March 29, 2020

When things don't go as expected...

Unfortunately, things aren't going so well with the new cats. I'm super bummed! I hope that everything works itself out, but I'm worried about them.

They were just kittens when their fosters took them in (I think she told me they were six weeks?). And they are now about 10 months old, so the only home they've known is their foster home.

I know cats very well. I've had pet cats my entire life, and I learned a TON when I went to the Purina events (especially the True Nature of Cats weekend). So I know that cats are stand-offish when they first go into a new environment. I expected that.

We've taken in strays and adopted from shelters before, and I'm familiar with how cats behave under new circumstances. Usually they hide out under a bed or in a closet for a few days, eventually warming up until they are comfortable.

These two, however, are behaving differently than I'm used to, and I'm worried that they really just don't want to be here. I've set up my bedroom with food, water, litter box, toys, scratch pads, etc for them. That way, they won't have to be around the rest of the family and the pets until they get more comfortable.

They've been hiding non-stop (except for a couple of times when I pulled them from hiding to try to get them to eat (and they did sit on our laps for a little bit). But they haven't eaten a single bite of food, haven't had any water (that I know of) and they haven't used the litter box.

I've never had this happen with cats before! I've tried enticing them with wet food, dry food, treats, toys, and catnip, but they aren't interested in any of it. I wouldn't be worried if they were just hiding out--that's normal--but I do worry that they aren't eating/drinking.

Today, I barricaded all around the bed and the couch in my bedroom so they couldn't go under there to hide (I did give them another "hiding" place where I could at least keep an eye on them, though). Once they realized they couldn't go under the bed, they explored a bit, which gives me hope!

I've been keeping in touch with their foster "mom" to let her know what's going on. Their foster "dad" was very reluctant to let them go, because he'd gotten very attached to them--so he told me to promise that if it wasn't working out for any reason at all, we'd bring them back and they would keep them. (I love knowing that he cares so much for them.) I'm just hoping that kitties come around and start eating soon! They really are SO sweet.

I really don't want them to be unhappy or stressed out, though, so if they still aren't eating tomorrow, I may consider bringing them back to their fosters 😞 They're the sweetest! I just want them to be happy. Hopefully, they'll do great tonight (maybe while we're sleeping) and everything will work out.

When we first got Phoebe, she was VERY stand-offish. She hid and avoided us at all costs. Now, though, she is the most loving, loyal cat ever! I never expected that after seeing how she behaved in the beginning.

Anyway, I really hope that I have good news to report tomorrow! I'm trying to give them their space now, so I've just been checking in on them occasionally (they haven't budged from their hiding places since I removed the barricade).


  1. My parents "adopted" (back then you bought a cat from the wanted ads) a 10 year old Burmese, and she'd only ever known her littermates--then the owners had a baby who was allergic and they had to rehome. That poor cat. She hid in our heating ducts for two days, howling the whole time. I'm not sure she ever really recovered, and was very skittish the rest of her life. I hope either your new cats settle in or you decide to let them go back to their foster home; it sounds like they were the only cats there? And was there a dog? They may not like being around Joey.

  2. Please give it more time! It's only been a day. We adopted a new cat in January and did the same thing--set up everything he needed in a separate room and it took several days for him to start eating and using the litter box. It is concerning, but some cats just need more space. Let them keep hiding and they'll come around!

  3. Tuxedo cats have THE most soft fur!!! Hope they come around! We had a hard time with our calico adjusting when we adopted her. She would NOT come out from under our bed! It took a few days, and some plates of wet food that I left for her that I slid under the bed. Cat temperaments are mind boggling sometimes! Haha!

  4. It took WEEKS for our adopted dog to become adjusted with his new life. Hang in there!

  5. Hope your kitties feel comfortable soon! I'm a dog person, so I don't have any suggestions other than wondering if you are feeding the same brand cat food they are used to, at least for awhile? Is your water different smelling or tasting, like tap vs. well? Is the noise and activity level vastly different from their previous home, requiring a longer acclimation period? Any early trauma/abuse known? Just a few thoughts. Love your blog! Good luck!

  6. Hey! Just a little reassurance, my parents decided about 3 weeks ago to ride out the coronavirus at their beach apartment (when they generally travel back and forth very freely). So, they had to take their cat (who normally resides at the house) to the apartment for the first time. Keep in mind, they've had this cat 5 years since she was a kitten and shes always lived in this house. So they get her down there and she literally hides under the bed and refuses to eat or drink for 5 days! My mom was in such a panic that she was about to begin giving her water with an eyedropper. Long story short, she eventually began to drink (they noticed she started using the litter box) and then slowly began eating treats. They offered her some tuna juice and tuna (from a can) and she was all about that. Now, 3 weeks later, she has been eating and drinking like normal and it was like nothing ever happened. I truly believe this kind of behavior is what makes cats the most interesting pets! They ALWAYS keep you guessing! Anyways, good luck they are adorable (I have a soft spot for tuxedos)!

  7. Hi Katie,
    Hang in there, have you ever tried a plug in cat pheromone such as Feliway. It really helps our anxious cat and we can tell if the thing is empty just by the way she is acting. Good luck and God Bless you!


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