second foods all meat baby food to be licked from humans fingers. The cat did lick the food! Progress with this kitty was very slow. We did know the history of severe abuse, abandonment and horrible injuries so we knew the kitty was scared. I felt he was basically paralyzed by fear and depression. Each day the laying, feeding and droppers of water were given. Then I got a message one morning. The cat had gotten under the sheet and climbed into bed with the human! Still hidden by the sheet but beginning to feel secure. This continued for awhile. Then the kitty started hiding in a closet instead of under the bed or sheet! Steps back? No! He was becoming brave! He slowly progressed and began sleeping in the closet instead of under the bed or sheet. He started coming out to potty and finally back to being petted. He began eating and drinking normally. He is now living with his house mate kitties and his human in a very good way. He plays! He eats and drinks and cuddles! This took a lot of patience for the human and time. We don’t know the whole history on Arthur. We do know he has been through some scary times. Trauma is something that comes with fear. My point is, Arthur is far ahead of where this cat was and he is progressing in a very good way. You can try what was done with that cat and use mom cat behavior to make him feel more comforted but he needs time. Don’t pursue him, bring him to you. He’s doing really well even though it seems painfully slow to you. Love, care and patience. You’re getting there! I would not grab him for holding. Enticing him to rub against you or to climb onto your leg while sitting on the floor would be the way I would lead him into being held when he is ready. Let him show you what he is ready for as things move along.
Maine Coon cats tend to be vocal. If he calls out as he is in a room, that’s normal and you can respond and encourage him by calling back to him. Watching him and listening to him can show you what he wants and needs. Tail straight up is a more confident posture. Tail in a question mark position? He may be wondering about things. Tail tucked under? Scared, unsure or even hurting. Switching tail? Agitated, scared, uncomfortable or excited. Ears back? Not happy or stalking something. Ears at an angle? Questioning or displeased. Ears flattened to the head? Possible swat coming. Ears straight up? Everything okay. Slow blinks? Telling you that peace is offered. Rolling onto his back? Showing he is offering his most vulnerable spot to you as a show of trust and surrender. Body language can help you to understand what is going on with him. The different sounds of his meows are something you can learn too. Sometimes they just meow to find you and sometimes they are lonely, hungry, curious or scared. Watch and listen and you will start to notice patterns with him. Cat speak is the language of cats. ;)
So sorry I was away for awhile. Dealing with some issues here but I will be checking in.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #82

SandyCHA

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Feb 4, 2021
Messages
38
Reaction score
137
You have saved him already so this will never be a defeat. Never! I know that to you it seems he has been there a long time but cat time is different from human time. Have you ever noticed how many hours a cat can sit or lay still? We could never do that! They have a different perception of time. As for pain, cats don’t show pain if they can avoid it. As an outside kitty it would have been dangerous to show any weakness. Predators seek out the weak or injured as easier prey. Cats instinctively know this and hide pain if possible. I hope Arthur is not in pain but keep that in mind as you go forward. I really think he needs a lot more time. Laying on your back near him is a very good way to encourage him to approach and even to rub on you or even climb onto you at some point. A friend here had a very traumatized and abused kitty that was given up on by all rescuers. He would not eat and remained sort of frozen. It was worst case scenario! The friend took him from the rescuers and to his home to spend his “final” days in a quieter place. He was not expected to live much longer. The friend did not want to give up on him. This cat was an amputee and had survived a lot but seemed to have given up on humans. Over the first days we talked a lot about this kitty. Laying on the back with kitty and giving him a place to hide beside his new human was first. We came up with a plan together. He tented a sheet over the bed and over the edge of the bed where the kitty could remain hidden but still lay near the human. I felt that if the human gave him some of the comfort a mom cat would offer, it might help. Using a tiny brush or even the corner of a warm washcloth to do short lick type strokes on his ears and later across his eyes and face would imitate a mother washing her baby. Love licks to a cat. The cat responded after a bit with purring and seeming to relax his muscles. (All this while under hiding and human laying on his back on the floor) Then it progressed to the human curving his body slightly to partially encircle the kitty but not close him in. This done while offering warm , Gerber second foods all meat baby food to be licked from humans fingers. The cat did lick the food! Progress with this kitty was very slow. We did know the history of severe abuse, abandonment and horrible injuries so we knew the kitty was scared. I felt he was basically paralyzed by fear and depression. Each day the laying, feeding and droppers of water were given. Then I got a message one morning. The cat had gotten under the sheet and climbed into bed with the human! Still hidden by the sheet but beginning to feel secure. This continued for awhile. Then the kitty started hiding in a closet instead of under the bed or sheet! Steps back? No! He was becoming brave! He slowly progressed and began sleeping in the closet instead of under the bed or sheet. He started coming out to potty and finally back to being petted. He began eating and drinking normally. He is now living with his house mate kitties and his human in a very good way. He plays! He eats and drinks and cuddles! This took a lot of patience for the human and time. We don’t know the whole history on Arthur. We do know he has been through some scary times. Trauma is something that comes with fear. My point is, Arthur is far ahead of where this cat was and he is progressing in a very good way. You can try what was done with that cat and use mom cat behavior to make him feel more comforted but he needs time. Don’t pursue him, bring him to you. He’s doing really well even though it seems painfully slow to you. Love, care and patience. You’re getting there! I would not grab him for holding. Enticing him to rub against you or to climb onto your leg while sitting on the floor would be the way I would lead him into being held when he is ready. Let him show you what he is ready for as things move along.
Maine Coon cats tend to be vocal. If he calls out as he is in a room, that’s normal and you can respond and encourage him by calling back to him. Watching him and listening to him can show you what he wants and needs. Tail straight up is a more confident posture. Tail in a question mark position? He may be wondering about things. Tail tucked under? Scared, unsure or even hurting. Switching tail? Agitated, scared, uncomfortable or excited. Ears back? Not happy or stalking something. Ears at an angle? Questioning or displeased. Ears flattened to the head? Possible swat coming. Ears straight up? Everything okay. Slow blinks? Telling you that peace is offered. Rolling onto his back? Showing he is offering his most vulnerable spot to you as a show of trust and surrender. Body language can help you to understand what is going on with him. The different sounds of his meows are something you can learn too. Sometimes they just meow to find you and sometimes they are lonely, hungry, curious or scared. Watch and listen and you will start to notice patterns with him. Cat speak is the language of cats. ;)
So sorry I was away for awhile. Dealing with some issues here but I will be checking in.
Up to this point he has not approached me. I can lay on the floor and reach over and rub his ears for a bit and under his chin. He leans into my hand saying to me he likes it. Then he is done! He moves away. I always leave a few treats and tell him what a good boy he is! I talk to him alot even when I am just walking through the house. His ears are always erect and his tail is never all the way down unless he is coming down the stairs. I don't sense any aggression at all. One thing I have found strange lately. He tries to cover his food with the soft placemat I have under it up in the hallway. Why is he doing that? I watched him for five minutes the other night digging that placemat up against his food dish! I have never seen a cat do that! He does cry a little bit when he wanders the house at night. If I hear him, I answer him and he stops crying.

Your advice is priceless! I wish you were down the block and could come and see him so I could get your take on him! This is the most challenging thing I have ever done and I just want to be successful. THANK you so much for all the coaching you are giving me. I know it takes a lot of your time to do this for me. I think you have the luckiest cats in the world!
 

tabbytom

Happiness is being owned by a cat
Staff Member
Mentor
Joined
May 12, 2016
Messages
12,942
Reaction score
16,007
Location
Lion City, Singa-purr
Petting him or rubbing his ears for a little while is very good. His moving away is telling you that it is enough. He is very polite.

If I can pet my boy or tickle his chin or carry him for a few seconds, I would be very happy. Any longer, of carrying him, he'll squirm to get out of my arms and if I pet him a little longer than usual, he'll chomp one my hand. Any longer is up to him, not me.

I always talk to my boy when he is in a comfortable position and never disturbing him but I just go very near him and talk to him and once in awhile, I smuggle a few pets and tickles on him but praising him all the while.

Food covering is very common in cats. In the wild, they cover up their food so that they can come back later to finish it and also to cover the scents so that other predators does not know that he's been there or there's food. My boy does that every time after his meals.

Crying or calling out in the night is seeking attention from you or he saw some bugs or heard some sounds.It's good that he stop crying when you answer him and that gives him the assurance.

This is a little experience I share with you so that you don't worry so much before Jcatbird Jcatbird replies you with her expertise.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #84

SandyCHA

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Feb 4, 2021
Messages
38
Reaction score
137
Petting him or rubbing his ears for a little while is very good. His moving away is telling you that it is enough. He is very polite.

If I can pet my boy or tickle his chin or carry him for a few seconds, I would be very happy. Any longer, of carrying him, he'll squirm to get out of my arms and if I pet him a little longer than usual, he'll chomp one my hand. Any longer is up to him, not me.

I always talk to my boy when he is in a comfortable position and never disturbing him but I just go very near him and talk to him and once in awhile, I smuggle a few pets and tickles on him but praising him all the while.

Food covering is very common in cats. In the wild, they cover up their food so that they can come back later to finish it and also to cover the scents so that other predators does not know that he's been there or there's food. My boy does that every time after his meals.

Crying or calling out in the night is seeking attention from you or he saw some bugs or heard some sounds.It's good that he stop crying when you answer him and that gives him the assurance.

This is a little experience I share with you so that you don't worry so much before Jcatbird Jcatbird replies you with her expertise.
I loved that "he is very polite" thing! Made me laugh. Believe me you guys are experts and your advice is amazingly good! I hope to one day tell you about one big breakthrough! Stay tuned and thank YOU!
 

tabbytom

Happiness is being owned by a cat
Staff Member
Mentor
Joined
May 12, 2016
Messages
12,942
Reaction score
16,007
Location
Lion City, Singa-purr
I loved that "he is very polite" thing! Made me laugh. Believe me you guys are experts and your advice is amazingly good! I hope to one day tell you about one big breakthrough! Stay tuned and thank YOU!
01a44b168e488107eff53ee39e16a32c.gif

Yes, I believe that he is a very polite gentleman(cat).

Your big breakthrough will come but at this moment, I considered it a breakthrough already for the two of you. Just don't expect too much from him, accept him as he is else it'll be very hard to meet the goal base on our expectations. Just give and take, everyone will be very happy.
 
Last edited:

pearl99

In memory of Pearl, my labrador. RIP Pearl.
Top Cat
Joined
Aug 28, 2016
Messages
1,502
Reaction score
4,456
Location
Colorado, USA
One thing I have found strange lately. He tries to cover his food with the soft placemat I have under it up in the hallway. Why is he doing that? I watched him for five minutes the other night digging that placemat up against his food dish! I have never seen a cat do that!
Oh my kitty Gracie does that too! It's funny. As above it's an instinct thing.

One thing I had done with Waffles also is lay/sit on the floor with food in a dish that is sitting my legs. Nice stinky food that he liked. I stopped free feeding him after he was more comfortable so he needed to come up sometimes to me for food. I didn't move while he came and ate. If Arthur will do that may help associate more good things with you.
 

Jcatbird

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
7,789
Reaction score
40,647
Location
Southern U.S.
I am very happy to give you and your baby my time. It’s worth every second! You have saved a life and that makes you a hero in my book!
I loved that Polite Gentleman reference too. It’s true!
If you knew the story of the kitty that lives with tabbytom tabbytom , you would know that he knows all about saving a kitty in great need. I am in love with that kitty! It’s an amazing rescue and recovery story. It’s one of those that makes us know that you and your kitty will get through this. Time and healing and love. Fear causes them to need that love and healing of the spirit. You may be surprised later to see him emerge into a more confident place in his life. He has already shown you that he has love for you by leaning into your hand. That and the pets allowed are huge shows of trust. I bet that if you had a baby cam or way to record his movements when you are sleeping, you might be impressed at how much he is investigating his new world. Cats do a lot when we are not looking. Lol I have a Lady who takes her stuffed toys to the door whenever she hears other creatures outside. It’s so sweet. It’s like she is offering them the comfort she has found. She won’t do it when she knows I am watching but I always know because she calls at the door. I have caught it on camera a couple of times though. She is responsible for alerting me to two other young kitties that needed rescuing by doing this. Cats are smart and caring creatures. When I took her outside on a harness and leash, she called one of the kitties out so I could see her. I would never have seen and caught her without the help of Lady and another cat named Mitsy. I could tell you many stories of days and weeks working to gain the trust of kitties. ( I spent hours laying out in the woods and swamp to get some of the ferals. Lol ) Everyone who has ever done a shelter adoption or rescue has a similar story. I have a feeling that you will be offering your experiences and encouragement to another person here in the future. As tabbytom said, just enjoy the moment and anything kitty has to offer right now. The journey is part of the bonding and the bond that is forming is one you will cherish for life. The rewards are unbelievably wonderful. You will have an awesome story to share forever.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #88

SandyCHA

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Feb 4, 2021
Messages
38
Reaction score
137
So looking for yeses or nos on this - I have decided to pull all his upstairs food. He has been here over six weeks and I think it might be time for him to start coming down to the kitchen to eat, which is where his food is. He seems to be pretty comfy under that darn bed and it makes sense to me that the longer I cater to him being upstairs the longer he will stay there. Am I thinking wrong on this? He looks like he has no intention at all in coming out from under unless it is at night while I am in bed. He comes out every night and eats in the kitchen and uses his box. He now knows where everything is. Am I wrong?
 

FeebysOwner

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jun 13, 2018
Messages
12,164
Reaction score
15,946
Location
Central FL (Born in OH)
I say no. You've already been given the reasons why.

I know you are concerned that you need to do more in order to 'hurry him up' to being more comfortable. But, for his age, and his unknown and potentially suspect history, he has made great strides already. Forcing him to leave his safe zone when he really doesn't want to is actually feeding into his distrust, and could extend - or, possibly ruin - any future progress. In all actuality, his food/water should have been placed in the room where he hides. If I recall correctly, you are/were still making him leave that room to eat by placing the food just outside the room - to me, that is really not much different that when you were forcing him to go downstairs.

I am sorry you are so worried about the timeline - but, six weeks a 'spit in the bucket' if you compare it to other cases on this site with similar circumstances. There are members who have spent months to get where you already are. You've also heard stories about it taking as long as a year to get a cat to even remotely act like they feel at home.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #90

SandyCHA

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Feb 4, 2021
Messages
38
Reaction score
137
I say no. You've already been given the reasons why.

I know you are concerned that you need to do more in order to 'hurry him up' to being more comfortable. But, for his age, and his unknown and potentially suspect history, he has made great strides already. Forcing him to leave his safe zone when he really doesn't want to is actually feeding into his distrust, and could extend - or, possibly ruin - any future progress. In all actuality, his food/water should have been placed in the room where he hides. If I recall correctly, you are/were still making him leave that room to eat by placing the food just outside the room - to me, that is really not much different that when you were forcing him to go downstairs.

I am sorry you are so worried about the timeline - but, six weeks a 'spit in the bucket' if you compare it to other cases on this site with similar circumstances. There are members who have spent months to get where you already are. You've also heard stories about it taking as long as a year to get a cat to even remotely act like they feel at home.
Yes his food is just outside the room he hides in and he does come out to eat it. I guess I have to settle down and realize this is normal, just not something I am used to at all! I have had cats my whole life and this is a whole new game for me and I think I am just getting impatient! I always thought cats loved attention, and hopefully that will come in time. I just can't tell you how sad it makes me to see him hiding under that bed when he could be out here enjoying his new life. I will do my best to reign in my patience and I thank you immensely for your input!
 

pearl99

In memory of Pearl, my labrador. RIP Pearl.
Top Cat
Joined
Aug 28, 2016
Messages
1,502
Reaction score
4,456
Location
Colorado, USA
I'm not at all trying to be a Debbie Downer- just something for the back of your mind and this is just one of my cats- Gracie camps out in one spot in the house most all the time, my bedroom. I have to keep her food and water in there since it became apparent she wasn't going to change. It's way too soon to know if this is Arthur's personality, but sometimes some cats are like that.
Likely he's just needs to take time, but just in case it may be the other way.
 

Furballsmom

Cat Fan especially Black Cats
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jan 9, 2018
Messages
28,345
Reaction score
38,495
Location
Colorado USA

Jcatbird

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
7,789
Reaction score
40,647
Location
Southern U.S.
I think we all agree here. Let it be. He will trust you on his terms, not yours. He has been betrayed too many times before to give his whole heart yet. He has already given you huge respect and he is giving you many “cat speak” love signs. If you were him, would you want to be forced to do things that have previously ended very badly for you or left you terrified as a result? Try putting yourself in his position and it may help you to feel more relaxed about the time line. You’ve done really well. Give yourself a pat on the back and know that the patience exhibited so far has begun a healing process for him. Don’t change anything. Cats are creatures of habit and routine and he needs that now more than ever. You don’t want to lose the ground you have worked so hard to gain. Sometimes progress comes in kitten steps. ;)
 

Bonnie Bohn

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
Jan 31, 2021
Messages
9
Reaction score
13
Location
Green Bay, Wisconsin
I wrote awhile ago about adopting a senior cat, 13 years old, who once had a loving home but has for the last few years been bounced from shelter to shelter, adopted, returned for biting and labeled as a biter at the shelter. The advice I gave you earlier has worked wonders on her. She is still distrustful of strangers in the house and hisses at them. I tell them not to try to interact with her, just ignore her. She doesn’t vomit anymore when people come over now like she did before. You need lots of patience and understanding . She doesn’t bite anymore but once in awhile she will give us a soft bite when we pet or brush her, but then turns around and licks our hand. It’s almost like it’s a learned reaction but then she licks us to say sorry. Be patient and he’ll be fine.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #96

SandyCHA

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Feb 4, 2021
Messages
38
Reaction score
137
S SandyCHA - in follow up to the above post, how are things going?
Not as well as I hoped frankly, but after to listening to everyone here I think it's me. I think I am just getting impatient and expecting more of him after seven weeks than what I am seeing. He is still hiding under the bed all day long, coming out intermittently for very short periods to eat. He still comes out at night to eat and use his box, but will not approach me at all. I can reach under the bed and pet him for a short time only, then he backs away from me It was suggested that I leave food not only in the kitchen but also up where he hides. I don't put it under the bed, instead I put it in the hallway between my two bedrooms where he hides giving him easy access to food if he wants it. I don't know what else to do? I go up several times a day and talk to him, bring him some treats and pet his ears and under his chin which he tolerates for a short time and seems to enjoy, then he backs off. This is my first rescue of an older cat and I guess I am used to my normal cats that I adopted at a few months of age. They acclimated well and became part of the family in a short time. I have never experienced a cat act this way. I was hoping for a quicker transition. I feel bad that he lays under that bed all day long and does not seem to want to come out at all, let alone approach me! I know the girl who rescued him said she was able to hanlel him, take him to the vet etc with no problems. The final person I got him from, another rescuer then took him for a few weeks putting him in her home with 5 other cats and two very large dogs. Then I got him. So between there I don't know what happened or what freaked him out to be the way he is now. I am so sad and distressed that he is not responding to his nice warm home and good food! Like I said, it must be me as I am not accustomed to this kind of behavior. I have been trying all the suggestions from the great folks here who know alot more than I do! Thanks for checking up.
 

FeebysOwner

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jun 13, 2018
Messages
12,164
Reaction score
15,946
Location
Central FL (Born in OH)
It was suggested that I leave food not only in the kitchen but also up where he hides. I don't put it under the bed, instead I put it in the hallway between my two bedrooms where he hides giving him easy access to food if he wants it. I don't know what else to do?
Is the room so small that the food can't be put in the room - not under the bed, but just in the same room as opposed to the hallway?
I know the girl who rescued him said she was able to hanlel him, take him to the vet etc with no problems. The final person I got him from, another rescuer then took him for a few weeks putting him in her home with 5 other cats and two very large dogs.
You have to remember what I said about rescuers, they are not trying to make a long term relationship with a cat, they are just trying to get them through the testing/etc. that needs to be done. Given what they are trying to do, sometimes they make it harder for the person who adopts the cat - not intentionally, but they have a purpose and goal in mind to get them ready for adoption. The rescuer who placed him in a home with 5 other cats and two large dogs didn't make matters any better - and, probably made them worse.

Hang in there! I think EVENTUALLY he will come around.
 

mamaandmimimama

My two former ferals are the best therapists!
Kitten
Joined
Dec 3, 2020
Messages
5
Reaction score
10
I rescued two, and one is believed to be an older kitty. Her name is Mama. She used to sit far away with her tail close to her body when I fed her outside. Now she jumps onto my lap when I'm on the couch. She's actually laying on my lap as I write this. I NEVER thought this would happen when I first adopted her. This July it will have been four years! Patience my friend. They are not animals to be molded into how we think they should act. They actually end up changing us ;)
 
Top