Cats are predators. However, it is important to remember that out in the wild, cats were far from being the top of the food chain. For proof, look no further than the fact that wild canines such as wolves and coyotes will kill cats when the chance comes up. However, there are other potential threats as well, with examples including but not limited to foxes, bobcats, and even birds of prey. Due to this, it is no wonder that a lot of cats have instincts that tell them to be cautious when new humans come over, particularly if they are not used to meeting new humans. Fortunately, this isn’t the inevitable state of things, meaning that there are things that cat owners can do to help their cats feel more comfortable when company comes over.
What Can Be Done about Cats that Get Shy When Company Comes?
First, interested individuals need to have realistic expectations about what they will and will not be able to accomplish when it comes to changing their cats’ behavior. Simply put, there are some cats that are more skittish than others. Moreover, there are some cats that have had bad experiences with humans. Due to this, it can be a real challenge to teach some cats to feel comfortable around strangers, though it is important to remember that it won’t be wholly impossible. As a result, interested individuals might want to set small goals for their cats, which will call for a fair amount of patience on their part.
Second, it is important to set up a space in the home where the cat can feel safe and secure. Generally speaking, this means a secluded location with convenient access to a litter box, a source of drinking water, and either a cat tree or something similar that a cat can use to climb up. On top of this, it can be a good idea to include potential hiding spots for cats in other setting as well, with potential examples ranging from potted plants to window stills with concealing curtains. Having multiple hiding spots in the same setting can be particularly useful because that will enable the cat to choose the one that provides them with the best view of their surroundings as well as the best chance of escape. Something that should make them feel a bit more comfortable even when there is company.
Third, interested individuals should do their best to make the process as natural as possible. For example, they should try to remain calm as much as possible because stress is something that pet owners can pass on to their pets. Likewise, they shouldn’t make more of a fuss over their cats than normal, particularly since paying more attention to their cats when their cats are fearful can actually encourage them to show similar responses in the future. In fact, interested individuals might want to warn their visitors from showing excessive interest in their cats because that can scare them off. Instead, the best approach tends to be let the cat become more comfortable bit by bit by exposing them bit by bit to other humans. In fact, one potentially useful strategy is to let the cat remain in their space so that they can become more comfortable when company comes over by listening to the resulting noises without actually putting themselves out in the open.
Fourth, there are cases when playing with the cat might convince them to be more comfortable around other humans. This is because play-time has the rather interesting effect of making cats more confident, which can make them more comfortable with a wide range of activities than they would be uncomfortable with under normal circumstances on top of making sure that they are getting sufficient physical exercise.
Fifth, consider the potential in getting cats accustomed to other human voices, which can serve as a stepping stone to the ultimate goal of getting them accustomed to other humans. The simplest and most straightforward method would be inviting people over more often, but there is an alternative as well in the form of leaving the radio on, which should expose the cat to more human voices within a relatively short period of time. Once the cat becomes more comfortable with other human voices, it could be time to move on to other humans.