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I recently adopted a beautiful one year old grey and white female short hair mix from the local Animal Control and Care. I was made to understand that she would probably hide from me for the first few days but I began to worry when I had not seen her for the first 24 hours. She had eaten/drunken little if anything at this point and has yet to to the present. I eventually found her in a very difficult to reach hiding spot, after repeated attempts I finally managed to coax her from this spot but she still returns. She is frightful, I cannot do anything to make this cat understand that I am not a threat. She is extremely defensive if not aggressive. She becomes territorial and hisses at me when I come near. She allows me to touch her only on her terms and seldom and short lasted at that. She does not allow me to develop a bond with her and shows no interest or curiosity. What am I to do? Is this normal behavior? Please help.
 

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Hi Jackdaw, welcome to the forum! First of all, thank you for adopting a needy shelter kitty--especially one that is in obvious need of some TLC! :)

Your new cat is obviously scared, which isn't necessarily unusual for a cat that has come from a shelter environment, particularly if the cat is under-socialized. Any big environmental change is inherently stressful for cats.

Some cats just need a little time to adjust to a new home, while others may need you to take a more active role in socializing them before you can earn their trust. Do you know anything about your new kitty's past? Was she friendly when she was at the shelter? The amount of socialization your cat requires, which the answers to my previous questions may help us determine, will influence the steps you will need to take in order gain your new kitty's trust and love.
 

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What you're experiencing is very normal. Simon hid for a week. I moved his food dishes and litter boxes closer (less than 20 feet) from his hiding place and he seemed to use them when I wasn't around. But other than that, it was just a matter of patience combined with the usual tricks of speaking in a soft voice, making no sudden movements, sitting on the floor in the same room.
 

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I would put her in a room with no places where she can hide. It will be a bit of a struggle to move her, but a blanket over her and some oven mitts on may help you avoid some scratches or bites. Do you have a spare room with a door, or you could use your bedroom or a bathroom. Set up bed of blankets or towels for her to sleep in your closet or on a chair in the bathroom. Spend as much time with her as possible....play with her by dragging a cord around, or give her catnip mousie, give her treats when you approach her....a tidbit of cheese, or cooked chicken. I think it will be hard for her to resist you when you come with yummy food, treats, play and kindness.
 

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I understand how difficult this can be. You want to shout "but I rescued you!!!" at the top of your lungs and have them fall in love with you right away. Cats need to decompress -the entire move was pretty traumatic for her. She will come around. Talk softly - sit near and read a book out loud or sing along with a soothing song. Just be near her. Offer a treat now and then, but for the most part let her SEE you are not a threat. It may take awhile - maybe a couple weeks so try and just be patient. Contrary to what catloverami says, I'd leave her alone for a few more days, then IF she lets you near her you can move her into a room you live in. Be sure and set it up with food, water and litterbox first. I always put a new cat in my husband's study. There are few places to hide completely in there - although Winnie was a master at prying open the closet door and climbing to the very top corner! Keep us posted. It's perfectly for vent and air your concerns here!!

Oh, and welcome to the forum!! Does this girl have name?? Was she a surrender or a stray??
 

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all of the above is good advice of course but I would like to ask: "What's the rush?": You need this cat that was caged, examined, given who knows what and where, and then gets uprooted from what 'appeared' to be a 'home', to realize this might be a nice place?

Patience. I would do your normal routine as if there was no new member of your house. Just put out food and then water and walk away and do whatever it is you do. I think the natural curiosity of this cat will take over and it will begin to explore it's new surroundings. Maybe a small treat bowl near the litter box but not right next to it would help if there is trouble in this aspect. Let the poor thing adjust, as there must be alot going thru it's mind and it will take time.

For what it is worth, I took in a small stray who ended up at the vets for two days or so and given enemas as she had a severe blockage in her intestines. Whereas she had accepted me before, we had to start over and I wasn't allowed to even go near her back end with my hand. That took months for her to really trust that I wasn't going to probe, just support her back half. Finally, it was like she forgot the past and moved on.

good luck.
 

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great advice here

just give her all the time she needs and she will come around to accepting you and forming a bond that will last a lifetime

my sister got a cat that was abused and extremely fearful of men and i was able to bond with him over a period of a year by just earning his trust and not trying to hold him or chase after him. i let him come to me and now i can pick him up and hold him all i want
 

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I'm going to repeat the sentiment of the previous posters. I deal with scared shelter cats all the time when I volunteer at my local shelter. Recently we had two cats come in from a persons home and it took nearly a month of patience and gentleness for them to really come out of their fearful and confused state. Patience and time is probably the best "treatment".
 

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Everything above, especially what Cat'sHouse said, plus routine, repetition. Same as humans, being able to predict what will happen next builds trust in cats. Time, consistency, routine, treats, and letting her come to you, even if it takes years, rather than imposing touch on her. And letting her hear your voice a lot, in a sweet tone.

And enjoy this time. One day you'll look back with nostalgia to the times this cat wasn't all over you all the time and you could get something done in the house. From my experience. :)
 
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