Is Your Cat Afraid of Everyone but You?
30 January, 2013

As we all know, our cats come in different shapes, sizes and temperaments.   Some cats are gregarious and love being around all sorts of people.  They come out and greet your friends and let them pet him or her.  And, then other cats run and hide under the bed or the nearest couch whenever a guest arrives.

A cat’s temperament could be just inherent in its make-up or it could be a factor of having a fearful event as a kitten.   This can happen when adopting a pet and your kitty or adult cat came from a less than desirable environment.

Cats that haven’t spent a lot of time with people can be afraid

To be social around all types of people, a cat must have had many opportunities to meet numerous new people while still a kitten.  The more time spent with new people, the more social your cat will be when meeting new friends or guests.

Even cats who did meet lots of people when they were kitties can be afraid of specific kinds of people that they didn’t meet often, such as young children or men. Having a bad experience with a person can also make a cat fearful around people. This fear might remain specific to the person or it might include other people as well.

If possible, try to introduce your kitten to many people

If you have a kitten, give your little feline friend a lot of opportunity to meet all different types of people.   When your kitten is social with this new person, make sure that your friend rewards your kitty with praise or treats.  Some kittens don’t even need ‘rewards’ and are simply gregarious around new people while others might need some coaxing.

For adult cats that are fearful of people, introduce them slowly.

If you have an adult cat that is afraid of people, the best way to conquer his fear around guests is to ask your guests to approach your cat very gradually and give him lots of rewards along the way.   It is even better to let your cat approach your new visitors on his or her own timetable. If your cat will come within several feet of visitors, ask your guests to gently toss treats or toys for him.

If your cat doesn’t come out from where he is hidden, you can shake his food bag (if he is an eater like my cat!) or place one of his or her toys near his hiding place.  Call him or her out with a soothing voice and let him come out on his own time.  If he or she remains hidden, try again next time.  It can take many attempts to get your cat comfortable.

Provide high places for your cat to observe

If your cat has a place where he can watch what is going on around him or her, this might help him feel more comfortable.  You can use a kitty tree or let him jump on a shelf and watch how much fun you and your guests are having.  Maybe he will then come out and join the fun.

If the change is sudden, there could be an underlying medical condition

If your cat has been social in the past and that is no longer the case, it might be attributed to a medical condition. If you notice any unusual physical or behavioral changes, or if your cat stops eating, see your veterinarian right away to rule out medical problems.

I hope these tips help and your cat becomes more ‘social’ around new people.

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