New cat is scared and hiding

by Deb

I just got a 4 year old cat. She is really sweet -- that is if you can get her out of hiding. We got her yesterday, but all she does is hide. She has not eaten, but she went poop in the litter box this morning. I don't know what to do except calling the person I got her from and take her back, which we really don't want to. So please help! I hope she doesn't pee on the floor.

Dear Deb,

Congratulations on your new cat! Whenever a cat is brought into a new home, it can take some time before she becomes acclimated to the new environment. The key here is to give your new kitty some time to adjust, but there are ways you can make it easier and help her along.

First, do you have any other cats in your home who may be scaring her? If there are other kitties living with you, she will need even more time to adjust as they sort out their hierarchy. To read more about introducing cats to one another, please read this question and answer from another reader. If there are not other cats in your home, helping her adjust will likely be a bit easier.

You may want to start by giving your kitty just one room in your home to adjust to. Place her food, water, and litter box in that one room until she is eating, drinking, and using the box regularly, which will indicate that she feels more secure. As she adjusts, you can give her more space to explore throughout your home. She should also be offered safe places to hide, such as this adorable SkratchKabin by KatKabin.

You could also add Feliway diffusers to the rooms in your home. Feliway is a great product that mimics the pheromones produced naturally by cats, helping to create a less stressful, more calming environment. These products also help with issues around litter box behavior, and can help prevent her from having accidents in your home.

Additionally, your new kitty has to not only adjust to her new surroundings, but she needs to adjust to living with you and your family. Try offering her canned cat food or yummy treats to win her over and show her you are safe and are the bearer of good, positive things. Also, try to avoid making eye contact with her, so as to not appear intimidating, and be careful to not make sudden movements or loud noises in her presence.

Your new cat just needs a bit of time before she feels secure in her new home. The most important thing is to make sure she is eating and drinking so she doesn’t become dehydrated while she adjusts to her new surroundings. Give her a few more days, filled with calm and soothing moments, and she will come around.

All the best,
Dr. Neely

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