Most cats easily adjust to their families’ routines and even strangers who come for a visit. They’ve been socialized early to understand human behavior and take it all in stride. But some cats can be fearful and there are a number of reasons – lack of socialization, traumatic experiences, being weaned too early, taught to fear by fearful mothers.
Cats have extremely sensitive hearing and loud noises can be very disturbing to them and even be painful to their ears. If you kiss your cat, make sure it is a gentle sounding kiss, not a loud smack.
Pet your cat gently and speak softly, Cats like to be scratched behind the ears and on the sides of the neck. A timid cat may not enjoy a full body pet.
People who talk loudly, move suddenly or make quick gestures can frighten a cat.
Stick to a regular routine. Many cats, especially fearful ones, find it difficult to adjust to any changes.
If your cat is fearful, try to see things from his/her perspective. Initially try to avoid eye contact as this can be seen as a challenge or a threat. When you do make eye contact, squeeze your eyes gently with a look that says “I love you.” Speak in soft tones.
Your cat may be intimidated by your size so crouch down when interacting with a fearful cat. Have a calm demeanor – your cat can sense your feelings and if you are stressed or nervous, your cat may not respond.
Encourage your cat to come to you, never chase after him/her. Bribery with a favorite treat or toy usually works.
Cats are predator (sometimes prey) animals and usually can’t resist toys that resemble prey. Encourage your cat to play using fishing pole-type toys and gently swinging them or trailing them along the floor.
Learn your cat’s body language. Try using the TTouch method of petting or calming agents such as Feliway, Spirit Essences which are specifically for cats.
Finally, be patient, treat your cat gently and show him/her lots of love. Eventually the patience and love will pay off, your cat will learn to trust you and become your best friend, no longer that fraidy cat.