10 Ways to Bring Your Shy Cat Out of Her Shell - Pet Hub USA

10 Ways to Bring Your Shy Cat Out of Her Shell

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Cats develop shyness for several reasons, such as confinement in a shelter. With understanding, patience, and a gentle and consistent approach, timid felines can be coaxed out of their shell. Here are 10 ways to bond with your shy cat.

10. Let the Cat Initiate Interactions

Exotic Shorthair Cat

All cats prefer to come to you on their terms. This is especially true for shy cats. Allow them to initiate the interactions. Try sitting quietly on the floor and allowing the cat to observe you and become comfortable with your presence. Allow the cat to approach you, and don’t force contact.

9. Be Consistent 

Close-Up Shot of a Long-Haired Tabby Cat Looking at Camera while Hiding Under a Bed
Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels

All cats thrive on a predictable daily routine. Develop feeding, play, and interaction times for your cat that you can maintain on a consistent schedule. A regular timetable will help your cat gain your trust and feel comfortable. Make sure to scoop the cat’s litter box at least once daily.

8. Avoid Startling Your Cat

Cute Gray Kitten standing on a Wooden Flooring
Photo by Marko Blazevic on Pexels

Try to avoid startling your cat. Don’t sneak up on them, even unintentionally. Make sure the cat sees you approaching. Try turning your back to the cat as you pass. Don’t subject them to loud noises. If running the vacuum, or having people over, put the cat in a secure, quiet area of your home.

7. Make Interactions Gentle

person holding the head of orange tabby cat
Photo by Alexander Andrews on Unsplash

When you do interact with your cat, always make the interaction gentle. Speak softly, move slowly, and avoid staring directly at the cat. Eye contact can be perceived as threatening. Instead, blink slowly to show friendliness. When interacting, get down to the cat’s level. Never bring your hand directly toward the cat’s face.

6. Bond Over Food

A Cat Having a Treat
Photo by Anjie Qiu on Pexels

Use food and treats that your cat finds delicious as a way to encourage it to bond with you. Once your cat begins to show less fear, try offering small pieces of wet food from your hand. This will encourage your cat to approach you, as well as associate you with positive experiences.

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5. Don’t Force Anything

brown Scottish fold in brown thick-pile blanket
Photo by Mikhail Vasilyev on Unsplash

Respect the cat’s boundaries. Don’t try to force anything on your cat, such as petting or cuddling. Don’t pull your cat from its hiding spot or hold the cat against its will (unless there’s an emergency). Such actions will only reinforce the cat’s fear. Again, always allow the cat to initiate physical contact with you when it is ready.

4. Schedule Play Sessions Often

Cat toy
Cat toy” by kevin dooley is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Playtime is one of the best opportunities to bond with your cat. For play-motivated cats, schedule play sessions often. Keep the times consistent so the cat can gain your trust. Use interactive toys that are non-threatening. Look for toys that encourage a cat’s instinct to stalk prey. Bringing out a shy cat’s “inner hunter” works wonders for building confidence.

3. Work on Communication

Cute Tabby Kitten on a Sofa
Photo by Tranmautritam on Pexels

Work on learning to interpret your cat’s body language. Watch for signs of fear, such as freezing, hunching down, or hiding. Pay close attention to your cat’s facial expressions and vocalizations. At the same time, learn to avoid your own body language that might trigger your cat, such as staring. Remember to turn your back to the cat when you pass.

Read More: How to Build Trust With Your New Cat

2. Take Baby Steps

Cute Kitten hiding behind a Pillow
Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels

Bringing a shy cat out of its shell requires time and patience. It must be done in baby steps, one small increment at a time. Every positive interaction is a step forward. Repeat steps as often as necessary until the cat becomes comfortable. Shy cats do better in quiet homes rather than those with young children or other dominant pets.

Read More: 10 Tips to Win Over Your Cat

1. Consider Stress Relief Aids

…non fidarsi è meglio – my scared cat / gatto” by Paolo Margari | paolomargari.eu is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

For the shyest of cats who can’t seem to relax, you may want to speak to your vet. There are both over-the-counter and prescription calming aids, such as those that release calming pheromones that can help reduce stress and anxiety in cats. Sprinkling catnip on toys or scratching posts can also entice a cat to play and interact.

Read More: Toy Ideas for Cats Based on Personality Types

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