New Cat Hiding, hasn't used Litter Box, & My Dog

This is a place to gain some understanding of cat behavior and to assist people in training their cats and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other cat owners and lovers...not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

Persephone - MIA :-(

I'm waiting for- you
Purred: Tue Jan 18, '11 1:11pm PST 
I got a new kittie yesterday. Last night she alternated between exploring & hiding while watching me & my dog. She let me pet her & she sat in my lap for awhile, purring. She seems to really like me. She and my dog are still getting used to each other's smells & tend to walk around each other when they encounter each other. My dog is curious, a little jealous, but not aggressive. If the kittie is in a hiding place & my dog gets close, the cat growls & sometimes hisses.

This morning I woke up and she was under a heavy book case. When I woke up from a nap, she was coming back in the room. So, she was exploring the apartment while I was asleep. But she went right back under the bookcase.
I've had cats before & I know this is common for new cats, so I'm just going to let her work it out at her own pace.

Last night she nibbled in the place I put her food, where I intend it to stay. But she has not used her litter box. I have showed her where it is, I'm using shredded newspaper (what she was used to where she lived before), and it is in a quiet & private area. She was litterbox trained where she used to live. I haven't noticed that she has pottied in the apartment.

My questions - Should I leave the food & box where I want them to ultimately stay or should I moved them temporarily into the bedroom where she is hiding?

When should I worry if she has not pottied?

I'm not expecting the dog & cat to be best friends. I'm am hoping they will accept or tolerate each other, even if it is just ignoring each other. My dream is that one day, months from now, kittie & doggie might nap together on the bed.
Is there anything I shouldn't do or can do to encourage a positive relationship between the cat & dog besides time & patience?


Courageously- lazy
Purred: Wed Jan 19, '11 1:32am PST 
My opinion is that it might be a good idea to move her litter and food to the room where she is hiding. Also, it's a very good idea to separate all animals when you bring a new animal, cat or dog, into your home. It's generally advised to keep a new kitty in a single room with all of his/her things for a few days before introducing him slowly to any existing pets, to give him a chance to calm down and get used to the new smells and environment and owners. Allowing them full roam of the house, and full interaction to other pets all at once is overwhelming and stressful to all animals involved, and it could also spell disaster if you want them all to get along. (The dog could scare the kitty into fearing dogs forever, even if he is a nice dog! Dogs are generally bigger and louder than cats are, after all.)

Let me share this with you~
The first cat that I tried to adopt did the same things yours is doing. (Unfortunately, I ended up working with a rescue to find him a new home because he was absolutely terrified of my dog and it never improved. Don't let that discourage you, though, every kitty is different.) When I brought him home, I had no idea about his previous living conditions, because his owners would barely answer my questions, if they answered at all so I had to figure him all out on my own. But he was always hiding unless I was in the room with him, and he would not eat unless I sat with him. A few days went by, and he was showing NO interest in the litter box whatsoever.. he was simply holding it! Luckily the litter box I had bought for him had a cover, which I had removed to give him a chance to get used to the litter box itself, first. But, after seeing that he refused to use the litter box, and refused to eliminate anywhere at all for that matter, I pulled the cover out. And this amazes me, still, but as soon as he saw the cover in my hands he knew what it was and followed me to the litter box, staring up at the cover anxiously like you would normally see a cat doing when you're carrying an open can of tuna. As soon as I snapped the lid into place, in he went!

He eventually ate on his own, too, after a week or so, but I never could get him to stop being so completely frightened of my dog. He was just a scaredy-cat. But, it sounds like your kitty is probably just too overwhelmed and frightened to feel safe using his littler box. (Like mine was, which is why he wanted the cover so bad.)

So yes, please put kitty in a separate room if you can for a few days, until you are sure she is comfortable, and is eating and pottying normally before allowing her back out to meet your dog again. And I wish you luck, and hope that your two pets can co-exist peacefully. kitty