First time cat owner (adoptee)- Help! - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-24-2008, 06:29 AM Thread Starter
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First time cat owner (adoptee)- Help!

Hello all. As of four days ago I became a reluctant first-time cat owner. A stray cat showed up at my girlfriend’s house, and her family, being cat lovers, started to feed her and give her all kinds of attention. But they couldn’t adopt her because my girlfriend’s dad wouldn’t let them- and some how they suckered me into adopting her. I’ll admit, she’s pretty cute, and she’s surprisingly friendly. I named her Atramentaceous (meaning ink-like)- Atra for short. She’s an all black cat with the typical yellow eyes. The vet said she’s about four years old. At the vet she was timid but very calm.

When I brought her home she just slept all day and didn’t eat anything (I’m assuming the vaccinations might have drained her energy and she was probably anxious). After the first day she started to move around and explore my living room, she began to eat, and she started to use her litter box. Now, by the forth day, she follows me around everywhere, she always wants to sit on my lap, she always lets me pick her up, and she never minds me petting her or rubbing her chin. She doesn’t seem to be interested in any of the toys I got her (remote control mouse, feather-teaser, catnip toys, balls, etc.). She meows a lot. Whenever we’re in the same room together or when she’s exploring she’ll be perpetually meowing. Is this just her personality or is she trying to tell me something? She loves to drink water from the facet. I’ve been locking her in the room with her kitty litter at night; I’m afraid she might not be fully acclimated yet. When should I begin to fully trust her? When do you think she’ll be fully acclimated to her new home? I’d like to take her for walks- do I need to wait until she’s fully acclimated to do that? Sometimes she shakes her rear-end vigorously while arching her back- is this normal/okay?

Thanks for your help!

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-24-2008, 07:20 AM
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Re: First time cat owner (adoptee)- Help!

Well done you for adopting this little charmer with the lovely name!
You've done the right thing by taking her straight to the vet and getting her checked over. Now it sounds as thought she's settling in well and behaving quite normally for a puss-cat in a new home.

I’ve been locking her in the room with her kitty litter at night; I’m afraid she might not be fully acclimated yet
I think if she's already using the litter tray OK she should be OK to find it again if you let her out of that room (unless you live in a massive house ) Many catforum members will let the cat have the run of the place at nigh (we do!), but others will keep them in one room way from the bedroom so as to avoid being woken up in the middle of the night by a furry face in your ear. It all depends on whether you value your sleep more than the nocturnal visitings of your feline friend

I’d like to take her for walks- do I need to wait until she’s fully acclimated to do that? Sometimes she shakes her rear-end vigorously while arching her back- is this normal/okay?
Are you thinking of taking her out on a leash? I've never tried it but I believe it can be quite a challenge to get an adult cat used to that. You'll probably get replies from other forum members who can advise you.
Likewise with the butt-shaking. I shouldn't think there's anything to worry about since you've already got her checked by the vet, but some of our very knowleadgable members will no doubt advise you on that as well.

Congratulations on experiencing the joys of living with a cat

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-24-2008, 07:32 AM
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Re: First time cat owner (adoptee)- Help!

Congratulations on your new addition! You've come to the right place for a lot of good advice. I was a new cat owner 3 years ago and was somewhat resistant at that time, but let me tell you, it takes about 3 minutes to get attached and wonder how you ever got along without them. Your Atra will give you lots of laughs and entertainment!

When we adopted both of our adult cats, we gave them full run of the house starting with night #1. I'll see what others say on this, but I think it's fine to give Atra full run of the house during the night. You may get a furry visitor in your sleep, but you'll get used to that too. Take it from a light sleeper and lifelong insomniac -- you eventually get used to it and sleep through her comings and goings. Or if not, just keep your bedroom door closed but let her roam around the rest of the house.

We need pictures, of course.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-24-2008, 07:52 AM
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Re: First time cat owner (adoptee)- Help!

Originally Posted by Derek1981
Sometimes she shakes her rear-end vigorously while arching her back- is this normal/okay?
That really sounds like she is stretching, and kind of "shuffling" her fur at the same time, which means..........she's pretty darned comfortable at her new house : )

Unless her tail and scruff (back of neck) are all FLOOFED, then it means she is scared of something.

(Unless she was a kitten, who frequently go into Full FLOOF when they are just playing)

Ooh, and I think you've done a Really Good Thing, and you'll reap the benefits of it
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-24-2008, 10:15 AM
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Re: First time cat owner (adoptee)- Help!

Thank you for taking in Atra. It sounds like she will be Queen of the house in no time. We let our kitties have full roam of the house and they have no trouble finding the litter boxes in the basement.

If Atra doesn't like the toys that you have for her you could try things like a Laser Light, or Da Bird. They are both interactive, which might help you two to bond even more.

Oh, and pictures please!

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-24-2008, 11:49 AM
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Re: First time cat owner (adoptee)- Help!

On thing I think no one has mentioned yet -- some cats are just talkers. If there doesn't seem to be anything obviously wrong when she meows, and she doesn't seem distressed, she may just be carrying on a conversation.

My experience has been that taking a cat for a walk on a leash generally consists of putting the cat on a leash and then YOU follow HER around. Expect a lot of sniffing things and rolling on concrete. Rolling on concrete is apparently very appealing if you're a cat.

I agree with the others that if she uses the litter box reliably during the day, then she's probably fine at any time. She knows whats it's for and where it is.

If you really want to spoil her, many kitties that drink water from faucets like pet drinking fountains. (This can also potentially cut down on cats trying in insinuate themselves between you and the bathroom sink as you brush your teeth at night.)

Welcome to the wonderful world of cat ownership!
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-24-2008, 05:16 PM
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Re: First time cat owner (adoptee)- Help!

Welcome to Cat Forum, and to the wonders of being support staff for a cat!
If she is already using the litter box you can let Atra roam the house at night. Cats are much smarter than most people give them credit for; she will remember where her litter box is and return when it's needed.
I am a very light sleeper, but Arianwen lets me sleep through the night. She has even started to adapt her schedule to mine.

Arianwen and I frequently go on walks together. She is untethered, and stays near me. The rare times we go on long walks, I bring drinking water along for both of us, and stop to rest periodically.
But I can't in good conscience recommend that you take your cat walking without a leash. Arianwen and I have a very strong bond of mutual respect and love, and that's uncommon.

You can get Atra accustomed to a harness and leash and take her walking. Some folks use a walking jacket instead of a harness. A collar can be dangerous for a cat.
Take your time in training her to the leash. Be patent with her, taking the training in baby steps.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-24-2008, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
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Re: First time cat owner (adoptee)- Help!

I just tried to get Atra to go on a walk. She wasn’t too resistant to me putting the harness on her. I picked her up and put her next to the door. Holding the leash I opened the door and sat on the outside steps. Atra looked timid and pressed her body to the ground. She began to look curious, though, and she looked as if she might try to walk outside- and then one of my neighbors walked outside of his townhouse and she got spooked. She snagged the leash out of my hands and ran back into my townhouse and hid behind my couch. A little bit later I tried to take her down the steps to my door and she got spooked again and tried to hide in the corner of my hallway. I get the hint that I’m moving way too fast! I don’t think I should try to do this again for some time, and maybe I should break down all the things I did in five minutes and spread it over a few days- baby steps, I suppose. I’m worried though that she doesn’t trust me anymore. You guys don’t think I permanently scared her or anything do you?

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-24-2008, 07:44 PM
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Re: First time cat owner (adoptee)- Help!

If she's only been there for four days, you might want to give her more time to get used to you and your home before leash-training.

Here's an article on leash-training: ... htrain.htm

One tip I've read is that you shouldn't let the cat walk outside on her own. Take her outside in a carrier (harness and leash already on), then take her out of the carrier. That's supposed to reduce her tendency to door-dash after she gets used to being outside.

I'm only a novice at this myself, and haven't successfully walk my kitties yet.
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