Over the weekend we adopted a new cat from the shelter, a 5 year old Siamese mix. He’s a pretty cat, though the stress of being in the shelter has caused some neglect to his coat that should reverse itself once he starts grooming again.
He’s also fairly timid, though there is plenty of evidence that somebody socialized him once in his past (if you get him going, he really starts to dig the attention: kneading, rubbing, purring, the whole bit), and he’s apparently litter trained (though he’s only batting 2 for 3 of actually making it to the litter box… something to work on). Better yet, he was extremely tolerant of Tron. Even with a noisy toddler throwing little cat toys all over the place, the cat didn’t really seem any more afraid of Tron than of any other person. Tron even got a nuzzle when we finally coaxed him into some social behavior.
As he adjusts to his new home, he’s not really been much of a real cat over the past 2 days. Pretty much just hides in a dark spot and only comes out at night when it’s quiet and he’s calmed down from all the weird noises and smells of the day. The first night he barely ate anything… and peed on our couch. Luckily it was the one we were throwing away this week anyway, so no big deal there, but the house still needs a little airing out (I forgot how… aromatic cat pee is).
Last night fared better, he ate all his food and used the litter box to do his business, so he DOES know what the sand box is for. We also constricted him to a single room in the house, as that can be a big help getting frightened cats settled in more smoothly; he probably won’t leave that room until his doctor appointment next week.
Re-socializing is going to be a bumpy road with him. We know he’s got it in him, as we’ve seen him be social. But all the newness of our house has buried that behind a fair veil of anxiety. Couple that with the fact that I have to give him liquid antibiotics for his cold once a day, and it’s setting socialization back on a daily basis.
Even so, it’s time to start in on the positive re-enforcement. My wife and I will need to start providing him with treats and wet cat food as incentive to come out of his comfort zone and visit with us. And if that doesn’t work, then we’ll have to start in with the cat nip. Not that I particularly want a cat who views me as his drug dealer, but I’d rather be his quick fix than the big mean ogre that makes him swallow the nasty liquid.
It’s going to be a longish road, but I’ve seen much flightier cats come pretty far towards healthy socialization given a few weeks.
He doesn’t attack from fear, and he lets himself (very grudgingly) be picked up and handled without clawing to escape. Nor has he ever hissed at me, even when I’m pulling him out from his safety spot for his antibiotics. Obviously he’s had some dealings with bipedals in the past, he just needs a little reminding that the two legs aren’t so bad… especially if they have treats and tins of food.
He’s still pretty frightened, so I’m going to skip the pictures until we’ve got him established enough to use a flash on. But for reference he looks a lot like this:
Anyway, due to the timid, shy, and somewhat neurotic nature he’s displayed in the last 48 hours, we’ve named him Vir, after Vir Cotto from Babylon 5.
We’ll see if he actually earns that name in the long run, or if he decides to be contrary and make us wish we’d named him Lando.
-Confusion is a state of cat… yeah, that’s pretty true actually.