A new member in our family is always a joyful moment, with a lot of expectations and looking always to make your home, his home too. We want to prepare perfectly all the stuff, making a comfy and secure place where live together.
We imagine how they will run and play all over the home, living happy and relaxed life with us, purring and sleeping in our lap.
However, maybe is not your situation and currently you are worried because your new cat is hidden at the most difficult place he’d found, has high stress, or the shelter team told you about your cat need more time to introduce in a new environment as your home is.
Don’t be afraid, I would like to help you, and most important to help all these shy cats to find a perfect forever home.
First, your new cat is alright, he hasn’t problem at all, only is a shy cat. That means some of them has a quite character and love a quite happy life without big adventures.
Others haven’t a good socialisation, come from shelters where there are too many cats waiting, or even have bad experiences like had been abandoned, cruelty, etc.
So how can we do a comfy and relaxed home for a new shy cat? Here are some of my best tips to do a smooth and low stress introduction to make your cat the happiest in your home!
Prepare a secure place
The base camp it should be a quiet place in your home, where your cat, can be alone without stress, apart from other pets or kids. A place to start to discover the environment, to conquer, to eat, play and sleep, that will be a mantra.
That will be so helpful and a basic for shy cats. Here you have an idea what a base camp needs:
- A good base camp needs a proper bed, or two, a water and food bowl, a litter, and don’t forget a play area with some interesting toys.
- Cardboard boxes have two functions perfect for them, your cat could use to hide inside and it is a good place to play too
- Look for difficult and possible harmful hiding places and cover them to avoid your cat enter.
- Give them some good substitute to hide in a safes way. It isn’t bad your cat looks for some extra protected place, you could find many igloos and cat caves, which are extremely useful as a tool to use when he doesn’t feel ok in another room, loud noises, etc.
- If there is more than one pet in your household, avoid a rush and negative introduction between them. It is important for our cats to know something or somebody first by scent. Keep them separated until your shy cat has more self-confident. The priority is make a good and positive environment for him.
Working your cat’s confident
A new home could be very frightening for any shy cat. It is not only your family including you, or other pets, there is something more, every house has its own noises and scents everywhere, many information to your kitty and all of them new.
First, being apart your cat could explore the base camp room, and let him hear and smell the information which came from outside, that means your house.
Don’t worry if first day your cat prefers to hide in a secure place, it is comprehensible so leave him time, step by step, this situation will be changing to a more self-confident cat if you don’t force the situation to stay together.
Well, now how can we work to help a shy cat to feel secure and familiar again? Time is a clue but as pet guardian we should be involved in every stage so here are some ideas:
- The base camp must be a happy and secure place, we would like only positive experiences inside, remember: sleep, eat, play and groom if your cat likes.
- First days could be frustrating, as humans we feel a kind of anxiety trying to do the best. Most important at that point is have a good time in the base camp with your cat, you and your family but not at the same time all together. At the beginning, maybe your cat not be very comfortable with you so read a book there, watch your favourite series or other quite activity. Then once your cat sees everything is under control he gains confidence and you could play together, make a grooming session or a relaxing petting time.
- Then, you will see how your cat is relaxed in base camp and with house noises, perfect! We are exactly where we want. Now we can continue with swapping, take some objects of your house, especially if have more pets, and leave in the base camp. At the same time, makes your shy cat’s world bigger, open the next rooms or corridors, not all, only partially and leave your cat explore it if he wants, again no force him to do it, if you want to facilitate put treats to ensure your cat curiosity help you or some favourite toy. Repeat times you will need, both, until you feel your cat are comfy and make bigger and bigger his world.
- A great help for your cat too it will be a safety gate, especially if there are more pets at home. It gives more visual information with security at the same time. Even hanging a plaid or similar over the gate in some situation or working to introduce to the other 4legged family it works good. You don’t need an expensive one, only one that fits to your door and voilà.
Everyone need their own rhythm
We could read a lot information about introductions, and it is a great idea, really a procedure to that is one of the best ideas, but don’t be obsessed with other’s commentaries about how long takes a cat to be quiet in a new home. That is a question between you and your cat, so listen him and read his reactions.
Your cat, as well the others is unique, has a personality, and preferences, many of us don’t know their background, so well here time is not important, the questions is that your cat needs to know that you, your family and home is a good place for him.
We really thought about we were wrong to go very slowly with Momo, it was never go outside the basecamp but our training, care and patient makes the miracle and she started in only one week to be a relaxed cat, a kitten playing as any other.
Your home the safest place in the world
It comes a moment where your cat will show signs that ‘my base camp is too small, I want more and I want to stay with my family’, that is a really great moment when you see your cat improve in that way.
If you make some swapping sessions to facilitate your cat will be familiar in every part of your home, it will be so easy, and only needs to have some questions in consideration:
- Play a lot with your cat in each room, now his happy place is bigger so he needs to understand every place in totally secure and fun!
- Choose the final place where your cat takes the meals, the place of his water bowl, litter, toys and that kind of stuff.
- You could start some types of training, as call your cat by their name or command, harness training, clicker or luring training, handling work, pawdicures, or things that helps your cat in their new life. There are many ways to have a food time with him and tech some rules. Education is important so don’t forget it.
From this moment on, your shy cat could stay in his new kingdom. Every day discovering new things, providing a good activity plan for their body and brain, and of course many places to rest.
Spread some beds, along your home, cat caves, a carrier open, look for some good high places to stay… and I’m sure with your love the happiest cat in the world.
Helping multi household introduction
When you have more than a pet it will need some steps to follow, and will depend about the character of your furry family members and how they react to the new one.
At that point introducing with more cats are easier than looks like if you make the previous work and follow the common introduction guidelines as you can see in that blog or as many cat behaviourists recommend it. But your shy cat maybe needs some extra care about:
- Don’t force any situations between pets, especially when they have strong character. Follow the rule ‘play-eat-groom’ at the same time. Look for help to do it with another person, first with the door like protection, then closer and closer until do it in the same room, as both will be entertained it is a great way to work.
- More than 2, for example a dog and other cat. Start to introduce your cat to the other cat, then the same with the dog, avoid mix them all in the same working session. One by one, pets will know and understand it is no risk, and assume the new situation.
- When they will be quite together, put an eye the first days when you leave your home. You can be held some days more with the baby safety gate to know everything is under control, or even install a cheap baby monitor is a good idea to check the situation.
- Always gives your shy cat a place to hide and rest comfortable. That types of cats loves a quiet environment, faint light and low noises to have an enjoyable nap, and a good place to stay when the other pet has too much fun or one of them is more excited than usually is.
Discover the real character of your cat
Closing that topic, there is an important question I would like to share with you because as I’ve said in the first lines a shy cat could be by his own nature shy, but others has the cause in a traumatic situation or a low self-confident.
When your cat feels great at your home, you will start to see his real character, preferences, and craziness.
Maybe your cat will be very quiet, perfect, he will be a great friend but you will need to work in the short-term things like introducing friends or neighbours, or the famous vet visits…
…or maybe discover your cat is and adventurous and want to go outside in trips and countryside walks, well you should train this as well.
In fact, with that, I want to say every pet is different, shy cats needs some different cares depending the area, but don’t mean they have problems, sometimes is only a little extra time to train o work an aspect, others you will discover how frisky and crazy they are, and what like or dislike. Now will be a new trip together to understand, learn and enjoy a long life!
Finally, to say good bay I would like to give you my top 5 useful things that I consider very interesting for a new coming of your shy cat:
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- Tons of toys, well not tons, but different toys with different forms to play and stimulate your cat, pay attention in textures and sounds. If you could make a playing area will be great.
- A place to hide, but if also is portable much better. That could be useful when their cat’s world growth.
- A chip safety gate and baby monitors help us in the first days, to you and your cat.
- Swapping sessions all over the house, room by room, with time enough, only as a good experience.
- And the most important: a real quality time with you and your family, time for playing, or relaxing, but gives your cat the message – I’m here to care you and love you, trust, because I’ll be at your side – , that will make an incredible bond, and both enjoy an extraordinary relationship.