Please find below some useful tips in form of a Guest Post by the team from Pets at Home:
Cats and Company: Encouraging Social Behaviour
Cats are like humans in that every animal has a unique personality. Some cats are friendly and sociable, welcoming guests and enjoying the extra attention that comes with a full house. However, some kitties can be shy, and crowds of guests can be frightening. Cats have complex social behaviours and often unknown people or other pets entering their territory can result in a stressed kitty.
Cats can become stressed easily if they feel threatened, and will react either by hiding and becoming shy, or occasionally, by becoming defensive. If your cat has shown behaviour you’d like to improve when faced with guests, there are some simple steps you can take to encourage them to be more relaxed and friendly in the face of newcomers.
Begin with the basics
Before introducing strangers to your cat(s), you need to ensure that they are relaxed and calm around you and in the house. Create a cat-friendly environment in your home by giving your cat its own space – whether that’s a cat basket in a corner or a climbing tree. They need something they know is their own, where they can relax in a safe haven from visitors.
Guests in the home can be stressful for your cat, as unknown people might be seen as a threat. If your cat hides when guests arrive, don’t force her to come out, but wait until she chooses to investigate herself.
Encourage guests to speak in a warm, friendly tone if your cat does approach. Always ensure that your cat’s own space is left untouched, so that it can retreat there if she feels overwhelmed. Every cat is different, so it may take some time before your cat is comfortable with guests.
Young children can be alarming for cats, as they don’t behave in the same way as adults and might think that your feline friend is a new toy to play with. Children can be heavy handed and might unintentionally hurt your cat. Never leave pets and children alone together, as this could end in tears. Some cats love playing with children, but always ensure that there is somewhere for your cat to retreat to if she decides playtime is over before the child does!
Introducing new pets to your cat can be challenging. They may see the new arrival as an intruder in their territory, or they might become fast friends! Start by only allowing your new pet into only part of the house, and prevent your cat from entering there. This will allow the new pet time to become accustomed to the house before meeting the cat.
Introduce the new pet gradually, and make sure that you’re present at first to prevent any unwanted behaviour. You may find some cats just don’t get on with other pets, especially other cats. Cats and dogs can have a bad reputation for being enemies, but this is may not always be the case, and you may find they curl up for naps together and even groom one another.
For more advice about cat behaviors, visit Pets at Home’s cat nutrition website here.