How do I best care for a 7 year old cat that survived a house fire and hid in the rubble 2 months?

My fiancee's ex-wife burned their house to the ground. We were told all 3 cats died with her. Two months later while salvaging from the basement we heard Twinkie meowing. She spent 2 weeks in the animal hospital and is now home with us. She is eating and drinking well but is very shy. I have two small dogs who are curious and afraid of her. I have never owned a cat. I'd like to bond with her and make her feel comfortable in her new home. She has her own bedroom with food and water up, and her own separate bathroom. I am home with the animals all day. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Asked by Member 1148690 on Jan 7th 2013 Tagged cat, dogs, fire, bonding, abandoned in Adoption & Rescue
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Let her come to you. It's so great that you found her and are opening your heart and home to her. She needs time - she has been through a trauma and is now in new territory. If it were me - I would let her get used to me just being in her space - take a book and go in her room and read - on the floor - get down on her level so she can see you. Keep everything really serene, speak softly, coo a little. Then maybe tempt her with a wand toy and a cookie or two that mysteriously gets tossed her way. Hopefully in time she will come to you and then you can bond - let her rub on you (depositing her scent) - let her sniff you here and there - don't reach for her. The more you leave up to her the more likely she is to be curious. As you will come to learn - you don't own a cat - you are owned by a cat! And that's not a bad thing! Key is to keep her calm and let her explore so she can feel safe in her new territory. Love and time! Good luck to you and let us know how you do!

Phoebe answered on 1/7/13. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Izadore (Izzie)

Phoebe gives excellent and loving advice. I'd just like to suggest that, as far as your dogs go, if they are barking and chasing her, that's not helping the situation. When I did animal rescue and fostered cats or outright adopted them, I would put a baby gate in the doorway of their "safe room". I cut a small hole in the plastic mesh that the cat could fit through but the dogs couldn't. I also kept a spray bottle nearby and when one of my dogs started harrassing the cat, I'd spray the dogs (but not in the face) and say "NO!" Yes, the cat did get scared too, but since it only took one or two sprays to convince the dogs, they stopped thinking the cat was their new toy really quickly. As Phoebe advised, spend time with Twinkie but don't be a pest. Ultimately, SHE will have to decide for herself when it's time to be "OK". Don't try to pick her up or over-handle her and warn everyone else not to do so either. Let her come around in her own time. As Phoebe said, we are owned by THEM! purrs!

Izadore (Izzie) answered on 1/8/13. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Wow that sounds like a terrible situation for kitty. I came from a rough life too and some traumatic things happened before I found my home with my parents. It took me a little while to open up and realize that life is much better here with these nice people. But sometimes I have a hard time forgetting my past.

Patience and steady kindness have been my best medicine. My parents always try to associate positive actions with themselves, so I feel I can trust them and come out of my shell.

Sometimes it's hard to forget...humans have a hard time coping with tragedy too.

Mustafa answered on 1/8/13. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer