Three weeks ago, I adopted a 9-month-old female cat, Kira. On the ride home and for a little while after, she seemed pretty calm, though withdrawn. She's set up camp in my bedroom and has food/water/litterbox there. When I'm awake in the room, she stays under my bed almost exclusively. Sometimes my roommate can coax her out, but I never seem to be able to. Typically, I'd go under the bed to retrieve her, which I've now learned is the very wrong thing to do. Now she's terrified of me, and sprints away whenever I approach her, desperately searching for a place to hide from me. She still doesn't do this to my roommate. Did I screw this up beyond hope of repair?
There could be more going on that might deteriorate your relationship with your cat. Looking directly in their eyes for example means a threat in cat language. Moving directly towards her and looking her in the eyes is the equivalent of an attack.
Repairing the damage might take some time. Start by offering good smelling, tasty treats in a passive way.
- Move calmly into the room
- Sit down on the floor. Lean sideways and prop yourself up on one ellbow if you can hold the position for some time. This broadcasts relaxation.
- Place a treat at arms length beside you
- Close your eyes to narrow slits, do the lazy cat blink occasionally.
- Completely ignore your cat until she (hopefully) ate the treat and went away.
If this first step was successfull, you can step it up by placing the treat in front of you, then closer, until you hold it in your hand or place it on your lap.
Don't forget to not look directly in her eyes, but close your eyes a little and blink slowly instead. That way you tell your cat "I'm calm and relaxed, don't be afraid".