Mutual trust in each other must be learned regardless of the type of cat you have or her personality so that you can both enjoy a joyful, healthy relationship. There are things you can do to help your cat gain confidence and trust in you, whether she is shy or afraid, brave or aggressive. It’s much easier to gain your cat’s trust from the start than it is to try to regain it after you’ve broken it; nevertheless, cats are forgiving creatures that don’t keep grudges (and they never act out of revenge or spite — cats simply don’t think that way). You may improve (or restore) your relationship with your cat over time such that it is more comfortable, easy, and predictable. When attempting to gain your cat’s trust, keep the following in mind:
Please respect your cat’s personal space.
If your cat is new to the house, she may require some time to adjust; some cats need longer than others. Allow your cat to discover safe havens in which to relax, and don’t encroach on those areas. This general rule will apply even after she has settled into her new home. Cats like their freedom and will let you know when they want your attention (or, if you’re a space invader, when they don’t!).
Allow your cat to approach you.
Allow your cat to decide how comfortable she is with you and when she wants to interact with you (although you can do some things to encourage interactions, see below). Cats learn a lot just by observing you from a window perch or the couch, so even if you’re not actively interacting with her, she’s learning a lot about you just by watching you. Allow her to observe your motions, smells, and sounds.
Find out what your cat’s tolerance for being touched is.
To discover where and how your cat prefers to be petted, take it slowly. When attempting to touch or pet your cat, never poke or taunt; instead, make predictable movements. Pay attention to your cat’s body language to figure out where and how she prefers to be caressed or petted. If your cat is prone to petting aggressiveness, try to keep petting sessions to a minimum, both in terms of where you pet her and how long you pet her.
Give your cat options and respect the decision she makes.
Allowing your cat to choose what she wants to do, whether it’s a spot to snooze or perch or an opportunity to play (or not), will boost her confidence and teach her that you won’t push her to do anything. Cats feel upset when they have little control over their surroundings (which is one of the reasons why animal shelters can be so challenging for them), and they prefer having choices about when, what, where, how, and with whom they engage. Why would your cat love it if someone is continuously attempting to regulate what you’re doing?
Make an effort to move and speak in a way that will not frighten or surprise your cat. Avoid lunging or stomping on the floor, and maintain a steady, calm voice. This is true at all times, not just when you’re interacting with your cat directly. If you have children or other pets (DOGS) in the house, it can be challenging, but if you have a shy kitten, this could be crucial. Some cats are incredibly laid-back and don’t seem to mind what’s going on around them. They can slumber through almost anything. With a more sensitive kitten, though, this is a great opportunity to teach kids about empathy and other people’s needs.
Decide how to make each interaction with your cat a happy one.
You have the ability to choose whether your interactions with your cat are positive or negative. Playtime can be a lot of fun for both of you, but be careful: what you believe is playful could be seen by your cat as aggressive teasing or taunting. Toys should always be used to play with, and you should occasionally let her catch the toy. Before interacting with a particularly sensitive cat, consider what you can do to make the interaction as good as possible in order to earn your cat’s confidence. Make the most of every opportunity to establish a favorable relationship with you!