Friday, January 28, 2011

What you can do to help your Shy Cat come out of it

When I first met "Smoochie" on the street, this little brown tabby looked at me with dilated pupils, hair on end, her back arched, and her thin tail tired to twice its size. She looked petrified and indecisive, uncertain whether to run or fall. So after I rescued her, she would not come to me. She ate carefully, constantly looking from left to right. She was scared, but not just because I had captured her. Probably because she was afraid to scare experiences in her past.
While cats have to be afraid to respond to potentially dangerous situations, some cats are more shy or afraid of the unknown and non-threatening than others. They can hide away in front of other people, new cats or other animals, or aggressive. As a result, they may not appear very nice. But that does not mean they can not or will not change, and more relaxed and friendly ... with a little help from you.
Confusion and anxiety in cats tend to be primarily the result of frightening experiences. Although those bad experiences make a big impression on the cats during the critical phase of development (from about 2 to 7 weeks old), after such experiences can be traumatizing. Like humans, cats must learn that they are accepted, belong, and may depend on these conditions. They must learn to associate humans, other animals and inanimate objects with something positive and entertaining - non-threatening - so they become more sociable.
Of course, prevention is always better than cure. But if you're not the cat from kitten hood, given the frequent and lovingly handled, lifted exposed to positive social situations in the first 7 weeks, you can only use counter-conditioning techniques, patience, perseverance, love and understanding - and foods - to help work in her fear or embarrassment.
Desensitization a scared cat uses essentially the same procedure as desensitizing a child who is afraid of cats, except that you probably will not use food to attract and reward the child in the presence of the feared object or person. General, you want your cat to experience it as something positive will see the feared object in the distance. For exposure to be useful, it is necessary to keep the cat in sight of the object. You can do this by letting it to a harness and leash or a carrier. In an incremental process to get closer to the feared object while the cat enjoys something nice. By following these guidelines, I helped "Smoochie" feel more comfortable, safe and comfortable with me. Actually she is a "pet-aholic," often dogging my heels for a belly rub. Naturally, not all cats recover to the same extent or as quickly as some others. But fear and shy cats can cause a lot happier life if you want to help them tame their fears and become more sociable. It's a win-win situation.

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