Animal Welfare Professionals

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  • 1.  Terrified cat

    Posted 06-28-2019 07:30 PM

    Hi, I was just wondering if I could get advice in regards to my new cat Tobias. I have had him for about a week now, and he refuses to let me even come near him. He will play with toys around me that keep me further away from him (laser light, toy on a string, etc.) but any time I even attempt to come near him he hides. I know I haven't had him for that long, but I was wondering if this is normal behavior for a cat in a new environment and people at this point still or not (I've never adopted a cat before, I've only ever moved into houses with cats already adjusted to their houses and people-foster care joys).

    He eats, goes to the bathroom, sleeps, acts, etc. normally, the only thing that concerns me is his fear of me getting near. Is this a normal thing that will just take patience to work through or is there something more I can do to help us try and build a bond?


  • 2.  RE: Terrified cat

    Posted 06-29-2019 03:03 AM

    Hi, some cats take time acclimated to a new place so give him time. You can try to get close to him and close and open your eyes slowly. This helps them to trust. You could also try to feed him treats if you haven’t already. It’s best to wait for him to come to you, he will. Good luck. 


  • 3.  RE: Terrified cat

    Posted 06-29-2019 07:58 AM

    We have had our adopted cat, Fat Louie, for about six weeks now, and his behovior is very similar to your cat's.  He is very friendly and will let me touch and pet him all over his body, purring, kneading, and rubbing against my hand, as long as he is under my desk or something else where his body is not exposed.  The minute he is out from under, however, he will not come near me or anyone else.  When I get up in the AM, he is sometimes out in the front part of the house, but as soon as he sees me, he literally charges back to his safe space under my desk in my study.  Once there, he is fine again.  I think that:

    1)  He was probably feral and misdiagnosed by the shelter as a domestic cat, and/or

    2)  He was "institutionalized" for so long (in three different shelters over the course of about seven months) that he doesn't feel comfortable out of a confined space.

    I gradually blocked off most of the places where Louie could hide, only leaving the ones available that would allow me to get near him.  Once I did that, I was able to approach him gradually, getting a little nearer each time and never trying to force him to do anything, until he finally accepted me as someone who was not going to hurt him.  Now we are "friends", as long as he's in his safe space.  I don't know how long it will be before he gets over his fear, but my patience seems to be being rewarded, albeit VERY SLOWLY.  I know it's frustrating, but I think the only answer to the problem is to take things slowly and be patient.


  • 4.  RE: Terrified cat

    Posted 06-29-2019 10:25 AM

    Try food, it seems like I always have my best chances of warming up to a cat when he/she’s eating 


  • 5.  RE: Terrified cat

    Posted 06-29-2019 04:18 PM

    It will happen in Tobias' time. We don't know what happened in his past or if he is simply frightened more easily than others, but he is a wonderful boy who likes to play and will take awhile before he trusts his human. It could be months before he relaxes enough so PLEASE be patient. He can sense your anxiousness so it will help him if you just play with him. Sit in the room with him. Offer him your hand but not too close so he can see you aren't going to rush him. Lots of very frightened cats don't want to play! You've got a great little guy there and he will trust you slowly, but if you a very willing to wait and patient, you will win his trust. I am rooting for you!


  • 6.  RE: Terrified cat

    Posted 06-30-2019 05:05 AM

    Cats do everything in their own time. Be patient soon you have a cuddle buddy. But if you push now by making him sit with you or anything like that, he will not trust you.  This is normal cat behavior. 


  • 7.  RE: Terrified cat

    Posted 06-30-2019 07:22 AM

    HOW OLD IS HE?  Is he in one room?  the space may be too large and overwhelming right now. I usually start off with a cat in one room, and always make sure there IS a hiding place for them. 

    Observe his body language. Notice when it changes. Is there a window in the space where he can look out at birds or animals? If there is, make a perch for him near a window. See if in time he is interested in what is going on outside.

    I would let him have a great hiding space -- put a bed in a closet  where you can still see him and don't have to look for him, but he knows if he needs.  OR you can take a big box and cover it with an old t-shirt and put a soft blanket or sheet inside with a toy and make a cave.  Food can be a motivator to come closer. place a treat a little away from where he is hiding and let him come out in his own time to get it.  You can repeat this each day. And then, start to bring the treat a little more out into the room.  Getting used to a new environment (smells, strangers etc) takes more time for some cats than others.  

    take time with him by sitting in the room with him (but not close) and reading out loud to him or sing to him or  just talk to him. Just BE with him and let him Be.  let him get used to you, your sounds, your footsteps, your smell. 

    If he is playing with a wand toy or laser -- that is good. that will build confidence.  mostly be with him and play with him and let him know you are safe and he is safe you are a friend (you feed him, you play with him, you keep his space safe).

    Your kitty just needs more time.