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Getting a new cat or kitten is one of the most rewarding experiences ever for a cat lover.
It can be hard work initially, especially when you get home and all your cat does is hide away and run every time you make a move.
In this article, we look at various ways to gain your cats trust!
I promise you once you have their trust it will be so rewarding for you both and you will be well on your way to building a lifelong bond!
1) Let your cat come to you in their own time
When you first get your new cat home from the adoption shelter, normally one of the first things they do is hide away from you when you enter their designated safe room.
They have so much to get used to in their new environment, new sounds, and new smells.
They may not react kindly to you just going over to them to try and pick them up, you may be greeted with a hiss and just a really fearful look.
Let them settle in slowly and get used to their surroundings and eventually they will want to come over to you to investigate the person they will be sharing their new life with, in their brand new home!
2) Offer your cat your finger to investigate and smell
Some call this the cat handshake, it is a way of saying how are you little girl/boy!
A full open hand given to a cat who hasn’t gained your trust may come across as a threat like you are going to pounce or attack.
Remember you are so much bigger than they are and they don’t yet know if they can trust you or what your intentions are!
Your cat will eventually come out to sniff your finger and do what’s called a ”scent investigation” if you begin to notice that your cat rubs their cheeks on your finger this is a very good sign!
Cats have an amazing sense of smell, according to Wikipedia cats sense of smell is 9-16 times as strong as humans! So you better make sure you smell nice!
When they rub their cheeks on you this is literally them marking you as there’s, marking you as their territory, they own you now! So there is no going back!
Their cheeks release hormones so Kitty is leaving her hormones all over you to mark you as her very own human!
How sweet 🙂
3) Provide plenty of safe hiding spaces for your cat
Cats need places to hide and retreat and you must always provide these kinds of spaces to ensure a happy, healthy kitty home!
It is part of the genetics of cats, in the wild, they seek refuge in hiding places for security, comfort and safety.
They need to hide away in the wild to ensure that they can spy on their prey and be wary of any predators that may try to eat them!
Obviously, they don’t have that worry indoors but when they are first trying to get used to a new home and they don’t yet trust you, for all they know you could be a big monster who is going to eat them for your dinner!
So it’s always good to have several places of refuge and hiding.
Some of the places you may wish to consider are
- Cardboard boxes
- Space under your bed
- A dougnut shaped bed with a little hole on top
- A fun large cat tree with a little hiding house
- Behind curtains
- Inside suitcases or backpacks
- In an empty bath
- In the corner of a wardrobe
You wouldn’t believe the number of times I have rushed around looking for my cats to find them in the most unusual places ever!
I was once laid in bed and when I woke up the next day I could hear scratching coming from inside the bed!
To my horror, I opened the divan base draw to find my little girl snuggled up inside! She had been laid on a blanket in the draw all night, I must have closed it without knowing she was in there!
If you don’t have a cat tree for your cats then why not? 🙂
When I bought mine my cats thanked me and they are always hiding on it and playing on it, they really do love it.
4) Carefully observe your cats body language
There is so much you can learn about your cat’s body language.
When you are trying to gain a cats trust there are certain things you must be aware of and you must know when it is okay to approach your new cat and when it’s best to leave him/her to have their own space and quiet time.
Some signs to watch out for if a cat is feeling fearful and anxious are
- Arched back
- Hissing and growling (the obvious ones)
- The tail is laying low and between their legs
- Ears laying flat against their head
Signs to look out for to know your cat is happy and content
- Exposed belly – This is a one of the biggest signs that your cat trusts you, a cat who is feeling safe will roll over onto their belly and happily show you their stomach. Just be warned it doesnt always mean they want you to go in for the kill and give them a belly rub, however what i found in my facebook poll is that the majority of cats appear to enjoy a belly rub! 62% of Cats! You can read my interesting blog post about belly rubs here!
- Erect tail – this is a sure sign of happiness, cats with tails raised in the air walking towards you are happy cats!
- Rubbing against you – If your cat is rubbing against you then you know they trust you, they are leaving their scent on you and that speaks volumes!
Always be aware of these cats body language signals when working out if it’s time to approach your cat for cuddles and play!
Respect their boundaries and their moods and they will respect you too!
You may wish to watch this great video by the cat behaviour specialist Jackson Galaxy to find out more…
5) Be Patient with your cat, trust takes time
Cats are just the same as us humans, they don’t give their trust away easily.
Some cats are very quick to trust and will settle in really quickly into their new environment and be your best friend from day one but this can be rare. It may take your cat a few days, a week or maybe longer!
Patience is always key, good things come to those who wait or so they say!
We should never try to force a cat to trust us or accept us before they are ready for this, we do not always know their history and their individual story!
6) Move around in a calm and slow way to gain trust
This is one to bear in mind when you first bring home your cat.
When you first bring home Kitty they will obviously be in a state of shock and often feel quite scared, put yourself in their shoes and think about how much they have to get used to in their new environment.
When I first got my cats they hid behind the TV for days!
Every time I would stand up and move around they would quickly run behind the TV to seek hiding and shelter.
So move around slowly at the beginning and in a calm way, you want your cats to associate you with a calm and relaxed feeling from the very beginning.
7) Offer some delicious treats to your cat
One common ground we share with cats is our love of food!
Cats love treats the same way that we love a nice treat now and again so what a great way to build trust, to let them know that you are the provider of food.
You are the one that will make sure their biggest physiological need for food is met daily.
Some people say cats only want people for food and I totally disagree, it can help them trust you but they do actually love us, humans, in fact, I wrote a whole blog post called ”Does my cat love me or just want food?” Take a read to discover the truth about our little furry friends.
A good idea is to place their food where you are going to be spending a lot of your time, let them come out from hiding when there ready to come and get the food, if you make any sudden movements they may dash away and hide but this is normal until they have a built up a level of trust with you.
They may not come out from hiding right away but when they do it is a good sign that you are on your way to gaining your cat’s trust.
8) Work out which areas she likes to be touched
When you begin to engage with your cat and they want cuddles and petting it’s important to work out which areas your cat likes to be touched!
Some areas will be clearly out of bounds and you can work this out easily by judging your cat’s reaction.
Some cats hate belly rubs, some cats don’t like their tail area being touched, this is individual to the cat!
It is important To find out the areas they do enjoy being stroked in and respect their preferences and boundaries!
9) Engage in playtime to build trust and routine
This is the perfect time to begin bonding with your little cherubs!
There are so many benefits to regular playtime with your cat, it’s important for their health and to keep their weight under control but it also builds trust.
Your Cat will not only see you as someone who feeds them and looks after all their physiological needs but they will see you as someone they can have fun with too 🙂
The start of what will flourish into a beautiful relationship between feline and human!
While we are on the subject of play you have to see my blog post that outlines 13 fun ways to keep your cat entertained indoors FOR HOURS! Some great tips on keeping your little kitty happy and entertained!
Again play is something that should not be forced, you may wish to start with laser pen toys or wand toys so you can keep a distance at first until your cat starts to trust you more.
Why not build a fun exciting routine of playtime from the get-go and stick to it!
10) Lay or sit on the floor and get down to the cats level
This is a good one to use if your cats are constantly hiding away when you first get them and you just want them to come out from hiding and do a scent investigation on you so they can begin to gain trust in you as their new human.
When I got my cats, I laid on the floor with some treats in front of me and finally after nearly a week one of them came out and walked towards me really slowly and begin to investigate and that was the beginning of a beautiful companionship!
So get to their level and sit or lay down on the floor so you don’t look so big tall and scary!
11) Talk like a baby to your cat to soothe and relax them
WE ALL DO THIS with our animals, even if we don’t admit it!
Cats love being talked to and we love talking to them too, cats enjoy high pitched, gentle sounds and voices.
Some say the calming nature of baby talk relaxes them and makes them feel secure but maybe it’s just because they learn to associate that tone of voice with what comes next which is generally cuddles and lots of attention!
So time to get talking with your Kitty and watch the trust build up in front of your eyes!
If you would like to read more about how to talk with cats and why they like the human voice you may wish to check out my post on this.
12) Don’t force the relationship with your new cat
Never force your cat into your lap or near you when they are not ready!
This can make an already fearful cat even more scared and you don’t want that to happen as you never know how your cat may react.
We have already discussed the importance of patience when gaining a cats trust and I can’t stress this enough!
Cats are very curious animals and he/she will come to you when they are ready!
13) If your cat is nervous at first use Pheromone plugins
Pheromones! What are they I hear you ask?
These are hormones that your cat releases from special scent glands located around their body as a signal to other cats and a way to react with the world around them.
Interestingly, pheromone secretions contain up to 40 different chemicals and your cat will know what each one means according to the Feliway blog. The Feliway blog is very interesting and worth a read if any of you want to find out more in-depth research on cat hormones.
Feliway and other pheromone products mimic the cat’s facial hormones which mark territory as being safe, so this is perfect if you have a scared cat who is engaging in certain behaviours such as spraying or scratching.
I would recommend this one from Amazon, It is a three-pack and will make sure that there is plenty of pheromones floating around to soothe and relax your cat!
This may be enough to calm your cat down so you can work on building your companionship!
Conclusion : Ways to gain a cat’s trust
So thank you for reading my article and I hope you enjoyed finding out about these cool tips!
I know it can be a challenging time when you have taken in a stray cat who has lost trust in humans or just a new cat who has a shy personality but believe me if you integrate these tips into your routine with Kitty, they will be your forever friend in no time in there new forever home!
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As always take care of yourself and your fur babies
Mark (The Crazy Cat Man)