We collected Big Ginge and Little Ginge last Saturday from a rescue. They had been in there for a couple of months, and not had the best time before that. They have been settling well (apart from the nighttime scrapping and mad half hour at 4am) but yesterday and today they have been really jumpy. It's the longest they have been left (8.30 - 4pm) so could that be it? And how can I help them settle?
They are desperate to get outside but not taking a chance with that just yet!
The best thing you can do right now is ignore them, unless they come up to you for affection. Cats find eye contact and being watched extremely threatening, so pretending that the cats don't exist gives them the confidence to explore the house and check you out. That includes allowing them to look at you and sniff you without you reacting. You can then start to gradually acknowledge their existance!
It took my Very Big Ginge a long time to settle into my flat when I first got him. He would hide under the bed when the post came or he heard the slightest noise. He gradually became more and more confident and is now fine. We moved six months ago to a flat where the shared garden has a lot of cats. VBG has coped very well and is even chasing the other cats away (I feel like the parent of the school bully!)
The best thing I did was get a couple of books by a cat behaviourist called Vicky Halls, you can get them pretty cheaply second-hand. She explains cat behaviour and how to help a cat become more confident. It also lets you know how to avoid problems in the future. One thing I learned was to have a cat water fountain, as cats prefer their water moving and filtered, as they are very sensitive to the taste, they also prefer their water to be in a different place to their food. VBG loves it. He drinks so much more, which is great for his kidneys and will hopefully help prevent problems in the future.