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Settling in a nervous adopted cat

(13 Posts)
beerbelly Sat 06-Jun-15 23:24:57

Hi, I am after some advice. We adopted a cat a few weeks ago. He's about 3 but has been living rough for some time apparently.

At first, he seemed to be settling in OK - using the litter tray, coming out of hiding in the evening and he even let bath him. But he seems to be regressing - he has bit both my seven year old and I! He has had a traumatic few days with the kids having a noisy sleepover last week (he was too scared to come out use his litter tray so pooed under the sofa) and a fraught trip to the vets on Friday (I was so scared getting him in the box, I had to wear gloves!) so I have banned the kids from playing in the playroom where he is hiding and have put his litter and food in that room too and we are giving him some space....but the little sod has been and pooed on the bathroom floor!

Obviously, it will take him some time to settle, but he seems to be getting worse! Any advice?

Rollypoly100 Sun 07-Jun-15 00:18:14

Give him a nice place to sleep and not be disturbed and he will settle. Let him get used to his surroundings in his own time and have a place he can escape to if he feels overwhelmed.
Also Feliway is very good for nervous cats. We adopted our boy at 13 and he'd been in rescue for about five years. He was very insecure and a bit bitey but a year on and he's a changed cat (and Feliway really helped!)

cozietoesie Sun 07-Jun-15 10:52:09

At least you can tie it down to a couple of specific events which have damaged his trust. More time and possibly some Feliway as suggested above I think. Try also to keep to as strict a routine as you can manage for him with DCs - cats seem to love 'sameyness' inside their houses.

Is there any chance of giving him some gentle classical/schmaltzy music inside his tent? They sometimes find a low-volume constant noise source reassuring as well.

fiveacres Sun 07-Jun-15 10:53:24

Aww poor scardey cat.

One of mine has never changed unfortunately.

beerbelly Sun 07-Jun-15 11:47:06

Thanks folks. I've got the Feliway plugged in. I am mainly worried about the regression - he went from using his litter tray and occasionally coming to the living room to see us to staying in hiding, only coming out to crap in random places.

Really hope he comes around as it was the children who begged for a pet - this one has been a bit of a disappointment to them so far!

cozietoesie Sun 07-Jun-15 12:20:23

I think you have to look at it from his point of view, beer. He let his guard down, started to adapt - and then Whammo.

Knowing what 'noisy' sleepovers can be like, how sure are you that the DCs didn't - in a moment of innocent exuberance - grab him and take him up to be 'shown off' to noisy friends? (That might wash over a kitten's back, used as they are to the rough and tumble of a litter, but would be unlikely to go down so well with a still tentative adopted mature cat.) I'm not saying that that's definitely what happened but - you know what kids are like when they get in a group for a sleepover.

Maybe concentrate on letting him interact with the adults in the house for a bit until he finds his feet again? (Assuming that they're calm and quiet types.)

beerbelly Sun 07-Jun-15 13:21:52

I know - I totally ballsed up. We have had two rescue cats in the past who got their paws under the table straight away so I definitely rushed this one.

I have closed the playroom door and will tell the kids to only go in to take food. I'll leave it open once the kids are in bed in case he fancies a wander.

He has two more weeks to start being sociable but after that I think I will need to return him as it will be obvious he doesn't suit our home and family and I don't want a sad kitty who would be much happier living with one person sad .

cozietoesie Sun 07-Jun-15 13:47:39

See how it goes then - he may seem to have regressed but there appear to be reasons for it so him finding his feet again is not beyond the bounds of possibility. Aim to give him a good and stable routine and you'll hopefully see him improve.

Good luck to him and you all. smile

Rollypoly100 Sun 07-Jun-15 21:02:00

Try and give him a bit more time. They're a bit insecure when they've been in a rescue and can't instantly settle. I think it makes them more insecure when they're returned to a cat rescue. Maybe because our boy is older he took quite a while to relax. He will never be a lap cat but he loves to lie very close and he's become very affectionate. I hope it all works out for your kitty.

cozietoesie Tue 09-Jun-15 22:46:17

How's he doing, beer ?

beerbelly Wed 10-Jun-15 12:46:32

Not much of a change. He will come out after 9pm but is still quite jumpy and prefers to be under the playroom sofa. It is a real shame for the children and I am thinking I'll give him until a week on Saturday (which will be four weeks in total since we got him) and, if there is no change, see about asking the cat sanctuary if they can rehome him somewhere quieter, with no children.

Can anyone reassure me that there is still time for him to change?

cozietoesie Wed 10-Jun-15 12:54:40

Oh there's definitely time for him to find his feet still. It seems it's the children who are making him edgy?

Are you managing to give him a good routine?

AtWorkNotW0rking Wed 10-Jun-15 13:03:52

I think in a boisterous household with kids the ideal cat is a young one / kitten who gets used to all the noise and enjoys being fussed over and not a cat who obviously is nervous and used to live rough. It does sound to me that he would be ideal for a quiet single person household.

We re homed a cat 11 months ago when she was 8 weeks old. She settled within about ten minutes and is so used to the kids picking her up every five minutes. She enjoys playing with them and pouncing on their feet and isn't the slightest bit phased by my 8 year old charging about the place as its all she has known.

My long winded way of saying that you'd be wise to return this cat if you can't make it work/ fit for your family

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