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S. August Abbott, CAS
S. August Abbott, CAS, Own Animal Care/Rescue Org.
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 7627
Experience:  Up to 300 cats saved each year; Animal Care author; Behavior & Nutrition Consults
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How can I get my new cat out of hiding

Customer Question

Two weeks ago I adopted a 2 year old female cat from the Humane Society. She was extrememly timid and was the only cat there who stayed in the very back corner of her cage with her back to visitors. She apparently had not been treated well in a past home and had only just been spayed a couple days before I brought her home. We are definitley making progress. She has moved from several impossible to get to hiding places to just under a coffee table. She is eating and drinking and using her litter box well. When I reach under the table she will let me rub her for seemingly hours while purring loudly. She is now at the point where she will stretch out and let me rub her belly and will even eat food from my hand. The only thing she won''t do is come out from under the table in my presence. Do I just need to be patient and she will eventually appear? I don''t want to reinforce behaviour where she is always hiding. Any advice on how best to handle this is very appreciated! Thanks A
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  S. August Abbott, CAS replied 9 years ago.

How long have you had her home now?

Has she recovered from her spay surgery completely?


Customer: replied 9 years ago.
She has been here for 2 weeks now. She seems to have recovered from surgery. She's eating and washing normally now and doesn't seem to be in any pain
Expert:  S. August Abbott, CAS replied 9 years ago.

Good. You're doing a very good job and your patience is just wonderful. You have excellent instincts and I encourage you to follow them.

She's going to surprise you one day or night and it'll make all the difference in the world. One of my most skittish and poorly treated rescued cats was a master at hiding. I couldn't find him anywhere for just about the same amount of time as you've had your girl. I knew he was still with me because the food and water would need replacing every day, and the litter box was regularly used. Now and then I'd see a darting shadow out of the corner of my eye.

One night while sitting in bed watching something on t.v. - this "ghost cat" appeared at the doorway, hesitated just a moment and then jumped into bed. He decided that enough was enough and I must be ok.

He's the oldest resident in my rescue, just short of 20 years old now. He wasn't quite a year old when I rescued him.

So you just keep doing what you're doing and stay patient.

Another option that might be helpful is a product called "Feliway".

- it's a plug in, like an air freshener, but of pheromones that humans can't detect/smell.

It helps calm the cats.

It's important to continue through at least 3 refills (each refill lasts about 3 months) - and be very sure you don't let the device go dry between refills.

It can be supplemented with a room spray, but the room spray won't work by itself since the animal needs more long-term exposure to it.

It's available in PetSmart and other stores, plus of course online.

To make sure you're giving her the best nutritional options, take a look here for some terrific insights by a vet specializing in feline nutrition (and even providing homemade recipes for your cat).

Please keep me informed through this ok? I look forward to hearing when she decides she's going to keep you and begins sharing her own affection freely.


S. August Abbott, CAS and 2 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Thanks for the advice. I figured I was on the right track. Just wanted to make sure I wasn't encouraging her to stay in hiding. I'll try the pheremones as well to calm her. From what I can see at this point she should turn into a wonderfully sucky cat once she decides I'm truly okay. I'll keep you posted
Expert:  S. August Abbott, CAS replied 9 years ago.

You've been chosen already, she's just making you earn it.

You can re open this question any time to follow up and you do not have to press 'accept' again. I'll be looking forward to hearing how she makes her intentions clear.

Have a good weekend