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While many cats become more relaxed over time, particularly as they learn that people do not pose a threat, some cats remain cautious of strangers for their entire lives.
You may want to encourage your cat to be more sociable, but it's important to take things slowly and never force your cat to socialise if it would rather hide. By forcing your cat to do something, you are more likely to make it more shy and timid, and less likely to enjoy meeting new people.
Introduce people one-by-one
Cats may feel overwhelmed if you try to introduce many people at once, especially if they are naturally shy or timid. By introducing people one at a time, you can help your cat to gradually accept and trust new people.
Encourage family members and visitors to take their time in getting to know your cat. It's best to sit back and let the cat make the first move. This is much less confrontational. Your cat will also appreciate having an escape route or somewhere high to hide if they get scared.
Cats are more likely to bolt if your visitors are noisy. By speaking in a calm, soothing voice you can help the cat to feel safe.
Cats generally don't like to be picked up unless they're being handled by someone familiar.
Start with play
Playing with cats is a great way to bond. It gives cats a chance to get used to you, without having to get too close.
Kittens need lots of sleep, so visitors or family members may have to wait for them to wake before playing with them.
Kittens are also very fragile, so supervise children closely if they are handling kittens.
If you're expecting unfamiliar visitors, you may want to mention that you have a cat, just in case your guest has a cat allergy. They may be able to use medication to minimise the effects of their allergy.
See also - Cats and allergies
Cats and children - Topic
Cats and allergies - Topic
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