Relocating

IMPORTANT: If your cat is in any distress or discomfort, please consult your own vet as your first priority.
Post Reply
brtshshrthairbeans
New Cat Chatter
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2021 4:58 pm

Relocating

Post by brtshshrthairbeans »

Hey guys,

My partner and I have just taken in a cat from somebody who needed to rehome her - she's an adorable little moggy (5 1/2 years old) who's very loving, but also very nervous.

As soon as she was let out of her carrier she dived under the sofa and stayed there for several days. She came out to eat but scurried back under as soon as anyone came into the room. After a few days I managed to coax her out with strokes and treats and she'll come out and wander around the room and come for attention if we're on our own in there, but if we walk in too quickly or someone comes down the stairs she'll scoot back under again.

We're struggling with this a little because interacting with her under there is nearly impossible, and we're a bit worried that it means she's going to struggle to acclimatise to life here. She's got two covered beds in the room that she could hide in if she wants (and thus be a bit more involved and used to general life), but she always goes straight under the sofa.

We were wondering about blocking up underneath the sofa when she's next out to get her to use the other beds and integrate a little more, but don't know if it's too unfair to take away her current safe space (despite the fact that she already has two more she could use and that it will probably help her in the long run).

Any thoughts please?
User avatar
Mollycat
VIP Cat Chatter!
Posts: 1580
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2019 10:58 am
No. of cats in household: 1
Location: UK

Re: Relocating

Post by Mollycat »

Nooooo DON'T block her access under the sofa, please.

It's fine, believe me, as the owner of an extreme shy timid nervous cat, just let her be, she will come out in her own good time. The best thing you can do to help her right now is to give her the time and space to figure out for herself that this place is safe and these people are safe.

Please stop trying to interact with her in her hiding place. When you're in the room try to move softly and quietly, not on eggshells but everything gentle and predictable, no sudden movements or noises. Spend time sitting still, talk softly and encouragingly to her, read out loud, sit on the floor nearby but ignore her if she comes out to explore.

The most important thing a shy cat needs to know is that she will be left alone when she wants to be. What we think of as reassuring cuddles are threatening to them until they know and trust us. Try to resist the temptation to lure her out with treats, too, let her come out when she feels able.

These very shy cats have something wonderful to give, the gift of teaching us patience, empathy, how less is more, how to let go, how to slow down and be calm and in fact, just be. The reward of being allowed to rub behind a soft ear that we have worked to earn the privilege, means so much more than a tart cat walking in and demanding head bumps from day one. In time, you'll be as mad as me phoning all your friends to announce that Cat sat on your lap for the first time, or didn't move when you walked into the bedroom, or let you wipe some snot out of her eye.
User avatar
fjm
VIP Cat Chatter!
Posts: 1156
Joined: Sat Dec 23, 2017 6:11 pm
No. of cats in household: 2
Location: North West England

Re: Relocating

Post by fjm »

I would leave her be, and definitely not block her access to her chosen safe space or try to drag her out. Make sure she has food, water, tray etc and let her decide when and how to come out. Spend time in there just sitting - especially sitting on the floor - and taking quietly or reading aloud she will gradually gain confidence, and start exploring more. Trying to push her too fast will just frighten her, and make her more determined to hide.

(Snap, Mollycat!)
brtshshrthairbeans
New Cat Chatter
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2021 4:58 pm

Re: Relocating

Post by brtshshrthairbeans »

Great, thank you guys, that's what I thought would be said.

We'll keep her access and just let her do her thing.

I can see what you mean about it being rewarding though when you make progress - we definitely felt that when she first popped out!
User avatar
Mollycat
VIP Cat Chatter!
Posts: 1580
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2019 10:58 am
No. of cats in household: 1
Location: UK

Re: Relocating

Post by Mollycat »

If you have a read of the Coco and Chanel thread, those girls are perhaps the most extreme ever, but Molly was quite bad too. She still has funny moments and nothing is logical to me - she is happy watching fireworks and is unfazed by a potato exploding in the oven, but hi-vis trousers sent her running for cover. I can bury my face in her tummy and kiss it, but a hand there would be shredded. She can hide when the carrier comes out, but once we have missed the appointment and I am relaxed again she will come out and sit in it looking me straight in the eyes.

They don't always make sense, but boy do they make for an interesting journey.
Post Reply