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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hi everyone! i talked in the "introduce myself" section about how i wanted a cat, and today i adopted one! this is all new to me so i had a bunch of questions for everyone.

she is a sweetheart, but i knew before adopting her that she was more on the quiet, independent side (purple color for meet your match, if you guys know what that is). she was really shy when i first let her out of the box and got scared easily. she started running under my bed and staying there until i coax her to come out. she really only explored my room, but i had set up her litterbox in a room outside so i tried to get her out of my room to explore the rest of the apartment and go to her litterbox. she came several feet out of my room, but she'd always end up just running back to my room straight to under my bed. i called the shelter and they advised me to move everything (food, litterbox) to my room so i did that. a little bit later i saw that she used the litterbox. however, she still goes under the bed sometimes if there's a loud noise or when i leave the room and come back she's sometimes under the bed. do you think she's just hiding down there or do you think she's pooping/peeing??? i'm not too sure. is that a bad habit for her to get into? should i seal it off so she can't get under there?

this is my first time, so i'm a little bit lost! and i just want to make sure everything is ok! i don't want her to always be afraid and run under my bed. when i leave the room and come back in sometimes i have to familiarize myself again with her but soon after she always lets me pet her hold her and also sit on my lap and in my bed on top of me. she curls up next to me and nuzzles my arm and everything.

also, i got a little bed for her, but she isn't interested in it at all?

also, like i said she is a bit on the shy side and doesnt like to play with toys really. i got a little ball with a bell inside and a mouse thing and she isn't interested at all. is that normal for some cats? or am i not getting the right toys? do you think she will become more playful in the future when she becomes more comfortable? she is 1 year old.

thank you all!!
 

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Congrats on the new cat! I have brought two different cats that acted like that. They would run and hide and not want to come out. I tried blocking off underneath the bed but it never worked. I would say the best thing to do is let her keep going there until she is comfortable coming out. She sees that as her safe spot so she isnt as stressed in being in a new place when she is there. It is very natural for them to do this. As far as peeing/pooping there, it wouldnt hurt to check but I would bet she isnt. Again, she is stressed out and probably not doing much of anything except staying vigilant. Try laying on the floor next to the bed so she gets used to you but still has her safe haven. You say she doesn't like the bed you got her? Welcome to the club! haha but really there are ways to get them to use them. One of my cats loves her bed, the others wont step foot in it. If she came home with a blanket or something, try puting that in it for the time being. Her smell is on it and thats what makes her feel comfortable. Basically she will get more brave and explore as she becomes more comfy. Just give her time and dont rush it. In no time she wont ever want to leave your side!
 

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It takes most cats some time to be comfortable in a new environment, but you received good advice from the shelter to keep her in your room, along with her litter box, food and water. I think she will come around as she is already wanting to be in your lap and comfortable with you on your bed. Just encourage her as much as possible and give her lots of loving, and some treats or little bit of cheese. Don't force her to explore; she will do it on her own when she if ready and feels confident. If she had a feral background, she may not be very playful, as I understand that ferals don't play as much as one that was home-raised and played with as a small kitten. She may be more playful the more relaxed and comfortable she is with you and is more settled, and it may take several weeks, so you'll need to have some patience, and let her go at her pace. Some cats around about a year old go thro a unsettled "shy" period anyway, so she may also be going through that too, but in a few months will likely be more self-assured. She may be more interested in a type of toy that mimics prey---stuffed mouse with or without catnip, an interactive type of fishing pole toy like "Da Bird" or "Cataction" which is very similar (and available at Global Pet stores), a rope to drag around in front of her like a snake. She may be interested in this type of toy rather than a ball with a bell in it. Relax and enjoy your new kitty. Let us know how she progresses. All the best!
 

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It's totally normal for a cat to hide when they first come to their new home. It's also a good idea to leave her in one room at first, let her get used to that room and then slowly introduce her to the rest of the house. So, I agree with the advice you received from the shelter. Leave everything in your room for now, but make sure her food and her litterbox are a distance away from each other (preferably at opposite ends of the room).

She's likely just hiding under the bed, as opposed to peeing/pooping. Otherwise, the smell would give her away!

I wouldn't seal off the bed right now. Give her a few days to a week to get comfortable. Try to stay in the room as much as you can, just going about normal activities and let her come to you.

As for toys, she might not be interested in playing for a few days until she's more comfortable. You can try interesting her in a few "household" items, such as wiggling a piece of string for her to catch, or rolling up some paper or tinfoil into little balls.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thanks everyone! i took a peek under the bed and it doesn't seem like she's pooping (not sure if there's pee or not though). i'll follow your suggestions and see what happens. she's only used the litterbox once today, is that normal? the shelter did say that sometimes a cat might not even cat or use the litterbox for the first day because of stress. i feel so bad for the kitty i just want to make her as comfortable as possible!

one thing i noticed was that sometimes after drinking some water, she starts pawing at the carpet. she's declawed in the front so she's not scratching. do you guys think she is maybe trying to shuffle around some litter because she needs to use the litterbox? she hasn't pooped by it yet and i felt around the carpet but it isn't wet.

sorry if these are silly, detailed questions! doesn't seem like there is anything to worry about yet, but i always just want to make sure :)

i will definitely be coming back with more and more questions in the next week or more. i'm so glad i found this forum! so many prompt answers for my many many questions!
 

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one thing i noticed was that sometimes after drinking some water, she starts pawing at the carpet. she's declawed in the front so she's not scratching. do you guys think she is maybe trying to shuffle around some litter because she needs to use the litterbox?
Likely not. You say she's already used the litterbox, so she knows where it is and if she wanted to use it, she presumably would do so. I suspect her scratching attempts are stress-related. My Muffs is a very timid cat and when she's feeling stressed, she will scratch something (typically the rug in my foyer or her cat tree). When she does that, I just talk to her in a soothing voice in order to relax her.
 

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Where is she pawing at the carpet at in relation to her food/water? Cats always try to "cover" their food like they cover their waste. Maybe the food is different than what she is used to so she wants to "save" it for later. Just a thought. Cats are strange creatures!
 

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Even my bold cat that I left back in Cali hid under the bed for a few days when we moved her. Like other people said, if she's gone once, she knows where the litterbox is, and believe me you'd know if she peed under the bed.
And yea, she probably won't play with anything for a while, she's too busy trying to figure out whats going on to be playful yet.
 

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Like other people said, if she's gone once, she knows where the litterbox is
This actually reminded me of my old work. It was a recycling center that had some ferals we took care of. We had to use cat litter to clean up spills and you'd find cat poop in it. Sorry for straying off topic, it just makes you feel like they are hardwired to find the kitty litter and use it.
 

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Hiding: Paizly is 10 years old, and STILL goes to hide in corners and under things if she gets nervous or scared, and I've had her since she was 5 weeks old. It took Nebbie (who was 2 years old when I got her) nearly a month to be totally comfortable with roaming around the house without skittering away or even flinching at unfamiliar noises or movements (mostly me, I don't really have anything in the house that moves like fans or stuff).
Both my cats are the shy/indipendant type, and while they usually keep to themselves most of the day, they will come up and "ask" for snuggles and do sleep in the bed with me. Just be patient - let your kitty take her time with getting used to all this new stuff and you. If she's already nuzzling you sometimes, that's a good sign!

Litter: As others said, I doubt she's going under the bed, or you'd be able to smell it. If you want to be sure, you could get a "black light" and shine it under the bed. Any pee spots will glow. You can get black lights at pet stores...PetCo had a keychain one for $5 last I knew. They are also good for checking for Ringworm, which glows a teal color (sort of greenish blueish).

Pawing at bowls: There are many theories about why cats do this. The most common is that she is trying to cover up stuff and save for later. I've also been told they are "marking" it (there are scent glands in their paws) to tell other cats "This food (or toy, or whatever) is mine!"

Toys/beds: Lots of cats will not use store-bought stuff...very frustrating for owners who spend lots of money only to have wasted it! LOL Paizly sometimes sleeps in her bed, but she also likes to sleep on clothes I leave on the floor. Nebbie sleeps on MY bed 99% of the time, and on the back of the couch the rest of the time. She's just BARELY started napping on top of the cat 'tree' the last week or so!
The other day Nebbie passed up a dingle-ball and 2 fuzzy mice to play with a milk jug cap! She also likes empty rolls from paper towel and toilet paper. After your kitty gets more comfortable, she might like 'noisy' toys like crumpled up paper balls (yes, you can use just regular notebook paper you scrunch up... they LOVE that!) or even a small bottle (sealed tight!) with some beans or something in it (Nebbie loved an empty Mentos Gum canister I had that had ONE piece of gum in it...I finally took it away, because she was rattling it in the middle of the night all the time!).
Paizly likes rubber bands (but please don't encourage this! They can choke on full bands or even parts they bite off...I have to be careful not to let rubber bands and/or hair ties fall onto the floor or Paizly will get to them!). A little more safe is the rings from around milk jug lids. There's actually a toy that you can buy that simulates this, and is the most safest of all...I bought some, and this is the ONLY store-bought toy Paizly would play with (in fact, she's lost them under stuff now...I either need to find them, or buy more!)

You could also try "Da Bird" (do a Goggle search, I'm not sure how to explain it's looks). Laser pointers might interest her, especially now because she can play with it "on her own" without having to directly interact with you if she's still nervous about you. Some people think it's mean, because the cats keep trying to find it after you stop... a few people have come up with ways to purposely end the game, like putting the light on their hand and closing their fist to show the cat that they have "taken it away". I have made the light go away through the doorway and into the next room...which might make other cats go searching for it, but I guess Nebbie and Paizly are too lazy and just give up when it "leaves". On the other hand, they always now it's "littler red thing time!" because they can hear the keychain jingle when I pick it up, and they get all excited.

I think I got all your current questions answered. Just let us know if you want advice for anything else! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
when she's pawing at the carpet, it's right in front of the water/food bowl. she just does it several times (maybe 20x) and then walks away. perhaps she is marking that territory like you guys said! (haha she's actually doing that right now as I'm writing this)

so last night, she was in bed with me for a while, but then when my roommate came home, the noises of the doors, etc caused her to go off my bed and go under it again! i thought when it got quiet again, she might come out, but she never came back on my bed. this was way into the middle of the night so i was too tired to go get her again. is it ok that she spent the night under there? haha hopefully once she's more comfortable she'll spend the night in her own bed, or my bed, or somewhere not under the bed! i even kept waking up half the night anxious about her under there.

i'm feeding my cat dry food only (tht's what the shelter recommended). i was wondering, after a day, what do i do with the leftover food? do i just leave it and add a litle more? or should i throw it out and only put fresh food? also how often do you guys refill the water?

thank! :)
 

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Muffs slept under my bed for about the first month, but she then slept at the foot of my bed or in a cat tree that I put in my bedroom. Now, almost two years later, she still sleeps either on the bed or in her tree. So, I wouldn't worry too much about that.

If you can, I would try to transition Bella over to wet food, since it's better for her. I would also move her from free feeding to scheduled feedings. That said, as long as you're free feeding dry, you can just top up the bowl, although if she hasn't finished everything from the prior day, then I would put less in the next day. It will take a bit of trial and error, but try to get things to a point where she finishes everything you put out in the same day, so you can always give her fresh food each day.

I now use a water fountain, but when I was feeding water in a bowl, I would dump the water, wash the bowl and put fresh water in twice a day...once in the morning and again in the late afternoon when I got home from work.
 

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First of all, congrats on your new kitten and it's nice to see you here asking questions. We're never tired of questions here as it gives us an opportunity to educate and share.

Next thing is that new additions will do better at the onset in a small, enclosed environment. Think about it. The kitten sees you, this big human that it's never met before taking it to an unfamiliar big place that has unfamiliar stuff in it. Of course, it'll run and hide. Imagine you got taken to a giant's home and just plopped into the middle of the room of this huge house. You'd race to the nearest place to cower in fright. Some place encloses you like under a bed where you can survey the giant to make sure he's not going to eat you.

So, it's probably not too late now to start. Just decide on a small room like your bathroom or a small den with a door. There should be a litter box, water dish and bed in there at all times. Be prepared to lose the use of this room for at least a month or so. If it's a room with no natural light put a nightlight in there. Mimic natural day and night cycles by switching on light in the morning and day, then turning off during the night. The nightlight acts like the moon. This helps ground the kitten so it's not as frightened. I mean if you were shut in a windowless room, your terror would mount if you had no idea if it was night or day. So honestly, if you're not putting her into a room right now, she's perfectly find hiding under the bed. Remember the giant story from above.

Next step is to go in on a fairly fixed schedule to feed and also to socialize. Talk to her in a normal talking voice, but don't look at her. (Openly staring at a cat is considered confrontational and at the very beginning she'll only rely on these cat instincts since she doesn't know you personally.) When I had Captain Jack the stray/feral, I sat in there with a magazine and told him about my day or just talked about nonsense. It could take awhile before you can gain her trust. She's not going to play right now. She's too busy trying to figure out what's going on. Are you going to eat her? Are you going to take her to another place? You need to move at HER pace. Pay close attention at how she acts to see how fast you can proceed. I mean if you try to touch her and she shies away. Well, stop touching her. She isn't ready to trust you yet.

About the food. No, dry is not recommended. wet is. However, since things are new at the moment, just keep feeding the dry for now. You can consider switching to a wet food later if you can afford it. It's also better to start fixed meal times early on. As a kitten, their metabolism is very high so no worries about overfeeding. You basically feed as much as they want to eat in one sitting. To gauge how much to feed, give her a set amount for breakfast. Come back a while later to see if there's any left. Make a note of how much she ate. Feed that amount the next time. Water is changed daily.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
why do you guys suggest wet food? the guy at the shelter said he would do all dry food because wet food causes degeneration in the teeth or something. should i serve both dry and wet? if i do that, do i put them both in the same bowl or separate bowls?
 

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If you want to get into that I can do so, but it would be a long post.

Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they eat strictly meat which would include bones, water(natural water content in the bodies of their prey) etc. These bones would help with dental work, hence cats on a raw diet with bones (not ground bones) would have good teeth. Feeding them dry doesn't really do anything for that. When they bite down it just crumbles. If you're really paranoid, you can also brush the cat's teeth as well. But dry food won't do it. Some of the other ppl on here work in vet clinics can tell you that cats who come in need of teeth cleaning probably do eat a dry diet. Sometimes, it's also related to genetics as well.

A major reason for feeding wet is the moisture. Out of the 3 diets: (raw, water, dry) Dry is the least desirable (unless your cat has health issues which we won't get into here.). Cats are originated from the desert, they get most of their water from their prey. When you're feeding them dry, sure they may drink water...it's because they add salt into the dry to unaturally FORCE them to dry water. It's like eating chips and then feeling friggen thirsty afterward. But are chips good for you? We call dry food Kitty Crack here. It's not natural, has high salt content, preservatives etc. Truthfully, a raw diet is best, but for beginners, wet is good enough.

When you're transitioning, you can provide both at the same time. Put them in separate bowls though.

I don't have insurance for any of my cats or dog. I've set aside an emergency medical fund for them.
 

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I'm on a tight budget, so here's how I do food.

Dry food: Costco kibble (not HIGH quality, but better than the grocery store "junk food"...in fact, I think it's even better than Purina chow!). This is the only food Paizly can eat without problems...anything with corn in it (most lower brands) makes her throw up. I have the food in a multi-day feeder that I have to fill up about once a week.

Wet food: Every morning I give them wet food. I split a 5.5 oz can (so they each get about 3 oz) between them. This is so they have variety (how would YOU like to eat dry cereal every day forever??), and partly as a "treat" for Paizly for being good about taking her medicine in the morning (she has arthritis & bladder issues)...and of course I give Nebbie, so she doesn't get jealous and try to steal Paizly's ;) The wet food goes in those two little bowls..Paizly's is the yellow paisley mat, Nebbie's is the blue/gingham mat (I couldn't find one with stars).

Water: And of course I have the water fountain (the plug is hidden behind the shelf drape). Be warned that some cats like to play with the stream of water, and bat at it with their paws and make a huge mess! Luckily my cats don't. The theory with fountains is that when water is flowing it stays fresher and cooler, than just sitting in a bowl all day, AND the trickling noise draws them to it better (though mine doesn't make trickle noise, I was sort of disappointed!)

 

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The theory that dry is better for teeth seems to be kind of 'old school' and doesn't seem to be very correct.

A good high quality grain free canned is almost as good for raw and good for a first cat owner. You can always get a high quality grain free dry to supplement if you want to serve dry for 'grazing' during the day.

I had water to MowMow's wet food to make sort of a battery consistency since he doesn't drink very often and suffered UT problems because of it but I stil have a fountain out for him in case he wants water.

I have insurance on MowMow. I got it when I lost my job since i couldn't afford any emergencies that could come up. I have petplan and it's about 150 a year. 100% coverage, 200 deductible, and 8000(I think) limit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
thanks for all the suggestions! i'm going to the vet in a few days so i will ask her what the best food for her will be.

an update.... my kitty is doing GREAT!! on her second day, she already got up the courage to explore the rest of my apartment. she also started playing a little bit. AND she did not spend the night under my bed! :)

i do have another thing to ask though. i had so much trouble sleeping because she would snooze a little bit and then when i went to the bathroom, she would wake up and then go around my room and explore again. i could hear her scratching on things and moving some things around, quite a bit of commotion! and then at one point she came back on my bed but was just walking around it. eventually she went to sleep, but are there times when your cats keep you up at night? i was thinking maybe she was too excited from exploring so she was still awake and maybe not on any kind of sleeping schedule yet.

i'm so happy though! :) she is soo great, when i woke up she was at the foot of my bed sleeping as well! i can tell she has definitely gotten much more comfortable.
 

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thanks for all the suggestions! i'm going to the vet in a few days so i will ask her what the best food for her will be.
Not to be disparaging of vet advice, but vets are often not trained fully in nutrition, and when they are trained they are trained by a company. So the vet tends to recommend the company. For example my (very lovely) vet recommends hills and royal canin dry foods, full stop. I know from my own research that this is a pretty terrible diet for them, wholly kibble, so although I take my vets advice on everything else, I do not listen to her on nutrition as frankly, I dont agree with vet advice on this subject.
 
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