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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 09:59 PM Thread Starter
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Eek, Is it bad if we...

bring our cat back to the shelter? We have had him for a month and though he was very shy at first, he at least used to let us pat him and brush him. However, the past few weeks he hides under our bed (so we can't get near him) durning the day. He only comes out at night time after everyone is sleeping to eat and run around/play/make a mess. He doesn't seem to like us very much at all. I thought he was making progress by letting us pat and brush him but that was short lived. If he is going to be shy and hide all the time, wouldn't he be just as happy at the shelter? We got the cat in hopes that it would teach our girls to care for and play with a new cat, but there isn't much of a lesson when there is no cat to be seen at all. Should I give him some more time? He is so cute and I hate to give up on him, but I just feel like he is a eating and pooping machine that we never get to see. Thoughts? Thank you so much!
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 10:11 PM
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I'd definitely give him some more time! Cats tend to be very nervous and shy and it can take some cats months before they fully warm and open up to you. Don't return him just yet, because he might not have had enough time.

That being said, not all cats are cuddle bugs, some cats prefer their solitary time and will be with their humans on the cats terms and that isn't always often, which is something you'll have to respect. You may just have gotten a kitty that doesn't enjoy being petted often. But with the hiding aspect, I'd say he's still just shy.

If he's not the right fit, he's not the right fit. Give him more time, and by more time I mean a few months as it can take some cats that long to get acclimated to its new surroundings. This is all a lot for a cat to take in. If you find, as he becomes more outgoing, he still isn't the right fit, then bring him back to the shelter, but try to make that your last resort.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 10:22 PM
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Do you know his background? How old is he? Also, how old are your children?

Way more time is needed! The short answer to your question is YES! This cat would rather be with you than at a shelter and that you won't be teaching your children anything positive in returning him.

Some cats take a long time to come around. It can be an extremely rewarding experience to take a cat that is fearful and watch it transform into a loving pet, all with some time, patience and a building of trust.

Since he's hiding under the bed... you're right, that's not getting anywhere. You need to block the bed off from that cat. He should have a place to hide, a location you don't disturb, but one more like a cubbyhole instead of a whole bed to hide under. I would start him off in a spare room, if you've got one, or your bedroom. The cat needs to feel comfortable in one room before being given an entire house to explore.

I'd do some reading here on taming cats, which can also in general apply to fearful cats:

Taming Feral Kittens and Cats

When I was about 15 I tamed a kitty (Blacky), it took a year until she'd let me close enough to pet her. At first she was scared of the entire house to the point that she leaped out a broken window to get back outside. Eventually, she's become a cat that sleeps on my bed every night and often on my lap at the computer as well, and is just a really awesome cat. I also recently tamed a cat (Jasper) that was aggressive. I needed leather gloves around him, and he was so food aggressive he would attack viciously when I tried to pick up his food dish. It's been about four months and he's totally transformed into a cat that plays fetch (and knows not to use claws even), isn't aggressive about food, wants to roll around on my lap and chirps/meows all the time. When I was about 8 I had a feral kitten tamed as well (Blaze)... he was more fearful than anything, I remember he didn't move off the couch the first month. Even a year later his personality was still emerging. It was great to watch. It just takes love and trust.

That's the type of lesson you should try imparting on your children.


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Last edited by Carmel; 02-25-2013 at 10:27 PM.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 10:28 PM
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I agree with the others: bringing him back to the shelter should be a last resort if it's absolutely impossible for your household to live together, but you're not at that point yet.

He wouldn't be better off at the shelter. It would make a difference. Shelters are very stressful environments where most cats feel unsafe. Every time a cat experiences abandonment, trust gets harder for them. I'm sure the cat is much happier with you, and being taken back could really hurt him. Not that you'd be an evil person for doing it, but it should be when all else fails, not the first option.

You've gotten good suggestions, but I would also add, has he been to the vet recently? Sometimes cats hide when they aren't feeling well.


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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 10:39 PM
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Eek, Is it bad if we...

We have a new cat that is still a little timid. We have had her for about a month. Our house can get loud as my kids are loud & my dog is a barker. Our new cat feels safe in our bedroom. She would hide under our bed & would eventually come out. She does not like us to pick her up but she will get in our laps on her terms.

Cats are pretty independent & have minds of their own. I think that with time & patience your kitty will come around. Plus, they usually are more active at night than during the day. My new cat runs around my house like crazy after my kids are in bed. But, I have seen her sleep in the bed with my daughter too. If your kids are young, your cat could be freaked out by them if they are trying to grab him.

My older cat does his own thing & we are okay with that


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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 10:49 PM
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I think he may just need time. Give him time to trust you.

Maybe start all over again with introduction to the house? It was maybe a month before Cherry even ventured downstairs. We've had her for two years and there are a few rooms in the house she still isn't comfortable in!

She started out in my room and only hid for a few hours. But she was also very trusting of me from the start.

Think about how he must feel too. Taken from a probably loud and maybe even scary place and put into a whole new environment with new people and children. It must be especially scary if he has no way to really comprehend what's going on.

Personally, once I took on an animal, I would consider it to be like signing a contract with blood. Unless it was total **** with the animal and there was a better home for the animal, I would keep them and work with them. You made the commitment to him and hopefully in time he will be able to repay that.

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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 10:56 PM
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By the way, I actually think this is an extremely valuable lesson for the kids: "We live up to our commitments when we take responsibility for another creature, even if that creature doesn't behave as we expected."

If you return him, to be blunt I think you're in danger of teaching "If a member of the household doesn't perform as expected, they aren't part of our family anymore" and/or "Responsibilities only count when they are pleasurable"... neither of which is necessarily something you want your kids to internalize.


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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 11:01 PM
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You have already gotten some great advice,but I will echo what's been said here. Give the cat more time to adjust.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 11:44 PM
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I think it's ridiculous to keep a cat for life that you're not happy with them. I've rehomed cats, as have many people here. In fact, a large majority of us got our cats because they were rehomed/surrendered/abandoned. I'm so glad that the people who had Cleo and Cinderella rehomed them. They both found their last home with me.

Will the shelter allow you to exchange cats at this point? If so, and if that's what you decide, take your girls with you and really spend a lot of time at the shelter and be picky. You don't have to take another cat home that very day.

Some cats just aren't good around loud noises or children. If there had been children at my house, I think Cleo would still be hiding, 5 years later.

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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-26-2013, 12:13 AM
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I've spent years trying to help one of my cats get over the trauma that was in part caused by being rehomed multiple times. Every time his trust was broken (as he perceived it,) it was harder for him to trust again in the future. Not to say that every cat that is rehomed is traumatized, obviously - just that it's a possibility that it could be very upsetting for a thinking and feeling creature to be uprooted multiple times.

Like I said, too, I'm not necessarily against rehoming. There are times when it is in everyone's best interests.

I'm just saying I think it should be a last resort option, not a first resort option when a pet doesn't behave as expected. I just don't think a month is long enough, and it may be there are other solutions to try that could help integrate the cat into the household.


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