Cats are notoriously known for being curious creatures, poking their noses in where they shouldn’t and popping to the neighbours for a spot of afternoon tea.
But not all of our little floofs are blessed with such a courageous nature. Speaking from experience as the pet parent of our glorious Chief Taster, Rue – I know first hand how having a less confident kitty can prove tricky when it comes to social gatherings and new faces.
Many cats can be fearful of strangers and larger groups of people for all kinds of different reasons. Sometimes a lack of socialisation around new people in their first few weeks of life as a kitten, can lead to a shy guy later down the line. Equally on the other paw, too many comings and goings, knocking on the door and loud noises can also cause a more anxious disposition in adult cats. And just like us humans, there are those cats that are just a little more introverted than extroverted, we’d actually argue that most would rather be left alone when it comes to new visitors and house guests.
But with freedom day upon us and much celebration across the country this week, it is likely that our pets may be facing a slightly more sociable summer than they’ve been used to. We thought we’d get some pointers together to help out those crowd-fearing kittens when it comes to socialising, and getting back to that much craved normality we have all missed.
Firstly, always provide a safe place for your little pal to retreat to if the going gets tough. Nervous cats are often skittish around new people, so having a safe room, a Republic of Cats cardboard box or a window ledge to retreat to, helps to calm them down and give them a spot to gather their thoughts, before trying again with the ‘intruders’.
Spending plenty of time in your go-to party room of choice with your cat will help them feel safe in the space. Lots of playing, feeding and belly rubs (if they are so inclined) in the area you normally gather with guests, will get your furry friend comfortable and used to the room being a happy place they know they are safe in.
Getting your cat used to a knock at the door being associated only with positive outcomes will also ease them into relaxing around new faces. Practising before guests arrive, knocking on the door and then providing cuddles and treats will soon help your housemate learn that the doorbell brings no danger.
Prep your pals. We’ve all got those friends who head straight for the pets, in fact most of us reading (and writing) this are most likely those people – we just can’t help it, must pet the floofster before human interaction of any kind. But this can be super intimidating for our more nervous mousers. Asking your visitors to give them space, take a seat so they appear less threatening and keeping their distance until your cat becomes more comfortable and grows gradually accustomed to their new guests, will create a positive environment where your tabby is more likely to warm up into the snuggly socialite you know they can be.
Take it one step further, and once your cat is a little more comfortable, why not offer up some tasty Republic kibble to your company to hand feed petting zoo style. If we know our citizens, most just can’t resist the cronch of their tailored kibble, and the friendship will soon blossom into something food-orientated and beautiful, like most happy relationships.
Whether it’s kibble, chin tickles, catnip or Rue’s favourite – the brush, getting your guests to slow down and offer up your cat’s ultimate favourite way to zen out once they’re a little more adjusted, will be a sure fire way to win their hearts and get them a little more comfortable in a crowd. But let’s also not forget, cats will be cats. Whether they’re a little more anxious than your neighbourhood Tom, or quite the confident creature, your house guests are still most unlikely to get more than 5 minutes of purrs and attention before they slink away for the sixteenth snooze of the day.