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Old 20.09.2011, 13:32
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Settling a cat

A friend of ours is off to the USA at the end September for 6 months and we're taking care of their cat for them while they are away.

He's a beautiful, darling kitty but very timid.

His mum brought him over last night to begin his extended holiday with us and since then he hasn't emerged out from the back of the sofa. In fact this morning when I went to see him, he had got himself wedged inside the fold out sofa bed and couldn't get out

Now, we anticipated that he would have difficulty adjusting so prepared in advance to make him as comfortable as possible. We have his bed and blankets from home and his scratching post etc so he is familiar with some things and I have also prepared the guest room for him to retreat to if he feels the need to escape away from us (in particular to escape from the noisy whirlwind two year old member of the mimi family).

We have left him alone and we are not trying to force him to come out, merely letting him adjust at his own pace and come out when he's ready. When we went to bed, I picked him up and gave him a cuddle which he seemed to enjoy as he was purring and in no hurry to run off again. I then put him in his bed, left a lamp on (totally unnecessary, I know, but I felt bad for him) and then left him shut in the living room/kitchen area so he could get his bearings before roaming around the whole apartment.

The other half has stayed at home with kitty today to keep an eye on him as I am worried that he would wedge himself in the sofa bed again (the cat that is ). Kitty hasn't emerged once from his hideaway since we freed him from the mouth of the dreaded sofa bed and hasn't eaten or drank anything, despite us moving the food and drink under the sofa with him.

Any tips or tricks anyone can offer? Are we doing the right thing? We are staying really calm around him and not fussing him so he is not picking up on me worrying (TBH the other half is less stressy than me about it so it's a good thing I am at work and kitty is with him ).

Also, this weekend we are off to the UK for my daughter's birthday party but I'm really reluctant to leave him now despite my friend (the owner)saying he will be fine for two days.

Poor pusskins
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Old 20.09.2011, 13:42
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Re: Settling a cat

Awe mimi--you are doing everything right.

The only thing I would recommend is to lock him in that spare bedroom that you have prepared for him. That way it is quiet and small and out of the main space you guys occupy. Let him get used to that space, go in and visit him often in that space, and then once it seems he is very used to that and you can tell he is ready to explore, then you can open up the rest of the house to him.

It takes time--usually several days. Don't worry about the food/water. He probably ate/drank during the middle of the night when all was quiet. This is all normal, really.

Just give him love and keep reassuring him that he is at home in your home and everything will be fine.
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Old 20.09.2011, 13:46
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Re: Settling a cat

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Awe mimi--you are doing everything right.

The only thing I would recommend is to lock him in that spare bedroom that you have prepared for him. That way it is quiet and small and out of the main space you guys occupy. Let him get used to that space, go in and visit him often in that space, and then once it seems he is very used to that and you can tell he is ready to explore, then you can open up the rest of the house to him.

It takes time--usually several days. Don't worry about the food/water. He probably ate/drank during the middle of the night when all was quiet. This is all normal, really.

Just give him love and keep reassuring him that he is at home in your home and everything will be fine.
Thanks JLF. We have a guest staying with us Thursday for one night and another guest the following week so we thought it might not be wise to get him used to "his room" only to turf him out in a few days to make way for our friend (bad time of year as everyone wants to visit mini-mimi because of her birthday).
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Old 20.09.2011, 13:50
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Re: Settling a cat

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Thanks JLF. We have a guest staying with us Thursday for one night and another guest the following week so we thought it might not be wise to get him used to "his room" only to turf him out in a few days to make way for our friend (bad time of year as everyone wants to visit mini-mimi because of her birthday).
I would still settle him somewhere small. Even if you have to move him into your room for one night here or there, this isn't a big deal (especially if the size of the space is similar). Cats have to re-establish "their" territory when they are uprooted. Thus, the smaller the space, the better. Once they have realized that the space is safe, expanding it (to the rest of the house) is easy.
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Old 20.09.2011, 13:51
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Re: Settling a cat

Time all is the kitty needs, cats usually react the same way when they're in a new environment. Just keep the kitty in a space where it can't do itself any harm until it gets used to the new environment.Once the kitty builds up its confidence allow it to move around the house. Don't worry it sounds like you're doing everything right. Enjoy the kitty they're so adorable aren't they?
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Old 20.09.2011, 13:55
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Re: Settling a cat

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I would still settle him somewhere small. Even if you have to move him into your room for one night here or there, this isn't a big deal (especially if the size of the space is similar). Cats have to re-establish "their" territory when they are uprooted. Thus, the smaller the space, the better. Once they have realized that the space is safe, expanding it (to the rest of the house) is easy.
That's why we thought to settle him in the living room as most of the day and night it is unoccupied (work all day, sleep etc. etc.). Then give him the freedom to get out and go to "his room" when we come home.

My concern is him not eating and the amount of time he is hiding in one spot....he hasn't even been to toilet!! When I had cats before, they hid for a few hours when they first arrived at ours and then started to explore.

Last edited by mimi1981; 20.09.2011 at 13:58. Reason: spelling fail
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Old 20.09.2011, 14:10
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Re: Settling a cat

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That's why we thought to settle him in the living room as most of the day and night it is unoccupied (work all day, sleep etc. etc.). Then give him the freedom to get out and go to "his room" when we come home.

My concern is him not eating and the amount of time he is hiding in one spot....he hasn't even been to toilet!! When I had cats before, they hid for a few hours when they first arrived at ours and then started to explore.
HI Mimmi,

If you confine the kitten to a small room it will help. Once in small room with the food and the litter box the kitten will gradually eat and use the litter box. Its normal for some cats to stop eating for a couple of days. One thing i did with my friends cat was pick it up and put it in the litter box that could work. Don't worry the kitten will come around. Are you using the same food the kitten is used to?

W
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Old 20.09.2011, 14:15
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Re: Settling a cat

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My concern is him not eating and the amount of time he is hiding in one spot....he hasn't even been to toilet!! When I had cats before, they hid for a few hours when they first arrived at ours and then started to explore.
but it really is alright. Did you show him where his litter box is? If not, I would recommend doing that. My baby, who I brought over in April, hid for at least two days before coming out. We settled him in our bedroom so that he heard my voice and encouraged him to come out as often as possible.

Cats are just this way. It just takes time. Keep talking to him, keep loving him (as you said you did before), and he will come out (on his own) eventually.
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Old 20.09.2011, 14:22
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Re: Settling a cat

Would offer to help and look after over weekend but I think 1) moving again would be more traumatic and 2) x3 children would be worse...
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Old 20.09.2011, 14:34
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Re: Settling a cat

Don't worry, all he needs is some time to adjust to his new family and environment. Our cat was very shy when we first brought her home (she was 4 years old at the time) - she kept hiding under the bed for almost one week and crawling out to eat/drink/use the litter box only at night. But as soon as she figured out the place was safe and that she could trust us, she warmed up to us and started to follow us around the house like a doggy, and curl up on our legs when we were sitting or sleeping and enjoy being petted.
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Old 20.09.2011, 14:34
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Re: Settling a cat

I suggest making a little private bed/space for him -- one that is out of the way, dark and that he can feel completely enclosed in. Cats and especially kittens like to feel nestled, just like human babies do. This is probably why your little guy keeps climbing up into the sofa.

Also, you may want to try putting out a tiny bowl of milk near him/her. This will get something in their tummy and also maybe help bring them out from under the sofa. Kitties LOVE milk!

Good luck!
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Old 20.09.2011, 14:40
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Re: Settling a cat

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I suggest making a little private bed/space for him -- one that is out of the way, dark and that he can feel completely enclosed in. Cats and especially kittens like to feel nestled, just like human babies do. This is probably why your little guy keeps climbing up into the sofa.

Also, you may want to try putting out a tiny bowl of milk near him/her. This will get something in their tummy and also maybe help bring them out from under the sofa. Kitties LOVE milk!

Good luck!
I have strict instructions not to give him milk from his owner.

Actually, I also never gave my other cats milk....something my vet once said about cats being lactose intolerant I have no idea how much truth is in that but having had cats with IBS I didn't want to take a chance.

We are giving him food that he had at home from the same bowls he used at home.
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Old 20.09.2011, 14:43
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Re: Settling a cat

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I have strict instructions not to give him milk from his owner.

Actually, I also never gave my other cats milk....something my vet once said about cats being lactose intolerant I have no idea how much truth is in that but having had cats with IBS I didn't want to take a chance.

We are giving him food that he had at home from the same bowls he used at home.
You can buy cartons of special cat milk, which my cat loves!
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Old 20.09.2011, 14:58
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Re: Settling a cat

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You can buy cartons of special cat milk, which my cat loves!
I was just going to suggest that.

You can buy the special cat milk in most Coops or Migros (or pet stores). It usually comes in a tiny little plastic bottle or sometimes a small cardboard carton.
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Old 20.09.2011, 15:38
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Re: Settling a cat

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I have strict instructions not to give him milk from his owner.

Actually, I also never gave my other cats milk....something my vet once said about cats being lactose intolerant I have no idea how much truth is in that but having had cats with IBS I didn't want to take a chance.

We are giving him food that he had at home from the same bowls he used at home.
Yes, adult cats usually become lactose intolerant so milk is best avoided if in doubt. Strangely enough our cat still enjoys some milk every now and then, with no side effects (although now she seems not to like it very much anymore, so I rarely offer her any).
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Old 20.09.2011, 15:45
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Re: Settling a cat

All cats I've ever had or fed love tinned tuna. The kind in water, not oil, seems preferable. Don't let them get too used to it though, as they won't want anything else. Use as a treat.
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Old 20.09.2011, 15:46
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Re: Settling a cat

I have nothing to add to what the other posters have said about the cat's acclimation, but I just wanted to comment upon what a truly extraordinary friend you are, Mimi, to take your friends' kitty for half a year while they are away. Not many would be willing to undertake such a huge endeavor and take on that responsibility for such a long while!
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Old 20.09.2011, 16:11
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Re: Settling a cat

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I have nothing to add to what the other posters have said about the cat's acclimation, but I just wanted to comment upon what a truly extraordinary friend you are, Mimi, to take your friends' kitty for half a year while they are away. Not many would be willing to undertake such a huge endeavor and take on that responsibility for such a long while!
That's what friends are for and I know she'd do the same for me.

The hard bit will be letting him go home
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Old 20.09.2011, 16:59
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Re: Settling a cat

Kitty will be fine - it might actually be a good thing to leave him alone for the weekend so he can get used to his new environment. I agree with another poster, it usually takes 2 full days for cats to get used to new digs WITH their owners so plan on 3 or 4 days if the owners aren't there and give him up to a week before you start to worry.
It's a big change but he'll adapt quickly. You are doing everything right and he will soon reward you with loud purrs and a shedload of cat hairs (you certainly picked the season!)

One quick test - if in a week or so you shine a light in his eyes and the pupils remain dilated, it means the cat is in a permanent state of stress (this happened to my cat when we introduced a dog, which she loathed)... they actually have an antidepressant for cats that you plug into the wall that a vet can give you which emanates a scent that relaxes them (supposedly no effect on humans)..

It worked for my cat. Her pupils went back to normal and she eventually chilled out and got used to the dog.

But I doubt it'll come to this! Good luck and keep us posted!
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Old 20.09.2011, 17:21
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Re: Settling a cat

I'd echo the same as the others, with the addition of this:

Don't try to actively coax him out, just let him do his thing and come out on his own time. Cats tend to be kinda funny in that the more you go for them, the less they want to come.

There are some treats he may like better than others, toys too. Make sure they're someplace where he can see or smell them from wherever he decides to hide out.

One of the "sure fire" temptations for my Bonny is the Liquid Snack from Vitakraft, you can find these at Coop as well as Fresnapf and Qualipet. (She likes them so well that if she's had any, I have to hide the empty packet or else she'll eventually dig it out of the trash.)





Meanwhile, if he doesn't relax, it is possible to get "Feliway" here, I believe it is available as a spray or a plug-in diffuser.
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