In our first guest post, Bristol-based The Pet Collective discuss 3 easy ways to train a scaredy cat
In the first of a series of guest posts, Carly Wong of The Pet Collective discusses how to build your cat’s confidence around guests in her article ‘3 easy ways to train a scaredy cat’.
Is this a familiar sight?
Guests arrive at your house and your cat slinks off to hide, only appearing again when he hears them leave?
Cats are naturally suspicious, and though some will have the confidence to remain around when new people arrive, many will retreat to their “safe zone” (this may be under a table, in a corner, under a bed, generally somewhere sheltered and hidden).
However, confident cats are happy cats, which is why it’s a great idea to try and train your cat out of the habit of disappearing when strangers arrive.
Here are 3 simple things you can do to build your cat’s confidence around guests:
1) Leave them be
On the whole cats do not appreciate being approached by strangers, they prefer to be in control. They like to choose who to approach and only do this when they feel safe (would you want a stranger lunging towards you with their big hands aiming to stroke your face? I know I wouldn’t!)
Your guests must not bother him if he doesn’t want to join in.
This is particularly relevant with children visiting the house, as the sight of a soft fluffy cat is almost always irresistible to little ones. To avoid this situation you may even consider putting a nervous cat in a separate bedroom if younger children do visit.
Ironically the less you bother the cat, the more he will be likely to get involved (cat logic!)
2) Give them only positive experiences
Invite a quiet friend to your house to coincide with your cat’s usual feeding time. Allow your friend to sit in the room with your cat’s bowl (but not close to it) then you can serve up your cat’s food.
This allows your cat to simply to get used to a stranger’s presence resulting in a positive outcome for him (getting fed!)
If your cat refuses to enter the room, place the bowl as close to the room as you can to encourage him to eat nearby without making him nervous. If he still isn’t keen then feed him elsewhere, or ask your friend to slowly and quietly move to a different room to enable him to eat in his normal place.
Do not make a big deal of it or try to push him to do something he’s not keen to do. You can try again on a different day.
3) Make it fun!
When your cat has gained enough confidence to remain in the same room as your friend, allow your friend to feed him a few cat treats, or attempt some play with a fun cat toy.
It may be a slow process but if you persist eventually your cat will associate guests to your house with all sorts of fun and frolics!
…or least the very least, not feel so threatened each time he hears the doorbell ring.
The Pet Collective a is Bristol-based luxury & lifestyle animal portraiture service brought to you by creative photographers Carly Wong and Simon Withyman.
They take beautiful portraits of animals. View a sample of their work here and contact them to find out more about their services.