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Old 11-17-2012, 08:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Post Adaption Period

So iv googled this subject into the ground. Iv read countless websites.

But i still cant seem to be at peace with myself on this.

If you guys could just give me some reassuring that im doing the right thing, i would appreciate it more than you know!

I just got my first cat 3 weeks ago yesterday. He was a very shy kitty, at the rescue he was hiding in his cage and would avoid letting me touch or even get my hand close to him.

I started him off in our laundry room as i read should be done with new cats. But he was hiding behind the washer so much that i was getting worried about his health (all kinds of dust back there/ really cramped space) i didnt force him out, and after a few days i left the door open to let him explore on his own terms.

Eventually, while he was out of the room i blocked off his hiding spot because like i said i was getting worried. And i did have a box in there for him to hide which he used after he realized he couldnt get behind the washer and dryer.

After a week he started exploring while we were sleeping. I thought this was great! I was expecting more time for him to decide to venture out! Eventually he decided he didnt like the laundry room too much and would instead hide on the chairs in our formal dining room, which we hardly use. Which as of now has been claimed as 'his' territory.

Ill be honest, i did bother him while he was hiding in the chairs. I would sit by the table and just talk to him and giving him plenty of slow blinks. There were a few hiccups on my part.

After another week he would let me pet him on rare rare rare occasions, mostly when he was real sleepy. He'll nudge my fingers and rub into my petting and scratching like he cant get enough.

Fast forward to now and he seems to be a lot more comfortable, but still on edge. If i approach the table he hisses at me, but as soon as i sit and he sees im not coming after him he stops. (This is why i knew he was a good cat when i saw him at the shelter, even though he was dreadfully shy and scared he was not aggresive. And when i was able to pet him i noticed his ears would relax)

He approaches me occasionally but only if im sitting on the couch, and never comes within a few feet of me. He just gets to where he can see me, then sita and watches. The other night i was watching tv and he walked in front of the couch then over to his spot. A few minutes go by and he does it again but this time he runs. My gf says hes probably trying to get my attention so i look to see where he is, and hes sitting behind the couch looking over at the kitchen. The little guy was hungry!

I know im kind of rambling, so ill try and hurry up to the point.

Hes starting to communicate with me(including the rare meow, a total of maybe 6 times since hes been here) he doesnt bolt uf someone walks past the table while hes eating anymore. He lets me pet him a lot more now, as long as hes in the comfort of his chairs. He plays with me even if im standing now. He does hiss when i approach him, but his ears stay up high and his fur doesnt twitch or stand up, which i assume means he is still scared if me.( i dont blame him, im a pretty tall guy and my feet are as big as he is )

These are just the signs of improvement im noticing. I give him lots of space, even when im bothering him in his spot im not putting my hands in his face i just sit with him. And if he turns away from me or looks like hes telling me to leave him alone, ill go find something else to do.

Im just wondering, how much more time do you think i should expect before he really starts to make himself at home?

Hes 6 months old, (thats him in my avatar, i took that picture while we were playing, just before he realized he was sitting right next to me and took off!)

From what i understand the rescue got him when he was 3 months old so im guessing he might be a tad bit under-socialized.

Also, he has a clipped ear. I dont know his past, so i dont know if he was a feral kitten, or if they decided to clip his ear anyways when he got neutered

I wont be dissapointed if hes never a lap cat. I just want him to be comfortable, i feel bad that this guy spent so long in a cage. And even worse because there was another kitten that looked his age in there with him, also scared of people. Im guessing they were probably buddies and i feel bad that i couldnt take them both home...


Thank you for reading my novel i really do appreciate it!
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I took in a stray cat about 3 months ago. For about a month he wanted absolutely nothing to do with me either. He did gradually get used to me though. Now he's like a normal cat. He sits with me and always purrs and is just all around great.

The nicked ear makes it seem like he could be a rescued stray just like my cat, but if you just keep doing what you're doing, he'll come around eventually. I'd recommend trying to push his boundaries just a bit. If he gets nervous when you approach, try putting some wet food on your fingers so he realizes that an approaching hand is actually a good thing. Chicken or turkey baby food works really well for this. They love it.

Also, don't feel too bad about not being able to bring his buddy home as well. It's apparently much harder to socialize 2 cats than one. He'll be fine soon, just keep it up and don't get discouraged : ) If you get doubtful, just post on here and people will offer help, even if it's just kind words. It does sound like he's coming along well. I wouldn't think it will take him too much longer to really settle in.

Oh one more thing, have you tried picking him up? The first big wall that I broke with my cat was when I finally picked him up and put him in my lap. When that happened, he was still in the hissing at me stage but as soon as I picked him up he relaxed and started purring. It helped a lot, even though I didn't expect it to.
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Just relax. I think you're doing great. He may be missing his cage mate, but he'll adapt. 3 weeks isn't a long time.

Zenobi was a senior cat, but if I had to pass her I'd put my hand down, knuckle towards her. She'd give a quick lick the fingers and then I'd run the fingers over her head. It was a tactile greeting. I was never allowed to run the fingers over her head until she'd licked. If I saw her looking at me I'd throw an air kiss at her. She surprised me when she started to return those.

I'm sure you've already had the'different cats are different bit. One of these days he'll perhaps surprise you by jumping into your lap.

Guy, the outside cat that comes around for some food used to waylay me in the back alley by rolling around by my feet, but he hated to be picked up, even though he seemed desperate for some petting. I thought I'd throw that in to show how cats can be different and strange.
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for that story, it does give me some hope that he'll come around soon.

And about the other cat, i almost wanted to give him because he had a hurt eye that reminded me of a kitten we found years and years ago who had an eye infection. Unfortunately he died while i was away visiting family

But yes i did try to pick him up. The first time i did he was frozen with fear, and when i sat on the couch with him he actually started to fall asleep in my lap, then i shifted my body a little and i think he realized he was sitting on a human and he took off.

About a week or two ago i tried to pull him out from under the table and he did NOT appreciate that... He squirmed out of my hands then ran under the table again. I appologized and gave him some treats and promised him i wouldnt try that again. And so i havent tried picking him up since.

I push his boundries through play. Ill move his mouse in a way that to get to it he'll havr to walk on my legs (if im sitting) or just get him to be within a few inches of me. But as soon as i reach out to him he takes off running.

Iv taught him that an open palm up means a treat is in my hand. So now when i hold my palm out to him without a treat he occasionally will walk up to my hand to sniff. Its kind of funny, when i do give him treats this way, after he finishes the treat he sniffs my fingers then gives them a little nibble.

My mom and gf see him as just a scaredy cat who is just going to hide his whole life but i see such potential in him, it just seems that he almost doesnt WANT to trust me. He probably thinks im going to leave him too someday so why bother.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Tucker was very skittish when I first brought him home. He hid under the bed for about a week, only coming out when he was hungry. He eventually got on the bed but he would run off when he saw me. Just keep talking to your cat in a calm voice and sit near him but don't make any demands on him. He'll come around when he's ready. And a great way to bond with your cat is to pet/scratch the sides of his face. That's where all the cats pheromone's are and that'll put the cats scent on you. So when he does smell you, he'll smell his own scent and that'll calm him. That's how I initially bonded with Tucker. It took time for me to earn his trust and it sounds like your cat is the same way. Just be patient, he'll come around, just make everything as comfortable for him as you can and respect his boundaries. He'll reward you for your patience.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Jusjim, he does something similar to Guy. If i hold my fist out he'll rub his cheek on one of my knuckles and then i can pet him on the head. I try not to pet him too much at one time. He does this thing where he LOVES to be pet and he'll half lay on his side, like hes really digging this petting thing, then in a moment he sits upright and looks at my hand like "what do you think YOURE doing" or other times he will just get up and walk a few feet away then sit down again.

But if i just pet him for a second, stop, let him nudge my knuckle again, pet him for a few seconds, etc. He lets me pet him for a few minutes this way

He has startef returning my slow blinks, followed by the slow looking away. I think this is cat speak for "we are equal" but im not sure
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Hey guys i just wanted to say thanks for the quick feedback and words of encouragement!
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Old 11-17-2012, 11:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Have you tried giving him catnip at all? sometimes that will relax them a bit. It sounds like you're doing everything right. Keep up the good work and he'll come around.
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Old 11-18-2012, 12:12 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Sounds like you are doing all the right things. It takes time and patience. Either I missed it or no one mentioned the Feliway diffuser. It's pricey but in my household it really has made a huge difference in the behavior of my 4 cats, all rescues. I'll never be without it. It's a price investment to begin with to buy the diffuser kit but for me it was well worth it. I now buy the refills every month and replace the diffuser every 6 months. It emits phermones into the air which help relax the kitty and helps to put them at ease. There is also a spray but it only lasts a short time and it too expensive to replace all the time. If it's within your budget I highly recommend it.
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:35 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Yeah i have some dried catnip but he either doesnt care for it or its cheap quality.

Im thinking of getting some seeds and just growing some. My mom has about a thousand unused pots in the shed lol. Ill just have to find a place where its out of reach so he doesnt OD on me

I saw something similar to the feliway at walmart but by a different name, im guessing its probably not as effective

I think i was meant to find him, as cheesy as it sounds. He doesnt show his personality too often, but from what iv seen i think were going to be like peas and carrots.

On a good note, as iv mentioned before, he hasnt been meowing. But after i posted this, i went inside to feed him and he meowed at me. Guess he was hungry i havent been around cats that would meow outside of asking for food, so im wondering if he'll be a talker or not

I just want to cuddle him already and show him hes never going back in a cage
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