I have just adopted my first cat, Oliver. He is 8 months old and I was told by the shelter that he was previously a stray.

I have only had him about a week and a half, but he already seems to have warmed up to me pretty well. When he sees me on the ground, he starts to purr and would come over to me. He loves to be petted, rubs his face and chin on me, curls up next to me and on my lap, kneads when he sees me or when I pet him, licks me, nibbles my fingers sometimes and looks me in the eyes - overall, he does all things I have read are a sign of a cats love. He does most of these things to strangers, too.

The thing that confuses me is that he only does these things when one is on the floor by him. He spends all of his time under the bed and does not come out on his own. I go under the bed to see him (my bed in slightly elevated, so I am able to do this) or I pick him up and bring him out from under the bed but he is not comfortable again until I sit down. The only time he comes out from under the bed on his own is to go to his litter box or water/food bowls but only when I am sitting on my bed or chair. Even if I start to stand up or do stand up right after he is purring in my lap he will shoot off under the bed.

If he is sitting in my lap and someone around me stands up or walks into the room he will run under the bed too. He has never hissed, but he shoots off. I know it takes a while for a cat to get comfortable in a new home and with new people but the part that confuses me is that he is so comfortable around me and other people as long as we aren't standing. I tried not going under the bed to him for a while to see if he would come out to me but he didn't.

Do I just need to give him more time or will he likely always fear people who are standing and not initiate contact with me?

  • I've had cats for 3 years sadly I lost my 13 year old bit my other one still runs from me and only comes to me if I'm sitting Commented Mar 21, 2021 at 3:36
  • My cat does the same thing, she's a 2 months old kitten, she's always been around humans as she was born by a adopted cat. We brought her home (The owners had too many cats and had to get rid of some) and in within' 2/3 days she started exploring her new home. After about a week she started playing with us and my 6 months old cat, she always been a shy kitty but very playful, she would sleep next to me, lick me, purr and always appreciated pets. But she starts running and hiding when we're standing Commented Jun 10, 2021 at 19:32

2 Answers 2


At a week and a half he's still settling in. Give him time.

It was a month before mine were comfortable enough to sit with me, longer before they'd reliably be lap cats. They are still cautious when more than a few strangers are in the house, but these days my problem is keeping them _out_of my lap when I'm busy.

Oh, re why standing: think of sharing a large room with King Kong. Wouldn't you find him much less threatening if he was sitting rather than standing? Less huge-looking, less able to suddenly chase you... any animal is more likely to investigate if you're sitting down at their level. That's true for young humans too.

  • I'm citing King Kong in a lot of my recent cat answers... but I think it's a decent analogy, when you consider relative sizes and the challenge of trying to understand what the big ape is thinking.
    – keshlam
    Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 6:06

First of all, I'd like to say "Well done" for winning this amount of trust from your cat in just a week and a half. When I adopted two female cats from the same litter, they were a bit younger, perhaps they were 4-5 months, however their previous owner treated them very badly. It took us some time to get them used to us and our house, to let them know they don't need to walk with their legs low to the ground. (No, they were not in heat, they were just frightened of the new environment)

Since the cat doesn't fully trust you yet, I'd suggest to let him accustom himself the way he likes to. Whenever he gets out from below the bed, make sure to play with him - buy cat toys in case you haven't - but when it comes to dragging him out of the bed, don't do this too often. Let the cat know you are letting him set his own territory. As keshlam wisely said, standing human giants can be a bit much for a little cat.

Additionally, cats are known for feeling protection in closed spaces, such as beds, boxes, etc etc. In my case, I put a box together and cut out several square holes for my cats to go in. Whenever my cats are up for playtime, they usually go into the box and I tempt them with their toys. Usually a stick with a piece of string and a toy, etc etc.

Going back to my point, many cats could show this uncomfortable behaviour to some extent, whether they had enough time to open up to their owners or not. And by enough time, it could even be half a year. Keep watching and notice what kind of other characteristics your cat has. I'm sure he will open up to you and he will be more confident when someone is standing near him. And seeing that you have made so much progress with your cat in just one week, I can only see that it will get better and better.

Good luck!

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