Winning Over Shy Cats

There's a technique to getting a shy kitty to like you, but it takes time.

By Suzanne Stowe | Posted: January 12, 2010, 3 a.m. EST

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Shy cats can be tough to bring out of the dark but the effort is always worth it in the end.
Shadow
I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard this from my pet-sitting clients about their shy kitties: "You'll never see her."

Sometimes, they are right.  But more often, after a day or two, I have been able to win over even the shyest kitty.  I do find that the girl kitties tend to be shyer than boy kitties.  The boys are usually so eager for love they are happy to come out and get petted.

There are some techniques I use to win over a shy cat. I understand the need to win the trust of the kitty. They need to associate my being there with positive things. First, I talk softly to the kitty using the kitty’s name as I speak to her. I find adding an “e” sound to their name often appeals to them. Next, I get down to the kitty’s level and put out my hand so they can sniff me. I always wash my hands thoroughly between pet sits so I don’t smell like another kitty which might be threatening to them.

I don’t push myself on the kitty but instead let the kitty come to me on her own or approach her very slowly while talking softly. Shadow is one of those shy kitties that I also had to administer subcutaneous fluids to when I took care of her. That didn’t help build our trust level, but eventually Shadow accepted me and now purrs whenever I pet her.

Miss Kitty is another girl that is shy around most people, but she has decided I’m special. Just today, I was picking up her pet Mom so called Miss Kitty’s name. She woke up from her nap to come running to see me. Click here to see video of Miss Kitty. She is certainly a sweetheart!

I find it especially rewarding to win over a shy kitty. I know they are lonely when their pet parents are gone and I’m happy if I can pet them and give them some loving attention during that time.

Read more of my blogs at Crazy for Cats.


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Reader Comments

Crystal    East Bay Area, CA

1/12/2010 8:03:49 AM

I too like to sit on a couch and let a shy and skittish kitty come visit me. It's very rewarding to know when a shy kitty wants to be my friend.

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