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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! We brought home a new cat a couple weeks ago, and her behavior is very puzzling to us...

We did expect a bit of skittishness, but this cat is nuts.

She came from a home with five other cats. The owner is intellectually disabled, but well enough to live alone with some assistance during the day. Apparently these cats got one can of food per feeding that they all had to share, and our poor Lucy was the kitten of the bunch and always got chased by the other cats. I'd guess she is younger than a year, but she's not super young. I have no idea, though. She's adorable, though. We're taking her to get spayed and get her shots today.

On with the spazness. She hid behind our 60inch tube TV. It's huge, and no one could get to her. We still played with her, and we kept the litter box and food close so she'd go potty and eat. She growls at nothing... The house is quiet, the other cat (Bonnie, she's about six, her brother passed away about a month ago) was outside, the dog was kenneled in the other room, and this cat decides to just hiss and growl.
Now that she's been here a few days, we see her more often, but only if it's quiet. When she eats, she's constantly stopping to look around and go pacing back and forth before darting back to her food, getting a bite and running off again to just walk back and forth between the wall and her food dish. No one around or watching her (except me, but I'm only secretly watching her while watching TV). She'll also come love on you and then run back to her dish over and over. If you do come around her (she doesn't run away as quickly if you're quiet and she'll come if you call Kitty, Kitty) she's all lovey and wants you to pet her, and two seconds later her ears are ALL the way back, she's hissing, and she whacks you or bites you, runs, and then comes back all lovey and pacing around the room again.

Any ideas to make her more comfortable? She' sobviously hungry, but she won't just sit and eat. I want her to be happy, and she doesn't seem like a very happy cat.

(Sorry about any mistakes in the typing. I'm on my phone and still trying to get used to the touch screen.)
 

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I would suggest crating her during meals so that she feels safer in a small space. Give her some time to get used to that and see if it helps. Even giving her a few days in a small room such as a bathroom or other quiet room will help keep her from being overwelmed with an the entire open space of a home. Then spend time in that room, just sitting quietly. (great time to finish a book or play on the laptop). She'll figure out that you're not going anywhere, and that you're harmless. Don't try to grab for her, chase her, etc. Keep feeding her on a regular schedule, so she realizes you're taking care of her now. If she is swatting or biting when you pet, try to just stroke her a few times, then just rest your hand on her til she gets used to it. After she gets used to you being around, then you can switch to the walk out and ignore if it continues, but to me it just sounds like she is over stimulated right now.

I would also suggest a feliway collar or plug in for a bit to help calm her. It really sounds like she is used to a stressful environment and could use a lot of help relaxing.

If she is used to a lot of background noise maybe try some light classical music. Quite a few cats seem to respond well to this.
 

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Forgot to mention. when you go to the Vet for a Spay and shots, have her checked to make sure she is not having a pain reaction. Best be safe then sorry there. Have her teeth checked also. Dental issues can cause a cat to want to eat but be reluctant, as well as be grumpy the rest of the day.
 

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I agree with BotanyBlack's advice. Its going to take more than a couple weeks for her to open up, so you need to be patient. She needs time to de-stress and to feel safe. Think in terms of months, not weeks. Also, try to block anything you don't want her hiding behind or that would be dangerous for her.
 

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Think about how long this poor kitten has had spent feeling stressed, nervous and afraid of her surroundings (not to mention desperate for food). Probably her entire life. It will definitely take more than a few weeks for her to feel safe.

I agree with the vet visit though, just to rule out any issues and make sure she's healthy since the previous owner probably didn't take good care of her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So ask the vet about any potential pain and/or dental issues and be patient. Thanks, guys!

I have no idea what kind of canned food she was fed before, but my Bonnie will only eat her regular food (it even has to be in HER bowl or she'll walk away from it). Could the change from a canned food diet to dry, bagged food be (at least part of the reason) why she doesn't eat normally?

Thanks, again!!
 

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So ask the vet about any potential pain and/or dental issues and be patient. Thanks, guys!

I have no idea what kind of canned food she was fed before, but my Bonnie will only eat her regular food (it even has to be in HER bowl or she'll walk away from it). Could the change from a canned food diet to dry, bagged food be (at least part of the reason) why she doesn't eat normally?

Thanks, again!!
If she's not familiar with dry food it could be the reason. Try some different canned foods and see what she likes. Canned is better for them anyway. Also, if she does have a dental issue it could be painful for her to eat dry now. I can tell you the huge difference in my kitties after I switched them grain-free to canned only diet. They are so much softer and shinier on the outside and more active. Must be good for their insides too!
 

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I agree with CJ. Kibble isn't that great for them. Switch her to a good grain free canned with no byproducts. It's better for her and once she gets hooked on the kibble it'll be so hard to get her off it again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks, guys! Lucy came home today. The vet said she's very healthy, although a bit under weight at only barely six pounds, and very loving. He aged her at about a year. She's still afraid of Bonnie and our dog, and any loud noises or quick movements send her running, but she's hiding less. She came home, and I tried to feed her in the crate, but she wanted out if there ASAP. We settled for under the bed, and she sat still to eat! I got her some canned food for dinner, and she went nuts for it. She's been coming out and being very patient with our eagerness to love on her, and I couldn't be happier!
 
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