Regular Contributor
Posts: 189
Registered: ‎07-29-2010

A month ago my husband and I adopted a cat. She is 9 months old. The first 2 months  she lived in a barn,with no human contact. She is really afraid of us. She will come out and eat and play with our other cat. We really want to hold and pet her. Does anyone have any experience with this or about how long it would take for her to warm up to us?

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Posts: 114
Registered: ‎09-06-2011

Re: New cat

@Sooty wrote:

A month ago my husband and I adopted a cat. She is 9 months old. The first 2 months  she lived in a barn,with no human contact. She is really afraid of us. She will come out and eat and play with our other cat. We really want to hold and pet her. Does anyone have any experience with this or about how long it would take for her to warm up to us?

My Mom and I took in 3 kittens when their mother was injured and killed,  The original plan was to take the mom and kittens to a rescue,  Once the mother cat passed we worked to get the kittens to let us near them.  First we brought food and walked away.  Then we would leave the food but only walk far enough back for them to feel safe.  After 2-3 weeks we would stay close while they ate.  


Then we started moving the food close to the house.  They eventually ended up on my parents deck.    

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,523
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: New cat

Sooty, as long as your kitten is living in the house with you, and cannot escape outside to live as a feral cat, she will eventually come around.  Let her see you interacting affectionately with your adult cat, keep feeding her so that she knows you are the source of all the yummies she's getting, and she'll come around in time.  If your current cat sleeps on the bed with you, let your kitten see that happening, so that she's drawn to do the same, you might be surprised by waking up with two kitties one morning.   Don't try to rush it, if you push she will retreat and you are back at square one.  Every cat takes it's own time, some move faster and some slower.  You are at an advantage in that she's still young, and her personality still somewhat malleable, her experiences going forward will let her develop into a sweet, happy and affectionate housecat, I am sure. 

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Posts: 4,116
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: New cat

[ Edited ]

@Sooty You're a dear for taking in that little kitty.  Try to look at it from her point of view.  If you were her size and were suddenly put with all these huge monsters (people), what would you do?  The fact that she plays with your other cat show you she can be socialized, but it will take time because she missed all the early newborn human contact that is so important.


Seriously, I'd try getting right down on the floor near her so she can see you at eye level, not as a giant.  Then, try to coax her toward you with food or a toy.......but don't move toward her because that will frighten her.  Just be patient and she'll come around!

Laura loves cats!
Honored Contributor
Posts: 8,825
Registered: ‎10-24-2010

Re: New cat

My youngest sister had a cat for years and I never knew it.  She lived in the house with the family and would usually hide all day.  She only came out to eat and never when anyone was visiting.


One time, she hadn't eaten for two days and my sister became concerned.  The cat fell asleep in an open bureau drawer and it was closed not knowing she was in there.  My nephew finally found her when he opened the drawer to get something. Poor kitty.


Some cats just never like to be around people or be affectionate, but most will warm up after a while when they begin to trust you.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,539
Registered: ‎03-16-2010

Re: New cat



Under the circumstances you describe of her first few months, it’s not surprising you new kitty isn’t snuggling in your arms.  You didn’t say where you adopted her from, but I will assume a shelter.  That’s a pretty intimidating place even for many friendly animals.  But for a baby that never was around people, it’s terrifying.


One month isn’t enough time for her to feel comfortable with you yet.  The biggest thing to do right now is continue to be patient and not try to force personal contact if she doesn’t want it.  As @CARMIE said, some cats never really like human interaction.  I have a friend that has three cats, one of which I’ve never seen.  She said that even she doesn’t see him often.  But it’s much too soon to be thinking that your kitten will be like this forever.


The good thing is that she is playing with your other cat.  Your other cat may eventually be her bridge to see that you aren’t a threat.  And she isn’t so depressed or nervous that she won’t eat, which can often be the case with feral animals.  Hang in there, be patient and don’t push her.  Let her feel comfortable and learn the ropes of her new environment on her own timeline.  Chances are she’ll come around.  I have a nine year old cat who has never been one for much petting.  It has been just in the last year or two that he wants to sit in my lap.

Posts: 25
Registered: ‎02-12-2016

Re: New cat

I have rescued two cats in the last 8 years, plus have two older ones.  The first, a female took 6 months to come all the way out to the family room and sit on the sofa with the rest of the family.  This cat passed in February of 2018 and in August rescued a younger female, took her 3 months to come to the rest of the family, just me during the day, 3 weeks!  They are all different.  Just takes time.

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,599
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: New cat

My DH (AKA "The Cat Whisperer") swears by his method - cooked chicken bits. 


As others have already mentioned. slowly go from kitty seeing you provide food, to looking on from a distance, etc. to finally feeding from your hand at floor level.


Unfortunately, this could result in this scenario:




Be patient and good luck!

Honored Contributor
Posts: 48,018
Registered: ‎03-29-2012

Re: New cat


I adopted a semi-feral kitty five years ago. She was picked up in April by the rescue and adopted in January.   When we got her, and she would dance around the food dish waiting for breakfast/dinner, I instituted a mandatory hug/kiss, a quick two second pick up before she was served.


She was VERY scared of BF.  She came from a hoarding situation, although unclear if it was a hoarding of stuff or animals.  When BF would enter a room, she could be out of it in about two seconds flat.  She has taken a long time to warm up, but now I can pick her up and take her upstairs for bed, and she will sleep in the bed (on a pillow above my head or on my feet) and today she's spent the bulk of the morning on the sofa next to me.  She will never be a lap cat, nor does she like to be "held" for any length of time, but she's coming around.  It helps that her "brother" whom we adopted at the same time, is extra lovey and he makes sure that she gets up and around the house.  I also bought them each one of whatever toy/bed/kitty accessory so that they don't have to share anything.  


She is the one in the front (and I was able to capture this without a telephoto lens, LOL).


Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,059
Registered: ‎09-21-2018

Re: New cat


Thank you for having the heart to rescue your Sweet Kitty.


Others here gave you good advise.  And, it's great she plays with your other cat.  When we adopted our 2 girls, (kittens) I found a toy with plastic handle which a long fleece piece hung from with feathers on the end.  I ended up removing the feathers for fear they could swallow them as they tore them off.  Anyways, I would take it by the handle around corners etc. & both were they both crazy over this toy for a long time.  They're almost 18 & they'll still play with it - not as long or as energetic, but it still appeals to their "inner" kitten in them.


Best of luck, you sweet girl will come around.  Take care,