New cat is scared and hiding

by Deb
(Ohio)

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

Comments for New cat is scared and hiding

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Aug 12, 2015
new cat 3 years old NEW
by: beth

she is in the basement she hid under the beds and chairs my granddaughter keep picking her up she eats drinks and uses the litter box it has been 4 days and have not seen her how long will she stay in hiding

May 27, 2015
Good NEW
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Apr 10, 2015
yup NEW
by: Anonymous

we found our new cat "inside" our recliner sofa...
and then he also hid inside a trash can...
then in a tiny gap by the washer...
and then below the bed
and then behind the TV stand between 2 large DVD boxes
and then inside a closet under some blankets
and then in the basement (in the ceiling in between top floor and joists)
and then inside some kitchen cabinet.
and then large empty decorative pot.
its been a crazy 2 days since we got him

Apr 10, 2015
My rescue cat is hiding and we can't find her.... NEW
by: Fiona

I'm a very experienced cat owner and always had cats since childhood. We lost a darling cat at christmastime aged 18 and waited to see how our boy, aged 4, would get along by himself before deciding to get another. He missed her. Became more timid, took to hiding from visitors and even my husband. We decided to keep a look out for a suitable rescue companion, about the same age, neuter female, ideally black (hardest to rehome). Found a perfect little lady in a local shelter - aged 5, timid but likes affection, good with other cats - and collected her a week ago. Initial introduction to the flat and existing cat were promising - she was in the carry case and he had an interested sniff, she sniffed back, then he went back to eating in the next room. We'd designated the living room as 'her spot' so let her out and she had a look round then vanished under the sofa, which I expected. (One of my cats stayed there for three weeks till she felt safe). We watched her on a webcam that evening and she was having a thorough exploration. She stayed under the couch Sat and Sun and was eating and drinking, and had used her tray. Then, somehow, she got into the airing cupboard (I'd put a door wedge in but she must have been determined) and got through the wall into the bathroom next door. We couldn't find her for a day and I got panicked. Removed bath panel and there she was, under the bath, or in the small space in the wall. Moved the litter box, food and water into the bathroom and draped towels over the bath to give her privacy, this was fine till yesterday when we discovered the door open on returning from work - thoughts are that boy cat (who is a big boy) shoved door open.
Now we can't find her. She hadn't eaten or used her box since Wednesday (it's now Friday). I put food in other places - it's only a one bed flat so not a lot of rooms - and have called her but absolutely no sign or sound. Been under the kitchen units, behind appliances, under sofas, towels and bedding out of airing cupboard, under bed (even though the gap is minuscule), in corners, on top of units, and can't see or hear her. I'm unbelievably stressed. Our other cat is totally relaxed as he has been since she arrived. He's sniffed at a few of her places but doesn't seem concerned enough to find her. How on earth can I track her down and get her to appear? We've put a webcam in the bathroom in case she's still there somewhere but no sign. I feel like a total failure, even though I've introduced cats in the past and always got over the initial difficulties. How can I have lost a cat inside my home? She's definitely inside but I have no idea where. No central heating or air con so no ducts or vents. I've tried tuna and sardines. Nothing. Spread catnip round the place earlier. Feliway diffuser plugged in. I'm terrified for the wee soul. Any advice gratefully accepted.

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