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Rosie_MRCVS, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1065
Experience:  BVetMed MRCVS, Qualified veterinarian of ten years in small animal practice in England
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I adopted a 17 year old cat whose former owner moved to a place

Customer Question

I adopted a 17 year old cat whose former owner moved to a place where pets are not allowed. This little female has never known another owner or another home and is terrified. She is hiding somewhere and hasn't come out in over 24 hours. I'm worried because I don't want her to get sick from thirst or hunger. I have left food in places where she can reach it but my cat can't, he's old and very large so he can't jump up anymore. Anyway she hasn't eaten any of the food I left for her.
Can you give me any advice as to what I might do to try to get her to come out and eat.? Virginia P.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Rosie_MRCVS replied 2 years ago.
Hi I'm Rosie one of the vets and I'd like to try and help you and Misty. It sounds to me like she is one afraid little cat. I would try and find out where she is hiding and put the food and water very close to where she is. As she is an older cat she may have sensory issues - sometimes the eyesight isn't very good at this age, sometimes they can't jump up onto surface due to arthritis in the hips and sometimes they just have problems recognizing where they are and what they need to do.
Cats generally eat based on a sense of smell, so the warmest smelliest food you can find would be a good idea. Warmed tuna is a good one if you can stand it. There is also a prescription diet (which you should be able to get over the counter at your vets or at a pet store) called a/d which is super-smelly and high calorie so she doesn't have to eat much of it to get good nutrition.
I think that she really won't come out and eat, but that you need to take the food to her. I would put the food as close to Misty as possible then leave her alone. Cats can become overwhelmed by too many food choices, so choose one item, leave it near her, then leave her alone for a good few hours. When she feels secure - i.e. without risk of being disturbed by you or your other cat - she will likely come out and eat.
The other thing you can do long-term with two cats is make sure they don't feel they have to compete for resources. This means multiple food and water access in many areas, multiple litter trays and you spending equal time with each cat (as they see you as a resource). Feliway can also help her settle in to your house - this is basically reassuring cat hormones in a bottle. I would get it in a diffuser (like a plug-in air freshener). Don't allow the cats access to it (actually, get more than one so each cat can have their own if necessary) for half an hour after plugging it in as they don't like the initial smells released. Once it is in and on you can't turn it off. Each diffuser lasts about a month, and I think you will need to use them for a good couple of months for the full effect.
I hope I've helped - if you have any questions from this then just hit 'reply' and I will get them and get back to you. Otherwise, if you have found this useful, please leave a positive rating so that I may be compensated for my time. Thank you, ***** ***** luck, Rosie.