Susan Baker's Tried And True Recipe
For Introducing The Adopted Aby



 

 








 

 







 









 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Velvet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zeno

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Calvin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caesar

 

 

 


This is written in an effort to help both you and your adopted adult Abyssinian make an easier transition. It helps to remember that cats in general are very cautious creatures.

In the wild, they would live their entire lives in one territory, only to leave if they are driven out by outside factors. They learn every smell in this area, every normal sound, every tree and every twig, every visiting creature.

Our homes are their territory and they become very comfortable with their surroundings and the creatures (us) they have to share their territory with. They learn the routine sounds like television sounds, dishwashers, washing machines, and most of all they learn our moods, body language, voice tones and habits. I have found that a suspicious-natured cat will relax more and more each year that we have them and even at the ages of 9 or 10 still allow new liberties they would never have allowed at a younger age!

To give yourself an idea of how they feel, please, imagine yourself as a child, in your home, living your life, not expecting anything to change, and suddenly, you're kidnapped, put in a cage, driven off and inserted into a home with a Korean family. You are in a completely foreign place, with foreign customs and a completely foreign language with foreign-looking people.

This is how a cat feels when they are rehomed with a new family. They weren't expecting it, they didn't do anything to deserve it, and it is a shocking, upsetting experience. The upheaval frightens them so they will be on full alert (fight or flight) when they arrive to your home.

Adopting an adult Abyssinian cat from rescue:
You will need to buy at least 2 litter boxes, find out what kind of food the Aby is eating and buy that brand, buy two separate cat bowls, glass, glazed pottery or stainless steel. Also buy a case of those small cans of cat food, turkey is the best flavor for cats. Buy the cat toy that is like a fishing pole, and also a cat toy that is like a feather on the end of a stick. They also like those fur mice. Catnip toys are excellent.

Be prepared to BRIBE your way into the Aby's heart. Please remember that Abys do not take change well at all. Before you get your cat, have a room prepared, fixing it up with a litter box, food (what the rescue was eating prior to coming to you) and water and a nice place to sleep. When you come in, always either bring a toy in with you or bring some canned food on a plate. Do not touch the Aby or attempt to touch even when you first bring him/her home. Just take the carrier to "the Aby's" room and open the door and quietly take a seat and watch the exploration and then leave the room.

Know that it is possible that he/she could hiss and growl at you for a couple of weeks while he/she gets used to the surroundings. This is normal!

Try to understand that your rescued Aby's whole world has been turned upside down and the only way of reacting is to show how "unhappy" he/she is.

Looking directly at this cat for more than 5 seconds at a time could upset her. We humans have "predator" faces, with two eyes facing forward. When we are looking at a smaller animal (birds, cats, small dogs, rabbits, deer) directly, their instincts tell them that we are sizing them up for dinner. Until this cat knows that you are a friend and trusts you, it will be relying purely on instinct. Keep your glances short. Don't look directly at the Aby but around the cat (as in just over the cat's left shoulder).

Talk softly and carry on a soft conversation, even if you are telling yourself a bedtime story. If the Aby stops and lays down and relaxes, glance at over and blink slowly. If the Aby blinks back, it is telling you that you are being trusted.

When they first arrive, expect them not to interact with you very much. They will be testing their new surroundings, smelling the new smells, getting used to all the new sounds they aren't used to hearing. It really helps lower the stimulation level if you put your cat in a quiet bedroom to give them a smaller space to deal with. I recommend it to be a spare bedroom or another quiet room at first. When you visit them, give them lots of space and don't try to touch them or pet them at this point.

Some may take minutes and some may take days and some even weeks to months, but let the cat signal to YOU that they want to interact. During this time, you can still speak to them in a soft, reassuring voice, don't stare or look in their eyes directly and try to be aware of the fact that you will probably have habits that they have never seen before. Some people don't realize they make noises like coughing, sniffing, barking laughter or slapping their shoes when they walk. All of this may be completely strange and foreign to your new cat, so give them some time to get used to it.

I throw cat kisses to my new cats and that helps them feel welcome. (A cat kiss is when you glance at a cat, and when they meet your glance, squint your eyes a little and do a slow blink.when they do the same thing, you have just exchanged a friendly sign of affection!) When they come to you and rub on you, then that is the signal that they are ready to open up a dialog with you and maybe even be friends if you are respectful enough!

Helping things along in any way you can will be appreciated by your adopted cat and also reward you with feline interaction a lot sooner than if you did nothing. I have found the direct route to an Abyssinian's heart is through their stomach. While you may not plan to feed canned food on a regular basis, the first few weeks of acquaintance are very important. You want your cat to look forward to interacting with you and you want them to associate your presence with positive feelings.

Coming with a bowl with a tablespoon or two of yummy canned food two or three times a day will really help this. I try to use the same bowl so that they associate the one bowl with food treats and not run around at my feet every time they see me carry any bowl or plate! Try not to change things too much for them. Feed them the same food they're used to eating at their old home, if you can, get their old bed (helps if it's not washed) and use the same kind of litter they are used to using. Don't introduce them to other pets or small children for at least 4 weeks, and when you do, make sure the introduction is quiet and respectful, keeping the newcomers at a distance for the first few introduction periods.

Do not encourage your children to "pet the kitty" yet. Let the kitty "ASK" the children for all interaction.

Ways to form a great relationship with an Aby:
Play - wave your feather toy around enticingly and see if you can engage it in play.
Food - the fastest way to an Aby (and Man's) heart is food. Bring small amounts of canned food with you.
Praise and positive affection - Tell the Aby what a beautiful kitty, what a smart cat, what fast paws and what good manners. In other words: Suck up!

THE PROPER INTRODUCTION IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR CATS TO GET ALONG

When you get your new cat home, don't introduce him to either your children or any of your pets right away. Please have a bedroom where you can have the adopted Aby apart from your animal family for a minimum of 4 weeks. Have food, water, toys, bed, litterbox in that bedroom. While you're not doing a FORMAL introduction, they are becoming familiar with each other because you are letting them smell and hear each other under the door. Your Cat will be angry and hiss and growl at first, which is normal, but eventually, since she can't see him, her anger will turn into intense curiosity. USE THAT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE! After your cat stops hissing at the door (minimum of 2 weeks), lock the new cat in a carrier (in its room) and let your cat(s) go into the room. Let your cat(s) smell all the adopted cat's stuff AND feed your cat a yummy snack in the adopted cat's room. Talk to it in happy positive tones and play with favorite toys (including catnip) while in the adopted cat's room. We want your cat to associate the new presence and smells with happy feelings. Let your cat take its time in there and don't let the new cat out of the carrier yet. Do all happy things (smelly food, playing) in the new cat's room for several days (minimum of 2 weeks) until it no longer feels threatened by its presence. When your cat is relaxed in its presence, leave the carrier door shut but not locked. Eventually the new cat will push on it and it will pop open and they can meet each other. Make sure that both cats claws are clipped short when you do this in case someone decides to pop someone else (the popper won't hurt the poppee and so they won't be so offended).

Introducing Children to your new cat is something that doesn't need to be done immediately. I realize that the kids are going to be very excited about the new kitty and anxious to see and touch it. Please don't overwhelm your adopted Aby with introductions right off. Let the cat FIRST get acquainted with it's surroundings and one or two quiet adults. This can take up to 4 weeks, but you will be able to tell by the cat's body language when it is relaxed enough to handle a new introduction. Before bringing ONE (never multiple children) child into the cat's room, make sure you have explained the ground rules and be very careful to enforce the ground rules.
The ground rules:

We do not pet the kitty yet, we want the kitty to ask you to be petted. When the kitty comes to you and rubs on you, then it is asking you to be petted.

 
  1. Be very quiet around the kitty. Do not make any loud noises or else it will be scared. If you are quiet, the kitty will come to you sooner.
  2. When you visit with the kitty, you have to be sitting still on your bottom.
  3. Do not walk up to the kitty or go get the kitty. You can only touch the kitty if the kitty comes to you and rubs on you.
  4. When you try to get the kitty to play, sit down on your bottom and play with the toy. If you wiggle the toy just right, the kitty will come to play with it. Wiggle the toy gently so the kitty won't be afraid of the toy.
  5. Don't pick up the kitty. (Never, ever let a child pick up your Abyssinian. Abyssinians are not lap cats and most of them don't like being picked up, even by adults. Letting a child pick up and hold an Abyssinian is asking for trouble.)
  6. When the kitty is hiding somewhere (like under the bed, or underneath things, or behind things or in the closet) leave it alone. The Aby wants some peace and quiet.

We want your new cat to associate your child with nice things, so letting your child feed the kitty is a good way to do that. When you bring your child into the room, give them a small bowl of canned food and let them set it down for the kitty to eat before seating them nearby to observe the kitty eating. Find feather toys or wand toys so that you can keep your child occupied with trying to get the cat to play. Once the cat is comfortable with your child, she will play and therefore associate your child's presence with good things.

Always respect the cat's need to get away from the children. It is a good idea to delegate a room or area as the kitty's time out place and no children can go touch the kitty when she is in her time out place. Your cat will have a better relationship with your kids when she realizes that she is in control of whether they can interact with her or not.

Keep in mind that it is going to take several weeks to months for your adult Abyssinian to lose the disorientation that comes with being rehomed. They are beginning a completely new life and in addition to learning the new territory, they are learning your personalities and forming new attachments.

Some cats only take days, some take weeks, but an Aby is an Aby and will one day decide that it likes you and will initiate interaction. At that point it is okay to pet the Aby. Be patient, quiet, gentle, understanding and they will eventually make more overtures, allow more liberties and gradually learn to love and trust you.

After you have petted your rescue Aby at least 100 times, you might want to see if he or she will allow you to pick him/her up. If you are able to, your Aby has just paid you the highest compliment.

And, of course, you may call if you have any questions, but if you follow these instructions to a "T" you shouldn't need to call. We know it takes at least a month, but that is such a short amount of time to invest in a good lifelong relationship both with humans and any existing pets. Nothing is worse for us than to go through all the time and trouble to get a cat in a home and then have the people call us 6 weeks months later telling us that it's not working because the cats hate each other or because the cat scratched your child in the face when she was trying to get it out from under the bed. When you ask, they ALL say that they put them together earlier because they "seemed" to be okay. All of it can be avoided with a careful introduction.

Diesel

 



 






 

 








 

 

 

 



















 


 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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