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Scared adopted cats

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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Our question this week was:

Hi. We just adopted 2 long haired/Maine coon mix 4-year -old brother and sister from the shelter. Their owner dropped them both off a month
ago and we just took them home yesterday. I thought for certain that the first day here they would be a bit scared and not want to get too close and I was right..The boy ran to our bedroom and has been under our bed since yesterday. I think he came out while we were gone to work today but it could have been his sister who came out because the
food is gone from the bowl.

I hope that we did the right thing in getting these 2 cats now. How long should I wait until they come out to get to know me and be my friends? In the past I adopted 2 kittens and both bonded with me immediately. I am not sure if they miss their previous "parents" or just scared and confused. How can I lure them to come from under the bed? My husband tells me to be patient and not to bother them but I feel like I still have no cats here ! Could it be like this forever? How will I know if these cats are the ones for us? Could I have made a mistake???? I feel terrible about this..

I would give anything to pet them and love them like children, yet they are bonded together and I don't seem to matter. Any suggestions you can give me or advise would be greatly appreciated...How much time do they need?????



Hi – thanks for your email. What a wonderful think you did in adopting these two cats! I think it is too early to make any judgments on these cats. In my experience, it can take days for them to come around. Who knows what they were exposed to and what happened to them over the past few months. They are in a new home with new smells, new people, new voices, and new sounds – and are probably just confused and scared. Cats are very instinctual and it takes them time to feel safe.

I agree with your husband. Be patient. Give them time. I'd recommend even keeping them in one room and sitting in there with them – even if they are hiding. Talk to them. Do some paperwork while sitting on the floor. Get some toys and occasionally try to stimulate them to interact. Don't force them to do anything though as they may scare them more. Make sure they have plenty of food and water. You could also try a little canned food to coax them out and encourage some interaction. This would allow them to bond and associate you with extra "good" things.

I'd say give them time. How much time will depend on them and their personalities. I think it is like kids. You can move across the country with a couple kids and one may adjust, jump into the new home and school system and love it and another kid may take a long time to come around.

An article that might be helpful to you is on our is Bringing a New Cat Into the Home.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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