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Cat Behaviour => Discuss Cat Behaviour => Topic started by: Think Cat Ems on March 17, 2014, 11:41:21 AM

Title: Shy and Timid Cat Behaviour
Post by: Think Cat Ems on March 17, 2014, 11:41:21 AM
Hi all! The site has a great article on how to combat timid behaviour in new adult cats. I was wondering what solutions you had for cats who are timid around children, and how to work around this. The articles suggestions include avoiding loud noises and running around the house...anyone with children is going to know this probably won't happen despite the best intentions! I've always thought an exposure to the environment of a home is important to desensitize the cat (after you've gained their trust and they are not hiding under your bed, like new cats do). I remember Tess, our timid cat, hid under the bed for hours before she would venture out. She remained shy until she passed away, but she was sweet and loving and affectionate with time too.

Basically - we can't all have quiet havens and cloister-like hushed corridors! What do people think to the idea of getting your cat out there?!

Shy and Timid Cats (
Title: Re: Shy cats!
Post by: Think Cats on March 17, 2014, 01:01:00 PM
Hi Em!

Agreed, it isn't always practical - I remember when George went through a little period post op, I bought some of that cat pheromone stuff which supposedly calms the cat down with a pleasant calming scent. It was expensive though, I almost gasped at the price (30 if memory serves)

He did eventually settle and I figure it was a combination of time and perhaps the pheremone stuff.

On the general topic, I think that some cats are just cautious by their nature - Some cats are as bold as brass and some will be 'fraidy cat' in perpetuity! :)
Title: Re: Shy and Timid Cat Behaviour
Post by: kitty_cat on March 17, 2014, 03:48:09 PM

Working with shy cats was one of my favourite things when I worked at the shelter.

I always had three golden rules;
1) go at the cats pace. If they will only tolerate 5 minutes of sitting and chatting with no contact them that's what I'll do. The important thing is to gain their trust and if they know you will not do anything unexpected or rush them beyond their comfort zone they will trust you sooner.

2) always end interaction on a positive note. A few treats left before you leave and stopping the interaction before the cat has had enough increases the likely hood of them looking forward to your company.

3) make sure the cat has an escape route and somewhere they can go which is a no go zone for people. This way they can tell you that they don't want to chat and they don't feel cornered which reduces their stress levels and makes them more likely to hang around and see what's going to happen.

In a home with children I always stressed that a no people zone was the top priority. Using stair gates if needed to keep children out. Encourage children to interact with cat with fun activities for both. So playing or feeding treats and even grooming if the cat likes it.

It does help some cats to be made to experience the household or they will never stop hiding but they do need an escape route still and cats will look at up as an option, so a tall cupboard or empty shelf is always a good idea

as you say, some cats are shy by nature, just like people and as long  as they can have me time they are usually affectionate souls when it suits them!!

Title: Re: Shy and Timid Cat Behaviour
Post by: Think Cat Ems on March 20, 2014, 06:10:55 PM

A "no people" zone seems like a really good idea to enforce; in our experience, Tess would find her own (under the bath, through the airing cupboard), but to make sure cats have an easily accessible cat friendly space to chill in is something I hadn't thought about making! Thanks KC

Also, 30 for some spray! I think I'd try some of these tips before investing now I know how much that is..!

Title: Re: Shy and Timid Cat Behaviour
Post by: Think Cats on March 24, 2014, 06:17:01 PM
In terms of the pheromones I thought it was worth the cost at the time, simply because the thought of having my bits done made me wince. I think it was some kind of male solidarity type purchase.