Hello We recently adopted a lovely adult cat (2 years) but she's incredibly timid - hid up the chimney for the first few days, then she settled under the stairs for a few days and even let me stroke her, but for the last week she's been hiding in a space behind the toilet that no one can get to aside from her. She's eating well and using her litter tray but will only come out at nice when it's deadly quiet, when we're asleep or when we've left the house.
I'm trying to leave her alone but offering treats, and talking to her when I go in the same room but she's not having any of it. I'm hoping she'll come around to us in time but it's been two weeks and there's been little progress (aside from the one bit of stroking that was a week ago). When we adopted her, the foster carer said it would take a couple of days for her to warm up to us but that's clearly not the case! I'm a bit worried that as a family of four (noisy toddler and baby) that we're a bad fit for her as a family.
Does anyone have any tips on how to help a very timid girl? Or is it just time (as I suspect/hope)
Don't worry, it can take a long time for timid cats to come out. We've had 2, and they both took longer to come out ! She will come to you when she's ready. One thing we found very successful, was to give them a taped up cardboard box with a little door way cut in the side. That way they could still hide, but also watch and get used to us being there. You'll need to position it away from the main thoroughfare, and the opening small enough that the toddler can't get in. One of our 'little boys' stayed in his box for 6 months.
Will she let you stroke her gently when she's eating? We also found this was a helpful to get a timid cat used to being touched.
I had a rescue cat who acted similarly, only coming out at night, hiding up the chimney etc. I am sure that lots of cats just settle down, but... mine ran off the first time we let him out. I do wonder sometimes if I should have taken him back to be adopted by someone without young children. I am not saying this will happen to your cat but obviously don't let her out til she really is really comfortable with you. Have you spoken to the foster person about it?
As for tips, we found feliway (?) helped, the one you plug in and also putting the radio on! And dreamies/salmon/tuna! I also spent as much time as I could in the evening sitting in the room with him. Unfortunately if she won't let you near her then you can't stroke her which would obviously help! as I know it is stressful!
Mine were dreadfully timid when I got them, especially Boycat. Feliway helped, also Zylkene may work with yours (does with mine, doesn't with all i gather). Literally took me a couple of months before I could even touch Girlcat, and almost a year for Boycat. Now Boycat jumps on my bed in the morning & won't let me get up until he's had his belly rubs [love]
Just give her all the time she wants, and as Kittytom says don't let her out until she's friendly!
Wanted to update you all as there's been such change this last week. The night after I posted she finally came or of her hiding hole and I bombarded her with dreamies and she let me stroke her! Since then she's been getting bolder - she slept on our bed last night and has been waking me up nudging me with her head wanting to play. Yesterday when I was working from home she settled herself in front of the computer on top of all my papers which was helpful... She's still nervous around the children and DH but she's not bolting from them all the time and has gone to each of them for a stroke. So I know we'll get there! Thank you all so much for the reassurance and advice.