How to Help Your Shy Cat Thrive

Do you have a scaredy-cat on your hands? While some of our feline friends are quite fearless, this isn’t always the case. Kitties can be very shy, especially those that have had bad experiences in the past. If your furball is on the bashful side, read on for some great advice from a Carmel, IN veterinarian on helping an anxious kitty shine.

Offer Safe Retreats

At the end of the day, kitties are quite small, and can easily feel threatened. Timid kitties are often particularly nervous around dogs or other pets. Loud noises, strangers, major changes, and young children, particularly energetic toddlers, can also be scary to an anxious cat. Make sure your fearful feline friend has safe retreats in every room, so Fluffy always has a safe spot to go to if she gets frightened. This can be a pet tent or condo, a box, or even just a space under the couch. A cat-calming product, such as a spray, may also help. Ask your vet for specific advice.


Offer your scaredy-cat plenty of toys, and play with her daily. This can help your bashful kitty gain confidence, which can really help her grow and blossom. Because playing will burn off some of Fluffy’s nervous energy, she’ll be calmer after her play session.


Make sure your cat feels safe, secure, and loved. Give Fluffy treats and toys, talk to her gently, and, if she likes it, pet her. Never force attention on your shy kitty, and don’t pick her up if she doesn’t like being held. Let her come to you for affection. Offering your timid furball goodies, such as snacks or toys, will help her form a positive association with you.


Never punish your furball for misbehaving. Cats don’t understand punishment, so Fluffy may not even associate her actions with your disapproval. You could end up making her even more nervous! Instead, focus on rewarding good behavior with toys, treats, and praise.

Let Love Grow

Give Fluffy time to feel safe and secure. Your cat may never be a social butterfly, but in time, she may become quite comfortable and affectionate with you. It may be easier to get that little engine started than you think!

Please call us, your Carmel, IN animal clinic, with any questions or concerns about your shy cat. We are here to help!

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