New pet kitten a little shy or scared? Here's how to earn their trust

  • Animals
  • Monday, 13 May 2019

Social skills are learned and therefore pet kittens should be left with their mums and family until they are at least two months old. Photo:

It can be disconcerting to adopt a cat and discover that it doesn’t want to cuddle, or maybe is even afraid of you. If that’s your pet, here are some tips for helping it settle in.

Cats are social by nature. If they live in the wild, a mother cat will raise her kittens with the help of her sisters, cousins and female relatives. The father may be around, as well as younger brothers and male cousins.

Social skills are learned, therefore kittens should be left with their mums and family until at least two months old. Three months is better.

If you adopt a kitten from a social group, try to take two from the same litter. This will help your pets to stay social. Cats do better when they have another kitty to talk to. If you adopt a kitten that has no family, however, then you need to be that family.

The key to creating a good bond is to remember that every experience matters. If you keep experiences loving and positive, your pet will trust you.

Never shout, smack or shake your kitten. Pets are not people and they don’t understand what you’re doing. All they know is you’re being violent and you’re hurting them. That’s not the way to build a relationship.

With a shy pet, let them have a space to themselves. Don’t worry if they hide. Sit or lie on the floor close to them and speak softly. Offer pet treats and snacks.

At the point when they lie down and look at you without fear, introduce a ping-pong ball. Roll the ball gently between your hands on the floor. This will spark interest in your kitten. Very gently, roll it to your pet and they will learn to bat it back.

From there, you can move to patting, stroking and eventually picking up. The whole process takes between three to 14 days. So take it slow, don’t rush, and you’ll create a bond of pure trust and love.

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