There are rewards on the ground and in heaven in adopting a timid cat. Timid cats are likely to be left on the shelf at the shelter. They are reluctant to sell themselves to customers. Does this mean that they are more likely to end their days at shelters? Walked to the back room where they are euthanised? Probably. It’s unfair.
People wishing to adopt tend to prefer confident cats because they want to interact with their human and sit on their lap. People like physical contact with their cat but timid cats can be fearful and shy which holds them back.
For the patient cat guardian there are some great rewards in adopting and caring for a timid cat. An obvious reward is that if they are allowed outside they are less likely to get into trouble and harmed. It is the confident or uneducated cats who tend to get struck by cars on the road.
There is also the reward that you are providing a scared cat with the security of your home. You are improving the cat’s life and allowed them to escape the animal shelter.
The best reward is long term. Their gradual gaining of confidence. It is a very pleasurable process to see cats emerge from their shell. You get the same rewards in socialising a feral cat. They change from fearful to best buddies. It is a vocation to tease out this change in personality. When achieved it cements the bond between cat and human caretaker.
I’ll briefly go over some well-known guidelines for alleviating the fearfulness of timid felines.
- Let them find their hiding place and leave them alone.
- Don’t force things along by forcing the cat to confront something which they find frightening.
- Acclimatising to frightening aspects of life should be done slowly at their pace.
- Avoid direct eye contact which might be scary for a timid cat.
- Be careful of petting and stroking. Not all cats like it as much as people and timid cats might like it less than normal. Use play more, gentle words and food treats.
- Food treats can help get a timid cat out of their shell. Offering a treat on their level (crouching low) while avoiding a stare may help.
- Of all the ways to break down barriers, play is the best. Lots of it is the order of the day.
- Stick to routines as all domestic cats prefer their routines as it is reassuring. For timid cats routines are particularly important.