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Caged Kitty

JustAskJulie
April 8th, 2004, 04:52 PM
Last week I adopted a cat from a local shelter. They had rescued the cat from a woman who had been keeping this cat and about 20 others in cages where she was living in her booth at a local flea market. From the looks of it this cat (which is about 10 mos old) has spent her entire life in a cage.

Now that she's free she doesn't know how to deal with open spaces. I have been keeping her in my bathroom because when she's in open spaces she freaks out and hides. So in my bathroom she has her kennel and her litter box, food, lots of room (big bathroom) and everything she needs. The problem. Her favorite place to be is IN the litter box. She lays in the litter box unless she comes out to eat or play.

She has finally started opening up to me and will come out of the litter box if I first reach in and pet her long enough to get her purring. Once I stop she will eventually come out of the box to get more attention.

So what can I do to get her to stop living in the litter box? She has a kennel she can stay in for a small space and initially she did but now she prefers the litter box.

Any ideas would be helpful. I realize that with her background it's going to take time to get her to open up and move beyond the one room. Right now I'm just trying to get her used to me before I worry about trying to get her out into the rest of the house.

Lucky Rescue
April 8th, 2004, 05:42 PM
OH, that poor baby! THANK you for giving her a loving home.

You've had her one week. This is not long enough to overcome her depriviation of 10 years.

She WILL come out. DO NOT RUSH her in any way. Leave the door open and go about your business, cleaning etc or whatever.

Go in the bathroom and sit with her. Talk to her and try and entice her to play, as no cat can play and be stressed at the same time. Some catnip might help relax her. Get a little box of treats, like Pounce. Rattle it before you give her one, then gradually rattle it from outside the bathroom.

Let her stay in the bathroom for now if that is where she is comfortable. Even good changes can stress cats terribly. She must do this on her own, and she will when she feels safe. Cats are so curious that she will want to explore eventually.

Don't get discouraged, and when you do see her venturing out of the bathroom for quick forays, don't make a fuss, but just ignore her.

She is a very lucky kitty that you found her. Do you have a pic? I just love older cats!

Oh, and lying in the litter box is very common for cats who are in cages. She'll eventually stop doing that when she finds more comfortable places to curl up.:)

JustAskJulie
April 8th, 2004, 05:50 PM
That's 10 months not 10 years. SHe's still a baby. The only picture I have of her is of her butt when she was hiding behind the curtains in my bedroom last weekend.

She had started to come out of the bathroom initially and browse around the house but the other cats scared her and she's take off back to her hidey hole. Then she just took off and dissapeared for 4 days (litterally) so when I finally found her I decided it was best to start her back in the smaller space and let her get used to me before dealing with the larger space and the other cats.

JustAskJulie
April 8th, 2004, 05:57 PM
My biggest concern is that once we do get her out of the litter box and out in the house that the litter box will continue to be her safe place.... and I'm thinking that's not very healthy for her.

Lucky Rescue
April 8th, 2004, 06:49 PM
10 months! Okay - that'll teach me to read more closely!

This will be much easier as she is still something of a kitten.

You are a worrywort, I can see - not that that is a bad thing!;)

I have 3 ex-feral cats in my house right now. These were WILD cats who had never been touched or even within 50 feet of a human, been in a house, etc.

They came around just fine, and so will your girl. A couple of months from now (and it may take that long, although there is no way to tell and depends on personality) you'll be wondering why you worried.

She will be okay, although she may never be the most sociable cat in the world with strangers and will probably bond very closely with you only. She needs to learn to trust and up until now, she has had no reason to. Patience and consistancy will do the trick.

She'll come out and stop lying in the litterbox when, and ONLY when, she is ready and she has to decide when that is.

She looks very pretty, from what I can see of her!

JustAskJulie
April 8th, 2004, 07:40 PM
So are there any health risks with her spending so much time in the litter box?

Lucky Rescue
April 8th, 2004, 07:52 PM
Just keep the litter very clean and she'll be o.k.

Many of our cats spend the whole day in the litterbox when we take them to adoption clinics.

On those days, everything else is strange and frightening to them, and their litterbox is the only familiar thing they have so they cling to it, just like your girl.

chico2
April 8th, 2004, 10:20 PM
She looks like a beautiful girl,with those colours and a wonderful striped tail,maybe soon will see the front:D
Like Lucky says,thank you for rescuing this little baby...I am sure she'll come around.How many more cats do you have? How are they reacting to the newcomer?
Please don't give up on her....

JustAskJulie
April 8th, 2004, 11:02 PM
I have two others, a boy that's about 2 - big fat lazy gray tabby. And a girl that's right at about a year old, she's a tortoise (picture attached).

The boy is ok with her and when she will let him near (without running away) he will attempt to groom her. The girl is having a harder time and hisses the second the new cat looks at her.

chico2
April 9th, 2004, 08:14 AM
I had a Tortoise just like yours her name was Cookie and she never liked anyone but my youngest son who bought her for $5.00,she lived to be 18yrs and happily bossed everyone around.Two females might never like each other,but they probably will learn to accept the situation with a little hissing ever now and then:D
I brought a stray kitten(male) home 2yrs ago to my 2 males and my big Tabby loves him,but the other still hisses and growls at him,nothing worse than that.
Here is a pic of my current crew!!!

JustAskJulie
April 9th, 2004, 12:16 PM
you just saved me from posting a picture of my big tabby.... he looks just like yours. It's amazing how many of them there are and how they all look basically the same. There is another one running around my neighborhood that looks just like him except it's a girl.

Skitty definately has a unique personality. She loves to play fetch. This is the first cat I've ever seen that will bring you her ball and drop it and then get an attitude when you don't throw it so she can bring it back to you and start all over again. She wants to be petted when she wants to be. I swear she thinks she is a dog. She has pretty much attached herself to my bf, she definately prefers him to anyone else, although she has always seemed to prefer guys to women for some reason.

Tisha (the new cat) is doing better. Yesterday I opened the bathroom door and closed off the bedroom to see if she would come out and she did. She has found a spot under my chair in the bedroom that is now hers, leaving the litter box for littering. She still pretty much just runs from one hiding place to another one. I wonder if she will always be one of those cats that stays in hiding for the most part. The "well I have 3 cats but you'll never see Tisha".

Lucky Rescue
April 9th, 2004, 01:04 PM
I wonder if she will always be one of those cats that stays in hiding for the most part.

No one believes me when I say I have 3 cats, because two of them are never ever seen by anyone but me! I'm sure people think I'm imagining things, ala "Harvey".:p

Your girl may one of those kitties too!

chico2
April 9th, 2004, 03:50 PM
I do have a very special feeling for Tabbys,I love taking pictures of him,he's very photo-genic.Maybe it is because they look a little wild,although he is anything but..
He's like a big,calm,cuddly lump of fluff,there is something strangely wise about him.
Except for the episodes I've had lately with him,he is the most wonderful cat.

JustAskJulie
April 10th, 2004, 12:41 AM
What kind of episodes?



There is little that will convince my big fat tabby to roll off his back much less get up and run after it. Although he does have a fondness for the laser pointer.

chico2
April 10th, 2004, 08:57 AM
Well,I have talked about Rockys problem at lenght and I am sure Lucky is tired of hearing about it:D
I've been at the wrong end of his fury after he's seen a strange cat outside a couple of times and ended up in the ER:mad:
I am hoping the problem with him will be solved next week.
Any more improvements with the skittish little lady?

JustAskJulie
April 10th, 2004, 11:24 AM
She's out of the litter box. I opened the door to the bathroom and closed to door to my bedroom so she has a larger area to roam and she has moved from the litter box to hiding behind a chair.

chico2
April 10th, 2004, 03:55 PM
Oh well,I guess that's an improvement:D
I've seen at HS that a lot of cats lay in their litter-boxes....My little Vinnie who was found in a park,used to want to sleep in her box too,until he felt secure enough to spread his wings(paws??)
This is what he looked liked after he had been cleaned up!!!

JustAskJulie
April 10th, 2004, 04:00 PM
SO pretty.

My mom came over this afternoon and we got Tisha (the new kitty) out into the house again. My other girl cat keeps trying to corner her under a chair. Tisha took off again but at least now I know where she was hiding all that time as she's back there again. I'm hoping she'll eventually come out on her own again and start making herself at home.

Question:
I've obviously had her litter box and food in a seperate room from the other cats stuff. The room Tisha is hiding in is the room where the other cats food and litter box is. Should I go ahead and move her stuff in there too? If I leave it where it is and leave the door open the other two will most likely end up using it/ eating it.

chico2
April 10th, 2004, 08:37 PM
Well Julie,I am sure Lucky could give you better advice...but what I did when I got little Vinnie,at night or when I left the house,I would put his litter-box,food and water with him in a seperate room,but he was a little kitten not a grown cat.
I have never introduced my cats to a new grown-up cat..
Since I was feeding him kitten-food,the big guys,Rocky and Chico,would try to eat it any chance they had,also go to the bathroom in the smaller box I had for Vinnie,with the result most of it went on the floor:D

JustAskJulie
April 12th, 2004, 08:24 AM
She is definately coming around now. She still stays mostly in my bedroom but she's coming out some and she has started actually coming to me and letting me pet her.


I had the kitty food problem when I got my second kitty. She was a kitten and my first cat was a year old, so the older cat kept wanting to eat the kitten food.

chico2
April 12th, 2004, 08:39 AM
Julie I am happy to hear that,it takes time to gain an animals trust,especially if she has been cooped up in a shelter,I think that is to be expected and I am happy you ar being patient with her,too many people give up at the first sign of trouble:(
I am sure she'll get closer every day:D