New kitty is not adjusting to her new home

Julia SJulia S Middle TennesseeMember Posts: 227
edited 8 May, 2011 in Behavior & Training
This isn't about Sophie, but about my dad's cat. He has two cats already, Bobby and Bobinha. They are great friends but aren't attached at the hip or anything. Both are fairly independent cats, not too vocal, clingy, etc. Bobby tends to just loaf around and play with Bobinha every now and then; he plays rough. Bobinha is fast and active, plays all day and likes to keep her people in sight. She plays nicely, mostly just chasing and batting with paws gently. They are both adults (almost 2-ish). Introduce new kitty: Mimosa. She is an extremely tiny young cat, around 1.5 years. She is playful, active, friendly, social, and grew up around other dogs and cats. She had no problems in her previous home, and was raised by the foster mom as Bobinha. She's a great cat, but seems very uncomfortable in her new home. I talked to my dad and stepmom about proper transition and they did everything pretty much right; they were very cautious and gave Mimosa PLENTY of time to adjust. We kept her separated from the other cats for the first week or so with heavily supervised and limited positive interaction. Everything seemed to be going great! She would play with Bobinha when they were together, though Bobby was skittish of her (he got over that, it wasn't too big of a deal). Eventually she was given free reign of the house. Doors were left open for her to escape to if she felt uncomfortable, but everything basically happens downstairs here. She is fed downstairs and has no problem with that, she eats with the other two cats and it's fine. But even still, a month or two after owning her, she is hiding upstairs ALL the time. She will not leave this one room other than to eat and use the box. She is totally comfortable in the room, relaxed, chill, cozy, and likes to be petted. She is fine if the other cats come in there, but does not relax outside of that room. I worry that she is afraid of my dad. She grew up with a kind of small woman who knows cats very well and probably was nice and calm with her. My dad is a tall man with a very deep voice, and he yells a lot. Not necessarily angrily, but he fusses at the computer, the TV, the kitchen, etc. in a very loud, booming voice. I'm worried it could be scaring her away from the downstairs. But even when he is not home, she remains upstairs. He works and travels (and once, when he was on a long trip, she actually DID spend her time downstairs with my step mom and the other cats, but that was the only time). He is going on a few trips soon, and I told my stepmom to see if Mimosa stayed downstairs while he wasn't around. Do you think her behavior/fear is as simple as she is afraid of my dad? If so, what do we do?? He LOVES this cat and doesn't want her to be afraid her entire time here. It's very upsetting, and he only wants the best for her.

Comments

  • Mary WaltersMary Walters Milton KeynesMember Posts: 6,959
    edited 7 May, 2011
    Let her take it at her own pace I say. She is obviously timid of him, he just has to give her time and if he tries her with treats when he wants her to come to him and is quiet with her it will work. When we had Abbi, 10 years ago, she was like that, but I got her to come to me for treats and now she is queen of the castle bless her. Good luck x
  • Heidi FrischHeidi Frisch Member Posts: 453
    edited 7 May, 2011
    Great idea with the treats. Another thing to try as well as the treats is to have your dad actually make an effort to not look at her at all. Won't be hard with her in her own room. But one of these days she will walk downstairs when he is there and if she does he has to almost ignore her except for tossing her some treats. You are not going to be able to make your Dad a quiet person, so let her work this out in her own way on her terms. Just maybe once or twice a day your dad should walk by the room she likes to be in and toss her a treat without even acting like she is there. Get the idea here. She is supposed to learn that when she sees him she gets a treat.
  • Julia SJulia S Middle TennesseeMember Posts: 227
    edited 8 May, 2011
    He does give her treats frequently and is very friendly towards her. If she does come downstairs they generally just say "Aww, Mimosa!" quietly and watch her timidly check things out before she darts right back upstairs again. Normally this kind of behavior changes over time, but it's been around two months since they got her. That seems like a while to me for the cat to still be SO skittish, what do you think? I feel like I should also mention this: I sleep in "her" room when I visit, and she is always very cuddly and friendly to me when I wake up in the mornings. She doesn't mind my presence and will come and sleep on my chest while I'm asleep or rub up on my face, hands, etc. However, suddenly she HATES being pet anywhere but her spine and back of her head. She will attack if you pet her on the underside of her neck, belly, or on her legs anywhere. It seems more like a warning attack though, but it still hurts. She didn't use to do this.
  • Anna DuchAnna Duch Member Posts: 170
    edited 8 May, 2011
    Maybe try Feliway plug ins? Put them upstairs and downstairs. They are cat pheromone sceneters, and they tend to calm kitties down.
  • Mary WaltersMary Walters Milton KeynesMember Posts: 6,959
    edited 8 May, 2011
    It took me around 9 months to a year to gain Abbi's confidence. She was very timid as she had been with her previous owner for about 5 years. She has been with us 10 years this month and is sleeping next to me as I type. She paws me when she wants fuss and stroking bless her. Just don't give up trying, she will come round eventually, you see.
  • janice lancasterjanice lancaster temple gaMember Posts: 2,505
    edited 8 May, 2011
    It probably sounds mean, but when she gets a new kitty, Meowma leaves th carrier open to hide in, with a towel in there, and leaves the cat condo and maybe a box with a hole cut in it but does her best to block access to all under-the-beds and other hidey holes. If kitty is too attacked to that one room, close it up. And yes, figure out what she loves to eat. Don't give up too fast, Rory is just now getting less jumpy and he cane here Christmas Eve. He's very sweet, but was almost impossible toapproach, instad having to approach the human (who could not be moving) until last week, now he's improving daily.
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