You’ve welcomed a new addition to your family: a little kitty cat. You’re excited to have this new furry friend in your life, but you’re getting worried because your new pet has been hiding for the past few days. So, how long will your cat hide? And more importantly, what can you do to make your kitty feel comfortable and safe in their new home?
How long will my adopted cat hide? Your newly adopted cat will hide for a few days to months, depending on how you attempt to make the cat get along with you. A kitty in an unfamiliar residence will hide—this is a regular act. The duration at which each cat hides is relatively proportionate to the cat’s personality or past experiences.
I recently adopted a Maine coon Siamese cat in addition to the ragdoll I had at home. I prepared the house for its coming by getting its room, toys, litter box, bowl, and pod ready. With the help of my proactive preparation and vanilla extracts, I could limit or negate negative vibes amongst the cats over the coming weeks(mind you, I socialized my ragdoll, so it was easy to introduce a new cat).
However, I noticed the adopted cat(may) was always hiding, not just from me but also trying her best to avoid my ragdoll cat(tari); I already understood that new cats take time to warm up to everyone and pets in their new environment. I made sure to refill her water, clean her litter box and keep serving her food. On the 9th day, she eventually came out of her shell, and we gradually started working something out.
In this article, we’ll explore why cats hide and offer some tips on how you can make your feline friend feel comfortable and loved from my personal experience with an adopted cat.
Why Do Cats Hide When They’re First Adopted?
When you bring your new cat home, the last thing you want is for them to hide under the bed. So why do they do it?
Cats are notorious for hiding when they’re first adopted. They’re scared and confused, and they don’t know where they are or what’s going on. This act is more of a precautionary move to determine how safe a place is before socializing.
It is pretty rare for cats to hide for months. Generally, your cat will start coming out of its shell once they get used to its new surroundings and begin to feel safe and comfortable in its new home.
How Long Will My Adopted Cat Hide?
It’s natural for a cat who’s been through a traumatic experience, like being abandoned or coming from a shelter, to hide for a while. They might be scared and confused, not sure what’s going on.
So how long will your new kitty hide? It depends on the individual cat. Some might stay hidden for just a few hours, a day or two, while others might take weeks or months to come out of their shell.
The most important thing you can do is provide a safe and comfortable space for your feline friend to hide. Make sure they have access to plenty of food, water, and litter, and put plenty of toys around to get some stimulation.
Also, lock your windows and limit the interaction area to a small place where your new adopted cat will likely see and hear you when you talk. And be patient—it’ll take time, but they’ll eventually come out of hiding and start to feel at home in their new surroundings.
The foster whom you adopted your furry friend should arm you with complete information on how your kitty is likely to react and things that could quickly draw her attention and cut the duration you’ll have to wait before the kitty responds to you.
What Can I Do to Help My Adopted Cat Feel More Comfortable?
Acclimating your cat to its new surrounding may not be the easiest thing you’ll do since the process requires patience and some learning from you. Without a good guide like this, you’re likely to do things incorrectly—triggering more stress for your cat, which will cause a prolonged hiding time for more days.
The first step is to choose the perfect place for the new cat
If you just adopted a cat, keep it in a small room with a limited hiding place, such as a spare bathroom where you could add everything the cat will need, from water, toys, and a litter box to bedding. Keeping a new cat in a bedroom will delay how fast you bond with the kitty.
If a new cat is kept in a bedroom, they will hide under the bed or in small spaces, which means you may not get to look at their eyes and speak to them(a crucial step in bonding with adopted cats).
Cats process multiple information all at once; the moment they step into your house, the unfamiliar ambiance bombards them with smells, sensations, sights, and sounds, which triggers their instinct to run and hide in a small safe place.
The cat will keep hiding until it has processed the new environment and its new caregiver. To make this process smooth and short, aim for a small room that will give the cat a feeling of staying safe in a small, less bush space.
Provide the new cats’ essentials in their designated room
Your first thought would be to stuff the room with all the good things you can muster. Well, this will be a great idea, but you should take it as gradual as possible.
Cats are aversive to change; this is why you have to imitate their previous abode and make everything look alike as much as possible. In a case where it may be difficult for you to replicate the looks of its last abode, only put necessary items(water, food, toys, and litter box) in the new cat’s room. Ensure you don’t move things until the cat has adapted to its new environment.
This will help them get accustomed to their new small room quickly, and they will eventually get comfortable and start exploring other rooms in the house. It is ideal to make this room a permanent place where you keep your new cat’s essentials.
Make and stick to visiting routine
Routine is an essential part of a cat’s life, and if you understand this, you’d have understood your feline pets to a great extent. Routine is vital in getting your cats to brush their teeth, clip their nails and traverse through their daily rituals.
How is routine important in bonding with an adopted? It would be best if you visited the cat regularly in its new room, don’t make it a random event. Also, don’t make any disruptive or loud noise; you want to maintain a cool, calm entrance and exit. Don’t make any contact with the cat except if the cat comes to you willingly.
Small spaces like the bathroom are essential in acclimating a cat to a new environment—it is just the right size, easy for you to clean up, and provide little or no hiding spots for your cat.
Don’t go overboard with treats and foods
You don’t want to make your cat expect food or treats each time they see you, as this will make them only approach you when they see you have food for them. Food may become the only reason they will respond to you. So, try not to always entice your cat with treats and doors.
If a cat becomes driven by food, this could create a bad relationship between itself and food and treat; leading to unwanted weight gains, and you may never be able to free-feed the cat in the future.
I implore you to give treats only as a reward for engaging in play or activity. Most play brings out the hunting side of a cat, and it is expected to get some rewards most times you hunt.
Schedule time for feeding your new cat and stick to it. Also, ensure to stay in the room after you’ve served some meal; observe the cat till it’s done eating. Make no mistake about touching the cat while it eats; your presence is what matters here—this will create a routine template in the cat’s memory.
Blinking at the cat will make it feel safe
This may seem ridiculous, but making soft eye contact will go a long way in making your cat comfortable; you don’t want to make your cat feel unsafe and intimidated by giving it a wide stare down—this is a predatorial move that can put your new adopted cat off.
To blink at your new cat effectively, you must blink slowly with a soft gaze. When you blink, it breaks off the standoffish look and makes you appear less of a threat to your kitty. If your feline friend returns a blink, it signifies comfort with your presence.
Finally, once your cat has become acclimated to the bathroom or any room you use for it, open the door and leave it open.
The reason for getting your cat accustomed to a little space in the house before letting them roam the entire house is that you’ve made a safe space in which they could retire if the house gets too busy with activities, new faces, or stressors.
To ensure your cat always returns to its designated room, leave its water, food, and litter box in the room. Don’t forget what we said earlier about cats and changes.
As soon as you open the door, your little angel will begin to explore the inches of the house. Make your cat’s exploration more fun by leaving treats around; you can place them on the floor. Including a cat tree in the parlor will be a great idea, as they will love to climb it.
You could take a toy from the cats’ room and place it at another location; this will make more places in the house smell familiar. The cat will begin to set its territory by rubbing against objects in your house.
Ensure not interrupting your feline buddy while they mark their scent on places they feel they should. The interaction will be deemed a stressor by your cat; wait till they have paced themselves before picking them up or interacting with them.
You should only relocate the water, litter box, toys, and food after your cat has acclimated to the entire house and has warmed up with the whole family. Make sure to let the kitty see where you’ve relocated their stuff to. While this may appear to be a significant change, your cat will adopt soon enough; most cats adopt immediately.
Should I Be Worried if My Adopted Cat Is Hiding for More Than a Few Days?
No, there is no need to worry since it’s a traditional way for a cat to try to process and get used to its new environment. However, the early sign of an ill cat is withdrawal and lack of will to do anything. If your cat is hiding or showing other symptoms of illness, then it’s time to involve your vet.
Recap for Helping Your Adopted Cat Feel More Comfortable
When you bring your new cat home, it will take time for him to adjust. He’ll probably hide under the bed or in the closet for a few days (or weeks). But don’t worry, this is entirely normal. Here is a recap to help make your cat feel more comfortable in his new home:
- Make sure you have enough food and water bowls, and place them in a quiet spot where your cat can eat and drink peacefully.
- Provide a litter box and keep it clean. Cats are very particular about their litter boxes, so don’t be surprised if your cat takes a while to start using them.
- Spend time with your cat, and offer him plenty of toys and scratch posts to scratch. Cats love having a place to hide, so try to provide at least one cozy spot where they can curl up and nap. And ensure not to make any interaction except the cat initiates it.
There are a few things you can do to help make your cat feel more comfortable in its new home.
Be patient and give your cat time to adjust. Make sure your cat has a hiding place where they feel safe. Introduce your cat to new people and animals slowly.
Above all, be understanding and accommodating to your cat’s needs. They’ll come out of hiding when they’re ready.