How to Help Your Skittish Cat Adjust to Your Home
10 January, 2017
skittish cat

If you have just adopted a kitten or cat, he or she can sometimes be a little afraid or skittish.  Many times these kitties have come from an unpleasant environment and become scared of new people, sounds or voices.   But, you can help your skittish cat adjust to your home with love, patience and time.

Below are some tips to help your cat feel comfortable in his new home:

Give your cat a separate space or room where he or she can acclimate

If you just adopted a cat, your kitty is probably used to being only around other cats or in a separate cage by him or herself and a completely different environment.  Your kitty is encountering new family members, sights and/or smells, so it is best to give your cat a safe room or area for as long as needed.  And don’t be surprised if your kitty stays under the bed for several days, just coming out long enough to eat and use the litter box.

A skittish kitty needs to be approached slowly and at his or her pace

Cats who are skittish are usually suspicious and fearful. They might communicate this fear by biting and scratching. The key is to have your kitty get used to handling so that he or she knows that nothing bad will happen when she’s in your arms.  However, make sure that your kitty comes to you when he or she is ready.

Try petting your kitty to introduce physical contact

Pet your cat in areas where she enjoys it, such as the top of her head or around her face. Then, pick your kitty up, stroke her feet with your fingertips, move on to the belly, the tail and the back. As you touch her, speak to her softly in a calm, low voice. If your kitty becomes agitated, end the session and leave her alone.  Get to know where your cat’s like to be pet and where they don’t.

Use toys to engage your cat or kitten to play

Feather toys or string toys attached to poles are great devices to coax your pet to come closer to you. Walk around with a ribbon tied behind you so that your cat gets to feel like she is chasing you.  Cats also love bags and boxes!  If your kitty approaches to check you out, be still and let her investigate you.

If your cat lashes out, don’t yell at your kitty

If your cat misbehaves, don’t yell at him or her.  Your kitty, out of fear, might miss the litter box or knock things over.  But, the worst thing you can do is raise your voice to him or her.  Always be positive and reward your kitty for playing or eating where he or she is supposed to.   Encourage the good behavior, but never punish your cat for the bad behavior.

Your cat will come to you when ready

You need to be patient and let your cat come out when he or she is ready.  It might require some time, effort and patience, but once you have won him or her over, you will have a friend for life!

Introduce your shy cat to new people, but slowly

Once your kitty seems to trust you, it is then time to introduce your cat to new people and/or other cats.   And it’s better if your kitty comes to them and you don’t force the interaction. It may take a couple of visits before your cat is comfortable with people he or she doesn’t know.

Always be understanding and patient and respect your kitty’s boundaries. Continue to reinforce good behavior and discourage unwanted behavior. Sometimes it will take years to fully complete have a shy kitty to become gregarious, but you’ll be rewarded at the end with an outgoing kitty for life!

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