Adopted timid boys

(25 Posts)
givemushypeasachance Mon 30-Jun-14 10:15:34

I've just adopted my first cats (although my family always had cats as do several friends I cat-sit for so quite used to having them around). They're a pair of boys, 9 & 10 months old, who lived at the shelter together since they arrived as stray litters. Cat#1 was quite friendly with me in his pen but the staff said he'd been shy until recently coming out of his shell - his friend Cat#2 hid in his box growling at me if I got too close and was described as extremely timid, so I knew he was going to be more of a challenge!

I've set them up in my spare room/office as a den, with several cat hiding spots/boxes and a few toys, a litter tray and some dry food & water. And a Feliway plugin for luck! Cat#2 had been car sick but was reluctant to come out of his carrier for several hours and growled and hissed until I eventually had to tip him out so I could clean up the sick he was half lying on. He then decamped to wedge himself between some shelves and a wall.

Cat#1 was a bit more amenable and left his box voluntarily after a few minutes, hid under my desk for a while and later moved to sit next to where his friend is by the shelves. He let me stroke him a bit and seemed fairly chilled, though he's passively avoiding me. I've been regularly visiting the room and sitting on the floor reading, trying to avoid things like staring at them too much or sudden movements/loud noises. In the periods I was gone and overnight things have moved in the room and someone ate a bit of wet food I put down - not sure whether this is the bold one or the shy one or both.

I know it's very early days but wondering if anyone has any tips to help shy Cat#2 settle in a bit better? I wasn't sure whether I should try to approach him more where he's behind the shelves (move things so I can sit directly next to that spot for a while - obviously not trying to grab at him or stare at him or anything) as that's the only way he'll get used to me, or if I should respect that as he's hiding down there he's scared and doesn't want me any nearer him? As I said there are several boxes and dens set up I could get closer to; should I try to persuade him out of the gap he barely fits in and wedge that closed so he has to relocate to a more accessible (and comfortable) hiding spot I can socialise him from better or will that only set him back more as he'll freak out?

cozietoesie Mon 30-Jun-14 10:42:42

I'd just go about your ordinary business, trying to stick to as much of a routine as possible, and keeping things as calm and peaceful as you can. Lots of talking to them but not much physical contact unless they come up and ask you for it.

(I'm not saying 'Ignore them' but in my experience, things usually progress best if you let cats (broadly) dictate their own terms. And they seem to like routine/reasonable predictability.)

How long have you had them?

givemushypeasachance Mon 30-Jun-14 10:50:27

Thanks cozietoesie - I literally only brought them home yesterday morning, so like I say I appreciate it is very early days! I'm out at work during the day in the week so they'll have quiet time by themselves then and overnight, with me popping in to say hello in the mornings, so evenings are the main time I can try to convince them I'm not a horrible scary person to be around!

I remember helping bring my parents' last pair of cats home from the foster carer and they were very shy and hid in their boxes the first night, then moved to hide inside the sofa (in the reclining workings underneath!) for quite a while so I'm trying not to be too offended by the initial shunning - I know it's all very new and scary for them. Hopefully with patience they'll gain confidence in their den-territory of the spare room and start to accept my visits a bit more...

cozietoesie Mon 30-Jun-14 11:00:07

Goodness - as you appreciate that's no time at all with some cats. (Some cats are real little lovebugs from Minute One but there you go.) They should be fine after a short while as long as they have a safe place to go to if it all becomes too much for them.

I'd try lots of talking to them so that they become familiar with the sound of your voice. A few key phrases/intonations would also help - nosh related ones are important!

Good luck anyway - and we'll be expecting some pictures as soon as they're parading around. (It's the rule on this board.)

smile

Lovethesea Mon 30-Jun-14 11:02:30

Sounds like it is great for them. After a while you could leave the doors open when you are out and they may have a chance to check there are no baddies hiding.

Perhaps 'accidentally' drop some dreamies when you pop in and read so they begin to associate you with good things, though they may not eat any until you've gone!

I think it'll just be time but all the prep you have done sounds perfect, hiding places etc.

I on the other hand had a rescue cat that would not stay in one room to settle despite a 18 month old and 3 year old in the house and I gave up coralling him for his own sake when he kept trying to sneak out the room and explore.

Hard enough to keep him in the house for 3 weeks and he was and is bold as brass.

Cat two was shyer but only because cat one tried a doomed attempt to be top cat by hissing at her so we introduced slowly over two weeks and shared meals. Once cat two had figured she was staying she took her rightful place as top cat.

We weeded out the shy ones by taking the kids to the rescue centre to choose, those that didnt run, hide, hiss or scream at us made the short list. The ones that actively accepted being patted, stroked the wrong way, poked inquisitively etc came home.

Very glad there are people like you for the quieter souls!

givemushypeasachance Mon 30-Jun-14 11:30:07

Thanks for the pep talk both - it's nice to get a bit of reassurance about being on the right path! And looking forward to getting home this afternoon and being shunned a bit more, but hopefully with slightly less suspicious glares. I'll see how Dreamies bribery goes as well. wink

You can have my initial best photos of the pair of them - Cat#1 is provisionally Rolo, he's the slightly dusty chap under the desk at this point. Cat#2 (aka the shadow with eyes) is provisionally Monty!

cozietoesie Mon 30-Jun-14 11:39:29

Both all-black boys? Well done for giving them a home. (For some reason, black and black and white cats aren't popular and tend to languish a bit in rescues.)

SalvatoreGirl Mon 30-Jun-14 11:42:05

When we first had our tabby he spent the first 8/9 days completely hidden behind a sideboard we had in the lounge - only came out when he was really hungry.
Took ages for him to let me stroke him - managed to get 1 stroke in each time I fed him.
Now he's 16 and such a lapcat I get meowed at to move the laptop from my knee so he can lie down :-D
Persevere and he'll come round once he knows he's safe and no one is going to hurt him.

givemushypeasachance Mon 30-Jun-14 11:45:14

Yes both all black - Rolo is shorthaired and Monty semi-longhaired (what little I've seen of him so far is pretty fluffy!). Don't know why people aren't keen on on blackies - even my Mum who's a big cat fan says she doesn't really like black cats sad - but I think they're gorgeous. So sad that people may have overlooked these two even as cute little kittens in the shelter because they're black and a bit shy.

StUmbrageinSkelt Mon 30-Jun-14 12:26:42

Oh they are lovely! Good luck with them

givemushypeasachance Mon 30-Jun-14 23:59:47

Just as a quick update they've both come out of their shells remarkably this evening - more than I expected! With the lure of a few Dreamies Rolo was out to say hello and was soon rubbing and purring like crazy, and Monty snuck out quietly a bit later to 'steal' a few biscuits when he thought I wasn't looking. Some wet food later had them both out with heads in the bowl! Rolo is all over the shop and has been exploring and playing all evening. Monty is still very cautious and prefers me to ignore him - I haven't tried fussing him yet, but frankly I'm amazed he came out from the shelves at all. He's a snap of Monty and his majestic tail (the first time I've properly seen how much fluff is on him, and he looks pretty hefty underneath!) along with Rolo's photobombing behind. wink

cozietoesie Tue 01-Jul-14 00:11:50

That is one big tail!

Good going so far - well done.

smile

Lovethesea Wed 02-Jul-14 22:27:29

Can't see the photos on the iPad app, but delighted they are finding their feet.

Thought the dreamies might help. Cat crack those things.

I sometimes scatter them about a room, on the mantelpiece, bookshelves etc to give Feistycat a work out as she doesn't like to leave the house and garden area. Huntercat is very very active so he just gets them.

I've a treat ball too, it has holes so they push it and treats or dry food drops out. Oddly Feistycat understood it immediately while Huntercat is still waiting for it to roll by itself. He's enormous, fluffy, tabby, brings me rabbits, but can't push a wee plastic ball to get the dreamies he adores.

You can put them in a cardboard tube too, put small holes in and fold the ends to give them a challenge.

Catnip is liked by some cats and others aren't bothered, so you us could add more drugs to relax them even more!

givemushypeasachance Mon 07-Jul-14 14:27:56

Cat update! Well I've had Rolo & Monty for just over a week now, and think they've settled pretty well all things considered. From Wednesday I gave them access to the rest of the house, and that did initially make them a bit more shy as the new area was a bit scary. Rolo has discovered the joys of lurking under the dustiest area of my bed and in a drawer, and Monty is quite taken with my hamsters down in the living room - he likes lying on top of their lid watching when they're running in the wheel. Look but don't touch is all I'll say! He also likes sitting on the stairs and watching me with confused derision when I try to walk up or down them, as if to say why do something ridiculous like that and make me move when I'm sitting here...

Rolo is still friendly if a bit skittish, while I'd say Monty is more confident about being out and about but cautious about human contact. He likes me playing with him - throwing things, dangling toys - and has accepted treats (including a bit of cooked chicken taken carefully from my hand) but backs away even if I move my hand casually and slowly towards him, and will creep up to me then dash past if I'm standing in between where he wants to get to as though I'm a scary obstacle! I'm not worried since that's still a vast improvement from hiding behind a shelf all day growling at me, and hoping that with time and patience (and playing and treats!) he'll eventually accept being petted.

Friends came over to visit for a few hours yesterday and both cats made themselves scarce, unsurprisingly. They're the future cat sitters and brought a gift of cat toys, so a kind reception! grin

givemushypeasachance Mon 07-Jul-14 14:28:11

Cat update! Well I've had Rolo & Monty for just over a week now, and think they've settled pretty well all things considered. From Wednesday I gave them access to the rest of the house, and that did initially make them a bit more shy as the new area was a bit scary. Rolo has discovered the joys of lurking under the dustiest area of my bed and in a drawer, and Monty is quite taken with my hamsters down in the living room - he likes lying on top of their lid watching when they're running in the wheel. Look but don't touch is all I'll say! He also likes sitting on the stairs and watching me with confused derision when I try to walk up or down them, as if to say why do something ridiculous like that and make me move when I'm sitting here...

Rolo is still friendly if a bit skittish, while I'd say Monty is more confident about being out and about but cautious about human contact. He likes me playing with him - throwing things, dangling toys - and has accepted treats (including a bit of cooked chicken taken carefully from my hand) but backs away even if I move my hand casually and slowly towards him, and will creep up to me then dash past if I'm standing in between where he wants to get to as though I'm a scary obstacle! I'm not worried since that's still a vast improvement from hiding behind a shelf all day growling at me, and hoping that with time and patience (and playing and treats!) he'll eventually accept being petted.

Friends came over to visit for a few hours yesterday and both cats made themselves scarce, unsurprisingly. They're the future cat sitters and brought a gift of cat toys, so a kind reception! grin

givemushypeasachance Mon 07-Jul-14 14:28:37

Cat update! Well I've had Rolo & Monty for just over a week now, and think they've settled pretty well all things considered. From Wednesday I gave them access to the rest of the house, and that did initially make them a bit more shy as the new area was a bit scary. Rolo has discovered the joys of lurking under the dustiest area of my bed and in a drawer, and Monty is quite taken with my hamsters down in the living room - he likes lying on top of their lid watching when they're running in the wheel. Look but don't touch is all I'll say! He also likes sitting on the stairs and watching me with confused derision when I try to walk up or down them, as if to say why do something ridiculous like that and make me move when I'm sitting here...

Rolo is still friendly if a bit skittish, while I'd say Monty is more confident about being out and about but cautious about human contact. He likes me playing with him - throwing things, dangling toys - and has accepted treats (including a bit of cooked chicken taken carefully from my hand) but backs away even if I move my hand casually and slowly towards him, and will creep up to me then dash past if I'm standing in between where he wants to get to as though I'm a scary obstacle! I'm not worried since that's still a vast improvement from hiding behind a shelf all day growling at me, and hoping that with time and patience (and playing and treats!) he'll eventually accept being petted.

Friends came over to visit for a few hours yesterday and both cats made themselves scarce, unsurprisingly. They're the future cat sitters and brought a gift of cat toys, so a kind reception! grin

givemushypeasachance Mon 07-Jul-14 14:29:38

Oh god sorry that was a giant fail - I was trying to upload a photo and it had hiccups! Still didn't post the bloody thing either, will this work...?

givemushypeasachance Mon 07-Jul-14 14:30:56

One last chance. Otherwise just imagine two black cats; one a bit more fluffy and glaring than the other.

cozietoesie Mon 07-Jul-14 16:08:48

I think it all sounds pretty good considering where you started from.

smile

givemushypeasachance Tue 08-Jul-14 10:54:52

Had a good evening with the kittens yesterday, even if neither were to be seen when I arrived home from work - Rolo had shown Monty how to get in the drawer under my bed as well, and they were both stashed in there! grin But both were in a playful mood, and were being very cute this morning too. Introduced Rolo to the concept of being mitted (with a pet mitt grooming thingy) and he seemed to love it, so that's a plus on the car hair everywhere front. And played with a bit of rolled up paper with Monty as he lounged by my stairs, and he even let me gently touch his paws - progress! He's just so super floofy I can't wait till he's happy to be stroked...

Is the photo upload going to work now? If so then it should be Monty this morning in chillaxed mode.

cozietoesie Tue 08-Jul-14 11:11:13

Chilled but still wary, I'd say? He sounds as if he's coming round though. smile

givemushypeasachance Tue 08-Jul-14 11:17:22

I think he was a bit suspicious of my inept fumbling with my phone to try to take a photo of him! But sitting a foot or two away and waggling that rolled up paper tube at him, and him engaging and batting at it (then stealing it and gnawing on it) rather than just bolting and hiding is far more than I could have hoped when he was just a growling presence behind my shelves. smile

cozietoesie Tue 08-Jul-14 11:44:33

Hah! Seniorboy is the first cat I've ever had that doesn't run for the hills as soon as I get a camera out. You're all doing very well.

smile

givemushypeasachance Thu 10-Jul-14 09:24:04

We had another step forward yesterday - Monty had previously eaten a treat of some cooked chicken by carefully taking it from my hand and retreating to eat it elsewhere, but last night he willingly ate a few Dreamies from the palm of my hand and didn't freak out or anything! That's actually better than Rolo manages since he gets a bit confused at hand feeding and just headbutts my hand until I drop whatever it is on the floor for him, silly kitten... Monty-cat also seems more confident about sniffing around my ankles and sniffing at my hand when not containing biscuits too. Hoping full on hand-to-Monty-fluffy-areas stroking may be in the not too distant future.

cozietoesie Thu 10-Jul-14 10:54:49

Bet he ends up as a lovebug. It's going well. smile

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