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Introducing New Cat !

Discussion in 'Cat Chat' started by Luckymax, Jan 14, 2021.


  1. Luckymax

    Luckymax PetForums Member

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    Good morning all, I would really appreciate some advice as to how I can gain trust and make this little new cat comfortable

    I have 3 street cats which I rescued, aged 9, 7 and 5 and they all get along as well as my 2 dogs. Where I live, there are loads of street cats and have been feeding about 9 every day which I’m more than happy to do. But this one in particular has been coming to me for about 9 months about 3 times a day and even comes into the house to eat but not seeing my other pets.

    About a week ago it was getting bitterly cold so when she came in I kept her and have since taken her to the vets to be neutered and health check but she is exceedingly scared. So much so I can’t even touch her and from the noises clearly not comfortable.

    The vet said she is about 1 1/2 years to 2 years old, at the moment she is in a separate part of the house so she doesn’t need to be stressed about the other cats and my dogs. As soon as we go in the room she just hides either in the litter box, under the bed, behind the curtain?! I’ve tried sitting down on the floor and giving her treats but it’s just not working....

    Any ideas, suggestions would be greatly appreciated so I can make this little one a bit more comfortable then she looks at the moment
     

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  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Luckymax - well done for taking in this little one and giving her a home. :)

    The main thing she needs is lots and lots of time so she can adjust at her own pace to living in a home with humans and living with other cats. Even more so your dogs, and it may be that having lived on the streets she may have been chased or attacked by dogs in the past and has come to see them as creatures to be very wary of. So it's possible she may never fully accept the dogs.

    You are doing the right thing keeping her in one room (her "safe" room). I wouldn't even think of letting her out of the room into other parts of the house until she is completely at ease, no longer hiding at all, and has learned to trust you. Which may take a good couple of months. It is worth investing the time at the start.

    Only one of you at a time for now should enter her safe room. More than one is too intimidating for her.

    Each of you should spend as much time in her room with her as you can. But only one of you at a time (this is important) Perhaps the same person for half a day, and then change.

    Do not engage directly with her. Sit down, [ideally on the floor so you are less intimidating,] read out loud to her in a upbeat voice (poetry is good for this), so she gets used to the rhythm of your voice. And just do your own thing e.g. use your phone/laptop etc, watch TV and eat your meals in there, or at least eat your snacks in the room. Have a radio on low, and leave it on while you are out of the room. Including at night. Choose a station such as Classic FM as cats find classical music soothing (Mozart especially, according to research).

    Before you enter the room, open the door a crack and announce yourself, so she is not startled.

    Make sure she has food and water near her hiding places so she doesn't have to run the gauntlet of the whole room to reach it.

    Provide her with a few more hiding places in the form of large cardboard boxes, turned on their sides with the open bit away from the room. Never try and take her from one of her hiding places, or even show her you know where she is hiding. Being a feral cat she will have an instinctive suspicion of humans getting too close to her and it is this she will have to get over in her own time. It is a mental process she needs to go through and she can't be rushed.

    Provide her with 2 open litter trays so she can pee and poo in different spots as cats like to do. Make the litter as near as possible in texture to fine sand. And make it clumping, so it is easy to scoop.

    After a week or so you could start to try and engage with her, by using a length of string and pulling it slowly past where she is hiding. Do this a couple of times a day for a few minutes. I have found that while most feral cats do not react to cat toys, (or worse they react with fear) most of them are intrigued by a length of string being slowly moved. It may take weeks before she will come out and tap at the string. You can have treats ready to put on the floor to reward her. Do not approach her.

    Please let us know how things go. Good luck :) x

    p.s. I assume you're not in the UK, and are in a country with no Rescues that could help these street cats by at least neutering them and maybe even homing the young ones?
     
  3. Luckymax

    Luckymax PetForums Member

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    Thank you so much for taking the time to respond and giving me such valuable advice I am immensely grateful to you and just hope this little lady will eventually be able to trust us and have a fulfilling life.

    You are spot-on regarding the dog situation I anticipate as there are loads of wild dogs behind our house having open space. This is where the cats/kittens roam around and try to find a safe haven I suspect.

    My dilemma is one of a few as currently we are in fact selling our house in Portugal but remaining in the same area. That’s why it’s imperative for me to invest as much time as possible for this little one, so that hopefully when we move she would’ve settled down with the other cats. Things are not going to happen till about end of May I suspect, so I have some time on my side.

    Regarding the other stray cats/kittens I am hoping to get some sort of cat shelter built as I will definitely want to keep on feeding them, I’m not going to neglect them once I move. I had an appointment yesterday with a local mayor of the area and am just waiting for him to come and view and propose where this can be set up.

    I have been in contact with a local charity from the Town Hall to get the cats neutered but unfortunately it’s a waiting game.

    Will keep you posted with some positive outcome hopefully
     
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  4. Luckymax

    Luckymax PetForums Member

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  5. Luckymax

    Luckymax PetForums Member

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    Good morning, I wonder if you can possibly advice please Since your last valuable recommendations, classical music on, have tried to spend simultaneous times in the room with her, 3 boxes around the room, put a tube tunnel but she is constantly by the sink until the evening. I can’t stop thinking that I’m being so cruel and keeping her inside I’m not expecting miracles, my 3 indoor cats were rescued from the street! I just want to make sure I am doing the right thing and what else I can do please to at least reassure her Thank you
     

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  6. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Awww, poor girl, she looks very anxious. It is tempting to let her out but I am worried she may not come back which would be a pity as it is so cold out now. Do you think she would come back? Not all rescued street cats adapt to being shut indoors.

    I did take the risk and let one rescued stray cat out after a week being shut indoors because he was so miserable and wasn't eating. Luckily he did come back and I let him come and go as he pleased after that. He is still with me 8 yrs later and is always allowed to come and go as he pleases. (My other cats are shut indoors at night). He is happiest that way.
     
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  7. Luckymax

    Luckymax PetForums Member

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  8. Luckymax

    Luckymax PetForums Member

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    I feel awful, but it’s about her she will come back to eat but the issue is I just want to give her a home and get her settled before we move. But then I see her sibling outside in my garden playing around with other kittens and I feel so cruel, just don’t know what to do
     
  9. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    The problem is if she is just sitting on the basin looking miserable all day long then she is not making any attempt to settle in really, so there is not a lot of point in keeping her in. She has become withdrawn and could get more so if she is not allowed out.

    I think you have a better chance of settling her if you keep her indoors for 4 weeks in your new home. She is so used to her freedom at your present home, being able to come and eat and then leave, that she probably does not understand why she is being kept in.

    Do you think other people in your area feed her?

    Do you provide a shed or cosy shelter in the garden for her, preferably heated with an electric oil filled radiator on low to take off the chill? if you did, she might stick around more between meals.

    I provided a cosy outdoor shelter for one stray cat (as well as her meals) for many months before I was able to encourage her to come indoors. Even then I never kept her indoors, always let her come and go as she pleased. if she went out she never went further than my garden. Usually they are so happy to have found a new home they don't go far.
     
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  10. Luckymax

    Luckymax PetForums Member

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    Thank you for taking the time to reply. I really don’t think she is fed elsewhere because some days, she would come round about 3 times a day. Some mornings when I got up, she was waiting on the window sill.
    Taking her to the vet to get her sterilised I had to get a local kennel to come and catch her as it was an impossible task.
    After my message to you this morning, she was hiding in one of the boxes I put there, then in the litter box, then underneath the sink. But for some reason when it gets dark she goes straight to bed.
    I don’t have a shelter specifically outside, when she first started to come round with her mother and other sibling, I put a bed for them but they would go off and wasn’t used.
     
  11. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Luckymax - has there been any more progress with your new cat? :)
     
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  12. Douglas’ Dad

    Douglas’ Dad PetForums Senior

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    You sound like an amazing person and she is beautiful but I think I agree with chillminx in that it may be she just might not be happy indoors. If you are really attached to her you could put a gps collar on her and let her out so at least you know where she is. At the end of the day if you let her out and she doesn’t come back that’s her prerogative. There was another cat parent with a similar dilemma at Xmas. In his case he did release the cat out (in familiar territory) but the cat didn’t run off and came back home with him. I fear she is scared inside and she might become accustomed to home life but it will take a lot of patience. Do you think if you let her out and she bolts you may still find a way to feed her?
     
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  13. Luckymax

    Luckymax PetForums Member

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    Thank you so much for asking She isn’t as scared as she was. She doesn’t hide in the litter box or in the sink now. Having said that some days she is fine when we alternately enter the room as she is playing with the toys around, going up the window etc ... But other days (like today) don’t think she was having a good day as she kept on hiding under the bed and hissing if we got close. She’s not a big eater but today in particular was very fussy with her food, so much so I went out to get her another alternative.
    However, she hasn’t come to us so to speak or for us to be able to stroke her or anything like that
     

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  14. Jaf

    Jaf PetForums VIP

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    She looks in very good health but if she’s not happy I think I’d let her out. With time she might want to stay in longer when you feed her. That is what is happening with my cats, they are getting tame slowly. Frank sat on a sofa just the other day, he’s taken 6 years to do that!
     
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  15. Douglas’ Dad

    Douglas’ Dad PetForums Senior

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    Good on Frank! Please tell us the backstory! I love hearing stuff like that.
     
  16. Luckymax

    Luckymax PetForums Member

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    Thank you for your kind words. I’ve been feeding her plus about 9 other feral Cats for about 10 months. Yes I am attached to her, don’t know why her in particular? The reason why I’m trying to do something for her and I can only hope that it will work out , is because we are selling our house. Even though we are intending to move somewhere locally I just don’t want to have her abandoned .

    We are trying to do our best for her and just pray that she will start to trust us. My other 3 cats that we also rescued were all feral and they all get along so well together. I don’t know whether we were just lucky with the other 3 cats but there were no issues of human contact.

    Anyway, patience is what we have at the moment. Compared to beginning of the month when I took her in, she is now playful and seems content. I’ve also swapped her bed with my other cats and their blankets and toys. From her there was no hissing or even smelling when I put their stuff in her room. But when I put her stuff downstairs with my other 3 cats, my eldest was not too pleased at the beginning. But he now sleeps in her bed.
     
  17. Luckymax

    Luckymax PetForums Member

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    Just an update! This photo was taken last night whilst I was with Phoebe and she came to sit opposite me on the bed Couple of days ago she started to tap my finger with her paws and biting my nails However, she still hiding sometimes when we enter the room! So, is this progress? I hope so
     

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  18. ewelsh

    ewelsh PetForums VIP

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    I have watched this thread with great admiration. Well done you!

    I think she is coming round slowly and beginning to trust you. She may be the sort of cat who calls the shots. I have one of those - Lottie who was dumped as a kitten so not exactly feral yet 6 yrs on I still am unable to stroke her or pick her up when I want. So your little one might just be like that.
    You are keeping her safe, warm and well fed, she is beginning to trust you. Keep at it your doing so well
     
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  19. Luckymax

    Luckymax PetForums Member

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    Aaahhh thank you I think you’re right on that account. .But I’m just wondering at what stage should I think about introducing her to my other 3 cats, I’ve had them come upstairs where she is alternately to try and sniff around with door closed but that’s it at the moment. But I’m happy that she’s a little less anxious and beginning to trust us
     
  20. ewelsh

    ewelsh PetForums VIP

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    I would start scent swapping blankets and toys so they are familiar with each other’s scent. It will take time for sure. Have you treated him for fleas etc?


    @chillminx has great advice over a door screen so they can see each other without contact. I am sure she will come along with her ideas.
    I used a very tall baby gate and attached smooth clear plastic to it, so the cats couldn’t use it to jump on but could see each other. You don’t want them to physically meet at this stage for fear of a bad introduction. It may take a long time but worth it in the long run.

    same applies to the dogs as they won’t see this new cat as part of their pack, so get scent swapping so everyone smells of you and your home!
     
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