October 22nd, 2007, 07:56 AM
i decided to adopt a 13 year old calico whose owner had to give her up because of a child's allergies. it's had the same owner its whole life. the cat came to my house 2 weeks ago and just sits in the corner under the table or goes to eat/use the litter box and then returns. if i get within 3 feet of her, she growls and hisses and flicks her tail at me.
i don't have any other pets in the house, and no children (i live alone).
i have no idea what to do. how long will it take for the cat to calm down? i only want what's best for the cat and she doesnt seem happy at all.
my fear is that she is past "the point of no return" because of her age. is it possible for a cat this old to accept another owner??
October 22nd, 2007, 08:10 AM
Awww, thanks for giving this poor cat a home. Think of it from her perspective, her entire world has been thrown upside-down. Life as she knew it, for 13 years! has ceased to exist, and for a cat, that's pretty major. It may indeed take her a little while to adjust, so please be patient. Here are some tips for acclimatizing shy or feral cats, some of these might help speed up her transition into your home.
These cats need to stay in a small room for quite some time. While this may sound cruel, it isn't. Shy or feral cats feel safe in small spaces.
They need to be introduced to larger spaces very gradually.
Shy cats need hidey holes and covered baskets to sleep in and to watch the goings on from.
Quality time with people is very important. Start out with:
a quiet voice,
eye contact but blinking your eyes, don't stare,
yawning and looking away to show you are no threat,
be predictable and establish a routine.
To help the cat get used to the activities in your home:
read a book out loud so the cat gets used to your voice,
play a radio quietly so the cat gets used to background noise,
lay on the floor and talk to them so the cat gets used to your company being no threat,
show the cat any new thing that you bring into the room as they are curious.
To make life pleasurable for the cat, offer delicious treats with a long handled spoon - little bits of tuna or other irresistible smelly foods.
Start to touch:
Use a wand toy, or a stick with fleece at the end. Let the cat see the pet wand.
Start to touch the cat gently and slowly around the cheeks.
Perhaps that is enough for the first few days or even longer.
As the cat gets used to the cheek touching, continue rubbing with the pet wand and start to move over more of the body slowly.
Go slow and build on each day's success gradually.This routine will be slow going but it canít be rushed.
October 22nd, 2007, 09:24 AM
sugarcatmom gave you excellent tips and there aren't any I can add, but I do emphasize keeping your kitty in a small secure space at first.
This is very overwhelming for a 13 year old kitty and she is very scared and confuse. Hissing may be "Please don't come close to me because I am scared, please don't hurt me"
Yawning, blinking slowly, and looking away are very important body languages you cat understands as non-threatening. Lots of patience and don't take her reactions personally, you are a life saver to this kitty, she just doesn't realize it yet.
You are an :angel2: for rescuing this senior and I am sure this kitty will warm up to you soon!
October 22nd, 2007, 09:45 AM
patience Give it another two weeks and see if there is a change. if under table is her safe place sit down 4 ft or so from her where she isnt threatend by your proximity and read and chat on the phone whtever just dont stare lol when she seems a liitle calmer and is watching you calmly you do a few slow blinks at her like your falling asleep
then you turn away and read to her some more,
My shy cat took a full 4 weeks before she would actually start to explore and a few more weeks to actually be able to stay by me calmly. Your girl proably won't take that long.
Sugar cat thats a great post im gonna copy it for the rescue patrons.
October 22nd, 2007, 10:09 AM
Sugar cat thats a great post im gonna copy it for the rescue patrons.
To give credit where credit is due, that info came from the MEOW Foundation (http://www.meowfoundation.com/ourcats/shycats/shyintro.html).
October 22nd, 2007, 10:28 AM
How wonderful you have taken this older cat in.
That advice was great. I'm going to copy it down and save it.
October 22nd, 2007, 11:13 AM
I think everyone has the advice covered, just be patient as this poor girl has been through something very traumatic- losing her home after so many years. Treats are great for making new friends... find something she really likes to eat and make sure she associates it with you. And good luck, I'm sure after some time to adjust she will love her new home and her new owner too! :D
October 22nd, 2007, 01:39 PM
She is lucky you took her in, she is scared and confused, which is not good at her age. Give her a few more weeks and be very patient. Talk to her softly, sit close to her (don't stand) and offer treats and see if she will let you pet her. Do it many times a day and soon she will realize that she is safe and in a loving home.
October 22nd, 2007, 03:36 PM
It looks like you have all the advice you need KtyLvr81, thanks to sugarcatmom and others :thumbs up. I've taken on a few mature/senior cats over the years; one or two have been surprisingly affectionate from the get-go, but it generally took them more like a month to become comfortable.
Since we're a multi-cat (and 2-dog) household, each new cat spends time in a spare bedroom for the first while...with plenty of human visits. I've found that providing the cat with a 'boxcave' in which to initially hide and feel secure works great.
One cat that I adopted from my sister (who was no longer able to care for her animals due to serious health issues) hid in our basement for about 50 days, during which time I didn't even get a glimpse of him :confused: . The only way I knew there was a cat there at all was the disappearance of food and water, and the use of the litterbox!
Around the 50th!! day of this feline stand-off, I caught sight of this ultra-shy boy; once spotted, he completely capitulated and became in instant :cat: love muffin!! Soooo, sometimes it takes a while adjusting etc., but your cat will come round. Some day in the future you'll find it hard to believe the cat was ever NOT friendly! :D
p.s. one thing about cats who are hard to win over...you REALLY feel you've accomplished something when they do accept you!! :goodvibes:...also, as other posters have said, good for you for giving this senior cat a home!!
October 22nd, 2007, 07:08 PM
Thanks everyone for all your help. I will do everything recommended...Hopefully in a month or so i will have good news.
October 22nd, 2007, 07:47 PM
I am sure you will
October 22nd, 2007, 09:43 PM
Great post and suggestions sugarcatmom :thumbs up
KtyLvr81 , thank you so much for adopting her :highfive: give it time , she will come around.
January 12th, 2010, 01:42 PM
Thanks for adopting this senior girl. You've received some excellent guidance so far.
Calicos can be self-possessed and determined (and bossy) but also affectionate. Never push her beyond her comfort level. This is a big change for her at her age. I don't think she's too old to rehabilitate. Patience is the key, but one can usually make the cat come out of its shell faster by spending brief periods of quality time with it. Sit on the floor in front of her and play with her with a teaser toy or drag a string cord around on the floor to encourage play, roll a foil ball from one hand to another on the floor in front of her and roll it to her to encourage her participation. If you can engage her in play, you may be able to sneak in a few caresses during it. Give her some catnip mice toys. Grooming, can also enhance a relationship, if cat enjoys it. Gentle brushing (or even with an old toothbrush). If she's not enjoying it tho, stop immediately. If she likes it don't get to the point of overstimulation where she may strike out at you--watch her body language closely, especially her tail. Give her some yummy treats from time to time--most cats love a nibble of cheese. Soon she should come to trust you and realize you're the source of food and fun and affection. Keep us updated. Good luck! :cat:
January 12th, 2010, 02:47 PM
catlover2, this post is from Oct/07 and unfortuately the OP has never come back.
January 12th, 2010, 04:35 PM
Oh thanks, I didn't notice the date. :laughing: I had started to answer thread "Scardy Cat", and then somehow or other got on this one by mistake. Oh well, live and learn! :o
April 7th, 2010, 03:52 PM
Great advice and makes sense to me from what I know of cats. I have just always gotten along with cats(and dogs, and birds, and cows, and horses and, well you get the picture) and they are my favorite. Helping our furry friends in need is everyones obligation I believe but circumstances dictate how much we can help.
I just want everyone to reread this thread as it is very good.
Thank you for your inspiration and help.