You adopt a new kitten or cat and look forward to years of fun, happiness, and purring. But, what if your new friend is stressed out, runs under the bed, and doesn’t come out? The good news is: There is a lot you can do to help your buddy relax and feel safe.

First, you should know that some cats, just like some people, are shy. Accept your kitties personality. However, if you have a rescue, a cat that was a stray or feral, or one that was poorly socialized you’ll have to work patiently at helping them overcome their fear. Here are some steps you can take.

  • Be patient. This won’t happen overnight.
  • Give your new cat some space, let them come to you.
  • Give them treats but don’t pet them yet.
  • Let them have a hiding place, they need a place to go when they feel afraid.
  • Play with them, it helps build trust.
  • Remain calm and try and keep your household calm and quiet. Cats are very sensitive to the energy in your home. Make sure your children follow these rules.
  • Give your cat some verticle space; cats seem to feel better when they are out of reach. Put a blanket on a bookshelf, on top of the frig, or get a cat tree that is very tall.
  • Put an article of your worn clothing, with your scent on it, in their hiding spot.
  • Don’t force them to be petted, allow them to come to you.
  • Try speaking your kitty’s secret language, give your kitty some slow blinks. Instead of petting them just sit or lay a few feet away from them and when they look at you, close your eyes slowly, keep them closed for a couple of seconds and open them slowly again. Repeat. If your kitty blinks back at you, it means they are starting to calm down.

Give your cat some time and space and you’ll soon see your scaredy-cat become a confident kitty.

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