by: Larry Chamberlain
Nervous cats hide from people; they do not readily present themselves for petting, and may seem downright scared of you.
Probably, this was not exactly what you had in mind when you decided to get yourself a pet. So, is it at all possible for nervous cats to overcome their timidity and learn to trust you? The answer is yes, but you will need patience, patience, and patience.
It is usual for a kitten to be cautious and timid for the first week or so in its new home, but some kitties remain nervous of you no matter how loving and caring you are to them. Kittens that spent the first weeks of their life in the company of humans and other pets, along with the associated sounds and smells, are far less likely to be nervous cats. They will accept sharing their living space with humans more readily, and be more likely to accept petting. Your cat may have had a nasty experience before coming to your home, and is naturally apprehensive of a reoccurrence.
One way to gradually get a nervous cat used to petting is to gently wrap your pet in a thick towel, to prevent it from scratching you, and gently stroking its head. Talk to your cat softly as you do so, and only use a light grip. Never hold your cat extremely tight. Set aside a time each day to perform this bonding ritual and your shy cat may grow to trust you enough to stroke it without the towel, remember patience pays.
Owners of nervous cats have obtained great results by using a pet crate. Cover the sides of the crate with card or a blanket so that your cat can see through the front but still feels protected. Put the litter tray in the crate and perhaps your cat’s favourite toy. Start by using the crate in a room that humans are not using, but from where your cat can hear the sounds of the house. Then, move to a place where the humans of the house can be seen carrying on their normal activity, talk to your pet soothingly. Gradually your cat may learn that there is no threat to it from you, and you may achieve enjoying your cat’s company outside the crate without any sign of nervousness.
Bribery can often work wonders with nervous cats. Try a offering a tempting healthy treat, if your cat is hungry enough to overcome its fear and stay still to eat its treat, stroke it gently, don’t make sudden movements! You may have to persevere, but often your pet will eventually accept and enjoy your petting.
Never lose patience, and remember that your nervous cat is not rejecting you, it is just an in built protective reaction to something that has given kitty cause to be wary of humans. Love and perseverance will often win the day, and you will be rewarded by your cat’s affection.