Rescued wildy, seems to going backwards.

Colsan1

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We rescued a Tom cat that had been living under a local farmhouse a couple of weeks ago.
We know it's been caught before, neutered and released, and that it's been under the house for about a year. Had him checked and scanned for microchip. He's healthy and the vet thinks about 18 months to 2 years old.
We brought him home and placed him in a spare bedroom in a large dog crate with a bed and stuff to make him comfy, and covered the crate to try and make him feel safe.
I go in to feed him and clean out the litter box. I talk to him quietly while I'm in there and he seemed ok. He was keeping himself at the back of the cage but was calm not aggressive at all.
After a couple of days I was able to hand feed him a little and he allowed me to stroke his head, and the following day he reached out a little with his head asking for a little stroke. Over the next few days I was able to give him a good stroke all over. He was curling up a little and pushing his head into my hand and purring. He seemed to be enjoying it. When we went to the vet he allowed me to pick him up and didn't struggle when I put him in our traveling cage. He was fine at the vets and didn't protest when being examined.
I felt it was time to expand his world a little open his cage, but still restrict him the small spare bedroom. I sat with him and eventually he crept out to eat, but since then he seems to have gone backwards. He is seeking out the smallest hiding places around the room and squashing himself into them. When he sees me he looks frightened and is backing away. I'm not going force him out at this stage and have decided I'll put his food where he can see it, but will have to come out a little to get at it and I'm going to give him a bit of time and space for a few days to get used to the extra space.
It's been quite disheartening to see him hiding away like this, I thought I was making progress.
Has anyone got any tips or advice.
 

BBirdcat

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Id get a stick toy, one that either is electronic and makes sounds or just a really long stick. Just get it used to playing w toys. When my semi feral cat hid under a corner area in fear, managed to get her out w an electric mouse toy.
 

tabbytom

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When he sees me he looks frightened and is backing away. I'm not going force him out at this stage and have decided I'll put his food where he can see it, but will have to come out a little to get at it and I'm going to give him a bit of time and space for a few days to get used to the extra space.
It's been quite disheartening to see him hiding away like this, I thought I was making progress.
Firstly, we thank you for taking him in and for giving him a fur-ever warm and loving home and a safe sanctuary to live out his life :clapcat:

It is quite normal for a cat that is captured from the outdoors and bringing indoors and from being caged up to having a room for himself, to the vet and back. He looks overwhelmed after being in the cage and being let out and many thoughts usually goes through their minds.

His behavior after being let out and go hide is just his defense mechanism. Give him few days and continue to do what you've been doing like speaking softly to him, calling out his name, hum a tune, slow eye blinks, sitting yourself low on the floor by keeping a distance from him.

Once his mind is more settled down, he'll recompose himself and slowly, he'll gain trust in you. Just remember, with such cats, it's always one step forward and two steps back and most importantly is never ever betray his trust.

So don't be dishearten with him as he needs as much trust in you as you in him. This is perfectly normal.

Do keep us posted of the progress and do show us his photos if you have them.
 
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Colsan1

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As suggested I tried a toy...he swiped at it very aggressively so I droped that idea for now.

I went in to top up his food and he has moved from his tiny hiding place and has taken up residence on top of his cage. I've had a chat to him and put his food up there with him and left him alone. I'm thinking I'll just keep a distance at the moment, let him see I'm not a threat and carry on chatting.
 

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verna davies

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It sounds as if the trip to the vet has unsettled him. Try sitting in the room and quietly read a book or magazine out load but quietly so he will get used to the sound of your voice. Take a few treats in and if he comes near you offer him one. It is a massive change of lifestyle for him to get used to so let him set the pace.
 

fionasmom

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I agree that the vet trip unsettled him although he had to be taken and will again in the course of his life. He will come around again and you are doing the right thing not to push it. I own/have owned pet cats who did exactly the same thing after a trip to the vet
 

Jcatbird

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You did make progress and he knows. He had the cage opened to a bit larger world and must now feel more secure there before moving forward. Imagine if you were a small creature and you went from a giant scary world that you had learned to navigate, to a small secure cage, a vet and then back to a bit larger space with hiding places that are similar to what he needed outside to stay safe. Now he has more smells, noises and he may not know what changed will come next. The fact that you have made so much progress already is fantastic and that trust is still there. He just needs to readjust. Try putting a shirt or something with your scent on it for him to lay on. Keep as much of a regular routine with him as you can. Change is hard for kitties but given the care you are providing he will calm again. You can try leaving a hairbrush near him for a couple of days. When he has had time to see it is not a threat you can attempt to hold it near his chin for him rub against. It should feel good to him and he may start rubbing on it of his own accord. It can them be used to initiate soft stroking which can lead to renewed petting. My most scared kitties liked watching things being slowly dragged across the floor but found airborne toys scary at first. The wand toys are great to drag at first and later , once it isn’t scary, it makes a great tool for long range rubbing. Hang on to it because it can be a favorite in time. A sock on the end of the wand tip may be good for rubbing soon too. If possible, announce yourself as you enter his space and also, if you can sleep in the room it may give him time to investigate you when he knows you are not a threat. Laying on the floor, belly up, is a way of telling him that you are allowing yourself to be totally vulnerable to him. It just takes time but you have already passed the toughest hurdles and I am confident that you will be puurfectly able to help him adjust. Rescues become very appreciative of the safety, care and love you are giving. I have worked with many kitties and you are doing a fantastic job with him! He’s absolutely gorgeous! Thank you for saving his life and showing us what a handsome fellow he is too. You have a devoted friend for life now! :clap2:
 

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I just wanted to echo keep up what you are doing, which is exactly what is needed. He sounds like Waffles when I adopted him 4 years ago. It did help for me to lay on the floor quietly, not looking at him; and being in the room talking softly or reading for repeated short periods.
Waffles got to where he really liked scratchies with the wand toy. I taped a small brush to the end it for him to rub on so maybe that would work for you when it's time. When yours approaches you at all try to look away and not move :) (does he have a name yet?:))
Once he settled some I got the most heartwarming looks of "i love you so much for giving me this home."
The day he gives you a head butt or a cheek rub you will melt.
 
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Colsan1

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Patience is paying off.
Lots of quite praise, allowing him to have his safe space, led to a little hand feeding, and a cautious on finger head stroke. Then all of a sudden tonight he pushed right in to my hand for a full on smooch and half rolled over letting me give him a gentle belly rub and tickle. 🤩😍🎉
He's still keeping close to his safe spot, but he's definitely relaxing and feeling a little braver in his new surroundings.
 

tabbytom

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Patience is paying off.
Lots of quite praise, allowing him to have his safe space, led to a little hand feeding, and a cautious on finger head stroke. Then all of a sudden tonight he pushed right in to my hand for a full on smooch and half rolled over letting me give him a gentle belly rub and tickle. 🤩😍🎉
He's still keeping close to his safe spot, but he's definitely relaxing and feeling a little braver in his new surroundings.
That's wonderful! Keep it up!
 
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