4 Year Old Cat New to Our Home Still Hiding

Updated on May 24, 2011
L.H. asks from Washington, MI
17 answers

I took in a sweet four-year-old female cat last week, and she's still hiding behind the water softener. She does come out to use the litter box, eat and drink, and get petted (usually only for my husband or me, not the kids). Otherwise she does not come out. She has also growled quite a few times when she hears my husband clear his throat or move his squeaky chair in the other room.

I know it's only been one week since she's been with us. Should I just hang on with hope that she will come around and be more friendly, or... what should I do?

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answers from Phoenix on

She will come out eventually. Back when I was 23 and bought my first condo, I was single and someone said I "needed" a cat. Well, I got one that was about 3 yrs old and I swear, the first 2 MONTHS she hid behind the fridge! She did eventually come out full time and was my best buddy! :o)


answers from Minneapolis on

I would be patient, offer treats and petting as often as you can, and give her more time. If she's using the litter box, that's a good sign. If there's a door you can close to help her feel safe, you might want to do that for just a few days.

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answers from Honolulu on

Are your kids young and active and loud or rough or young?
She is not comfortable in her new home yet.
Not at all comfortable yet.

Was it from a shelter?
maybe it was mistreated? Hence, it being very introverted and nervous about mingling?

If it was a stray... well then it can take time. She was previously a 'wild' cat. It takes time to tame one. They have to build up 'trust' of their new surroundings.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Glens Falls on

Cats are all about their environment. Dogs are happy wherever their owners are but cats are generally only happy in their own environment. That's why you can take your dog with you to visit at your friend's house but you don't take your cat along because they would be miserable in a different environment. So even though this kitty now has a better environment, she doesn't think like a human - so she's not thinking wow, cool, I just got a better gig, she's thinking oh no, this is all different! When you first bring an adult cat into your home (or even when you move your cat to a new house), you should keep them in a confined space, like one bedroom or even a bathroom. Put the litter box right with her. Shut the door and visit her periodically. She will feel safer. Feed her in the safe room. After a couple of days, leave the door ajar. She'll explore the new environment at her own pace and eventually adapt to it. The last two rescue cats I brought home wouldn't come out from under the bed for a week. Then one came out, but wouldn't leave the safe room even if the door was ajar. After 2 weeks, the bold one was creeping into my bed at night and sleeping on my head, the timid one was still under the bed. After 3 weeks, the timid one was out and about. She'll be fine once she adjusts but she's growling because she is scared. Make her a safe room and she'll come around.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Give her some time. Our cat took a month or so to warm up to us.


answers from Washington DC on

It took my 6 month old kittens a few weeks to relax and come out of hiding. I watched an interesting show the other day called "My cat from hell" and the featured cat hid all the time and wouldn't let anyone near her. This "cat whisperer" came in and he would find her and offer her his glasses to smell instead of his hands then when she finally started coming out he would let her rub against him first. This couple had other cats so he had them play with the other cats in front of her hiding place so she could see them and then they would take the cat wand and inch it around where she was hiding so she would come out and play with it. it took several weeks but she finally came out and was semi-social. Unless you know her history, I would just give her some time to adjust first. My one cat hated noises and took years to accept my husband.


answers from Phoenix on

She will come out eventually. Back when I was 23 and bought my first condo, I was single and someone said I "needed" a cat. Well, I got one that was about 3 yrs old and I swear, the first 2 MONTHS she hid behind the fridge! She did eventually come out full time and was my best buddy! :o)


answers from Sacramento on

My husband, who is a dog lover and never owned a cat before, was surprised when we rescued a beautiful Himalayan who insisted on hiding under the bed and hissing all night - she would just hunker down there and hiss. If it hadn't been sad, it would have been hilarious! Being a dog lover, he decided that he could train this cat to be friendly. Having owned cats my whole life, I thought he was insane. Well, he dragged that cat out from under the bed hissing and spitting, and held it. He patiently dragged that cat out and held it (gently, talking nicely to it and petting it) all the time. Finally, she stopped hiding under the bed, but would sit in the middle of the room hissing at us. So he'd go pick her up, hold her... you get the idea. After about a month, she stopped hissing and would come sit with us, even yowling at us until one of us would pick her up. He literally trained her that we were nice people who would hold her and pet her. He has since done this with 2 more cats we've rescued. Sounds weird but it works - if you are patient enough you can train a cat to like you and to snuggle with you, and if you do it right, the cat isn't traumatized at all. Leave it to the guy with the big dumb dogs to figure that one out...



answers from Detroit on

I had a cat that I got while in college. She was very loving, friendly and was always, I guess you could say visible.....enter baby #1. For the next 8 years of her life, she stayed away until the kids went to bed. She was never aggressive towards them. I guess she just preferred adults. As for your cat spending tme behind the water softener....I don't think a week is unusual. Her growling at noises could just be that she is in a new place and unfamiliar with the noises. She will get used to them....love her up and give her some time. You didn't say if she came from a family situation or a shelter. That could make a difference in her comfort levl.



answers from Tuscaloosa on

We adopted our cats from a shelter 5 years ago. The first one we got went immediately under our bed where she stayed for 2 full weeks, growling and hissing if we came to close. While we slept is when she would come out and eat. I can tell you that that cat now does not want to be alone in a room, she is constantly following us around, she sleeps with my 8 year old daughter and has just been the best cat. Cats do this when they are insecure. Give her a little time and she will become comfortable, some cats just take longer...Our other cat sprinted out of the box and has been bouncing off the walls since day one. Differant cats, differant personalities



answers from Kansas City on

give her a little more time and love. Our cat did this when we moved into a different house, and she knew us!! Maybe you could get some kitty treats to sweeten the deal.



answers from Portland on

Our cat was desperate for love, but very shy. His previous owners were good folks, but were a newly combined household, and there were some larger dogs that scared kitty a lot, to the point where he was living under their bed most of the time. Being "out" and exposed may not feel safe for your new cat, so give her some time to settle in. And you might consider keeping the kids and busy-ness away enough to let her venture out. Our cat has been with us for over six years and is still very unsure about our four year old; if our son gets too close or moves too fast, kitty's down in his basement cozy corner quite quickly.


answers from Minneapolis on

I would be patient, offer treats and petting as often as you can, and give her more time. If she's using the litter box, that's a good sign. If there's a door you can close to help her feel safe, you might want to do that for just a few days.


answers from Houston on

I agree with the give her time advice. In her life the whole world just turned upside down and she has a very small brain to process this with! Just continue with patience and I think she will come around. We have had some neurotic cats in our life and even they can be lived with if given lots of love and patience. We had one cat that we just had to pray would never get sick bc seriously, she only hung out in my mom's room or the closet, that was it. She had issues, but she was a good cat all in all. Since she is letting you guys pet her, I think she will be OK in a little more time. She may be the skiddish type, but she will adjust.


answers from San Francisco on

Took our seven month old kitty about a month to stop hiding under the bed and growling at us. Now he purrs and follows us all over the house. A week is not enough time for a cat less than a year old so I'd assume that it would take an older cat longer than that as well.

Our cat was born feral but rescued as a kitten by my sister when she found him up under the wheel well of her car. She took care of him and had him fixed, gave him his shots and he lived with her for most of his kittenhood. She gave him up to me when her boyfriend put his foot down and said get rid of it so I said I'd take him so she'd stop fretting over it.



answers from San Antonio on

I can relate. I adopted my cat Sophie in 2002 she was about 3 years old. She hid for about 2 weeks, She would come and sit in the same room and even sat at the other end on the couch from me. She never sat in my lap and would only let me pet her on her terms. When I started dating my now hubby he came over to the house and was sitting on the couch and she came out and jumped right into his lap. This was 4 years after I got her, she had not even sat in my lap. She spent the last 4 years sleeping at the foot of the bed bewtween mine and my hubby's feet, Sadly she passed away about a month ago.
Give her time and be patient with her. She will come out when she feels comfortable with her new surroundings and family. Hopefully it won't take 4 years for her like it did my Sophie. I am sure that once she is comfortable she will be a loving member of your family.


answers from Houston on

it took mine 2 weeks to come out of hiding and about a month to become friendly.


answers from Tampa on

Sounds like you need to be patient. The cat you got may have been abused from her former owners and any forcing the issue may be harmful to her. DO not try to force her to accept petting from your children yet. WHen she comes to you and your husband, praise and love her. Give her about another month before you become concerned.

I took in an abused cat... took her 2 weeks to stop hiding underneath the bed and to start laying next to me in bed. I've had her 6 years now and I'm still the only one who can pick her up and hold her. If anyone else tries she will hiss, scratch and try to bite. She allows everyone to pet her tho.


answers from Biloxi on

I took an older cat last summer to add to my "petting zoo" - she hide in the corner in the family room for a week, then lived on the armchair for another 2 weeks. She actually did not leave the family room for almost 4 weeks, then only forays in the night when we were asleep. She would let us pet her when we were in the same room with her, but she was scared of everything. Fast forward, a year later, and she is totally integrated into the household.

Adopted another cat a month ago, he hid in the same corner of the family room for a week also. LOL It is a popular corner. He adjusted much more quickly, about a week and a half, but is still spooky about loud noises and sudden movements.

Like people, they all have their own personalities. Give her time - she will adjust. Just be patient and don't force her to come out. I tried that with the most recent cat because I was being impatient - set us back a few days for him to recover his budding trust in me.

God Bless

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