You just adopted a new cat and now that you're home and settled in, where did they go? Hiding under a chair? Under the bed? In a closet? Maybe they haven't left their carrier yet. Either way, it's perfectly normal - or endearingly abnormal - for your Shy Sweetie to hide right now. They may hide because they're stressed, or just not feeling confident and safe, but there are ways that you can help them feel comfortable and confident in their new home.
Remember that your new cat is getting used to you and your people, your home, and any other animals you have living with you. They are taking in all the new sights, smells, and sounds that they are not familiar with, and this process can be incredibly overwhelming at first. Depending on the individual cat, it can take a few days, weeks, and sometimes even months before they are more trusting of their new environment (including you).
- If possible, start your Shy Sweetie off with their own small, quiet space - like a spare bedroom or bathroom. Ideally, the room should have some natural light to allow them to express natural cat behaviors while acclimating. Make sure they have access to water and a litter box at all times. Scatter some enticing cat toys around the room.
- It's important to allow your Shy Sweetie to hide. This will decrease stress and help them to feel safe. Try to provide them with that hiding space (like an empty cardboard box or the cat carrier you brought them home in with a blanket covering it to make it extra cozy) so it's easy for you to monitor them.
- Block off hiding spots that are in unaccessible to you. Cats often feel safer when elevated; be cautious of high shelves and attic access doors in closets.
- Offer canned food several times a day and remain in the room while they eat. This can help create a bond and accelerate their learning to trust you.
- Once your new cat has transitioned to a bigger space, create dens around your house, especially in the main living areas so they can have options to hide and enjoy the same spaces with you.
- Invite your new cat to play. You might be surprised how quickly a shy cat will spring to life when offered an interactive wand toy. This is also a great way to bond.
- Don't take it personally if your first attempts get you nowhere! Give it time. Cats are sensitive souls and they need time to decompress when they first arrive. You will enjoy the moments of interaction so much more if you let them decide to come to you.