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Thread: cat problem/question

  1. #1
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    cat problem/question

    So, we adopted two very beautiful young sister cats yesterday. As we were told they are very shy. With that in mind we restricted them to my work office and the hall bathroom and yesterday one of them was open to gentle scratching/petting and even purred when we did that. We had blocked the top of the stairs with a large box to keep them confined. This morning when I woke up at 5:30 to use the bathroom they were on the stairs, having gotten past the box somehow. I moved the box so that they could get back to the office but they ran downstairs into the kitchen, where I left them. I went back to bed and we couldn't find them this morning.

    Finally we found them this afternoon. There is a corner section of kitchen cabinet that is sealed off. Totally inaccessible. Except for a small opening on the underside between the cabinet front and the kickplate... They've been hiding in there all day. We've moved their food and litterbox down there (and even put out a bowl of tuna and tuna water because every cat ever LOVES tuna and it has a strong smell) and I assume they will come out overnight to eat and use the box. We've moved one of our security cameras to the kitchen so that we can confirm this tomorrow morning or even notify us as it happens this evening while we're in the other room.

    What should we do? My assumption is that eventually in a day or two they will be brave enough to leave that space while we're around and then we can block off the opening. Is there something else we could/should be doing? I've inspected the cabinets thoroughly and it would take a pretty significant act of destruction (which would obviously really suck and also be very traumatizing to the kitties) to be able to actively remove them from there. We really hope they come out on their own.

  2. #2
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    your plan sounds perfect. They can come out whenever they like, and you'll even keep an eye on them with the security camera. I bet it won't be very long before they come to explore some more.

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    We have a rescue Siamese we got many years ago. She hid herself away for the first month or so that we had her. I think your cats will come out when they are ready and in the meantime, they will sneak out to eat and use the litter box when you can't see them.

  4. #4
    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    I agree with waiting it out. When Ogden came to live with us 10 years ago, it was days before I got a good look at him because he was always under the bed or behind the washing machine.

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    I don't have cats so I can't give advice, but I just want to say, so nice of you to adopt sisters!! At least they have each other while they work out their anxiety.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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    Senior Member Teacher Terry's Avatar
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    Cats often hide initially until they get used to their new home. I have known many people to go through this. It can take up to a month.

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    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    So this morning we pulled the stove out and cut holes through the narrow cabinet next to the stove and into the void where they are. They still haven't come out or eaten anything. We spoke with the shelter's cat behaviorist and she agreed that it was probably best to get them out of there just because kitchens are noisy scary places. We could wait them out but then we have to live with the stove in the middle of the room and since we can't close the kitchen from the rest of the house we run the risk of them trying to hide elsewhere and then create a situation where we're chasing them around, scaring them more. For that reason we're probably going to pull them out tonight once SO gets home. I've bought a pair of leather gardening gloves, which when combined with my fall jacket, should provide enough protection for me to reach in there without getting too scratched up or bitten. I just hope we don't have to cut a bigger hole since the noise was undoubtedly traumatizing for them.

    The behaviorist had other good advice. Basically a small space is easier for them to adjust to and they need a hiding spot so she recommended a box big enough to hold them and a blanket. Once they get comfortable in one room you can gradually introduce them to other rooms by bringing them and their hiding box to the new room. Let them play in that room until they start to get nervous, then they can go back in their safe box and be transported back to the safe room.


    The floor is on the right side in the picture...
    cabinet.jpg

  8. #8
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    And here they are inside the void shortly after we cut the holes.

    Again, the picture is rotated 90 degrees obviously...
    cats.jpg

  9. #9
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Yikes that is a lot of hoopla for these two cats. Because they are cats they will not be appreciative of that at all! But we all thank you for taking care of them.

    Edited to add: oh they are black cats with white beards. That is nice.

  10. #10
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    SO was not in favor of aggressively moving them out of their safe space. While we were watching jeopardy and wheel of fortune tonight they cautiously came out, ate some food and looked around, so he's probably right. (thank you Ring security cameras!) After that I moved the litterbox closer to the kitchen, out of sight of us in the living room and within a minute of my walking away one of them came out and used it. We'll see how things go over the next day or two but they seem to be doing fine. Both have eaten something and drunk a little water. I suspect that after we go to bed that these girls will be out checking out all of the downstairs.

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