Q: Why is my cat so afraid?
I have fallen in love with a cat at the animal shelter — a wonderful (I hope) but terribly fearful cat. If I adopt, how can I help her recover?
Learn as much as possible about the adoptee’s history — and about the help the shelter can offer with this “special needs” cat.
What ever traumatized this fear-ridden cat in its previous life must not be repeated with you, No cat deserves to be stuck with an aggressive dog, loud noises, rambunctious children, or whatever. Progressive animal shelters and rescue organizations want to give as much “biographical” information as possible for at least two reasons: You should know what to expect, and they want to find a secure, loving, permanent home for this very special animal.
If you’re not getting satisfactory answers to your “biography” questions, be wary. But be prepared: Some of the answers could break your heart.
Then, one more question for the shelter: What help can you provide (such a complimentary consult or two with a behavior specialist)?
Okay, assuming the cat is good to go, here is the ASPCA’s advice for bringing home a mistreated cat: “Confine her to one room along with a litter box, food, and water. Leave the cat carrier or box in the room that she can use as a safe haven. Give her some time to hide out and assess her new home. Do not attempt to pull her out of hiding unless absolutely necessary. Spend time in the room to let the cat get used to you; Read aloud, sing softly, and talk quietly to her. Don’t approach her; let her come to you first. This may take just a few days or as long as several months.”
You’re a saint for giving a cat a second chance.
Thanks to the vets at BluePearl Veterinary Partners (bluepearlvet.com) for this answer.
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