Interacting with a shy cat

Cats and kittens who weren’t properly socialized before 12 weeks of age can still become confident, loving companions with a little extra time and patience.

Here are some useful tips to accelerate the process:

1) Cats are creatures of habit and love predictable environments. During the first few days, avoid making loud or sudden noises, and always leave an escape route for the cats so that they feel they can protect themselves by retreating to a hiding place.
2) Most cats will exhibit shy behavior when introduced to new environments. Cats are cautious animals by nature and tend to look for the protection and comfort of an environment where they can fully or partially conceal themselves. As they become more accustomed to the sights, sounds, people, and animals in the new space and realize that they will not be physically harmed, they will leave their hideaway and seek companionship and sustenance.
3) When the cat has become comfortable eating from the food dish, sit down a foot away from the dish and, after a few moments, reach over from behind and gently stroke her. Never bring your hand directly toward the cat’s face, as this will startle her. As your cat becomes accustomed to the petting, over time move the food dish to different spots in your home. Cats are “site specific” in that they associate certain behavior with various locations. You cat will associate your affection with the food and with the location of the food dish. Even when the food dish is removed, she will think of the location as a safe spot to receive and give affection.


4) Use toys to engage your cat or kitten in play. Feather toys or string toys attached to poles are great devices to coax your pet to come closer to you.
5) Do not stare at your kitty. When you do make eye contact, slowly lower your lids, blink, or close your eyes. You will see him do the same in response. If he is nervous at your touch, the stress can be reduced, if again, you close your eyes — no predator kills with its eyes closed. In the natural world of prey and predator, when one stares at the other, it means someone is about to be someone else’s dinner. DO make eye contact when you have food, a treat, or a gift.
6) Walk around with a ribbon tied behind you so that your cat gets to feel like she is chasing you. If she approaches to check you out, be still and let her investigate you.
7) A hawk is a cat’s natural enemy. Don’t look like one by swooping down on him. Your new kitty will like you best if you are sitting on the floor or a couch where you can be at his level.

Interacting with a shy cat

8) If your kitty runs when you pass her, pass her with your back to her.
9) NEVER yell at or punish your cat.
10) Prepare in advance for any vet appointments by serving the food in the carrier for a week or so before the appointment. On the appointed day, wait for the cat to go in and close the door.
11) When you pick him up, do it slowly and gently.