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new cat not eating, using litterbox

August 19th, 2008, 06:56 PM
hi there,
i picked up Charlie from her previous owner yesterday.
she was stressed out and scared when she first got here (i am keeping her in just my room right now as she adjusts) and hid under my bed for about 2 or 3 hours before coming out for a pet. she was even refusing treats!
she started to come through after awhile when she realized she was safe with me, she now follows me around and even slept in my bed with me last night.
there are 3 main behaviours that i'm concerned about though and i'm looking for some advice.

1. she hasnt touched her food since she got here. it's now been over 24 hours. i mixed her old food with some new that i bought (she was on meow mix with her previous owner, yuck). i have some canned food too which i haven't tried yet though. she will only eat treats... i've maybe given her 5 greenies since she has been with me. i even sprinkled some cat nip on her bowl of food and she doesn't even touch it.

2. litterbox. she used to share a large covered litterbox with another cat. i'm pretty sure they were using regular clay based clumping litter. i bought some corn based litter and i'm not sure if it's just that she doesn't have to go, or if she doesn't like the litter.
she's poked her head into the box maybe two or three times, only going in as far as halfway and leaves. she's made no mess on my floor yet, and i'm hoping this won't happen.

3. she was really stressed out at her previous owner's place that she stopped cleaning herself. she developed mats in her fur because of this (she's short haired too!). her previous owner had cut off the larger portions of the mats, but she still has some... i hurt her while trying to brush her mats out yesterday and she bit me. i'm not sure how to deal with the mat properly, the vet just told me to try to brush it out but she was really angry when i tried.
nails - her nails scare me. they are super sharp i don't think she's had them clipped in quite awhile and i haven't really tried to touch her paws since i'm still pretty much a stranger to her. she hasn't scratched any of my furniture yet, but i'm afraid she will knead my bed to pieces eventually lol.

any advice would be greatly appreciated!

August 19th, 2008, 07:08 PM
Hi clearframes and welcome to the forum..I'm sure one of the cat guru's will be along shortly to correct anything i am wrong about. First, slow down a little. As you've stated the kitty is scared. She's in a new home so she's gonna take a little time to adjust. Try to cut out the kibble and switch her to a quality canned food. As for the litterbox issue, if nothings going in nothings gonna come out yet.

This i wouldn't try for a few days as she is scared but once she is settled in and much more comfy with you handling her. the proper way to split a mat is with the scissors open slide one of the blade between the mat and her skin and gently work it upwards, a mat is hair that is all clumped together the scissors slowly pull that apart. Straight brushing is pulling the kitties hair so it's hurting her, split the mat as much as possible before trying to brush it out.

I would also hold off a little on trying to clip her nails...hope this helped some.

here is a site that gives much more info on splitting mats

Jim Hall
August 19th, 2008, 07:35 PM
leave some meow mix out sit down a few feet away and ta;\lk or read to her it may take a while but she will get hungry enough i know meow is junk but its what she knoews and will be a liitle less stresssed out

give her a good 48 hrs to settle down o will imagine when you go to sleep she will wander around and grab some chow

August 19th, 2008, 10:11 PM
I agree with Jim. Leave some of the food she is used to eating out. You can worry about switching her to a different, better quality food once she has settled. I would do the same with the litter. If she is checking out the box she probably needs to use it but won't because it's not what she is used to. Cats are creatures of habit. Any little thing that is different is enough to mess them up. I think going to a new home is enough of an adjustment for her for the first couple of weeks.

Aslan knows about the grooming because she used to do it for a living. She gave you great advice on that.
The claws - if you are afraid to try clipping them maybe enlist the help of a friend, wrap her in a towel or take her in to the vet. They charge a token amount but they get the job done. Then you can take the time to get to know Charlie and work on gaining her trust.

Thank you very much for adopting her. :thumbs up

August 20th, 2008, 12:00 AM

charlie used the litterbox on her own! hurrah!

and with the food, she was making noises like she was asking me for something, so i sat near her food bowl and she came to me. she sniffed the food but wouldn't touch it, so i tried holding out a kibble and she took it from my hand. did this a few more times each time holding it closer to the bowl to try to get her to maybe eat from the bowl but she will only eat from my hand. :frustrated:
then i tried to give her a bit of canned food, but she would only eat it from the spoon i was scooping it out with (she had maybe 2 tablespoons worth). i left some in a bowl for her, hopefully she will eat on her own.
i guess this is an improvement and at least she ate a bit today...
is it bad that i'm 'hand feeding' her like this?

thanks for all your replies so far by the way!

August 20th, 2008, 07:29 AM
Sounds like she is coming around :thumbs up. Some stressed kitties will not use the bathroom or eat until they are more comfortable with their surroundings. Change can be so hard on a kitty.

It is NOT bad to hand feed her, the important thing is to get her to eat, even some bad quality is better than none. Have you tried some tuna or sardines with her food to encourage her to eat more?

Jim Hall
August 20th, 2008, 08:23 AM
soemtimes cats have problems bending thier head down to eat see is you can elevate the dish a few inches or so

sounds like charlie is doing good

August 20th, 2008, 08:31 AM
yay for litter usage and eating abit.. is her food bowl brand new or was it a former pets. she may smell something on the bowl she doesn't like.

August 20th, 2008, 09:42 AM
Unfortunately, cats don't come with instructions and even if they did, cats can't read :laughing:
It sounds to me as if things are going swimmingly.
Ditto to other comments on feeding by hand, it is a good thing, along with any other contact which increases trust.
How long do we have to wait for a picture :rolleyes:

August 20th, 2008, 10:34 AM
thanks for all your replies. i'm feeling much better about being a cat owner now (first time.. always had dogs!)
she seemed to be eating on her own while i was sleeping last night. :thumbs up: and is continuing to use the box.

but now another thing happened while i was sleeping...
my neighbour's cat walks along the outside window ledge of our building (he does this as a daily routine) but charlie only saw him the first time at the convenient hour of 5am this morning. she started hissing like mad and screaming loud and angry! needless to say, i jumped out of bed cause it freaked me out, the neighbour's cat was curious so he was just trying to look at her but she was not having it, even though they were between glass.
i reacted by pulling down the blinds so that both cats kinda got startled and ran away from the situation, but charlie definitely kept her eye on the window for the rest of our sleep. (well i tried to go back to sleep...didn't really happen).
i need this to stop if it's going to happen everytime the neighbour's cat comes around, especially since it's usually late at night he makes his rounds.
what can i do to teach her it's okay and stop her from freaking out? :shrug:

August 20th, 2008, 10:46 AM
Very normal reaction for cats, I only know one that would not react that way (my precious Jasper and perhaps Bunduk :cloud9:).

As for controling your cat's reaction, you may not be able to do that, they are not as trainable as dogs. Maybe somebody else will be able to give you some suggestions.

August 20th, 2008, 12:50 PM
L4H is right, you can't do much to control that kind of reaction. Maybe in time she will get used to the other cat coming around now and then and she'll stop.

Or, you could just keep the blinds pulled down.:D