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My wife and I have an easy going 12 year old female, Stella, and recently adopted a 2 year old female, Luna, in February. Luna was found as a stray with kittens, and after the kittens found homes she was put up for adoption. We were warned she was skittish, but felt determined to give her a home (the shelter was afraid she wouldn't find one any time soon). From the beginning, Luna constantly hides in hard to reach areas, and stays there for hours, tending to only come out at night to eat. We allowed this to go on for about a month, figuring she needed to acclimate to her new life with us. As time went on we then began eliminating hiding spots (taking legs off couches, stuffing blankets in the crevices beneath hutches and cabinets), hoping she would be forced out in the open. Our goal was to still give her space but in a more public setting so she could also get to know us from a distance and hopefully venture closer. That has not been the case.

Luna makes every attempt to hide, finding very creative places to squeeze into, and shows no intention of coming out. Whenever she is out and about and spots us, or even if she is hiding and we accidentally startle her, she bolts as fast as she can to the other side of the house and promptly disappears. We try to lure her out with food and treats, but she is reluctant to come out in front of us, and doesn't yet understand that by feeding her we are trying to be good to her. On a few rare occasions when we have gotten close, she will not protest if we pet her, but I honestly feel she is simply tolerating being touched until she has the opportunity to run again.

Luckily, Luna's behavior is otherwise calm. She does not act out or destroy furniture, and she and Stella seem fine with each other for whatever little interaction they do have. I am not the type of person to give up a pet just because her personality hasn't blossomed yet, and I feel if we were to be that cruel she would be back to square one without a home and constantly afraid. I am desperate to make positive contact with her, but I don't know what that will take. My best guess how this can work out is twofold: 1) simply give her more time to become comfortable, no matter how long that takes, and 2) spend more time in her presence, even if it's quietly laying on the floor, so she begins to recognize us. Ultimately, I just want her to be happy in our home, but I'm hoping that can happen without having to rearrange furniture and keep the bedrooms shut at all times.

Whatever advice people have would be welcome, as well as stories about how you got your own skittish cats to eventually warm up to you.

Thanks a lot.
 

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It seems to me you already know what to do - your 1) and 2). You've given her a home, a quiet loving home, with a furry companion if she sees fit. I haven't any better ideas but of course one could try Feliway or even catnip... Heaven knows what she's been through before she came to you.

When my dear friend died I adopted his cat. It took a couple of months for her to come out of hiding, as I recall - and she'd been a beloved pet housecat all her life. I was very sad that she did not trust me, but all ended well.
 

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Luna sounds like a cat that was abandoned or born of a stray and never receive any socialization with people so is really like a wild cat, and that would account for her being very skittish and fearful of people. I think you may be able to get a closer relationship with her if you set her up in a cage, such as a large dog kennel.....with a shelf put in it, a bed, and a litter box and food and water. This way she cannot go off and hide. Feed her meals (2xday, with a few treats in between), rather than leave food in a dish for her to eat at leisure. See if you can get her to play with a wand toy. Give her some catnip mouse to play with. Give her some pets in the crate and talk softly to her. She will gradually get used to the routine and hopefully come around, and look forward to her treats.. When she starts showing some enjoyment to being petted, cheek scrunches or such pick her up in the crate for a bit and put her done if she shows she isn't enjoying it. Hopefully she will come around gradually that you can pick her up and hold her in your lap.
 
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