Select a safe space for your kitten.,
Make the safe space comfortable for your kitten.,
Play soothing sounds for your kitten.,
Spend quiet time with your kitten in the small space.,
Continue your normal activities.,
Purchase a pair of gardening gloves.,
Place your gloved hand on the floor, palm down.,
Stroke your kitten.,
Watch your kitten’s body language as you stroke her.,
Touch your kitten with a peacock feather.,
Pick up your kitten.,
Choose a scrumptious treat.,
Place some food near your kitten.,
Stay with your kitten as she eats.,
Praise your kitten while she eats.,
Select interactive toys for your kitten.,
Let your kitten acclimate to the toys.,
Praise your kitten when she plays with you.
To a timid kitten, your home probably looks large and scary. Putting her in a small, confined space will help her feel more comfortable and will allow you to socialize her in an area where she feels at ease. Given your kitten’s instinct to run and hide, choose a space with no hiding places, such as a bathroom.The bathroom has the added benefit of being a place where people normally go. This will allow your kitten to get accustomed to people, which is an important part of her socialization.Other than a bathroom, you could choose another small room that doesn’t have furniture (e.g., couch, bed) that your kitten could easily hide under or behind.Make sure the area is quiet—loud noises would startle your kitten.;
, Since this small area will be your kitten’s world for a while, it should have everything she needs to feel comfortable. Place her food and water bowls in the room, along with some comfortable bedding and toys. Put her litter box in the room and clean it regularly. You could even plug in a cat pheromone diffuser.Pheromones are chemicals that animals use to communicate with each other, and can have a calming effect.Cat pheromones are commercially available as spray products and plug-in diffusers at your local pet store. These pheromones can calm your kitten and help her feel less timid.
Your kitten will need regular veterinary visits, so she will need to get comfortable with her carrier. Place her carrier in the room. Put some comfortable blankets in the carrier and leave its door open so she can explore it whenever she chooses., Soothing sounds can put your kitten at ease. If your kitten is in a bathroom, place a portable radio in the room and pick either a classical music or talk radio station. If she is in a small bedroom, you could place a TV in the room and turn it to a station where people are talking calmly (e.g. news station). Having a TV on would allow your kitten to get used to human voices., This quiet time will be crucial to socializing her and helping her become less timid. How much time you spend with her will probably vary according to how timid she is. In general, aim to spend about 15 to 20 minutes with your kitten, 3 to 5 times a day.Before you enter your kitten’s space, knock lightly on the door a few times and call out her name.Talk in a soothing voice to your kitten. You could even sing her lullabies!Try slow blinking with your kitten. Slow blinking communicates friendliness. When she does a slow blink back at you, then you will know she feels safe around you.Other than talking quietly with her, you could also read a book or do another quiet activity around her.
Do not be surprised if your kitten does not want to get anywhere near you at first.
, Your kitten should be comfortable in her space, but that does not mean you should make major changes to your own routine. Make your usual noises so your kitten can become accustomed to the ‘normal life’ sounds in your home.She will come out of the small space eventually, so she will need to be comfortable with the other noises in your home.
, Getting your kitten used to human touch is an important part of her socialization. Remember, though, that your kitten has claws and will likely use them if she feels threatened by your hand. Wearing a pair of gardening gloves will protect your hands from scratches as your kitten acclimates to your touch.Consider rubbing your hand on the outside of the gloves so your kitten smells your scent as you touch her with the glove. You can also rub that scent on her bedding., As you spend more quality time with your kitten, place your hand gently on the floor for her to explore. When she feels bold enough to approach your hand, give her soft verbal praise. Keep in mind, though, that she may be too shy explore your hand, or not interested in doing so.Hold your hand about one of her body lengths away from you. Be prepared for her to react strongly to your hand (e.g., spitting, hissing, growling, swatting). No matter what she does, keep your hand still to let her know you are standing your ground. Eventually, she’ll stop reacting this way.It may help to give your kitten treats when she explores your hand without reacting negatively. You could also place some treats by your hand to lure her closer to it.
, Once your kitten is comfortable with your hand, begin stroking her gently. Start with the top of her head and ears, where she will not be able to bite you. Do not touch her paws, tails, or underbelly at first—she will probably try to bite you.Make sure to reach from behind when you stroke her—bringing your hand towards your kitten’s face may startle her.If your kitten wants to run away from you in the room, let her do so. Do not try to grab her to keep her close to you., If she’s relaxed or curious, she will be purring and have her ears up. Nervous body language includes tense muscles and hissing. If she’s completely scared, she’ll growl and have a wide-eyed stare.If your kitten has nervous or fearful body language, stop stroking her and let her calm down. If she is displaying relaxed body language, work on stroking other parts of her body, such as her cheeks.
As your kitten becomes more comfortable with your stroking, take your glove off and see how she handles your bare hand touching her. Ultimately, she will need to get used to the feel of your bare hand.
After some time, try stroking her underbelly. She will need to be comfortable with you touching her there so you can practice picking her up., If your kitten is not adjusting well to human touch, try stroking her lightly with a peacock feather. It will feel lighter, less direct, and possibly less threatening than your hand. Set the feather on the ground first so she can explore it, then use it to stroke her body from head to tail. Watch her body language to see if she likes it or not.Look for peacock feathers at your local pet store.
Try using your hand again after your kitten has acclimated to the feather.
, Inevitably, you will have to pick up your cat for one reason or another during her lifetime. Your timid kitten will need to get used to you picking her up. Place a bowl of tasty food in front of her and lift her up while she’s distracted with eating. Gently place your hand under chest and lift her. Try putting her close to your chest so she can feel the comfort of your body heat and beating heart.Lift her up slowly and gently.If your kitten struggles mightily or lashes out at you, put her down softly and try again later.
, Kittens may be tiny, but they have huge appetites. Use this to your advantage as you socialize your timid kitten. In fact, food will be your most important tool as you work with your kitten.Other than her regular kitten food, pick some especially tasty foods—tuna, baby food without onion powder or garlic—as treats that you will give her only when you work with her., Since your kitten is timid, do not expect her to come to you right away for food. She will probably want to stay back until she feels comfortable enough to approach you. When you sit with her, gently toss a small piece of a treat towards her from a few feet away (depending on the size of her small space). If she eats the treat, continue to toss more treats her way, gradually shortening the distance that you toss it.When it’s meal time, place her food bowl a few feet away from you at first. Similar to tossing the treats, gradually shorten the distance between you and the food bowl.Try working up to placing the treats or her food bowl in your lap to encourage her to climb into your lap. You could also place some tasty food on your finger to see if she will eat food from your finger., Do not give your kitten food and then leave the area. Stay with her until she finishes eating, then take the food away when you leave.Staying with her as she eats is another way for her to become more comfortable with your presence.
Because your kitten is timid, it may take a few tries before she actually eats in your presence., Overcoming shyness may be difficult for your kitten. When she is confident enough to be close to you as she eats, reward her for that closeness. As she eats, gently stroke the top of her head and back.
Stroking your kitten as she eats will help her develop a positive association with you and the food you serve her.
Give your kitten verbal praise by telling her how brave she is., Playtime is another important component of socializing your timid kitten. Playing gives you quality time with her, and allows her to get some exercise and challenge herself mentally. Interactive playtime can also build up your kitten’s confidence. Examples of interactive toys include laser lights and wand toys with a small toy attached to the end.
Ping-pong balls are another good interactive toy, since you can roll them around on the floor and watch your kitten chase them.Select a variety of interactive toys.
, Whichever toys you choose, set them on the floor and give her time to explore them. Next, slowly pick up one of the toys and gently pet her with it as you did when you stroked her with your hand. This will let her get comfortable with the feel of the toy before you and she start playing with it.As you introduce her to new toys, repeat the same acclimation process.
, Being comfortable enough to play with you will be a big step for your kitten. Make sure you give her plenty of praise so she can continue building up her confidence. In addition, verbal praise will help her make a positive association with playtime.Give your kitten treats as you play with her.Schedule several play sessions each day and keep them short (5 to 10 minutes).