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We've recently gotten a (10 week old) kitten and we're trying to integrate her into the household. There is already an adult cat in the house, but we haven't arrived at the point of introducing them yet - we're just trying to get the kitten to get used to her new environment.

She's currently locked in her own room, with food, water, toys, litter, and a ton of hiding spaces.

On the first day she didn't even move from her hiding place - not even if we were in the room. She didn't eat or drink anything.

Second day, she started moving between hiding places when we weren't in the room, and the food (we've given her 5 different kinds, it looks like a buffet in there) appears to have been touched - so I think she's eating.

It's the mid of the third day, and from time to time she does long and consistent miaoing sprees. At this point we're trying to leave her mostly alone and talking to her only when when we feed her.

Now today, during feeding time she started miaoing from her hiding place. As an experiment we miaoed back and she looked interested. As the miaoing continued back and forth she abandoned her hiding place, took a sniff and lay down on my wife's lap.

I'm not sure what to make of this. Is this good for her - we're making her feel more comfortable? Or are we confusing/taunting her and it'll be worse for her in the long term?

So the question is - should we continue miaoing back or should we just ignore her? Should we be doing anything in response to her miaoing?

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Being taken from her family is a scary situation, even if you offer your kitten lots of hiding spaces. As trond hansen correctly stated, her miaoing is her call for mommy or anyone of her old family. She doesn't want to be alone.

If the only thing she reacts positively to is your miaoing, you should do it. You goal should be to get her used to you, your smell and your normal human language. But if she needs a familiar sound (miaoing) to get to the point, then there's no harm in giving it to her. Start calling her by her name and talking to her anyways.

Do not look directly into her eyes when you want to interact with her. Most animals (including cats) interpret this as a threat and are intimidated by humans looking at them. Instead look at a point slightly to her side and do the "lazy blink" that's typical for cats.

What could do harm, though, are the 2 extremes:

  • Completely ignoring her (you've done that for a few days, now it's time to give her some social interaction, affection and play)
  • Come running at the smallest sound she makes. That teaches her that she can control you and get all the attention she wants.

You need to find a happy medium where you give her the love and attention she needs to be happy but where you're not a slave to her every whim.

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To get the kitten out of hiding try to get her to play. A fishing rod toy is the best because you can have some distance to the cat so it does not get scared.

When you start playing with her try to do this while you are sitting and are relaxed. Play is a good way to make her forget how scared she is.

The fact that you have an adult cat in your house will make the kitten scared so it can take some time before she comes out of hiding. As long as she eats and drinks and uses the litter box she will be fine.

The kitten is calling for her mother and feels alone right now so you need to respond by comforting her and by helping her adapt to a new life with you.

You need to be the replacement mother for her now. And this is the time the kitten needs you most to feel safe in a new environment.

Miaoing back to the kitten is probably not the thing to do, but you can answer the kitten and show her that you are there for her.

This is the time the kitten learns to know you and you learn to know her, so this is the time where bonds are build between you and the cat.

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    She doesn't respond positively to anything else. Approaching her get's a hiss. Humming, whistling, talking, singing, just has her continuing to miao and making no effort to leave her hideyhole – Haedrian May 12 '19 at 11:39

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