How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Cher Your Own Question

Cher
Cher, Cat Behavior-expert
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 20955
Experience:  40+ years Cat Behavior Consultant; Vol. Vet Asst.
1470369
Type Your Cat Behavior Question Here...
Cher is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I adopted a female cat about 4 years old from a family that

Customer Question

I adopted a female cat about 4 years old from a family that had to move and couldn't take her. I think she was a bit traumatized by a dog and another cat in her previous family. I have had her about 9 days and she will not come out of hiding. I have another older male cat that hasn't bothered her at all, mostly because she has been in hiding. She is eating and drinking in the storage area that she is hiding in. She is using the litter box. She has several shelves that she finds refuge on. I can pet her some but she does not allow much contact. I was able to pick her up a couple of times. I actually got her to sit on my lap for about an hour one time I was able to get to her. I locked my other cat in another room. She seemed to truly enjoy that contact but I haven't been able to get to her since. She actually has found a shelf that I can't get to her for petting now. Just not sure how much I should push the issue and if she will ever NOT be the cat that hides in the storage room.  I don't have her confined to the storage area.  I leave the door open.  At night I close my bedroom door with my older cat in the room with me.  I know she comes out to explore.

Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Cat Behavior
Expert:  Cher replied 2 months ago.

Hello, and welcome.

My name is ***** ***** I will be glad to help with your question.

My apologies that you did not receive an earlier answer. Different experts are online at various times and I recently signed in and was notified of your question. The site is also having a problem with this particular category, so I had to try many times to access the question until I could finally make contact. We do, so, appreciate your patience!

You're a very caring, kind, cat parent to give this furry girl a home, when her previous owners had to move and couldn't bring her with them! : )

It's very natural, as I'm sure you know, already being familiar with cats and their ways, for her to be stressed and a little frightened in her new environment, especially because you have another cat. If she wasn't treated well by the cat she used to live with, she thinks this is going to happen all over again and that is why she is hiding and staying in a 'safe place' in the storage room.

Just the fact that you were able to pet her a little and she actually stayed on your lap for an hour, is a testament to the fact that deep down, she WANTS to be loved and trusts you enough to handle her and hold her.

It's still early in the introduction process, so patience is the key, and from your description, you're doing wonderfully, in showing her patience and kindness.

I'm glad that when your other cat is not around, she's able to enjoy full roam of the house, and since your kitty sleeps with you, she can explore, at night!

There are great tips and techniques on new cat to resident cat introductions at the following site, however, since the newbie is staying in the storage room, the 'sniff' under the door and 'see through a crack in the door' won't apply, but take what you can use from the tips. I always like to start with the 'scent transfer' method. Even thought it's not day 1, you can still use these methods. Take a slightly dampened cloth or paper towel and pet one cat (if you can reach the new one, or do this when she's out, roaming the house and your other cat is in another room) and then pet the other cat, then vice-versa. This will deposit each cats' scent on the others' fur so they smell each other on their fur all the time. You an also pet both cats with an old t-shirt of yours, so they smell your familiar and comforting scent and will both smell the same. Do this frequently throughout the day.

http://www.catbehaviorassociates.com/how-to-introduce-a-second-cat/

----------

Feliway plug in diffusers are an excellent product to use in new introductions; it emits cat calming pheromones that help to reduce stress/anxiety. They are available in most pet stores, vet offices and can be ordered online.

http://www.feliway.com/us

-----------

Since she's on a shelf where you can't reach to pet her now, don't push the issue, however, visit her several times, gently speak to her, repeat her name a lot--this will help her feel secure--and offer her a cat treat and/or an interactive toy (feather wand/fishing pole toy), dangling it to stimulate her interest. Just do this for a short time, several times a day, and if she shows an interest, continue for a while. She's hiding there, because she feels most safe and secure.

Right now, you're doing everything right and I hope time and these suggestions will help your furry new addition start feeling more comfortable in her new home!

Please be so kind as to rate my answer with positive feedback, as that is the only way I receive recognition from the website for my assistance. Thank you very much!

Providing a positive rating will not end our conversation, should you need me for any follow-up. Simply click 'Reply to Expert' for clarification or additional information, if needed.

Warmest regards,

Cher