Advice needed.

(19 Posts)
darumafan Tue 02-Aug-16 14:39:23

I'm after some honest opinions and advice. We got a 12 month old boy cat from a rescue in February, so he is now 17 months old. We were told that he was very timid and cautious around people but we have had cats for 18 years so weren't put off by this. He was to be a companion to our very similar aged boy, we also have 4 other cats.

He wasn't just timid, he was terrified. He hid behind a sofa for a week, only came out at night to eat and ran back behind the sofa if anyone caught a glimpse of him.

I got some great advice on here at the time and we have let him do his own thing, he seems to love the cats closest in age to him. He now comes out and asks for his dinner in the evening, but is still very cautious. He wanders around the house but still runs away if you get too close to him. He won't let you pick him up or fuss him, he will tolerate a very brief head scratch but only if it is brief!

He started to go out about 2 weeks ago, he doesn't answer to his name so that's why it's taken so long to let him out.

He disappeared for 4 days last week, turned up filthy dirty and ravenous. We had to bath him to get him clean, he smelt of petrol/oil so we had no choice. The water was a horrible brown colour by the time we had finished. He actually tolerated all the handling really well and I got cuddles all evening.

We kept him in over the weekend again, he didn't seem overly stressed by being in. Wasn't quite as affectionate but was accepting fuss and strokes. Eating well, using the litter tray happily, it felt like progress.

My nephew left the door to the bathroom open yesterday morning and the cat climbed out the window. He was out all day but did show up at dinner time last night, unfortunately I didn't get the door shut quickly enough and he legged it again. He hasn't been seen all day so far today.

My question is, do I keep persevering with him and hope that I manage to get him in and shut the door behind him? Or should I think about rehoming him, he obviously isn't happy living here. He doesn't want attention from us other than food and litter.

I have never rehomed a cat before, I have always been of the opinion that we are in it for the long haul. However, he won't come to me if i call him, he is so unbelievably skittish around us. I hate to think that he is missing out on a happy, loving home where he gets all his needs met.

I might be overthinking this, he might not even come back and that really does sadden me. He is such a funny little creature, I am stressed about him being missing as we go on holiday on Friday.

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 02-Aug-16 20:20:44

why was he in a shelter?.

darumafan Wed 03-Aug-16 09:57:47

His mum was taken to the rescue as a pregnant semi-feral. He was born there, his 2 brothers were rehomed quite quickly but he was over looked until we fell in love with his little face.

I think we weren't told the truth though, I have a feeling that he had been rehomed and then bought back to the rescue. He is such hard work, he seems to find the world a very scary place.

Toddlerteaplease Wed 03-Aug-16 10:03:23

Keep persevering. I adopted two rescues who have taken months to settle in. It wasn't until my friend adopted two cats that settled in straightaway, that I realised what a rubbish time my two had had. Almost a year on and we've finally got there.

Toddlerteaplease Wed 03-Aug-16 10:07:05

The behaviour you describe seems fairly normal for a newish cat to be honest. One of mine hid for a week and I didn't see her at all. Some cats just like to be out a lot it doesn't mean they are unhappy. Again some cats are more skittish than others. One of mine is still very skittish after a year.

Missgraeme Wed 03-Aug-16 10:10:03

He cuddles u so must trust u. Would be a shame to give up on him.

cozietoesie Wed 03-Aug-16 10:27:24

You sound like quite a populous and busy household?

darumafan Wed 03-Aug-16 10:53:04

Missgraeme He only let me cuddle him the night he had a bath when he was all wrapped up in a towel and felt safe (I think)

cozietoesie We are populous in regards to cats but it isn't quite as bad as it sounds! We have the 3 youngest ones who are all around 16/17 months old.
We have a very elderly girl (17 years old) who spends the vast majority of her time asleep in the greenhouse, she is solar powered!
Our 12 year old boy is a garden cat, he really only comes in to eat and to make sure that we haven't vanished on him.
Our 5 year old girl is a very outdoorsy cat, she comes in to eat and sleep.
The majority of the time, the rescue boy is happy in his conservatory on his own. He plays with the other two in the evenings and does his prowling after dinner when we are quiet. I work from home so its only me and him during the day.
I really, really don't want to give up on him, he came back this morning and was sat on the patio talking to his housemates quite happily. I managed to bribe him to come in with roast chicken! He is such a sweet little thing, just so skittish.
All our other cats are cuddly, fuss loving cats. The two other young ones are complete lap cats in the evenings once they have played and worn themselves out. I was hoping that by now, Bogey would want to have cuddles occasionally.
I'm worried that we are failing him in some way, I'm not sure what to do to help him.

thecatneuterer Wed 03-Aug-16 10:57:12

This all sounds very normal with a timid cat. He would not be happier anywhere else.

However the one things your post screams out to me is that you need a cat flap. Timid cats like to feel that they can escape when they want to. If they feel they can always get out then they become much happier to be inside as they know they have an escape route.

We will only home timid/semi feral cats to houses with cat flaps for that reason. It makes for much less stressed cats and makes the cats much less likely to just disappear.

It will take some time, but with a cat flap and some patience he will probably become a very friendly cat. Even if he doesn't he will still be happy.

I think you will have to keep him shut in while you're on holiday though. I presume you have a cat feeder coming in? I would recommend keeping him in one room while you are on holiday.

Of course if you won't be happy with a cat that may never be cuddly that's a different matter. But he will be fine and certainly wouldn't be happier anywhere else.

cozietoesie Wed 03-Aug-16 11:01:11

I wouldn't be thinking in terms of 'failing him'. Sometimes, cats and households just aren't good 'fits' that's all. (The Lodger decided to move in with us although he had several choices at that stage - we just 'fitted' him better than the others. They'd have been loving and caring owners to him but Hey Ho - it wasn't to be.)

Do you think he's happy?

darumafan Wed 03-Aug-16 11:06:09

thecatneuterer I didn't know that about cat flaps. We have just ordered a new back door especially so that we can have a cat flap.

My son isn't not coming on holiday with us so the cats will have a slave around, our neighbour has agreed to come over and do the evening meal if Sam is doing overtime or whatever. All three of the youngest cats will be left in the house during the day whilst we are away. I think it will help to keep Bogey company. They will have the run of downstairs but no access to the bedrooms or bathroom.

I'm not worried if he isn't a cuddly cat, it would be nice to have a cuddle very now and again but if he doesn't want that then that's ok as long as he is happy.

Its very hard to read him, he eats well and lets us know its time for their evening meal! He sleeps quite happily in the kitchen at night and can often be found sitting on top of the kitchen cupboards in the morning just watching us. He seems to be interested in being a cat but not quite sure on how to do it, if that makes sense?

So, do I just keep letting him be? I want him to be a happy little boy, that's why we picked him.

darumafan Wed 03-Aug-16 11:09:42

cozietoesie I think he is reasonably content with things, he is most definitely happiest when he has Jax and Opie with him. He is content to just 'be' He seems to like watching the world from a vantage point which we are happy to let him do, if he feels safer high up then that's ok with us. He doesn't really play with us, but he will play with the toys when he thinks we aren't watching!

cozietoesie Wed 03-Aug-16 11:16:02

Maybe see how things go with the cat flap then? He may not be a cuddly cat - some cats just aren't.

darumafan Wed 03-Aug-16 11:24:49

I'm hoping that now thecatneuterer has explained why a cat flap is a good idea, it will make a difference. Obviously, I don't want to have to keep him in the house all the time. My big fear is that when he goes out, it takes 2/3 days for him to come home.

Do you think being the offspring of a semi-feral is the reason he is like this? The rescue lady was lovely but did have a lot of cats so I don't think that he got a huge amount of attention/affection. He was fed, wormed etc but I cant see how she could have been able to give any of them the cuddles and fuss that cats need.

thecatneuterer Wed 03-Aug-16 13:21:20

I'm sure you don't need a whole new door to fit a cat flap! You can fit a cat flap in any type of door.

Yes it's generally kittens that don't get enough socialisation that end up timid. A feral mother can make taming a bit more difficult, but really it's the amount of handling that is crucial.

darumafan Wed 03-Aug-16 13:54:30

We need a new back door anyway and it's just the way timing has worked!

I thought the handling may have played a part, poor little Bogey. Is there anything we can do to improve his socialisation or is it too ingrained by now?

cozietoesie Wed 03-Aug-16 14:04:38

He may have had an escapade but remember - he came back. I'd see how things go with the cat flap installed.

darumafan Wed 03-Aug-16 14:10:58

cozietoesie That is what we are telling ourselves. Each time he has gone, its been for a couple of days but he has returned. Hungry and once filthy but he does come back.

He does seem to understand that this is home and that we are his slaves. He is just reluctant to come in when he does come back. The other two talking to him this morning seemed to be the incentive he needed, well that and hunger!

cozietoesie Wed 03-Aug-16 14:16:34

Summer is a bad time of year for potential roamers as well - when Autumn rain and cold come in and outside is less interesting, you might find he enjoys his inside-the-house a bit more.

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