Socializing a New Cat: First Interaction & Hiding

Socializing a New Cat: First Interaction & Hiding - A Hassan.- socializing a new cat

There are some Dos and Donts to prevent trust issues and trauma during first interactions and hiding. It is not strange or uncommon for newly rescued or adopted cats to be very antisocial when they first come to your home. Similarly, even seasoned cats may hide from time to time when stressed. 

Hiding in the Beginning​: New cats may spend days or weeks hiding from family members and wanting to be left alone. This is normal and they need to be given time to get used to all the sudden changes. No matter how eager you are to pet them and give them your love, let your cat make the choice. Do NOT force the cat to interact with you or out of hiding. This will only further add to their stress as well as create negative associations with family members.  

What to Do: The first few days might just be sitting near them and letting them get used to you.  If they don’t approach, leave them alone and try again later. Try to interact with the cat in intervals so that they can also have a break. Some cats are particularly frightened due to previous trauma, and they may hide and not come out at all when you’re around. Gently talk or sing to the cat so that they can get used to your presence. You can also play with them if they show interest but do not grab the cat if they’ve come out of hiding to play. This will frighten the cat more and may deter them from playing in the future. If there are other family members or people who will interact with the cats regularly, go over the rules on how to interact with them. Remind them not to startle the cat and to keep the door to their room shut until the cat has adjusted. Cats are very affectionate and loving and will want attention. Give them time so that they can feel safe and seek you out at their own pace.

Hiding Later On​: If your cat is suddenly hiding after they have adjusted to the home and family, this is a cause for concern. Sometimes, the hiding may be in response to new people or new objects brought into the home which trigger previous trauma. Cats might also be hiding due to feeling sick and if they are displaying any other signs of sickness, an emergency trip to the vet should be immediate. 

What to Do: Before attempting to get them out of hiding, try to identify what may have stressed out your cat. Once identified, if it can be stopped or removed, it is best to do that first. 

Do NOT pull on the cats body to get them out. If they are hiding in a safe place, it is best to let them be until they feel safe enough to come out. If there is safer or better space for the cat to be in, coax them out and relocate them. To do this, you can play kitten or bird noises, shake their food bag and pour out their food on a plate, tease them out with a favourite toy, or get on their level and talk sweetly to them until they come out.

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