You are probably familiar with the term “scaredy-cat”; it’s often used to describe timid, nervous, and anxious behavior. But why are cats, specifically, associated with these traits?
Well, cats have varied dispositions, and many are known to be shy and standoffish with unfamiliar people. Paws At Home has the privilege of working with many cats through our pet sitting services, and because of this we have learned some different approaches that enable our cat sitters to quickly build report with cats and keep your kitties stress free. Allow us to share some of our tips!
How Do Cats Perceive New Humans?
First things first, people are unpredictable to animals. Due to the size discrepancy, cats can often feel defenseless against a seemingly giant human being. This makes it all the more important for a kitty to feel safe, and this feeling of safety is accomplished by humans creating a reassuring interaction with the feline.
Introduction To Speaking Cat
When you are learning how to speak cat, the best way communicate that you are no danger to a shy cat is by remaining calm. And we mean everything calm. Calm body language, a calm and quiet voice, and slow, gentle movements.
In fact, slow blinks, (which are literally slowly blinking one’s eyes), and yawning can notify the cat that you are neither here for nor interested in becoming a threat.
Cats themselves display this kind of behavior to one another, expressing that this is rest time and that they will not be engaging in any hunting or fighting.
Avoid Head-On Collisions
You can also turn your body to the side and look away from the cat to get the message across that you mean no harm.
Physically turning your body away from a cat prevents a head-on encounter that could be interpreted by the cat as threatening or a vie for dominance.
Moreover, looking away from the cat, and even down at yourself, conveys, “I’m not here to stalk or hunt you.” This lack of direct eye contact reassures the cat that it is safe to explore an interaction with this human.
Even if the cat walks away. Taking the time to let the cat study you and your movements is key in building trust.
Playtime Is The Key
If a cat sees that a human is not a threat, and yet is still shy to reveal itself, play can be an excellent way to get the cat to come to you!
Certainly, if the kitty has its own favorite toys lying around, you can engage play by gently tossing the toy in a cat-like manner or dragging it slowly from side to side; anything that will encourage them to come play with you.
However, if there are no apparent favorite toys or the toys aren’t enticing enough for the cat to come out, we highly recommend using a laser pointer.
Beyond providing seemingly limitless playtime, laser pointers offer flexibility. For example, if a particularly wary kitty is hiding under the bed, the laser pointer allows for a person to stay at a safe, non-threatening distance while simultaneously shining the laser to the cat’s location.
This approach to inviting the cat to play is a great icebreaker. This way, the cat can entertain the laser near them and slowly be lured out from its hiding place by following the laser as it moves.
Again, keeping an environment of play will notify the cat that you are a friend not an enemy.
Cats are revered for their unique personalities and behavioral traits. They make wonderful companions and enrich many lives.
That’s why it’s so important that we honor their perspectives when we encounter them, and above all give them their space.
You’d be surprised just how loving a cat can be when you take the extra steps to nurture a safe and engaging interaction!