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Advice needed - new rescue cat (pic included)(25 Posts)
Today, I welcomed a new addition to the household - Olive (pic attached, I know the rules!)
She's from a local rescue charity, and has been in foster care for about 3 months. They think she's about 7 years old, but she has no teeth, so it's hard to tell. It's also likely that she was mistreated at some point in her history as she's taken a long while to gain confidence with her foster carer.
Of course she's now back to a strange situation for her, so I appreciate that it will take some time for her to get that confidence back. And that's absolutely fine. I just want to make her feel safe and secure, and reassured that she'll never be mistreated again.
At the moment she's in my attic on her own, hiding under the bed. She has access to wet food and some (small kibble) dried food, plus water and a litter tray. She can be up there as long as she needs, to find her feet and get used to her new situation.
So my questions - while she's up there, how is best to visit her?
I'm working nights for 4 nights now, so can pop up frequently (all being well at work), to make sure she's ok. But is that too much?
Should I let her have an undisturbed long stretch (as she would normally get overnight) and see if she ventures out for food/water/toilet?
I'm planning to spend a couple of hours up there just sitting quietly, reading, and talking gentle nonsense to her tomorrow, just to try to get her used to me. But I'll leave her under the bed to come out in her own time. Does that sound ok?
At some point I will then need to get her used to her housemate, Henry. My gut reaction is that she needs time alone first to settle into the house, then start introducing his scent etc, before eventually trying a face to face meeting (with him in his harness possibly to calm him down). But is this wrong? Should I start with his scent now, to get all the new things out of the way at once?
Final question - should I use a Feliway in the attic for her now?
Apologies for the essay - I want to get this right and make her a happy puss!
She’s so adorable and beautiful! I think what you’ve proposed is perfect. Just let her stay hidden but spend time with her, chatting softly. Try to read up on introducing cats. And congratulations! She’s a lucky girl.
She fabulous and a lovely name which really suits her.
I think you will be fine!
Sounds great. And what a lovely girl! We found the feliway plug in helped a lot.
I really think you are doing all the right things! I find Feliway great for my two, who are very settled but hate any changes.
Just don't expect too much too soon or get disheartened. She's fallen in her feet with you, I'm sure .
Sounds like you have a good plan! Even my own cat hid for a bit when we moved house until he felt comfortable in the new place, so don't expect too much initially. Just move slowly and at her pace.
My rescue cat hid behind the fridge for quite a while. ....but she was one of the loveliest cats. I am sure yours will be too..beautiful cats you have!
I would spend some time quietly in the room, reading, or similar, for her to get used to you.
Feliway is good.
Once she is more relaxed with you, eating and drinking happily I would think about scent swapping etc.
She's so cute. One of mine hid for a week when I first got her. Then she came out and was such a diva!
I would also recommend getting her a cat nip toy and maybe a cardboard scratching pad, just a couple of things to welcome her.
I've just popped upstairs to say goodnight. She's still under the bed, but I managed to put my hand out to her to let her have a sniff. She didn't react much, but didn't hiss or growl, or move away. So I'm taking that as a win!
I've put her to bed for the night - had to resist the temptation to leave a light on for her. Feliway plugged in and pumping out its magic.
More baby steps tomorrow
Jackson Galaxy did a video about an abused Tortie and it’s on YouTube. They thought it would be unadoptable but she really turned it around.
They are both lovely.
She's under the bed most of the time as expected, but she's let me scritch behind her ears and licked some lick-e-lix off my finger today. I felt so blessed!
Lovely DP has managed to set up the catcams too, so I've just watched her sneak out from under the bed and tuck into some food :-)
Ohh she is lovely and YY to the CatCam . My malecat hid under the sofa for the forst week , his sister was prowling round the room.
The did eat and pooh /pee .
the CatCam was very re assuring in that we knew he wasn't perma-bonded to the sofa .And it is interesting to see what the little ratbags get up to
Did her fostercarer give you any tips on what they tried when Olive was first with them? For your cat it's like going through it all over , new people, new smells , new house layout .. Did they have other cats there ?
Most animals thrive on Routine (and food)
Olive is settling in slowly, but surely. Yesterday (for the first time) she came out to eat while I was still in the room. Today (for the first time) she approached me for some head and chin scritches and was purring madly all the time.
Took her scent downstairs on my hand and Henry growled/hissed, bless him. Not going to rush the two of them meeting, but will take it slowly. Trying more scent transfer now - mats that both like to lay on swapped about between their rooms.
Olive was fostered on her own, and loves fresh chicken. I might tempt her with some of that to see if she will take it from my hand now she's getting a bit more friendly!
Thought I'd do a quick update. Olive has been here 3 weeks now, and is gaining confidence each day. She still hasn't come down from the attic, but I think it's just a matter of time.
Henry went up to have a look and they were nose to nose for a while (he did hiss a bit) and then he backed off. He's been up a couple of times since, and on Thursday came down in a tearing hurry, scattering food on his way. When I went up there was a little patch of ginger fur on the floor.....
So it seems as though Olive is more than capable of standing up for herself, which I find reassuring (as my previous cat used to back off, which only made Henry worse). I think it's doing him good to be challenged
We're at the stage now where I leave the attic door open whenever we're in the house during the day, so there is chance for them to mingle. Might try leaving it open overnight tonight, to see if she's a bit braver at exploring in the dark!
She is a sweet little thing. It sounds like she has had a rough life, so it will take her time to gain confidence and emerge from attic. Does she have a cat bed under the bed? I have one very nervous rescue and he loves his cat bed, it makes him feel safe. When we moved, he spent the first few weeks in it under the bed and it helped him settle in. I think they are great for nervous cats, the ones I get are Rogz
She's got gorgeous eyes. Glad she can stand up for her self!
So it seems as though Olive is more than capable of standing up for herself Never underestimate a tortie. They are the post menopausal bleached blonde leopard print cardie heavy eyeliner women of the cat world & are not to be trifled with.
I was watching ndn tortie and ginger boy in the garden, he got too close so she walloped him one, squeaked loudly & shot in the house like her tail was on fire. You’d assume he’d gone for her not the other way around.
Thanks op - this is one of the more heartwarming threads I’ve read in a while. You sound a brilliant new household for her. Good luck.
She is beautiful btw.
Agree with Fluffycloudlanf77 haha
Thanks all. Sounds as though naughty torties really exist!
Had them sharing a lick-e-lix today, with only a bit of hissing. Photo shows the totally ignored cat bed
After this Henry departed, and I had Olive beside me on the bed, for the first time!
Not much progress on the "cats getting along nicely" front at the moment.
I'm leaving the attic door open during the day, so both can wander, but Olive has stayed resolutely upstairs. Henry has been up a couple of times to investigate, but as soon as he hisses Olive takes a swipe and he scarpers downstairs, tail between his legs. I tried leaving the door open overnight but there was a massive kerfuffle so I shut it again!
So I need ways to stop Henry hissing.. and to stop Olive taking a swipe at him. Ideas? I already have a feliway.
I wondered if perhaps feeding them in the same room (socially distanced!) might be a good start? Then they get to know the smell of each other a bit better, but with the distraction of food?
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