Settling in - nervous rescue cat

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Settling in - nervous rescue cat

Post by Jolene » Mon Jun 09, 2014 12:48 pm

Hi everyone. I have come to this website in need of some advice. I have just rescued a cat who was originally from a multi-cat home. He was then in a cage type rescue pen, before being moved to a home for fostering for just over a month. Admittedly a lot for a cat to deal with. He is very nervous which I was aware of before taking him on, but now a couple of weeks in I am looking for some advice on how to win his trust.

I originally consigned him to one room where he had a box to hide in, and all his bits around him. He still has this, but the door is now open.

For the first week he hid in the box, but seemed to come out at night, and after a couple of days was eating and using the litter box. As he was more active at night he seemed to want to venture out of the room and so now has the run of the house. Although he was more active this was only when we weren't in the room - i.e. could hear him from downstairs or next door room.

However, the current situation is that he will generally hide in his box in his "safe room" as soon as my partner and I are up in the morning. He will also generally be hiding when we get home from work. At the weekend, he doesn't appear to leave the box much during the day when we are around.

Once it gets dark he seems to become more active, and will occasionally venture into our bedroom to hide under the bed, or head downstairs. However, if he sees us he will bomb back upstairs into his room to hide.

I understand it takes time to build trust, and I am trying not to bother him too much, ocassionally visiting his room to sit and read, and not invading his hiding space. The problem is that at night he meows a lot. For the first two nights we had him it was constant, then it became very sporadic, but recently it has become fairly regular again. I also don't feel that I am making any progress in bonding with him.

My question is, what can I do to help him? I have a felliway plug in and am getting some zylkene tablets. Should I be trying to spend more time "with him" or am I better just ignoring his presence, or trying to restrict him to one room again, as he seems overwhelmed. He isn't agressive, but just very anxious.

Any help would be gratefully appreciated!

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Re: Settling in - nervous rescue cat

Post by Jacks » Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:07 pm

Poor little lad! It sounds like he is still confused after all the changes he has suffered - some cats are more resilient to change than others.

I would give him time - when he's ready you can instead work on the fusses, active play and lots of nice places to perch for the lad. Do you have a nice climbing tree? The fact that he hides from you confirms that he's not confident and secure but I'm sure with love and time he will get there.

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Re: Settling in - nervous rescue cat

Post by greenkitty » Mon Jun 09, 2014 2:18 pm

I would let him set the pace, you're doing everything right. I would try and sit in his room and read aloud everyday, try leaving a radio on when you're not around (during the day). When you're sitting in there reading try tempting him with a treat but let him come to you to take it and also try engaging him in play something on the end of a stick or string so you don't have to get to close to him.

Bless him, he's been through a lot but with time and patience I bet he'll come round :)

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Re: Settling in - nervous rescue cat

Post by notjustacat » Thu Jun 12, 2014 5:25 pm

Hi Jolene
i thought my 4 year old rescue cat Cheyenne ( so named for obvious reasons) was a one off nervous. Like you I restricted her to one room. She only came out at night, spending most of her time in a carry case she felt most comfortable in (her bolt hole). I tried felliway, reading to her, giving her treats and playing with her but she continued to be anxious. I eventually gave her the run of the house. However she got out one day, and having found the great outdoors spent or rather spends most of her time out there. Here is the rub. I have had her 9 months and as yet have not stroked her. She still comes home for meals and seems to be less nervous. But approaching her is a no no. With advise from this forum I have tended to leave her to it,and she seems happy with that arrangement. I am sure she will come round but not in the near future I suspect. Very nervous cats seem to be a long term project. For me I realized Cheyenne didn't ask to come here so future progress is on her terms.

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