Join Date: May 2011
Location: Chino Valley, AZ
Help acclimating a terrified cat
So, my brother adopted a cat off Craigslist on Wednesday afternoon. He's a gorgeous ~2.5yo pure white DSH with one blue eye and one green eye. The previous owners adopted "Mr Kitty" (what my brother is calling him...for the record, I hate the name lol) at six months of age. They had an older cat (6yo at the time, I believe) who did NOT like Mr Kitty. The people let their older cat terrorize Mr Kitty for two years, hoping that "they'd eventually get along." Finally, Mr Kitty was hiding so much that they decided to get rid of him (something they should have done a long time ago, but that's beside the point). When my brother went to see Mr Kitty, he was hiding in a bathroom cabinet in a bed the owners had made for him there because he refused to come out. They had even put food, water and a litter box in there with him. Apparently he doesn't like to be picked up if there are several people around, but he's "very loving once he warms up." The house was also very chaotic with two big dogs, the older cat, and two young children.
My brother is single and lives in a smaller, older two bedroom, two bath house he rents from my parents. Te most activity at his house is if I or my boyfriend stop by to visit. When he's home, he's usually got music playing (he's used to sound and people 24/7, so being in a quiet, empty house freaks him out a little). He got the cat for company and because he's not at a point in his life where he'd be comfortable dealing with a dog. He's also always preferred cats to dogs.
Now, on to poor Mr Kitty. The first evening, he stayed in his carrier and refused to come out. My brother left the cage door open that night so Mr Kitty could explore and put a collar with a bell on it on him (he's used to a collar with a bell, but the one that was on him originally was too small). Yesterday morning, Mr Kitty was hiding in the bathtub in the spare bathroom. He stayed there until noon when my brother pulled him out and made him stay in the main living area. Mr Kitty settled under a small table my brother had under one of the windows in the living room and didn't move for the rest of the day. I got to my brother's just after 5pm and stayed until 9:30pm, helping him with some stuff and then watching old Carol Burnett Show tapes. Mr Kitty did not move the entire time I was there, although about half an hour before I left, he started snoozing and actually relaxing/stretching out a little. This morning, my brother found Mr Kitty holed up in one of the kitchen cabinets and it's been a battle of wills ever since to keep him out in the main living area and not hiding. In addition to the constant hiding, the poor guy is shedding in huge clumps from stress.
So, my question is this: is there anything we can do to help Mr Kitty feel more comfortable and not so scared? How long should it take for him to acclimate? Any advice is appreciated. I know dogs and horses, but I'm not a big cat person. Heck, our cat thinks he's a dog and loves new/interesting situations, so I can't use him as a guide. Lol
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