Can I Get My New Cat To Stop Hiding?

CatChannel and CAT FANCY cat behaviorist Marilyn Krieger, CCBC, shares ways to get cats comfortable in new surroundings.

Q: I adopted a 2-year-old male domestic shorthair mixed with a Bombay. He comes out of hiding only at night. Is this a good thing? Also, I have another cat. I know it takes time but my other cat does not like the new cat.

A: It will take time for your new cat to adjust. He needs his own sanctuary room, free of other resident animals. If possible, make the room where he is hiding his safe room, complete with food, water, litterbox and a comfortable place to sleep. Your cat will enjoy a tall cat tree to climb on, boxes to hide in and interactive toys. Close the door to the new cat’s room so that your other cat cannot visit him.

Help the new cat feel safe in your home through your approach and interaction. Don’t rush the process by picking him up or forcing him out of his hiding place. Forcing your cat to interact will make him distrust you. Instead, encourage your cat to socialize and bond with you through activities that will help him have a positive association with you.

Arm yourself with cat treats he adores. Every time you enter your cat’s room, toss a treat toward your cat’s hiding place. Spend as much time as you can with your cat in his room. Sit on the floor while talking and reading softly to him. If he enjoys playing, play with him using a fishing pole toy or a feather wand toy (put the fishing pole toy out of the cat’s reach when you are not around to supervise). Keeping a consistent schedule will also help your cat adjust more quickly to his new living situation. Feed him, clean his litterbox and play with your cat on a schedule. Be patient. After a while, he will eagerly anticipate your visits.

Begin introducing the resident cat and your new cat to each other only after the newcomer has adjusted to his room and has formed a bond with you. Don’t hurry the cat introductions. Successful introductions can take a couple of months, sometimes longer.

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