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New adult rescue, a few questions!

382 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Dave_ph
Hello all,
I just adopted (rescued?) a 3 y.o. girl from a small shelter in metro Atlanta. I had a cat as a child growing up, but only dogs since then. I have a few questions, if you'd be so kind to respond.

I fostered adult 'problem' dogs and puppy litters in the past, but never a cat. I live in a pretty large one bedroom apt, alone (not counting the five fish in my ten gallon aquarium) and today brought home a 3 y.o. female cat. I have a pantry that I put the litter box in, and there is a low shelf that she seems to like climbing on that I put the blanket from the rescue on.

My first spot for the litter box was in my laundry room, and she promptly crawled behind the washer and dryer. She spent the last month in a tiny cage, so I understand the comfort of closed spaces, but I can't crawl or reach her behind the washer, so I took the litter box out and closed the door. I guess my question is, if I give her run of my pantry for now, will I be able to move her litter box later? I haven't had a cat since I was a teen, and we'd had her since I was a toddler, so I just don't know.

Mou-mou, her name before me, is three, and was in a home with another cat adopted as kittens until just last month. She's super sweet, and purrs almost instantly at attention. I know it hasn't even been a day since I got her, but I don't know how adaptable cats are to change. I'd love to move her litter box to my laundry room, but I also want to use my washer, and I can only imagine the noise and vibration would freak her out if she was behind it.

Can anyone give me a timeline of how long it will take her to get used to her new home? And.... how 'childlike' is a 3 y.o. cat? I was hoping to skip the kitten stage, but I know 3 is still pretty young. Do I need to worry about coming home to ripped blinds, or are they over that at 3?

TL:DR I know, but I'm like that. Thanks for any advice!
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Hi and congratulations on your new cat! If you start with a temporary spot for the litter box, you can always later move it. You can do so in one of three ways:

a) Set up a 2nd box in another spot and, when she's used to using it, remove the 1st box.

b) Gradually move the box from the first spot to the second spot, moving it 5 or 6 feet each time.

c) Just move the darn thing to the new spot and show her where that new spot is.

It all depends on the cat and how "risk-averse" you are. I underwent major renovations to my home this past summer and, given all of the activity, I had to move my cats' litter boxes every time I turned around (sometimes from one floor to the next). I was worried they wouldn't be happy about all of the moves, but they always found the new spot and I had no "accidents".

As for the washer/dryer, can you put something in the space she's crawling through...perhaps stuff a few old towels there for now?

There's no set timeline for a cat to get used to a new home. It will all depend on the cat's personality, history, etc. On average, I would say about a week, but it can easily be a day or many months depending on the cat.

As for ripped blinds and the like...I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but it all depends on the cat. A three-year old cat is typically much more subdued and much less mischievous than a kitten. However, some cats are prone to mischief, others are little angels and most are somewhere in between. For now, I'd cat-proof your house against anything harmful, just to make sure she can't get into anything that could hurt her. Otherwise, I'd just play things by ear and deal with any problems if and when they arise.
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It might take a few days for her to come out. Can you move her to another room? Some people say it's best to put them in a room with no hiding place so she's forced to adjust.

Spend time nearby ignoring her so she know's your not a threat. Once she has a friend she'll move around.
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