The Mercury News Weekend

How to get an aloof, adopted cat to warm up to a new home


DEAR JOAN >> I recently adopted a cat that was being offered for rehoming. The cat was incredibly sad when first dropped off, very vocal and looking for her previous owner.

It’s been weeks now and she still seems aloof, although she is starting to warm up. How long is the longest a cat will need to adjust? And how can I make this easier on her?

— RAchel, SAn FrAncisco

DEAR RACHEL >> How long it will take her to fully adjust is something we just don’t know, but it sure sounds like you’re headed in the right direction.

I’ve had cats that walked in the door and felt immediatel­y at home. I’ve also had a cat that, for a time, I was convinced was trying to kill me. Andy was a gorgeous seal point Siamese and he was a giant of a cat. He had been living with a little girl and her mom, but as Andy had not been neutered, he sprayed and the mom wasn’t having it.

She gave Andy to a friend of mine, who had him fixed and gave him to me as a birthday present. I don’t know if it was being shunted around or getting the old snip-snip, but Andy was not a happy camper when I first got him. He would hardly let me pet him and he liked to knock heavy objects off shelves and onto my head while I slept. His stare was disconcert­ing.

It took a couple of months of him getting used to me and me learning to duck falling objects, but we became best friends.

Patience is probably what’s required most. Let the cat take the lead. Offer to pet her, but don’t be offended if she walks away. Try to play with her as much as you can, dangling little objects for her to swat at and stalk. Study her to find out what she does and doesn’t like.

I’m confident that your cat will warm up to you in no time.

DEAR JOAN >> We have neighbors who are allowing their dog to urinate off their unit on the fourth floor onto our unit on the first floor. This has gone on for over a year and not only is our unit patio soaked with urine, so are the units on the second and third floors. We are in an HOA and reported it numerous times only to have the owners deny it. The board does nothing, even though we have submitted pictures and video.

If you can believe it, we have video of the dog urinating off the balcony on to our patio. We tried speaking with the owners but they wouldn’t come to the door and when we called Animal Control, they lied to them. They are going to investigat­e but its still going on three times a day. Not only is it frustratin­g but disgusting.

We are going to move, but how do we sell a condo with dog urine stains on the patio and whole side of the building? — WilliAm, SAn LeAndro

DEAR WILLIAM >> This leaves me speechless.

According to your city’s municipal code, 4-11- 435 Nuisances by Animals, your neighbors are breaking the law by allowing their dog to “damage or destroy the property of another person or public property, or to repeatedly deposit its body waste fluid or matter upon such property.”

Keep after Animal Control and ask your other neighbors join in on the complaint. In the end, you might have to take this to a civil court. Readers, do you have any suggestion­s?

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