Black and white cat hiding with his paws
© Pixabay

Is it possible for a cat to be shy?

By Dawn Parrish Content Writer

Updated on the

Does your cat always hide under your bed? Is he insecure and timid? Does he not like to interact with other cats? Then perhaps you have a shy cat!

Do you have a shy cat?

While many cats can be wary of strangers approaching their territory, the majority adapt as they get used to meeting new people. Some kitties, on the other hand, are constantly hiding under the bed or in a cupboard.

First of all, shyness is part of a cat’s genetic make-up and personality. A constant state of anxiety can also make your cats appear to be shy. If your cat isn’t very confident around strangers and appears to be very anxious, this can have a negative effect on their health too.

What makes cats shy?

The personality of a cat is generally shaped by its life experiences, the environment around them and of course, genetics. Some cats are certainly more confident than others, just like humans. When a baby kitten is handled frequently from an early age, they appear to be more confident and social animals.

In contrast, a kitten who has not had much human contact before the age of 8 weeks, can remain wary of people, lack confidence and be rather shy. When first introduced into a new home, a shy cat spends several days hiding, unsure of their surroundings. Left to their own devices, despite an anxious owner, they will come out to explore.

How to help shy cats

It can certainly be very rewarding to work with a shy cat and for it to gain confidence. It seems like an ongoing mission and certainly needs lots of understanding and patience. First of all, never force a timid cat from the place she is hiding.

This will probably only cause her to be more anxious. Use a structured playtime to not only build a bond between you but also to enhance her confidence. Shy cats love to play with fishing pole type toys and soft toy mice. Block access to underneath your bed so she isn’t in the position of hiding and having strange footsteps approach her.

Help shy cats with treats ©pixabay

Help shy cats with treats

To progress further and create a positive association for a nervous kitty, use food treats. Ask your cat-loving friend to help, and allow your cat to interact with this person. Use treats to coax the shy cat towards them.  As a result, your cat will associate positive thoughts with a visitor. As the interaction progresses, allow the cat to take the treat straight from their hand.

Create a safe environment for shy cats

An anxious and shy kitty needs to have somewhere that she feels safe. Her first place to run to is often under your bed. You need to create other cosy hiding places where she is able to relax. A simple cardboard box makes a brilliant hideaway. Maybe provide a covered cat bed or some cat tunnels. Shy cats may not like the feeling of being quite so exposed on a cat tree, so arrange some other safe, hiding spots.

Create a safe environment for your shy cat ©pixabay

Shy cats or timid cats?

Your shy cat isn’t being awkward or acting like this on purpose. This is her personality – a timid cat. At least this is the case for the time being. Take things slowly, create calm surroundings for her. Don’t bother her all of the time and spend playtimes communicating with her. The most important ingredient to help shy cats is patience. As a result of your persistence, your kitty will have a confidence boost and consequently, will be less of a shy cat!

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