Help! My cat is hiding!

sable_caJuly 31, 2009

We have two cats, adopted at the same time and the same age, ten weeks, from the SPCA. They are now five years old and are indoors only, sweet, easy, healthy, and dearly loved by us.

However - the male has always been very timid. He has always run and hidden from anyone, man or woman, old friend or new; and usually hides under the bed in our MBR. This is just the way he is. He has never come to meet anyone.

However - we are now having a family get-together. Our two sons and their wives and DGS, 20 months, are here celebrating a special birthday and anniversary with us. Because of the baby, younger DS and DIL have the MBR to themselves. Older DS and DIL have the guestroom. DGS is, bless his adorable self, very mobile and active and vocal. Neither cat has ever seen such a young child. Just to note that DGS is a gently-raised sensitive little boy. He doesn't yell at or run towards our female, although he likes to watch her.

Our little male tuxedo guy has now been under the living room sofa for 22 hours without eating, drinking or coming out to use the litterbox. We finally put the box next to the sofa, with the skirt tacked up so that he'd have easy access. We have put his kibbles and Greenies next to him under the sofa, and he hasn't touched them. His adoptive-sister is, of course, eating and litterboxing and being sort of social, although she keeps him company, too.

So my question is: How long can he continue like this? It's Friday and the children are leaving on Tuesday. He won't starve himself, will he? He won't "hold it in" rather than use the box, will he?

We lie next to the sofa and peek at him, talk to him, try to at least get a finger on his nose, IOW are very encouraging.

Can anyone tell me about a kitty who has survived this kind of ordeal?

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If I were you, I would encourage everyone to turn in as early in the evening as possible to give your male cat a chance to come out from under the couch under cover of darkness after all of the household activity has quieted for the night. He will probably do so then to use the litterbox, eat, and drink. BTW, make sure you put a water bowl under the couch for him, too.

If he doesn't eat adequately for more than 24 hrs, he is at risk of developing potentially fatal hepatic lipidosis, and if he holds his urine and develops urinary crystals, they could clump together and cause a urinary blockage which could kill him within a matter of hours. In other words, very bad things could happen to your cat if he refuses to eat, drink, or use the litterbox.

If you have another larger room like another bedroom, attic, or basement where you could put your cats and keep your human family out until after their visit, that's what I suggest you do. If not, send everyone to bed early so that the male has a chance to take care of business in the dark where he will feel safer.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2009 at 12:57AM
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When I first brought my cat 'Shorty' home from the shelter 6 mos ago he was a sweet cat but once we let him loose he hid under our dresser for at least a week straight and for 3-4 mos after that he would run when he saw us. He is now one of our most out going cats. I would suggest that you try to leave him alone. If everyone is leaving Tuesday it will be ok. He will most likely come out at night when everyone is sleeping and get some water, food and do his business. He probably has come out when nobody notticed and just went right back to where he feels the safest.

If however he seems to be peeing where he is sitting you might want to find a room that has less traffic and is quieter where he can just hide without being bothered. Do you have any room that is empty or stays somewhat empty you could try using a cat carrier to move him to the quieter room and leave the door open so he can come out of it when he doesn't feel threatened.

I hope I helped a little

    Bookmark   August 1, 2009 at 1:04AM
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I agree with Laurie. Get everyone out of there and give him some time alone. He should go during the night. I also agree if there is any other room/garage he could go in while the company is there I'd do that too. Hope the poor guy eats and uses the box overnight.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2009 at 1:05AM
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I had a male cat that was very timid. Most people never saw the poor thing unless I grabbed him and carried him for people to see him, then he would run off. Hide for a whole day when I vacuumed. We did find out later he had hyper thyroid issues. Your cat is/will probably come out when everyone is sleeping. However it may be better if you can keep him in a bedroom with the door closed with water/food and his own litter box. I had to do that when my in-laws came to visit for a few days. The temperament of the child is probably not the issue, he is just not used to kids.I had the scaredy cat before my son was born and he lived 5 years more, never adjusted to my son. You just have a scaredy cat.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2009 at 7:44AM
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When I brought "Mary" home she lived under my bed for 2 months. The shelter told me she was returned twice. I just let her be because in the morning the food would be gone and the litter box was used. She was an only cat at the time, so it was easier to tell. My friends and family didn't see her for years. I'm sure he waits until everyone is sleeping and then not only eating and doing his business, he's probably sniffing all their stuff.

And be careful of the Greenies. They're made by Nutro and some of their food is making animals very sick and Nutro denys it. (but thats another story) I switched to Party Mix.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2009 at 10:58AM
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Thank you all! First, I'm well aware of the danger of hepatic lipidosis and urinary crystals; that's why I wrote to this forum! And thanks, Sduck2, for the warning about Greenies. I have been giving the cats 2 Greenies each twice a day, to help clean their teeth. Will search for something better. It's getting to be such a pain to find safe food.

Our house, a small CA cottage, has no attic, basement, or garage. In fact, DH and I turned it over to the kids for the duration of their visit, and we are staying in a nice motel nearby. We sleep and breakfast there and then come home for the day and evening. We wanted the boys to have the comforts of their original home and enjoy being together. I had planned for our den/TV room for the cats, and for timid Gus especially, but he took off under the LR sofa instead. But when we came home this morning, he was finally in the den, hidden in a closet and meowing at me mournfully. So you all were right - during the night when everyone was sleeping, he mustered up his courage and ran there. Both litterboxes have been used and he munched on a good bit of kibble after I closed both of us in the room and talked to him for awhile. We have water bowls in several good places. I'm pretty sure that he's using them - he's a good drinker.

When elder DS wants to watch TV, I will watch with him, so that nervous Gus doesn't go into a further tizz. Right now, he seems - finally to be sort of adjusting. Meanwhile, our female kitty appears to have made herself comfy in the MBR with DS, DDIL, and DGS. It has a very soft bed, a lovely futon, and stacks of soft pillows and blankets, and she probably likes all the baby smells.

Thanks for putting up with this long post. We love our little guy so much and just want to ease his trauma!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2009 at 4:05PM
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