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Hello,

On Friday, I made the decision to adopt a cat that Petco was hosting for the animal Welfare. she was the most beautiful kitty in the world, and fell in love with her instantly. She is six and a half years old. She had been sent to the welfare center twice in her life, the previous owners had her only for a year because their son was allergic to her.

She's not aggressive, but she only likes to be given attention when she's in the nest she made for herself in my closet. She won't come out to use the litter box, or eat, or drink until exactly 10 PM. she'll just sleep or watch me from her perch. When anyone comes up to her, she'll gladly take a pet on the head, and will purr loudly, but if I try to securely take her to the kitchen to show her its dinner time, she meows and runs back to the same spot, then acts like nothing happened.
I don't want to send her back, and I know its been three days, but she hasn't even been curious about other places in the house, plus she acts like the house is hers once night time rolls around, (making sleeping difficult)She's very demanding of attention at 10 PM, when I'm ready to sleep.
Do you have any suggestions on how to get her use to the house? Also, what kind of behavior is this? Because she's not scared of people giving her attention, but she hates being moved to an open spot.

Thank you for your time,
-Night

PS,
Some more useful information, there are no kids in my house, and the home is quiet 90% of the time.

Answer
Hi Night,

This is normal behavior, especially for a kitty with such a tumultuous past. Cats are nocturnal by nature. Because they have some predators in the wild, they feel safest moving about during the night when they're in unfamiliar territory. All but the most outgoing cats will hide away in their new homes for a week or two, and some for even longer. It's best to limit their exposure to one room of the house during this time. They feel most comfortable when they're only faced with familiarizing themselves with one small area at a time, so preferably, you should use a small room that is closed off from the others with a door. Even a bathroom is fine.

I would recommend that you move her to a room besides your bedroom since she is giving you trouble sleeping at night. You don't want to pet the kitty at her demand when you're in bed, because this will teach her that she will be rewarded for waking you up. Leave her with her food, water and litter, and then visit her and give her the attention she craves at times that are convenient for you.

As she feels more comfortable in the room she's been confined to, she'll start to explore it, and she'll seek attention during the day while in this room. Then try leaving the door open. Her curiosity will start to get the better of her eventually, but it can take plenty of time, depending on how timid she is.

You can try moving her food bowls closer and closer to the door, eventually moving them out of the room and to a more appropriate spot. Also, use special food treats, such as bits of chicken, to lure her to the door and out of the room.

The key is patience and allowing her some leeway. Many cats do end up having a comfort zone where they feel most at peace, which may be hidden out of sight somewhere. Not all cats are highly interactive, and we have to accept that this is their nature, but I feel it takes at least a month before a cat has settled in and you can determine her personality. If you do find, at the end of that time, that she's timid, and you think you could open your home to a companion for her, I find this is an excellent way to get cats to interact more openly. They learn social behavior by observing one another. If you adopt a younger cat known to be very interactive, she will probably see the appeal of interacting, as well.

Good luck!
Jessica

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Jessica

Expertise

The areas in which I have gained the most experience are cat health and feral cat management/rescue. I provide supportive care to chronically ill cats, hospice care to terminally ill cats and also am involved in trap-neuter-return efforts. My specialities lie in taming feral cats and in the allopathic treatment of cats with illnesses or special needs. I also have owned Siamese, Himalayans, Abyssinians, Russian Blues, Savannahs, Bengals, Peterbalds, Don Sphynx and Oriental Shorthairs and am well-versed in cat breeds as well as cat behavior and nutrition.

Experience

I have 15 years of extensive experience with cats ranging from breeding to medical care. My daily routine consists of caring for cats with diabetes, thyroid disease, kidney failure, feline leukemia, feline AIDS as well as feral cats. I have experience with liver patients, heart patients, feline infectious peritonitis, cancer, recovery from amputation and trauma, congenital deformities and most every disease in between. I have assisted cats giving birth and hand-nursed kittens who were neglected by their mother from 2 days old through weaning.

Education/Credentials
15 years' hands-on experience. Current nursing student. I've studied the parallels of human and cat anatomy as well as zoonotic disease, so my studies are broadening the depth of my understanding of feline anatomy, physiology and pathology.

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