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Discussion Starter #1
My latest foster kittens are back at the shelter, ready for adoption, so I've brought home one of the adult cats who desperately needs socializing. She gave birth at the shelter and all of her kittens have found homes, but this cat (now spayed) is SO timid, I don't know how she'll ever find a home unless she learns to trust people a little. When I'd take her out of her cage at the shelter, she'd let me hold her for as long as I wanted, but she'd both purr and shiver at the same time. Lots of wincing, as if she thought I was going to hurt her . . . but she's totally passive; never hisses, scratches, bites or runs away.

Since I brought her home this morning she's been hiding inside a box that's just big enough to hold her. It has a hole/door in the side that she can look out through. She's in a room by herself with nothing particularly scary going on. I've moved her food, water and litter box close by, also a very squishy, comfy bed right outside the box. I've played cat music and purring videos, and she has given me some squinty looks that I take as friendly. And she purrs if I reach in and pet her. I've offered her baby food on a spoon---chicken & gravy, which has been a big hit with feral kittens---but she wouldn't even try it. I've spent some time sitting and reading in the room. But mostly I've just left her in there alone.

She's now spent over 12 hours in that box, taken no food or water, and hasn't even come out to pee. Can anyone suggest anything else I could try? At some point, I'm sure she'll emerge. Should I take the box away then and replace it with a towel, or would that be unkind?
 

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New cats need a hiding place, a safe place. There have been cats here on the forum who have hidden for days. She'll most likely eat and use the litter box when she's alone. I would just stop in once in a while to sit with her. Talk softly, maybe reading a book, not making eye contact. She'll come out on her own time. It's great that you've taken her in, she just needs time.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, Marie.

Got up this morning to find that she's moved into a different box-like plaything. I think she ate a little in the night, but still nothing in the litter box. I need to be patient. I've been spending too much time with kittens lately, I guess.
 

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New cats need a hiding place, a safe place. There have been cats here on the forum who have hidden for days. She'll most likely eat and use the litter box when she's alone. I would just stop in once in a while to sit with her. Talk softly, maybe reading a book, not making eye contact. She'll come out on her own time. It's great that you've taken her in, she just needs time.

Oh, hi. You are still here

The cat dad formerly known as Dave_ph
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Update:
After more than 24 hours of petting Lydia while she hid under the dresser, my husband gave her a little catnip. Boy, did that change her whole outlook on life! She came out, started eating, playing with toys and eventually used the litter box. Then I brought a couple of former foster kittens home for a long weekend, and it was like she had found new friends . . . she followed them around, acting as if she wanted to play with them. I think she's still very young herself. The kittens were less than thrilled with her, but they're adjusting.

Lydia still hasn't decided whether or not she likes my husband and me, but if we're hugging a kitten she'll come over and rub around our legs. Sometimes she'll let us pet her; sometimes not. She still spends time under the dresser (drawers are back in now) but she'll also sleep on a chair and look out the window from the cat tree. Progress!
 

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That's great progress!
 

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Thanks, felinelover. It's been 2 steps forward, 1 back, recently. The kids next door came over for a visit the other day--nice kids, well-behaved, even so she was back under the dresser for a half a day. She's a good kitty, but a little strange . . . she's going to need a person or people who don't require constant interaction with their cat.
 
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