Advice Please - Behaviour Problems

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Wexcatlady25
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Advice Please - Behaviour Problems

Post by Wexcatlady25 » Fri Mar 13, 2020 1:14 pm

I volunteer at a local cat rescue. We had a 12 / 14 yr old male cat be surrendered to us about a month ago, its owner had died & there was no one to look after the cat. I think a neighbour had been feeding the cat for a short while. the cat was very depressed & withdrawn in the cattery so I have taken him home to foster. I have never fostered a cat before and have 1 6 yr old male cat of my own. Both cats are separated at present. The foster cat doesn't seem to be settling, he has remained very withdrawn all week. He hides most of the time in the room I have him in, he's eating well & using the litter tray but has no interest in toys etc. I'm not sure if I've made things any easier on this poor cat by being in my home or around me. I don't think the cat is used to females or living with another cat. I'm wondering how do I help the cat, how do I help him stop hiding etc. I have managed to pet him a couple of times but he doesn't seem to like that much either. I really don't know if bringing the cat to foster in my home has helped him at all or what I should do now. Any advice would be gratefully received. Thank you.

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Re: Advice Please - Behaviour Problems

Post by Mollycat » Fri Mar 13, 2020 6:02 pm

Hi and welcome to the forum. There are lots of fosters here who will be along I'm sure to give more detailed advice but in the meantime - how long has this boy been with you at home?

Poor love has had a lot of upset, is most likely grieving, depending on circumstances he may have been very distressed by the goings on. If he has been fed by a neighbour and left alone in the house for a while, then off to the rescue with all the stress of that move and then another move, he is bound to be very upset. And as friendly and caring as you are, he needs to find that out for himself as well as dealing with a new home and the smell of another cat around. He needs time and patience more than anything.

I would spend time in the room with him, sitting on the floor if you can. Talk softly to him or read aloud but softly to him, ignore him and don't look at him. Do this every day, quite often but not to be 'in his face' all the time. He will get used to you and start to trust that you are a kind person. Hopefully he will start to get curious and get closer to you. I wouldn't use treats, I know many people do but I like a cat to approach me because they want to be near me, not for bribery - it may take longer but it feels deeper to me.

Don't try to rush things with him, let him gain confidence at his own pace. If he is eating that's a good sign. If it's any comfort to you some of us have cats that have taken literally years to get as good as they are and they are nowhere near confident or affectionate, there are lots of posts on here about them including some of the most extreme Coco and Chanel. Most of all don't worry - he will pick up on your stress and not understand what it means, only that you are worried, and that will worry him. He needs a calm confident human who has faith in him and all the patience in the world for him to come around in his own time and who trusts him to do that.

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Re: Advice Please - Behaviour Problems

Post by alanc » Fri Mar 13, 2020 8:43 pm

I would echo what Mollycat says. 1 week is a very short time for an elderly cat to adjust. As an example, when I took 9yr old Misty on many years ago, he took several months to come out of his shell. Once he did though, he was transformed into a cheerful (though timid) cat. He had been at the recue about a month when I took him (and his younger companion Honey).

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Re: Advice Please - Behaviour Problems

Post by booktigger » Fri Mar 13, 2020 8:51 pm

Mollycats advice is pretty much spot on, this poor boy has had a lot of upheaval and just needs time, love and patience. The fact he is eating and using the tray is positive, I wouldn't be concerned that he isn't playing at his age. A home environment is preferable for both his age and being withdrawn. The only other things I can suggest are calming aids. My 3 have a combination of Feliway, Royal canin calm biscuits and Beapher calming treats.

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Re: Advice Please - Behaviour Problems

Post by Mollycat » Sat Mar 14, 2020 6:25 am

Just to add though especially for a shy or traumatised cat, a home environment or a shelter are both strange new scary places, but the home foster has much more individual focus to offer and so more chance of him settling ... on the other hand also more chance to get attached and join the household permanently! Especially when you work so hard to win their trust, it's all the harder to let them go.

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fjm
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Re: Advice Please - Behaviour Problems

Post by fjm » Sat Mar 14, 2020 9:00 am

He is warm, safe, eating well, and the stress levels in your spare room must be much lower than those in a rescue cattery, no matter how well run. For a cat that has been through so much upset in the last few weeks and months a calm, safe place is probably all he wants for a while. I think one huge advantage to him of being fostered is that you will be able to help his eventual new humans understand him - you will know how long it takes him to adapt to new circumstances, how he prefers to be approached, what he likes to eat, all the information that will make his next move (assuming you don't end up falling in love!) much easier for everyone.

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Re: Advice Please - Behaviour Problems

Post by Wexcatlady25 » Tue Mar 17, 2020 10:37 pm

Thank you all so much for replying and for all the advice, I am spending time each day in the room talking to him or just reading quietly. He usually backs further into his hiding place away from me..... I'll persevere in the hope he comes round

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