A cat's natural reaction to the unknown is to hide. Domestic cats are often stressed by a range of things, particularly new people in their environment. Because felines are so territorial, even the smell of an unfamiliar visitor can make them feel anxious.
If your moggy is hiding from visitors and you're unsure how to help, read on to find out...
Understanding Your Cat's Personality
Different cats have different personalities, and the key to helping your cat become more confident is by understanding their individual personality. Observe their behaviour on a daily basis; are they easily startled, even around familiar faces? If so, a lot of patience and effort is required to change this behaviour. However, it's not impossible.
On the other hand, if your cat is generally comfortable around members of the family/household, but is still startled from time to time when faced with something unfamiliar, you should try and keep your cat's environment as relaxed as possible when visitors arrive.
Learning About Your Feline's Preferences
Cats are fussy creatures - that's a well-known fact. When it comes to introducing visitors to your cat, it's a good idea to provide things your cat will need in order to feel safe. We suggest the following:
- If your cat likes to hide under things, ensure there are some safe hiding spots for your cat readily available. Make sure that you never, ever block their access to these!
- Encourage your moggy to hide in the same room as you and your visitors. Try leaving treats in potential hiding spots.
- Consider installing a feline pheromone diffuser in the room where your visitors generally stay. This will help relax your cat and mark the room as safe for them.
Setting Up Some Rules
It's important to establish some general rules that will be applied when visitors are at your home. This will help your cat stick to a routine, and will hopefully build their confidence around strangers. Remember:
- Don't disturb your cat when they're hiding. Forcing them out to meet people will just distress them further.
- Keep visitors to one room in the house. Your cat should be free to roam around without feeling stressed, so make sure visitors are also kept away from your cat's toilet area and feeding stations.
- Try and keep visitor movement to a minimum. If the cat enters the room, direct eye contact should be avoided, as this may agitate your cat.
This is the tricky part, and we should say that there's no real way to guarantee that your cat will ever feel comfortable with visitors. However, by following the points above, progress is likely to be made. Practice makes perfect, and plenty is required to help you cat change their cautious behaviour:
- Try to ease your cat into larger group situations by introducing visitors gradually. This way, they'll have more time to get comfortable with them.
- Ask your visitors to tempt your cat out of their hiding spot with a tasty treat. As your cat grows more confident, try placing treats further out into the room to help them integrate.
- Repeat as often as necessary until you cat feels relaxed when a visitor is present.
Here at Tailster we have a wide network of approved cat sitters from across the UK. If you're going to be away for a while and need someone to look after your cat, click here for all you need to know about our full service.