How to Build Trust With Your New Cat - Pet Hub USA

How to Build Trust With Your New Cat

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Welcoming a new cat into your home is an exciting and heartwarming experience. Still, it’s important to remember that building trust takes time and patience.

Cats are known for their independence, and earning their trust requires understanding, respect, and a gentle approach. Whether you’ve adopted a kitten or an adult cat, here are some practical ways to build a solid and lasting bond with your new feline companion.

Start Slow and Practice Patience

selective focus photography of woman hugging gray kitten
Photo by Japheth Mast on Unsplash

Be patient. Cats are prey animals, and their survival instincts can make them skittish and wary. It takes time for a cat to trust new people. Don’t get discouraged if your cat doesn’t warm up to you immediately. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

Don’t initially overwhelm your new cat with too much interaction; give your furry friend the time it needs to explore and adjust on its terms. And don’t take it personally if they immediately run and hide when you bring them home. Give them a little time to get comfortable, and they’ll start exploring when they’re ready.

Respect Their Boundaries

white cat on brown cardboard box
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It helps to think of a cat’s behavior much like a human’s. They can get overwhelmed, and need a space of their own where they can escape. Sometimes they’ll want to be loved on, and sometimes they’ll just want to be left alone. And who couldn’t relate to that? Every cat has its own unique personality, so respect their boundaries by allowing them to come to you when they feel ready.

Don’t force attention on your cat. Instead, sit quietly nearby and let her approach you on her own. If your cat shows interest, offer a gentle hand for her to sniff or give her a treat to calm their nerves. Over time, your cat will learn that you’re a source of comfort and safety.

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Create a Safe and Comfortable Environment

orange Persian cat sleeping
Photo by Ludemeula Fernandes on Unsplash

One of the first steps in building trust with your new cat is to provide a safe and welcoming environment.

Set up a designated space with all the essentials – food, water, a litter box, a scratching post, and a cozy bed. This creates a sense of security, allowing your cat to acclimate to his surroundings at his own pace.

Use Positive Reinforcement

shallow focus photography of white and brown cat
Photo by Yerlin Matu on Unsplash

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool for building trust with your new cat. Reward their positive behaviors with treats, gentle petting, and soothing words. This helps your cat associate you with positive experiences and creates a foundation of trust.

As you spend time together, observe what toys or activities your feline companion enjoys, and use these as opportunities for bonding. Some favorites to try include feather toys, laser pointers, or interactive puzzles to strengthen your connection.

Respect Their Body Language

white and brown cat lying on brown wooden floor
Photo by Daria Shatova on Unsplash

Understanding your cat’s body language is crucial in establishing trust. Learn to recognize signs of comfort, such as relaxed body posture, slow blinking, and an exposed belly (if she allows you).

Conversely, be attentive to signs of stress, like flattened ears, dilated pupils, or a puffed-up tail. If your cat shows signs of discomfort, give her space and time to calm down. By respecting your cat’s cues, you’ll build a foundation of trust that allows your furry friend to feel secure and understood.

Establish a Routine

cat eating

Cats thrive on routine, so establishing a consistent daily schedule can help them feel more comfortable and secure. Feed your new cat at the same times each day, and try to maintain a regular play and grooming routine.

Predictability helps reduce anxiety and shows your new feline companion that he can rely on you for his needs.

Provide Grooming and Gentle Touch

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Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

Grooming is an excellent way to build trust with your new cat. Start with gentle brushing sessions to help her associate touch with comfort. Gradually introduce other forms of physical contact, such as gentle petting, behind-the-ear scratches, and chin rubs.

Pay attention to your cat’s reactions (listen for purrs!) and stop if he seems uncomfortable or annoyed. The goal is to make these interactions as positive and enjoyable as possible.

Give Them Vertical Space

black cat on white cat tree
Photo by Madalyn Cox on Unsplash

Cats are natural climbers, and vertical space gives them a sense of security and territory. Provide elevated beds, cat trees, shelves, or window perches that allow your cat to observe their surroundings safely. Bonus points if you have an elevated bed that lets them peer out a window.

Providing vertical space for your cat enriches her environment and shows that you’re attuned to her instincts and needs.

Respect Quiet Time

white cat sleeps under white comforter
Photo by Kate Stone Matheson on Unsplash

Just like humans, cats also need alone time. Respect your new cat’s need for solitude and provide it with quiet areas where he can retreat when he wants to be alone.

Quiet time and privacy help cats feel in control of their environment and demonstrate that you respect their autonomy.

Share Quality Time

cat on laptop

Building trust with your new cat requires spending quality time together. Sit in the same room as your cat while reading or working, allowing them to observe you without feeling pressured to interact. Just be prepared that they will try to walk across your laptop keyboard if given the chance.

Engage in interactive play sessions, offer treats, and work in some gentle grooming routines. Over time, your cat will associate your presence with positive experiences and gradually become more comfortable around you.

Be Consistent and Patient

woman lying beside brown cat
Photo by Oleg Ivanov on Unsplash

Building trust with your new cat is a journey of consistency and patience. Just keep in mind that every cat is unique and will progress at their own pace. 

Avoid rushing interactions or becoming frustrated if progress seems slow. Soon you’ll be building a strong bond of trust with your new cat.


Siberian Cat

Building trust with your new cat is a rewarding process that deepens your connection and enhances your feline friend’s overall well-being. Create a safe environment, practice patience, use positive reinforcement, and respect your cat’s boundaries. All these steps pave the way for a solid and lasting bond.

Remember that trust takes time to develop, so approach the journey calmly and gently, and you’ll soon find your new cat seeking out your company, showing affection, and sharing joyful moments with you.

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