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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-11-2012, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
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New here!

New here, just signed up seeking advice about a shelter kitty... talk soon!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-11-2012, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
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Husband thinks we got the wrong cat...

Hi all! I'm a newbie here, jumping in with my first cat question! I know it's been discussed before, but I'm looking for some perspective on dual issues.

My husband and I recently adopted a cat we named "Murph." He comes from the shelter, where he was given up after his family of 6 years decided he was too afraid of their dog to keep him any longer. Murph had only ever lived with that family, so as you can imagine, shelter life did not agree with him.

Well, we have a young daughter who loves cats and would love a cat to play with, but Murph has not emerged from underneath the bed in 2 weeks. He seems to barely eat or drink and as a result uses the litter box sparingly. He's gone on brief tours of the house, but "Base Camp One" as I call it, is in our daughter's room. His food, toys, litter box, bed, blankets and everything is in there. I have lined his little food area with her old clothing, so he associates her smell with good things.

Here's where it gets tricky. My husband is fed up with the cat. He wants to give him back. He says "We didn't get a cat that's just going to hide and not interact, we got him for [daughter] and he won't go near her, he needs to live with an older person or a single person who won't care if he hides all day, etc."

I am not giving up on this cat. Yes, I knew my husband had reservations about how timid he was. And maybe I was wrong to choose a cat that was hiding in a corner at the shelter for a little kid. But I just wasn't leaving without him. So now I need to make this work. I can accept that he might just always be a shy cat, but I am extremely worried about his health and my husband's growing frustration. The vet says he's healthy but might hide for weeks to come. Help! How can I get this cat to join the family? He is the only pet.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-12-2012, 08:42 AM
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Hi Murph,
love your name (I used to have a kitty named Murphy ) I'm afraid your Murph will just need more time. I would encourage you and your daughter to talk to him a lot - even when he is under the bed - and maybe try to get him to come out playfully. For example try putting a toy on a string and pull it out from under the bed slowly - not many cats can resist the urge to chase that.
I am a little bit concerned that you say he barely eats or drinks. Have you talked to a vet about that? Maybe he picked up a bug at the shelter.
I want to support you in sticking up for the kitty, even if your husband is getting frustrated. The little guy needs a friend, and right now your family are the only friends he has. Stay strong and I hope everyone can stay patient.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-12-2012, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your response! Clean bill of health from the vet, but I am still really concerned and will likely seek a second opinion. He can be lured into very brief play sessions with the laser pointer, but that's it for now. Also I was told not to make areas of the house off limits to him, so he has full access to closet spaces and sometimes he hides in different areas and I can't find him sometimes for 12-16 hours. Is this normal? I don't think he was abused by his last family but if I can get him out even for a minute he bolts as soon as anyone else enters the room. My husband is just over it and I'm being blamed for choosing a neurotic cat
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-12-2012, 11:46 PM
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My sweet Hermione hid under a bed for about the first two weeks after we brought her home. It's completely normal. It's a whole new world to such a little baby.
A couple of things I would try. Make it impossible to hide under the bed. But do this only at night and sleep with Murph with the door closed. Coax Murph onto the bed with treats several times. This will help Murph bond with you. Also, try several play sessions with different types of toys. My cats are going absolutely crazy over Da Bird! That's a good one to try.
It takes time. Just be patient. murph may never be a in-your-face kind of cat but it's unfair to expect a certain personality from a cat just because that's what you would like it to be. All my cats are different. One is extremely lovable and cuddly, another is cuddly and funny as can be , and then my sweet Hermione is her own independent self with so many quirks you just can't help but love her. Let Murph tell you who he is, you will grow to love his ways, whatever they turn out to be.
Good luck with your new baby!
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-12-2012, 11:55 PM
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You could try a Feliway diffuser... I've never tried one myself but I've heard good things about them from others. Good luck, and don't let your husband make you feel bad about it... you saved a life and I think Murph will come around!
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-13-2012, 12:44 AM
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Our newest addition hid under the bed for about a week before she'd come out. She'd slip out at night when no one was up to eat and drink but then back under. After that, she spent about another two weeks where she wouldn't come out of the one bedroom (the one with the bed she'd hid under). She'd come to the doorway of that bedroom but wouldn't come through it.

How does your feline friend react to you when you CAN touch him? Does he like to be petted? Scratched under the chin? Ears rubbed? Treats are great but for ours, she LOVED to be scratched under the chin. Several times I'd lay on the floor and scoot a bit under the bed stretching to reach her. Just a couple rubs under the chin and I could move my hand back a little and she'd come to it for more rubs. After a while, I had her out from under the bed because she wanted the chin rubs.

I've also tamed more feral cats. (Yes... yes it is possible... but it takes a LOT of time). Your cat hasn't really had time to realize that YOU are his source of food. If he is, infact, eating, perhaps you should handle the food you're giving him. I'm assuming it's dry catfood... maybe try getting a little of your smell on the food... or even the food bowl. Something I might consider in your situation... if he seems skittish of people in general, maybe you should sleep with a towel for a couple of nights. Put it under you so it gets your scent on it... then sit his food and water bowl ontop of the towel so he learns to associate your scent with good things.

It also can't hurt to sit with him and try to hand lure him closer with treats. Toss one close to him... if he takes it, one a little closer to you and then closer and so on until he comes out to get the treats.

Wish you luck!
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-13-2012, 12:50 AM
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Hopefully Murphy will come around! I had a cat that acted in a similar way after I brought her home from the shelter as well. She took a few weeks to warm up to me but after that she would sleep with me every night and was definitely a wonderful cat! Good luck with him and just be patient. I'd also recommend taking him to another vet just in case. The cat I mentioned earlier also turned out to be sick with something minor, but she brightened up a day or two after taking medicine from the vet.

Good luck!!
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-13-2012, 01:47 AM
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hello, welcome to the site
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-13-2012, 04:20 AM
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I think you should give it some more time, I think it would be cruel to give it back now . I don't myself have any experience with cats but patience seems like an answer. Keeping my fingers crossed for you guys!
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