Saturday, June 7, 2014

How to Care for a Scared Pet Cat

If you have adopted a new cat and it is scared you need to realize that this is perfectly normal, especially for older cats.  Kittens tend to accept change a little easier, but adult cats are often concerned; cats bond to places rather than to people so a sudden change of environment can be hard for them.  This also applies to current cat owners who move into a new home.

Try to keep the noise level down if possible, this means controlling screaming kids, and keeping music low too.  If you are moving into a new home keeping quiet can be tough as furniture moving is generally loud.

One of author's cats
The cat really should be kept confined in a bathroom, or small bedroom, for a few days while it adjusts to the new environment.  Plopping a cat into the middle of a big house (or even into a small apartment) can be too much for the cat to take, particularly if it was adopted from an animal shelter where it mostly stayed in a small room or cage.

The cat will need its litter box in the room for it as well as its dry cat food and water, which should be placed far from the litter box.  The cat should also have a bed, which can be as simple as a box with a towel.

Make sure to visit the cat from time to time, talking to it softly, patting it, and offering it small amounts of canned cat food or cat treats.  If the cat accepts being held you can do that too but watch for body signals that the cat has had enough.  Here is a link to help you find cool toys and treats for your new cat!

If the cat hides the first few days go ahead and leave it hiding - noting that it is coming out and eating/drinking and using the litter box when all is quiet, but if it continues to hide after three days you may need to bring it out of the hiding area and hold it for a few minutes just to let it know you will not hurt it, offer it the canned food or treat, so that it associates these goodies with you.

It can take up to two weeks for a scared cat to over come its fears and accept you and the new home.  Just take things slowly and do not rush or overwhelm the cat, allowing it to overcome its fear or shyness on its own time is best.