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Shy cat - what to do?

sissani
April 17th, 2007, 05:54 PM
Lyly is a very sweet, very pretty tabby that was abandoned a the kennel I work at. She was brought to us this past November for boarding and the owner never came to pick her up (we have tried numerous times and various ways to contact the owner, but its obvious she no longer wants the cat).

When she first came to the kennel, she was scared and aggressive (as most cats are on their first boarding trip). But as time went by, she warmed up to all of us and is one of the sweetest cats we take care of now.

The thing is, she is very shy. She is ALWAYS hiding. She curles up on the highest perch in her cage and does her best to remain hidden. If we go into the cage, she will perk up and want to be petted, but if we take her out of the cage, she hisses and either runs back in and jumps back to that high perch, where she then becomes calm and sweet again, or darts under the couch (we moved her to a cage in the lounge in hopes of helping her become more social). If we give her run of the lounge, she stays hidden under the couch until nightime, when she sometimes eats (her nerves seem to keep her from eating very much on a regular basis) and then goes to the bathroom wherever she pleases (usually on the couch cushions). If we keep her in her cage though, she does use the litter box.

We are worried that if she doesnt warm up soon, we wont be able to find her a home. The fact that she is extremely shy and that she doesnt go in the litter box when given run of a large room are two big points against her possibilities of finding a new home, something she really deserves.

Most of us know enough about cats to take care of them, but we have no idea how to go about helping Lyly come out of her shell. Any tips are greatly appreciated!! :cat:

badger
April 17th, 2007, 07:23 PM
How busy is your shelter? Are there other cats running free?
It's hard to know what is going on in their little skulls but I've had strays that took months to come out of their shell, so don't give up on her just yet. The litter box issues are probably part and parcel of her fear, real or imagined.
She's clearly attached to you so you know she can attach to someone else.
Maybe you could promote her as a 'special needs' cat who needs a home with no other animals or small children, and somebody with the patience to wait her out, while lobbing love bombs her way. As you know, there's no forcing anything with cats. In a less busy environment, she might do very well.
You could try adding a little Rescue Remedy to her water; it's an herbal calmant, non-toxic and often effective. I would always feed her in her cage, her 'safe place', and leave the litter box in there too.
It goes without saying that the more one-on-one time she gets the better.
Hope this helps. Good luck with Lily.

Kristin7
April 17th, 2007, 07:38 PM
Oh, poor kitty. She is scared in the shelter. Is it possible to get her into a foster home? Maybe she is just overwhelmed in there. Thanks so much for caring about her! So many great cats end up in shelters, it breaks my heart everytime I go in.

rainbow
April 17th, 2007, 08:18 PM
I also would try to find her a foster home where she is the only pet. Good luck. :fingerscr :goodvibes: :goodvibes:

sissani
April 17th, 2007, 08:27 PM
How busy is your shelter? Are there other cats running free?
It's hard to know what is going on in their little skulls but I've had strays that took months to come out of their shell, so don't give up on her just yet. The litter box issues are probably part and parcel of her fear, real or imagined.
She's clearly attached to you so you know she can attach to someone else.
Maybe you could promote her as a 'special needs' cat who needs a home with no other animals or small children, and somebody with the patience to wait her out, while lobbing love bombs her way. As you know, there's no forcing anything with cats. In a less busy environment, she might do very well.
You could try adding a little Rescue Remedy to her water; it's an herbal calmant, non-toxic and often effective. I would always feed her in her cage, her 'safe place', and leave the litter box in there too.
It goes without saying that the more one-on-one time she gets the better.
Hope this helps. Good luck with Lily.

Its not a shelter, its a boarding kennel for dogs and cats and the occassional other pet. We're fairly busy downstairs in the dog area, but the room she is kept in is just the lounge, which sees little action. There are no other cats in the room with her, but the house cat that lives at our store has met her a few times and she doesnt seem to have a problem with other cats.

Oh, poor kitty. She is scared in the shelter. Is it possible to get her into a foster home? Maybe she is just overwhelmed in there. Thanks so much for caring about her! So many great cats end up in shelters, it breaks my heart everytime I go in.

We arent a rescue group, so we dont have any foster parents that could take her. If we cant find a home for her, we'll hand her over to a rescue group we work with, but we all love her and would much rather help her get better and then find a home.

CyberKitten
April 17th, 2007, 10:51 PM
Some kitties are just shy no matter what you do, sigh! And often, they are the most wonderful, adorable cats! Maybe you can match her with someone who would understand her - promote her to people who apply. Read the applications and say to ppl when they come in , "Some ans meet this wonderful tabby." Tell them she is shy and needs someone like them. Find a family that would be good for her - not one with a lot if changes and excitability.

I know the stats show that tabbies and black cats are the least adopted and frankly, while I know if the stats say this, it must be right, but I am wondering about the development of these studies. I;d have to say on an anecdotal leevel, I adore black and tabbies. Cannot imagine how these studies are right!!

That said, you can try to get he tp be more sociable but most cats - some more than others- do very poorly in shelters or boarding situations. They flourish once in a home situation. Siamese for example, are just devastated in a boarding situation since they are such social cats and need people!!

Most cats are social to some extent but there are those who for whatever reason (often neglect or abuse but sometimes some less nefarious factors) who are just that. It sounds like she has come around with you - maybe yuo can search for the right home for her - make a special effort on her behalf. (which it sounds as tho you are doing anyway, :thumbs up )

Good luck!!! It's too bad you cannot find one of your member to foster her to see how she does -or to find someone who has experience with a "shy" cat.
You may well her a completely different cat in a home setting! (Not overnight of course, some cats find a boarding setting - however wonderful it is- extremely traumatic - especially if this is the first time they are in it.) They hardly realize they have to "audition", sigh - poor babies!!

Maya
April 17th, 2007, 11:27 PM
I absolutely adored my last kitty and he was such a shy cat. He was just sensitive and didn't do well with people who moved quickly or talked loud even just a swich of a jacket sent him running but the most effectionate and wonderful personality ever. The shy ones need to find a very quiet sensitive atmosphere which is difficult. It kind of sounds like she needs a home like that in order to "get better" and not the other way around.

CyberKitten
April 17th, 2007, 11:36 PM
You are correct Maya - some cats are just shy and that's what I meant by finding a family or a quiet couple or one person to adopt her. She is the adoptee. Find a home that matches her unique personality. She sounds like a lovely cat who would do well in a quiet home!!

Maya
April 18th, 2007, 12:15 AM
:) likewise CK I agree with the way you explained it. And I agree most kitties can heal with time, the bond can be that much stronger too after having to gain thier trust, very rewarding!

Kristin7
April 18th, 2007, 10:57 AM
I didn't think you were a rescue group, sorry for the misunderstanding. The shelters where I live do have foster programs. But you are talking about a kennel... Sounds like she is scared and probably is shy to begin with. Some cats are just like that. But like someone else pointed out, she could be totally different in a home setting. One of mine runs and hides whenever people come over, but when she gets to know you, like in my house w/ familiar surroundings, she is totally obnoxious bossy cat, and not shy at all.

kiara
April 19th, 2007, 02:19 PM
I have been a rescuer for several years. Cats are very sensitive animals. They don't like change. The new environment may be upsetting.The cat shows signs of being "slightly feral". Cats that hide or run away are just that. Unless you had it from the age of 2 months and it had been handled by many people there is nothing you can do now. Although it can happen very rarely that these cats can become very sociable. I can suggest that the cat could become a mouser at a farm? I don't know where the original owner got it from, but we don't adopt these cats out since the public wants friendly cats, not "shadows". They often get adopted by their foster homes.