Looking for Regional Information?

Taming Shy Kittens

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/24/2006 | Pets and Animals
Sometimes when you get a new kitten, they are shy or they shy away from human touch. Sometimes they want to hide in a secluded spot away from you. This behavior is not uncommon and should be dealt with to bring the kitten's behavior to be more interactive with humans. Here are some things you can do.

1. Put kittens in a small room with areas for them to hide blocked off or absent. They should be in the room by themselves with no other pets. Start them off in a cage with enough room for them to run around a bit. Put a box in the cage to allow them to go into if they need to a little security. The cage can be partly covered with a blanket or towel to help them feel safer. Using a pheromone spray like Feliway at one spray per day will help too - just do not spray it around the litter box.

2. Do not stare at the kittens. Staring is predatory behavior and will scare the kittens. When you look at them, make sure you blink a lot and turn your head often. Practice trying to touch the kitten after he has been in the cage a couple of days. If they are not receptive to your hand right away, try using something like a back scratcher to rub their fur. Attempt to move your hand down the back scratcher to get closer to the kitten as you try this. An advanced method called the Tellington Touch can be attempted also. This method is proven to help an animal feel more comfortable around humans.

3. Start spending more and more time in the room with the kittens. A kitten needs at least two hours per day of interaction time with you. One person should do this at first, probably for the first 5-7 days you have had the kitten. Then one or more other people can be added to help the kitten get used to being around more people. Use a toy in your hand to play with the kitten and get him used to being close to your hand. Move your hand closer to the kitten when you hold the toy until you can touch him. Giving the kitten a special food treat also helps them get used to you being close to them.

4. Play a radio softly on a station with only voices for a few hours a day to help them get used to people's voices.

5. After you can touch the kitten, start letting them out of the cage. You may take the litter box out of the cage now and put the litter box and food at opposite sides of the room. Spray the Feliway around the room now. Do not spray it near the litter box. Start playing with them by using toys they like such as newspaper balls and string toys. This play time will turn into them looking forward to your return to play more with them. Do not forget to touch occasionally and pet them during play time.

6. After a time, just sit in the room with the kittens and do what you want to - like read, watch TV or use your computer. This will help them get used to people that are not there just to pay attention to them. Then after a while, start to play with them. Try to bring in other people in the room with them more often and for at least 30 minutes at a time. The other people should try to play with the kittens and also try to pet them.

All these things will help a shy kitten come out of his shell. If you have a shy kitten and do nothing the kitten may hide all the time. Help them get used to humans and human interaction. Some will need this help more than others. function SubmitRating(btn) { ratingchecked = false; if (btn.form.aRating0.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (btn.form.aRating1.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (btn.form.aRating2.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (btn.form.aRating3.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (btn.form.aRating4.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (ratingchecked) { btn.form.btnRating.value=btn.value; btn.form.submit(); } else { alert("Be sure a rating value has been selected to continue."); } }