New (to me) cat behavior question(s)
Chloe is a 2 year old, female, grey stripey ball of energy. I brought her home a week ago today.
Chloe came from a friend of mine, who made the decision to find her a new home based on the fact that she did not do well with my friend's 3 kids. The kids were all good with her, but having 3 human balls of energy in the house only stressed Chloe and made her very anxious. So, she came home with me. I live alone in a one bedroom apartment. Chloe has always been used to being an indoor only cat. When I picked her up my friend gave me some of her things (toys, litter box) so she would have a few familiar smells in her new home. Thankfully, despite being in a brand new place, she took immediately to her litter box again.
The first night she was home with me she didn't hesitate to come to me for pets and snuggles. I sat on the floor with her and let her come to me and she'd happy take scratches and pets while she rubbed herself on me. Then at some point after I went to bed she went in to hiding. I searched high and low but couldn't find her; I suspect she ended up behind the fridge as that was the only place she could have gone, and the one place I couldn't get at to check. Though she was in hiding I knew she was coming out sporadically through the night as her box had been used and her food and water were gone.
After a few days of hiding she eventually started to come out more during the day, but would retreat to under the couch. If I made a move, even if not to go to her, she was off like a rocket, but would come back to her spot under the couch. Gradually she started to stay out more and more. She built up to playing actively at night, and eventually to engaging in play during the day. She now doesn't hesitate to go to her food or water during the day.
Wanting our relationship to build on her terms and comfort level I sat on the floor again with her to see if she would come to me. And she did. I gently moved to pet her, and after about 3 seconds of petting she hissed and swatted at me and gave my hand several good scratches. So, I left her be.
Two days ago she ventured in to my bedroom, which she had never done before, and has decided that one of the shelves in my closet is now her's and is her favorite nap spot, which is fine with me. I put an old fleece sweater on the shelf for her so she would have something to curl up in/on. She quite happily hangs out there for the majority of the day. When she gets up it is usually to climb on and in my dresser, or to go stalk one of her toys. I should also note I spend a fair bit of time in my bedroom on the computer, watching tv, reading...I'm in here more often than not. She doesn't stay in here at night though. Usually by the time I'm ready for bed she's in full play mode hunting down her toys in the living room, so I leave her out there for the night. When I get up in the morning I usually find her either under the couch or in the kitchen.
Every so often when she hops down from her napping spot she'll look at me and softly cry. Sometimes if I kiss to her she'll come over and hop up on the bed with me. Again, wanting things to be on her terms so she is comfortable I let her call the shots. She'll come up beside me and will rub her whole body against my arm, I've even noticed her purring while she does this. However, if I so much as unintentionally flinch she hisses and bolts. The other day I was sitting on the edge of my bed, she came over and rubbed against my leg. As I had been picking something up off the floor my arm was sort of hanging down by my leg. She would rub against my sleeve and my leg and purr and seem quite content. Me not wanting to discourage her from coming to me decided to stay still and let her do her thing. As soon as she rubbed her head on the bare skin of my hand she hissed and ran off. h
If I walk past her sometimes she will hiss at me. She hasn't swatted at my feet as I've walked by, but she has hissed. She is starting to figure out that I'm the source of her food: when she hears her food container open, or the crinkle sound of her treat bag she will come out to watch me. If I toss a couple of treats out to her she will come toward me to take them off the floor.
The more I watch her the more I notice she is quite uncertain about the noises in my building. It is fairly quiet here, however when she hears a door close in the hall or someone walks by it's like she's on high alert. If there is a noise she is really uncertain of she will run to her spot in my closet.
My friend also told me on of her favorite things is scratching one furniture. In effort to deter that I got a scratching post for her. To entice her to it I sprinkled some catnip on it so she would know it was her's. I do hear her scratching at it, however as of yesterday she has also taken to scratching on my chairs.
So, my questions are:
1) my closet is her new favorite place to hangout. I also spend much of my time in this room only a few feet away from her. Does her choosing the same space mean she is beginning to accept me?
2) Even though I haven't actually been able to pet her since that first night, does her coming and rubbing on me indicate she wants affection but is still adjusting and nervous to fully accept it?
b) is there anything I can do to help her feel more at ease with me?
3) is there anything I can do to stop/lessen the destruction to my furniture?
I know we haven't been together for long. And honestly I was expecting her to be in hiding for longer than she was. But I wonder if I'll ever get to a point where I'll be able to pet her. My friend tells me in her family she was the only one who was able to give her pets, and if they had visitors Chloe would go to the adult females before going to kids or males.
I'm not a first time cat owner, however this is my first experience at rehoming an adult cat. I always had cats growing up, then when I was on my own I brought home kittens, but I've never had to deal with rehoming an adult.
Based on the above, am I'm way off base in my approach?
Thanks for reading! Sorry it got so long.