4 Helpful Tips on How to Handle a Shy Cat

Bonding with a shy cat can be a challenge. You want to dote on your kitty and give her all your love! But instead she runs away from you and hides. It can be downright frustrating! But have no fear, there are several ways to help you bond with your shy cat. Keep reading to find out 4 helpful shy cat tips.

shy cat

Our cat, for example, is not the most sociable cat in the world. She sure is sweet, but she does tend to have a very timid personality. A lot of it probably has to do with her past. When we adopted her, there was very little information available about her past. We suspect that she was living on the street when her foster family rescued her. It’s no wonder she was a very cautious cat at first!

It took a while for our cat to trust us and become comfortable enough be around her new humans. She has come a long way! Our little shy kitty lets us pat her and rub her belly. She comes to snuggle with us in bed or keeps us company on the couch, but this didn’t happen right way. We had to be patient and understanding that we can’t force our affections on her. Our lady cat has yet to come on our laps. And as much as I desire that, I am also very aware that it may never happen either. We will love our cat regardless!

We did a lot of reading about bonding with a shy cat, and some of the tips and advice worked well. Here I what we learned.

Shy Cat Tip #1:


Cats process a lot of information through their senses, and one of them is smell. Stretch out your hand, and let the cat come to you and smell. Extended fist is called head-butting or bunting. If the cat bumps her head against your fist, it means she’s showing you affection. Celebrate this tiny first step toward the bond with your shy cat.

Shy Cat Tip #2:


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If your cat is timid, she will least likely come on the chair or couch to be with you. She will probably just hang out on the floor. What you can do to help the process is to sit on the floor and wait for her to approach you. When she does, do not try to pat her, pull her toward you, or grab her. Let your kitty know that she’s safe by allowing her to take her time. Make her feel secure by waiting and not forcing your affections on her. If she hangs around you for a while, you can try to gently pet her head. If she moves away, let her be. She will come around, I’m sure. If she does let you pat her, do so very softly.shy cat

It is recommended to pet your cat from the side or from the back, and not from the front. They may consider it a form or aggression or misinterpret it as desire to grab them. As soon as your shy cat moves away, stop petting and try again another time.

Consistency is key. The more your cat sees that she can trust you and she is safe in your presence, the more open she will be for new interactions.

Shy Cat Tip #3:


shy cat

This is an important part of the puzzle! ALL cats love a good playtime. Even your shy cat will enjoy a good chase! You can see your cat’s eye light up, or should I say, widen with excitement, as soon as she sees a wand or their favorite fetch toy. Daily playtime will help establish a good routine, and your shy cat will come to expect and love these special times with her human. Playtime is probably one of the most crucial things in creating a bond with your pet.

Shy Cat Tip #4:


shy cat

Take this tip with a grain of caution. Overfeeding your shy cat with treats can lead to upset stomach issues or even gaining weight. Encourage your cat with a healthy wholesome treat or two to come out to play, but don’t overdo it. Also, after you have interacted  with your shy cat, you can reward her afterwords by offering another small treat. You need to create a positive association between interaction with you and her yummy snack.

shy cat

Even though it may take months before you really bond with your shy cat, it will be worth it. Set your expectations low and please take your time. The reward of seeing your timid cat show you affection is truly priceless! Shy cat bonding requires a lot of work and patience. But in the end, you will have years of special memories with your beloved pet.

Want more info? Check out these posts: First Days with Your New Cat and Cat Safety: 10 Things to Keep in Mind.


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