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How to help shy cats come out of their shells

Just like people, cats come in all different personalities: silly, grumpy, playful, and of course, shy. If your cat is on the timid side, never fear! With a little patience and time, you can help your cat come out of its shell.

Establish a reliable routine

All kitties are sensitive to changes in their environment and routine. If you have a shy kitty, it’s important to keep a regular schedule. Feeding them on a consistent timetable and scooping their box daily will let them build trust and feel comfortable. Make a point to socialize with them daily. If your cat is play motivated, schedule regular play sessions, which will build their confidence.

Let them make the first move

When socializing with a shy cat, let them approach you on their own terms. You can start simply by sitting in the same room and gently talking. As our sitter, Andrea Pearlstein explains, “I find that it helps, at each visit, to always speak softly — or sing softly! — to kitty, even if she’s in hiding.” This alone may pique your kitty’s curiosity. And that’s great! If they approach, offer a hand to sniff. If they still seem interested and don’t back away, try gently petting around their heard and ears.

Don’t force interactions

However, if your kitty stays hidden, don’t force them out. Let them stay put. Never pull them from a hiding spot or hold them against their will. Instead, continue to work with them. Our sitter, Julie Prince, found that music and reading out loud were her best tools for a cat who refused to budge. “I simply sat…and read to her. And, I brought her music to listen to. A few months later, when I was booked again, altho’ she was still very testy, she came out, walked around, and went and sat…on her scratching post glaring at me. I still read to her since she clearly did not want to be touched. Great progress!”

The most important step is to be patient: all cats warm up at their own speed. As Julie says, “Cats will come around on their own time schedule not yours. It’s that wonderful independent streak that makes them so special.”

Is your kitty particularly shy? Our pet sitters will take time to make sure your cat feels safe and comfortable. Call today!


Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.

Photo by PublicDomainPictures on pixabay.

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