Why are your newly adopted cats so afraid?

Turning your cats into lions

By CS Ming / 29 March 2022


Cat Pokok.AsiaCome here, kitty, kitty, kitty. Source: comfortzone

  • Bait them out with food
  • Making them feel welcomed
  • Every cat has its own shenanigan
  • Eliminate strange noises and smell

Have you heard of Queen Elizabeth? Not her highness who lives in Buckingham Palace, of course, just an average British shorthair cat that went to the pound for losing her leg in an accident. 

Apparently, her owner doesn’t tolerate perfection, which is his or her loss, because Queen Elizabeth is the best three-legged cat you could ever have in your life. Just talking about her puts a tear in my eyes.

As much as our journey is filled with love and joy, Queen Elizabeth initially had a hard time adapting to my house. She made her palace…or home under the sofa, coming out occasionally only to eat. She didn’t even use the kitty litter box! Imagine the clean up I had to do.

If you have just adopted a kitty from the animal shelter and it appears to be extremely skittish, fear not. My ample experience with her highness, Queen Elizabeth, long live the queen, has made me into an animal whisperer or cat whisperer. Here is what you need to do, squire.


Motivate them with food

Cat Pokok.AsiaThe way to a cat’s heart is through its stomach. Source: webbox

During the first 24 hours of being adopted, your cat will feel extremely insecure in your home as it is new territory. They need time to rub their scent all over the place, announcing that here, here and here is their territory. 

They even rub themselves on you and proclaim that you are their human. Oh, the audacity. Queen Elizabeth made my favourite living room sofa hers when it smelled like piss.

At the shelter, cats probably lived among a family of other kitties, and they were familiar with the faces of the shelter staff members who provided food and attention. They were “home.” 

They knew they were safe and they knew of all sorts of places where they could hide if they felt threatened.

In the beginning, your adopted kitty may pick a hiding spot and hunker down, using the place to observe the surroundings. 

One sure way to get them out is by putting food and water a short distance away from their preferred spot and giving them the time to slowly venture out. Do not rush them.


Baby steps, or as I like to say, kitty steps

Cat Pokok.AsiaFluffy pillows are a cat’s greatest weakness, and of course, catnip! Source: petkeen

It should be easier if your kitty has picked a familiar spot to hide in. What you need to do is make it feel welcomed in your home. Give her a bed thereby placing a cardboard box with a pillow inside. 

Add a few toys like a squeak mouse or a ball beside the bed to tell her that is a place of safety. Just so you know, I actually placed my personal pillow under the sofa for Queen Elizabeth. She has that vibe that compels you to do things for her.


Different cat, different temperament

Cat Pokok.AsiaDon’t take it personally. Some cats just hate everything. Source: catwatchnewsletter

Cats are a perpetual puzzle. Some are very affectionate. Some are stand-offish, and some are both, choosing which face to put forward based on some animal logic that eludes us. So, don’t go too hard on yourself and assume that the blame goes entirely to you just because the cat had a tough time adapting. Or maybe, the kitten you adopted was taken from her mom and siblings too early. 

She might also have had a rough go in life before being rescued and arriving at your loving home. I named my British shorthair Queen Elizabeth because she has a way of strutting around the house like she owned it. Sometimes, I feel like a servant. Are you sure you still want to adopt a kitty?


Help! They still won’t come out

CatCats are born to hide-and-seek. Source: Unsplash

Do you have children at home? And I mean the really loud, bumbling type of children that go crash all over the places. Your adopted cat may remain in her hiding spot if they perceive them as potential predators.

 Also, the volume of your television might be a little high, which scares them. No animal shelter would place a television into the enclosure to entertain the dogs and cats. Hence your animals will find a television with the projected moving images and noise terrifying.

Perhaps you have an antique grandfather clock that chimes loudly every hour? Maybe it is time to pack it up temporarily until your new master has assumed full ownership of the house. Even an unusual smell can trigger your kitty into hiding, take a cologne for example. Yes, they can be that skittish. Queen Elizabeth started coming into my room after I removed my life-sized photo of Napoleon Bonaparte.


Adopt that kitty

Does reading this article give you the impression that adopting a cat is troublesome? I hope not because cats are adaptable creatures, and they usually acclimatise themselves to an environment within a few days. Note the word, “usually.”

Besides, we adopt them because they need a loving home and a family like humans. Every pussy deserves a second chance. As for my relationship with Queen Elizabeth? It is a healthy, consensual one. I think I might be submissive. 

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