Yesterday I adopted a cat. The first thing the cat did was go into hiding. I went shopping, and when I returned the cat had literally disappearedI could not find him, and I have a very small apartment. I finally found the cat perched on top of my refrigerator, hiding behind some napkins. After several hours I tried to put a neck collar around him. He scratched me and I sprayed him with water.
This is the second day, and he still has not attempted to come down from the refrigerator. My questions are: is this normal, and how long should I give him to come out from hiding? Should I consider returning him to the place I adopted him from? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Yvonne, I know it is very frustrating when you open your home (and heart) to an adopted animal who doesn't respond positively right away. But don’t worryyour cat's reaction to being in a new home is quite normal. By hiding, he is just doing what his feline nature tells him to do when the situation is new. I am sorry you were not prepared better by the place he came from for exactly this reaction of fear and shyness. It’s possible that his history with other owners may have taught him to be cautious until he finds out if this new situation is a safe one for him.
As a psychologist, I urge you to remain calm. If you act too impulsively and return him without even trying to help him feel more comfortable, you may end up feeling some guilt and regret for a decision you can't undo. I don't minimize how hard the adjustment period will be, but some of the best companion cats start out this way. It means he is smart and determined to survivethese are good characteristics.