It takes a lot of time for rescue cats to adjust to new home

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It takes a lot of time for rescue cats to adjust to new home

Updated Dec 21, 2021

Dear Cathy,

I have a three-year-old female cat. She was a rescue cat and is fixed. Ever since I took her in she has been residing under my couch, for eight days. She only comes out in the middle of the night to eat and use the litter box. I purchased the calming spray because she is shedding terribly. I think she is stressed, but she does eat well. I really want to keep her and not set her free when the weather warms but it’s breaking my heart that I cannot coax her out during the day. My other cat was two when I rescued him, and he adjusted just great. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. 

–  Joni, via email

Dear Joni,

Eight days is not long enough for a previously outdoor cat to adjust to living in a new home. She needs several weeks or months to adjust – and may take even more time than that before she comes near you to be petted. 

Use plug-in feline pheromones around the home and play with her twice a day using a fishing pole-type toy with a feather on the end. At some point, she won’t be able to resist the feather toy – and will bolt out from under the couch to play. The more she does this, the more confidence and security she will feel in her new home.

The fact that she is not fighting with your other cat and is eating at night bodes well for her success. Be patient, and you will eventually have many wonderful years with this feline.

Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, children’s author, syndicated pet columnist, and pet expert with more than 30 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal

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Cathy Rosenthal, CHES, CFE
Animal Welfare Communications Specialist

Cathy brings more than 25 years' experience in the animal welfare field. She is a sought-after speaker, Certified Humane Education Specialist, a syndicated pet advice columnist, an author, a publisher, and of course - a loving pet parent.

Read more about Cathy here or check out her Non-Profit's page to see more ways she can help you and your organization.

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