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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-11-2013, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
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Question Scaredy Cat

Hi all,

I have a newly adopted cat who is about 2-3 years old. We got her on January 6th from a local adoption day. What I am looking for are a few recommendations on socialization to help her trust her new human companions. Here's the story:

With the first week we got her she was hiding but started to open up and come out of the cat tree hiding spot. She was given run of a single room during the adjustment period and we would visit her, talk to her, and interact with her as much as she wanted. She always loves petting (even now) when in the cat tree and let's us access her tummy and everywhere else. Never any biting, scratching or complaining - in fact, she purrs up a storm. Seems that she feels safe when in there.

Unfortunately, she had a problem with her eye (running) and we needed to take her to the vet and then give medication. My first experience giving the medication was not good for either of us... I convinced her to come out to the tree and when by me I gently restrained her to do the dirty work. She them panicked (so did I) and tried to run. I held her down but got a some good gashes out of it. We since learned to scruff her for the treatment, pulling her out of the tree, but she has not trusted us since. With the exception of the panicked defending herself, she is a gently cat and does not try to scratch, bite, hiss, or anything else negative.

She will come out of her room and be with us in other parts of the house. But trying to approach her results in running off. She will pass by us if we pretend she we do not see her, but she usually speeds up when doing so. Every so often I can convince her to allow a 1 second pet as she is passing but she is quite nervous about it and walks away. She will occasionally stand just out of reach, roll over to show her tummy, and wait. But when slowly reaching out she gets nervous and leaves.

The most interesting part is that she allows/wants petting when we are in bed (in the middle of the night). She will join us on and off, meow, and if a hand is reached out she will use her cheek to rub and then allow additional petting all over - gently and calmly.

So... in this situation, how should we try to earn her trust in everyday life? I am terrified that the time will come that she needs to go to the vet and we will either not be able to get her or her trust will again be shattered. We are patient so it is not a rush to help her change over time. I just want to create the best environment to help her come out of the fear and trust us.

Thanks in advance!!

John
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-11-2013, 03:30 PM
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You could try Feliway. It comes in a spray, diffuser and collar, which may make her feel a little less nervous. It is phermones, which calm the cat down.

I had this problem with Moosey when we first got her, and although she has pretty much gotten over it, she still has those times when she freaks out and runs under the bed. She still doesn't like to be around my roommate.

What I did: Any time I was the only one home, I would shut the door to our room so she couldn't run in there under the bed. I would do this when I was just sitting there watching TV or doing laundry, anything that caused limited mobility so she could walk around and sniff and rub her scent on stuff. After a few weeks, she would start to come out on her own when it was just my boyfriend and I, but always run when my roommate came around. (he isn't home very much) Now she will sit in the living room when he is around, but wont let him pet her and if he makes a noise or moves, she is off running.

Lately she has been okay with other people coming around as well, but will still run if they move and will not let them pet her. (The only person she likes besides my boyfriend and I is my roommates girlfriend, which makes me think that she likes females more than males)

Moosey warmed up to me pretty quickly, but she is also my cat. When she was in her safe spot under the bed I would talk to her in soothing tones and say "good girl" "pretty girl" ect.

As far as medicine goes, I would say you are just going to have to hold her down. The first time I clipped Moosey's nails, she was so sweet, which made me really excited, but the next time she was not having it, so I had to have my boyfriend help hold her down. She was pretty upset for an hour, but got over it quickly. It is sad that they don't realize we are doing this for their health, Poor babies.

Moosey has also always been very affectionate in bed. This may have something to do with you laying down, which makes her taller than you or the darkness. (this is just a guess)

Good luck!


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Last edited by grrawritsjordi; 02-11-2013 at 03:33 PM.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-11-2013, 03:38 PM
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How long is "newly adopted"?

One of mine took a couple of weeks before we saw much more than his head!!!
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-11-2013, 03:47 PM
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It took my Lickorish over 4 months to get comfortable in our home, and with hubby, so be patient. Lick is also more comfortable with us petting her if she is in or under something. She liked to be in the cat cube by sport pet.

We did have to do eyedrops as well. I found it best to just pet her and sneakily drop it in with the other hand, without any holding or scruffing. Just don't make a big deal of it. It may take a few tries, but we managed to get her eye problem fixed by doing it this way, with no hard feelings.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-11-2013, 04:27 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Arianwen View Post
How long is "newly adopted"?

One of mine took a couple of weeks before we saw much more than his head!!!
5 weeks now - but again, we are patient. I am wondering, is it best to give her space and interact only on her terms, making her ask for it eventually. Or is it best to keep trying to pet her and interact in the open, albeit calmly and gently, when the opportunity presents itself...?
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-11-2013, 04:29 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by CJinCA View Post
It took my Lickorish over 4 months to get comfortable in our home, and with hubby, so be patient. Lick is also more comfortable with us petting her if she is in or under something. She liked to be in the cat cube by sport pet.

We did have to do eyedrops as well. I found it best to just pet her and sneakily drop it in with the other hand, without any holding or scruffing. Just don't make a big deal of it. It may take a few tries, but we managed to get her eye problem fixed by doing it this way, with no hard feelings.
Luckily she is past the need for drops now but this sounds like a great technique! We are also using lysine to help keep the pesky virus under control and it is definitely helping.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-11-2013, 04:31 PM
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My nervy one still loved his food which was where interaction was really welded and playing. It also helped that he liked the other cats (and quickly liked the dog) and that was an incentive.

My oldest cat, whom I still class as a semi-feral, took an awfully long time to really trust people.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-11-2013, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by grrawritsjordi View Post
You could try Feliway. It comes in a spray, diffuser and collar, which may make her feel a little less nervous. It is phermones, which calm the cat down.

Good luck!
Thank you for the help. In addition the the approach you outlined I will also try Feliway in her room. Could not hurt to give it a shot.
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