Known as being independent and lovable creatures, it’s no wonder cats are among the most popular house pets. In fact, an average of one in three households in the United States (37 million total) has at least one pet cat with an average of two cats per household. With millions of pet cats living in the States, it’s important for pet owners to know the top tips and tricks to train them and keep them healthy and safe.
While many cats are playful and outgoing, some have more shy personalities. It’s normal to feel anxious when training a shy cat, especially because you aren’t familiar with their behaviors under pressure or in social situations. Here are a few top tips to help you train your introverted kitty so you can help your cat relax and ease into being more social.
Give your cat a safe place to hide
If your cat shows signs of being scared or timid around people or in a new environment, giving them a place to hide and feel comfortable can help put them at ease. Giving your cat dark and safe refuges where they can escape will help them calm down quicker and feel more comfortable in your home.
Remain gentle and calm when you’re around them
Quick and fast motions can stress out any animal regardless of their temperament but can be especially stressful around an already anxious cat. It’s important as you are training them and helping them ease into a new environment or feel more comfortable around people that you are calm, patient, and sensitive to their needs. If you have young children who will be spending a lot of time around your shy cat, it’s important to teach them to do the same to help alleviate unnecessary stress.
Encourage your cat to approach you
Rather than chasing or calling for your cat, a better approach may be to let them come to you. While you are peacefully sitting or are laying down at home, keep space around you open for them to approach if they want to. You may even want to give a small treat when they approach so they can associate the experience with a positive reward and as a non-threatening one. Over time you can space out the time between the approach and the treat to encourage a lengthier visit.
Create a socialization plan for a new kitten
The AVMA recommends that all new kitten owners should spend the time planning ahead to help their new pet develop a calm and confident temperament that will help them enjoy life to the fullest. This socialization plan should include important things like a timeline and strategy for exposing your new pet to other animals, a plan for rewarding engagement and discouraging naughty behaviors, and for positive and diverse experiences so they can be more confident each time.
Once you follow these tips and take your time to gradually earn your cat’s trust, chances are they’ll be much happier and more friendly around you and your loved ones. If you notice that your cat is showing extreme signs of fear or discomfort or their mood changes from outgoing to anxious suddenly, it may be important to schedule a veterinary appointment. If you’re ready to schedule an appointment with the Bregman Veterinary Group, click here to get started!