Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:
I have a cat that I found in my dad’s 1973 Cadillac El Clasico engine, five years ago. He was 3 weeks old and he was found with two baby possums. To this day, he will only come to me. He puts up with my husband because he gives him treats. Everyone else he hisses at and runs away. He is scared of everything. Most cats are curious, but not this cat and I wonder why he is like that. He follows me like a puppy; I call him my shadow.
Thomas: Well, Heidi, Mama’s had to deal with a scared cat or two over the course of her life.
Bella: If you’ve been following our blog, you know Tara was pretty scared for a really long time. She’ getting braver now, but it took almost a year before she’d come out from under the couch and sit on Mama’s lap.
Tara: I was scared of everything, and I wouldn’t even follow Mama around. But Mama had another cat …
Thomas: Her name was Maddy Gold, and Mama’s mama adopted her from a friend of the family. Maddy was scared of everyone but Mama, and she rarely left Mama’s side.
Bella: Mama didn’t know how to help Maddy be less scared of other people. After all, she was only a teenager back then. But she’s learned a lot since then, so we think we can help you with your scared cat.
Tara: First of all, think about where he lives. Does he like high places or low places? If he doesn’t have any high places, think about getting him some cat shelves or a cat tree so he can observe your family from a distance.
Thomas: Then try playing with him to bring him out into the center of the room. Play can do wonders to increase a cat’s confidence.
Bella: Maybe your husband can start playing with him, too. That way he can learn that fun things can happen with people other than you.
Tara: If he’s a really scared cat, you may need to play with quiet toys and not get too “in his face” with them.
Thomas: You can also try using Feliway diffusers. They contain an artificial “happy cat” pheromone that might help your kitty feel more comfortable in his space.
Bella: To get your kitty familiar with other people, try having them give him treats, too. Once again, what you’re doing is helping your cat see that other people are nice, too.
Tara: And continue to be patient with the little guy. It’s going to take him a while to get used to other people. Maybe a long while. Like Bella said, it took me a year to come out from under the couch and start exploring my new home.
Thomas: Now, about why he follows you around so closely: He’s apparently become very bonded to you since you raised him from such a young age.
Bella: That’s actually pretty sweet!
Tara: He’s relying on you to help him feel safe, and he loves you like you’re his mom.
Thomas: Like we said, don’t be afraid to use the closeness of your relationship to help your kitty feel more confident. We’re sure you can take your little scared cat and turn him into a brave cat, just like Mama’s done with Tara.
Bella: Best of luck to you and your kitty, Heidi.
Tara: What about you other readers? Do you have any ideas about how Heidi can help her cat be less scared of other people? Please share your thoughts in the comments!
Your kitty seems to think you’re his ultimate mom and trusts only you. Never knowing his mother, siblings and other cats he’s probably always quite fearful and will be for a while. Personally I’ve worked with kitty’s who for years would allow me to feed them and that was all. At a certain age (seven or more) they suddenly took a turn and became like my house cats. Don’t know if it was age or a sudden spark of trust but the fear subsided. Keep working with him and have your husband talk sweet to him. Your kitty needs to know he can be safe and loved by others as well as his mom.
I’m not an expert in any respect … but just having new people over might help. Make sure he has a safe place to get away so he doesn’t feel threatened … and tell your visitors to ignore him unless he comes to them. Bear is scared of everything and I’ve had luck with what I described. It might take him a little bit, but he always comes out and sniffs if he’s not being pursued or forced into it. Adding a few treats when he does come out might also help. The point is showing that new people aren’t threats and trying to associate new people with at least neutral … if not positive experiences. For scared-y cats, people who get in their space actually backfires (they interpret it as aggression and a threat). Some cats though are just that way. Kitty never really trusted anyone but me despite everything I tried. I thought of it as some people are one cat people (they prefer to live and bond with only one cat at a time) and some cats might be that way too. For whatever reason, they prefer to bond with only one person.
mom thought Daiquiri was bold and friendly since she is always out and playful and everything. Then mom noticed that she never heard from the pet sitter about Daiquiri. One evening a friend came over and Daiquiri followed mom down to the door, saw the lady and disappeared like a shot.
Treats can help along with exposure. And finding the right person. Our angel Tim was terrified of everyone – but one friend came over and he was hooked.
I used to be afraid of people. It took me a little while but I came around. Now I love people.
Awesome read! Thank you for sharing, keep up the great posts! :)
I have two that will only come near me when one of the others are around, but alone the one looks at me meows and runs away, there were three kittens and the mother in my backyard I trapped all of them took them to the vet had them neutered and the mother and girl spayed, the mother didn’t want any part of staying inside so I let her out, I didn’t want to but I could tell she was miserable inside the kittens however remained inside and have never been out ever since and though I gave them all equal love and attention only one warmed up to me and became sociable, they got along great with the cats I already had but just are who they are and I love them all, so don’t take it personally if this happens just be happy he is safe and who knows he might come around one day.