Scared and shy

JustJoni

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I adopted a 7 month old kitten 1.5 weeks ago, I knew she had problems being around people, I also have two other male 7 months kittens. they so very much so want to play with her and be with her, she doesn't hiss or growl at them she just gets in a corner under the bed and tries to get real small and tenses up, I can't get near her.I can't get her to come out from under the bed. yes, she was abused. when I do approach her she cowls down and try's to get real small, she doesn't hiss at me. I've given her a safe home, lots of love, toys. her OWN room.she NEVER leaves the room, I leave her door open too, she only comes out at night when I close my bedroom door,or if Im not home, now she's trying to get her food dish under the bed, she has taken all the toys/blankets.and put them under the bed with her, Yes she eats, drinks use the cat box..I go in 5 to 10 times a day and just lay on the floor next to the bed to see if she will come to even sniff me, but no luck..Im at a loss here..I dont know what to do. she has a vet appt.on the 8th of Dec.to have her stitches removed from being fixed. how do I get her to trust me and how to I get her to the Vet if I can't get to her? my heart breaks for her.
 

wali_the_cat

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1.5 weeks is a very, very short amount of time. It can take a cat several months to adjust to a new home. Please give your new kitty time and space to explore her new environment in her own. It might be better to visit her less frequently. Give her space to feel comfortable. It's been such a short amount of time!

As for getting her to the vet...well sounds like it's not going to be easy. I'll defer to the experts...
 

rubysmama

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Hello and welcome to TCS. And thanks so much for giving this dear kitten a home. Even though she doesn't realize it yet, she's safe now, thanks to you. :redheartpump:

Who knows what happened to her before you adopted her, and we probably don't want to know, but having been abused, she will take a lot longer than most timid/shy cats to become comfortable in their new home.

TCS has this article on How To Help An Abused Cat Recover – TheCatSite Articles, as well as 10 Must-know Tips For Happy Living With A Shy Cat – TheCatSite Articles and 16 Top Cat Experts Share Tips For Dealing With Timid Cats – TheCatSite Articles which might have some tips for you.
 

catlover73

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I agree that 1.5 weeks in a new home is a short amount of time for the kitty to adjust. An abused cat will take longer to learn to trust than a shy cat who has not been abused. Many years ago I adopted what I thought was a kitten that had been abandoned in the bed of a friend's pick-up truck. I named her Baby T in honor of my friend's both named Tim that took her indoors right away. I took Baby-T to the vet because one of her back legs was bright red and she was limping. At the vet I discovered I had adopted a young adult female that had been physically abused before being abandoned. Getting her to the vet was not easy. I had to find her in a pile of dirty laundry that she had chosen to hide in. Some of the dirty laundry went to the vet with her because the only way to get her into the carrier was to put her in the carrier with the laundry she had attached herself to. The vet had to remove the cat from the laundry to even do the exam. I was very lucky that the vet I got that day had experience with abused cats. Baby-T was actually afraid to eat cat food and had to be spoon-fed baby food with a long-handled spoon just to get her to eat because she was so scared of her new environment. My room mate at the time also loved cats and we shared my clothes for almost 3 months so my room mate did not have to do laundry and scare the cat even more. It was a process to earn Baby- T's trust. It took a lot of time and patience but the reward once her trust was earned was amazing.

I have a few tips to share. The process of building trust has to be set according to the time and pace your kitty feels comfortable with. Always sit on the floor to talk to your baby. Do not approach standing up as this is more scary than normal to an abused cat. We used to take turns sitting on the floor talking to the pile of laundry Baby-T was hidden in without even being able to see her at times. We would talk to her about our day or the weather and would always tell her how much we loved her and things were going to be ok. One thing I did notice once Baby-T stopped hiding all the time from us was that she was very scared of men. We think whoever had abused her was male. If she acts scared of someone based on their gender that person needs to give her more time and space to learn to trust them. Do not be surprised if the kitten bonds with another cat before the humans. Baby-T bonded with my cats much faster than with us and I think their relationship played an important part in teaching her that she was now in safe place. Once Baby-T learned she was safe she became supper affectionate and cuddly with humans. Baby-T eventually started letting my hubby carry her around and that was something only he was allowed to do.
 

rubysmama

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I just reread your message again, and have a couple thoughts about getting her to the vet to remove the stitches. Maybe, since she comes out at night when you close your bedroom door, you could try to sneak out when you know she's left the room, and then block off the space under the bed. Or even remove the mattress/box spring from the frame and lay them on the floor. This would likely upset her, but might be easier to get to her than resorting to trying to reach her and drag her out the day of her appointment But do set up something for her to use to hide / feel safe in. But something you could get to her, if need be. Maybe her cat carrier, with a blanket thrown over it to keep it dark, since that's where you're going to need to get her for her vet appointment. A small dog crate could work as well, but again it would need to be covered, so she'd feel safe.

Since the appointment isn't till the 8th, you have a bit more time to work with her. So another thought is to consider putting the mattress, and maybe box spring as well, on the floor, and then you sleeping there at night. Once it's dark and quiet, you just might find she walks over you to investigate.

Honestly, I'm not sure if these ideas would work, as I've never had to deal with helping socialize a formerly abused cat. There have been threads before on the topic, so maybe you could read them, when you're sitting in her room with her.

Here's a link to all the previous threads: Search Results for Query: abused cat
 

sabian

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Yeah a week and a half is not long at all. She will come around eventually but let her do it in her own time. Don't crowd her. I know it's hard but, she just needs time and space.

I think you should leave your bedroom door open if it's possible. She may come in there to explore and even possibly jump on your bed to investigate.

rubysmama rubysmama idea of putting the mattress on the floor may not be a bad idea as well as putting a carrier in the room for her. I would use a carrier large enough that she can sit up in it and has a little room to move. You can also try feeding her in the carrier so she relates it to something positive. You may not need to cover it but it may help in the end. I would just kind of feel her out on that and see what works.

Just chill out and relax and let it happen naturally. If you get anxious or frustrated she'll sense that and it could cause her to with draw. I think I would also keep the other kittens away from her for now or at least don't let them crowd her. It's great that they like her and want to be around her but I would make them give her plenty of space and let her come to them in her own time just like with you.

My Manny was shy and abused when I got him. He hid behind the water heater in the basement for a day and, then under the bed for 3 days. He did finally come out but the least little thing would send him back under the bed. If I closed a door hard he would hide. I have a couple doors that don't close well and you kind of have to slam them to get them to latch. It doesn't even phase him now. He watched the basement door for months like he was afraid someone was going to come through it and get him. I've had him a little over 3 years and he's pretty much a normal little guy now but, he continues to make improvements on a regular basis.

Hope this helps. Best of luck and keep us updated.
 

CatladyJan

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I adopted a 7 month old kitten 1.5 weeks ago, I knew she had problems being around people, I also have two other male 7 months kittens. they so very much so want to play with her and be with her, she doesn't hiss or growl at them she just gets in a corner under the bed and tries to get real small and tenses up, I can't get near her.I can't get her to come out from under the bed. yes, she was abused. when I do approach her she cowls down and try's to get real small, she doesn't hiss at me. I've given her a safe home, lots of love, toys. her OWN room.she NEVER leaves the room, I leave her door open too, she only comes out at night when I close my bedroom door,or if Im not home, now she's trying to get her food dish under the bed, she has taken all the toys/blankets.and put them under the bed with her, Yes she eats, drinks use the cat box..I go in 5 to 10 times a day and just lay on the floor next to the bed to see if she will come to even sniff me, but no luck..Im at a loss here..I dont know what to do. she has a vet appt.on the 8th of Dec.to have her stitches removed from being fixed. how do I get her to trust me and how to I get her to the Vet if I can't get to her? my heart breaks for her.
I agree with rubysmama rubysmama and sabian sabian sleeping on the floor and getting that carrier out now and getting her accustomed to it.

Not knowing her history she may have been abused, perceives that or is just very shy. I'm dealing with a very shy 6.5 month old kitten that was one of 4 feral rescues. While he was not abused, he and I had a couple of me trying to catch him and put him back into a crate and lots of scratching and biting. He has come a long way and is still making slow progress. I read an article that basically I walk by him and don't look at him or try to touch him and occasionally I say 'Hi" to him. Imagine my surprise when I was sleeping one afternoon and 3 of his litter mates where sleeping with me and he jumped up on the bed and started letting me pet him and was loving it. That lasted about 2 days lol. There is a lot of stress with 11 cats and a dog in my home right now and the dog has got him a bit worked up. I have to take mine to the vet on the 8th as well for boosters to which I plan to isolate him the night before in a quite place so I can pick him up. Hang in there.
 

Jcatbird

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Actually, she is doing well considering her history. So are you!! I use cat carriers, crates or cages that are large enough to hold a smaller cat carrier as well as food, water and enough space to put a litter box a bit away from the food. The small cat carrier inside the larger cage becomes that kitty safe sanctuary. Whenever the kitty hides, that’s where they go.

Since this kitty is using the bed as her sanctuary, you can try putting a carrier next to the bed and start giving her meals and treats there. Make it a great place to go. A little catnip inside it might help. If she sees that as a nice place, she may begin to spend time there too. You can also try using some Feliway diffusers in the room to calm her.

Laying on the floor, belly up, is a non threatening position to a cat. You are showing vulnerability and trust to her. Don’t try to pursue her but try to lure her to you. I like to put yummy food, like Gerber 2nd foods all meat baby food, (slightly warmed) on a dish near me at first. I don’t make and moves when the kitty first trusts to eat near me although I speak softly is they respond well to that. Over time I move the dish closer to where I am laying on the floor. Eventually, I put the dish on my stomach and allow them to eat undisturbed st first. Then I keep my hand by the dish.

A bit of baby food on the back of my hand may lead kitty to sniffing me or even licking the food from my hand. An abused kitty may take longer but just be patient. In time you should find that kitty trusts you and is not as afraid. From feeding beside you, you may be able to use a wand toy to start touching, brush a finger at the back of her head or even use a soft brush to start stroking a bit. Slow movements with her. Sleeping in the room is great. She can investigate her new world without as much fear. You may find her coming closer or even sleeping on the bed at some point. Leave a shirt or something you have worn near wherever she feels safe. She will get to know you some through being close to your scent. I have had abused ferals and they did learn to trust. It just takes love, care and patience. Some overcome their fear faster than others but each cat must progress at their own pace.

She is taking everything under the bed? That’s great! It means she isn’t frozen with fear! She is playing, eating and doing all she needs to survive and begin to adjust. You’re going great with her! Thank you for adopting her! Little ones like that need someone like you.
You will be greatly rewarded as she recovers from her abuse. Kitties like this become the most grateful for all you do. :goldstar::clap2:
 
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neely

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I agree with all the above members, they've given you some great advice. :thumbsup: We also had a cat we adopted at one time who liked to remain under the bed in the beginning. Since she needed medical attention four days after bringing her home I tried everything and when it came time to bring her to the vet what worked for us was to use the long handle of a broom and very gently, very carefully give her a little nudge. I wouldn't normally do this but I knew she needed immediate veterinary care. Another option might be to put something in her carrier that would attract her to it as Jcatbird Jcatbird suggested. That's what works for our present cat when I need to get him to the vet. He's crazy about catnip so I put one of his favorite cat nip toys in there.

Since you already have two other kittens you are obviously not new to cats and know they may require time and patience. I just want to add my thanks to the list for adopting this girl and giving her a forever home. Once she acclimates to her surroundings I'm sure she will put her trust in you. Best of luck bringing her to the vet. Please keep us posted on her progress. 🤗
 

pearl99

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I have put a mattress and box springs on the floor with a kitty like this and it did help with needing to make a trip to the vet. I also put a cat cave bed in the room for a hiding spot. A carrier would be great, as above.My kitty Waffles was like this and clawed a hole in the bottom covering of the box spring and hid in the springs. I had to put a sheet (stapled) on the bottom of the box spring, one day I couldn't find him in the room, and found him in the box spring. Nice hiding spot!
And me also thanks you for adopting this little kitty :redheartpump:.
 

Joan M

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You're doing great, and so is she. All the above advice is wonderful. I had my cat, former feral, hide from me for six weeks before she would even come out for food when I was in sight. She only came out of hiding in the basement in the middle of the night when I was asleep at first. That was almost a year ago, and she now sleeps on my bed, against my leg, and often wants me to hold her in my arms during the day. Makes working a little difficult, but she is a loving cat. Everything was on her terms and in her own time. She still hides from anyone else who comes in, but that's fine.
 

sabian

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This is just a funny story but, I had to take Manny to the vet this past Friday for his rabies shot and usual check up. His appointment was at 2:30. Since that's usually when I'm working he's usually sleeping in his cat tree. Sometimes when I'm at home he won't get in his cat tree he'll just hang out with me in whatever room I'm in and nap so, it was hit or miss whether he would be in his cat tree. Well he was and I was trying to figure out how to get him in his carrier without to much of a fuss. Manny's smart and I knew if I tried to pick him up out of the tree he would know something was up. I knew if I tried to give him his treat at that time of day he would know something was up. I give him his treat at night after we go for our nightly walk when I get home from work and I give him his treat in his carrier so, I knew he would be suspicious. It finally dawned on me that, anytime somebody rings the doorbell he'll get down out of his tree and sit in the hallway and watch the door. So I waited until the last minute and rang the doorbell. It worked like a charm. He got down out of his tree and sat down in the hall watching the door. I went and picked him up and was consoling him and popped him in the carrier like it was nothing. I tricked him! :lol: I kinda of felt bad about it but I had to do what I had to do! I can say that feeding him in the carrier made all the difference in the world. He didn't stress out nearly as bad as usual. I changed vets cause he just freaked out going to the old one. He done much better at the new vet. On the way home I left the carrier door open and he got out and laid on the seat till we got home. I opened the car door, he looked around and realized he was home, got out, walked to the door and went in the house. I was afraid he would be skittish of the carrier after that but it hasn't fazed him at all. All in all it went very well and he wasn't stressed at all when we got home. Hopefully I got the vet thing figured out now and won't have to dread it like in the past!
 
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