Welcoming a new kitten into your home can be a joyful experience, but it's not uncommon for your new furry friend to feel scared and overwhelmed by their new surroundings. As their new owner, it's important to be patient, understanding, and supportive as you work to help them adjust to their new home.
In this article, we'll provide you with a comprehensive guide on taming a scared kitten and making them feel comfortable and loved in its new environment. We'll share tips and techniques to bond with your new kitten, gain their trust, and create a safe and comfortable space for them to explore and play.
It's important to remember that every kitten is unique and may require different approaches to help them feel comfortable. However, with patience and dedication, you can create a bond with your kitten that will last a lifetime. So, let's dive in and explore some effective strategies to help your kitten overcome their fear and become a happy, confident member of your family!
Create a Cat Room For Your Scared Kitten
One of the best things you can do to help your scared kitten feel comfortable in their new environment is to create a designated cat room. This will give them a safe and secure space to retreat to when they feel overwhelmed, and it will also provide them with an area where they can gradually become accustomed to their new surroundings.
To create a cat room for your kitten, start by selecting a quiet, low-traffic area of your home. It's essential that the space is free from loud noises, such as the sound of a TV or radio, and away from any other pets in your household. You may consider using a spare bedroom or a large walk-in closet as a designated cat room.
Once you've selected the space, make sure it's set up with everything your kitten will need to be comfortable. This includes a cozy bed or cat tree, food and water bowls, and a litter box. You may also want to have some toys and scratching posts to encourage your kitten to play and explore.
It's important to remember that your kitten may feel overwhelmed by their new environment, so start by keeping them confined to their cat room for the first few days. This will allow them to slowly adjust to their new surroundings without feeling too overwhelmed.
Also, while dogs may have no problem exploring a huge and full house, it may be too much for a cat. So, what you can do to help in this situation is to narrow your cat’s movement range temporarily. Felines are territorial animals and so having to “manage” a large space can be daunting for them.
Spend Time in Your Feline’s Room
Even though your cat needs a space to himself, you still need to visit him regularly in that space. Spend time with him but ensure you’re not doing it in a disturbing way. You can visit the room, attempt playing a little with him, and then spend the rest of the time reading a book or a newspaper with him near you.
Ensure the sessions are short at first but done more than once a day. Then, increase the length of each stay as you reduce the frequency of the visits.
Check for hiding spots in the room and reduce them. Check areas like the closet, behind the couch, and under the bed. Make as many of them inaccessible and, if possible, remove the furniture from the room, leaving only the cat tree if your cat has one and some open boxes.
These hiding spaces are necessary to provide an additional feeling of privacy, and so your cat can dash to the nearest one when you or any other person he’s afraid of enters the room.
Create a Calm Environment
Cats are naturally cautious and careful animals. They take time to get accustomed to things and people before letting themselves grow comfortable. This often requires more time for shy, fearful, or timid cats. However, there are things you can do to aid this process.
Provide a cat tree, tunnel, or an area they can go to and feel safe when required. You can also make your home more inviting with things like feline pheromone spray and catnip – all of which are effective at calming cats.
Also, while you want to create a calm environment, you also want to act normal around your cat and keep the home as quiet as possible. Being extraordinarily careful around your cat will not work for either you or the cat. Act normal, but don’t yell at it or lose your temper.
Avoid startling it if you can and if you have other felines in the home, understand that other cats may target the fearful one. Try as much as possible to protect it even as you work towards training out his timidity.
Talk to the Cat
Like you would do with a human child, talk to your kitten and do so in a clear casual voice. Call out his name when you enter his room, call him when you speak to him, and reassure him with rubs and your words of how important he is to you. You can even start a conversation with him on just about anything.
Encourage Playful Activities
When you visit the cat in his room or he goes outside his room, start fun activities. You can start by dragging a toy on the floor and acting like you were playing by yourself. If your kitten is already starting to warm up to you, he should be inclined to join in the play or at least watch with interest. But if he is still scared of you, he will keep a distance until you ask him to join in the play.
Don’t force him to play if he refuses to join in after you invite him. Don’t push or yell at him to go after the toy. You’ll only end up frightening him.
This works on felines just like it does on canines. Reward your pet with treats and toys to lessen his fear of you. If your cat is too timid to accept treats or toys from you, place it near him and step away. And each time, move closer slowly and stay longer to talk with him in a soft tone.
If your cat only gets frightened when a stranger visits, you can get it to overcome that fear by giving it treats or toys, so they understand it’s alright for the person to be visiting.
You should also let in understanding family and friends on your cat’s situation, especially if they visit regularly.
Get Him to Eat in Your Presence
When you feed your cat, and he reaches for the meal as soon as you set it, you should stick around a bit. You can stay in the corner of the room and watch him eat and if you have the time, wait till he finishes the meal. However, if you notice that he is still not brave enough to eat while you’re there, you should leave and try again when he eats.
Be Gradual with Your Approach
A timid or shy cat will not change overnight, so don’t try to rush things, or you’ll push him further into his “shell”. Don’t rush him or force him to do something he’s naturally not comfortable doing. For example, you shouldn’t try to startle him unnecessarily to get to “stop being so fearful .” If you do, you’ll only end up reinforcing his fear of you.
Finally, understand that while the tips above are effective for both older cats and kittens, it would take more time and effort to achieve any worthwhile result with an older cat. If you require any further tips on the general raising of a kitten, we have provided a guide here.
About the Author
Kirsten created The Pet Handbook with the aim of sharing her knowledge about pets, pet food, healthy habits, and more. All of her advice is based on years of her own experience with her pets, and feedback that she has received from grateful readers about her tips. If you want to know more please read the About Me page.