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Healthy Cats

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Shy or Fearful Cats

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How to Resolve the Problem continued...

Additional Tips

  • Provide plenty of perches for your cat, such as cat furniture or cat trees, shelves, or cat beds on top of furniture. Your cat may feel more comfortable observing visitors from an elevated spot.
  • Spray Feliway®, a product that mimics a soothing, natural cat odor, all around your house before visitors arrive. You won’t be able to smell it, but your cat will, and it might help reduce his nervousness. To learn more about Feliway and similar products, please see our article entitled Pet Pheromones.

If you cannot feed or play with your cat when visitors arrive, if you are hosting a large or loud event, or if your cat is too afraid to come near visitors, set up a comfortable retreat for him in a quiet room with the door closed. Provide food, water, a bed and a litter box. Let your cat stay in the quiet retreat until the guests leave. During the visit, occasionally go to the quiet room to check on your cat and offer him treats or play-but keep the door closed and ask your guests not to enter. It’s a good idea to put a sign on the door as a helpful reminder.

What NOT to Do

DO NOT force your cat to get close to someone he’s afraid of. Doing that will only increase his fear, and you or your visitors could get scratched or bitten.

WebMD Veterinary Reference from ASPCA Virtual Pet Behaviorist

The ASPCA Virtual Pet Behaviorist specializes in the resolution and management of pet behavior problems only. Please do not submit questions about medical problems here. Only licensed veterinarians can diagnose medical conditions. If you think that your pet is sick, injured or experiencing any kind of physical distress, please contact his veterinarian immediately. A delay in seeking proper veterinary care may worsen your pet's condition and put his life at risk. If you are concerned about the cost of veterinary care, please read our resources on finding financial help.
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