How to get a shy cat to trust you? If you just adopted a cat and it turns out to be a shy cat, or if you have a shy cat, you may want to know how to gain trust and create a bond with him. Shy cats are not easily trusting others, and they require more work and more attention to create a bond.

To get a shy cat to trust you, you have to take extra care and pay attention to what is going on in the environment. You have to keep him stress-free, be patient, and make sure he has a stable routine.

Let’s see what the best ways to get a shy cat to trust you are.

How to get a shy cat to trust you?


Shy cats have a very timid and scared personality, they seem to be scared all the time, and every movement around them can be scary. A cat can be shy because of his character or had a bad experience in the past. In either case, those kinds of cats are not easy to give their trust to someone.

If you have a shy cat in your household, you will soon understand that he requires extra attention and extra care. They have to be treated with kids’ gloves.

Since my older cat is a shy cat (chronically shy), I have developed a series of DO and DON’Ts, in addition of a couple of years of experience in dealing with such a type of cat. I am the only one that is allow to touch him and pick him up, no one else can.

So, how to get a shy cat to trust you? Here are my 10 best tips:


Shy cats can get scared easily if people are talking loudly, things are following on the floor, loud music, new people coming into the house (they are terrified), other pets showing up, changes, and so on. Do you get the point?

A quiet place where they can relax and feel that no one is attacking them is what they need to get more confident and feel free to roam around. When you are in the room with him, unless you have already gained his trust, you should not move fast toward your cat or scare him any way. Otherwise, he will always be afraid of you.

You have to wait for him to come to you. When he is trusting you, he will allow you to pet him and be near him.


Of course, cats need food, water and litter. Now, a shy cat, could be afraid to eat with people near him. Until he get used to the house routines and motions, you may have to feed him far from confusion.

If he is terrified and doesn’t come out of hiding, you may have to bring him food and water near his hiding places. When you leave him, he will eat.

Food, water, and litter box need to be in a quiet place, far from the house’s most busy areas. With time he will get confident, but until then, you have to make sure that he is not stressed about his food, water, and litter set-up.


Your cat may be going to find a place by himself, but under the bed or hiding in a cupboard is not ideal. If you can get him one of these cat trees where he can hide inside, play, and climb, it will help your cat have a point to go to when he is afraid, especially if those trees have many cat beds or closed places to sleep in.

I had spoiled my cat rotten with a full cat city. It was on three levels and had many enclosures he could hide and sleep, scratchers to use, and things hanging to play with. It was his house for very long.


If you try to pick him up, pet him, or make him do anything that he doesn’t want, it can make him more stressed. You have to wait for him to come to you. However, you could try to make him come to you with a trail of treats.

Place some treats on the floor, one in front of the other. Each one is getting close to you. To eat the next treat, he will have to move one little step forward.

In this way, he will get used to you and your presence. You can try putting a treat on your hand and see if he is ready to eat it from there. Do not make sudden moves or scare him off. It is an excellent method to bond and make your cat familiar with you.


Even shy cats get to the point of the play. Use toys that do not require you to go too near, like balls or toys attached to a string that you can move around. Playtime is important. Your cat learns that he can trust you. Not only will he get confident to run around in the house, but he will reduce stress by focusing on the play.


At some point, your shy cat will come to you. In the beginning, when he does it, do not show too much affection.

I know that is hard, but you will get rewarded later. If your cat comes to you and you start to pick him up and try to pet him too much, it can have the opposite effect. See what he is willing to get. Try to build trust and bond for the future.


A shy cat is not going to annoy you with things he doesn’t like or want. He somewhat hides somewhere. You have to watch him, understand what he is up to, what he likes, and dislike. In this way, you can provide the best experience for him and reduce stressful situations.

If there is a smell, object, or sound he is afraid of, it is better to remove it from his environment. If he is not stressed will be more willing to relax next to you.


A shy cat may need to socialize more to become trusting of others and more extroverted. One can consider doing it when the cat character is too timid and hard to improve. Playing with another cat can improve social skills and make the cat friendlier and eager to meet new people.

The second cat must be sweet and open to new friendships. You can’t have an unfriendly cat with already a shy cat in the household. It can be rather successful. I ended up doing it with my shy cat.

He is now chasing and playing with the other cat. He let the other cat chase him, lick him, and sleep close to him.

In the beginning, he did not like to be touched by the new cat; he would stand up and go away. She was only trying to kiss him and groom him and being very sweet.

But, with time, he relaxed, and now I see him sleeping together with his head on her. Success across the boards! Another cat can teach a shy cat how to be more open and what to do in certain circumstances.


If you have people coming to your house often, like family members, or close friends, it is not a bad idea to get your cat familiar with them. I had to have some of my friends stand on the porch while my cat had the time to smell them and understand who they are.

You may have to tell your friends not to move too fast and ignore the cat at the beginning until you see that your cat is relaxing and coming out of hiding. It can be a problem if your cat doesn’t allow anyone else to be near him.

If you go away, someone has to feed him. If he is scared, it can be a problem. He may not eat. With time introduce new people to your cat, instructing those people not to scare the cat if they want to bond with him.


I remember I used the feeding time to be able to pet my cat. He would be so intent on eating that he would tolerate my pets on his head. It is a great way to get your cat used to you.

Spend a few minutes every day with your cat when he is eating. It helps to become friends faster.


A shy cat will come to you when he feel safe and knows that you are the human that will care for his needs. Therefore, you have to follow the 10 points above to gain your cat trust.

Once you have bonded, your cat will come to you for pets, food, and company. You have to be patient to get there.

Another thing you can try to get a shy cat to come to you is to use treats. Cats may respond to food, but if they are too scared, they will not come. The best way is to bond with them, be near them, and get them used to your presence.


Even with a shy cat, you can see the signs of trust toward you. Your cat may not show that he loves you with big gestures, but he could do the following:

A shy cat can be more cautious, but you will see that he loves you in his way.


I would like to give you an idea of what is like to live with a shy cat.

It is like walking on eggs, meaning you have to remember not to scare him off and be aware of where he may be. I had to learn not to jump off my bed suddenly or stand up too quickly. My cat would run off so fast that I ended up scaring off.

I think it took a year for my cat not to run off if I moved when he was in my bed, and it took six months for him to trust me enough to sit on my bed. After three years, he sleeps next to me and doesn’t care so much if I move. I even get to pet him!

It can take time but know that shy cats are adorable. After you have gotten their trust, you become their favorite person, and they let you do everything. Even belly rubs at times!

But living with them is a constant awareness exercise. You truly have to learn to respect your cat’s limits and wishes. It sounds ridiculous, I know.

I am still amazed that I am the only person that can touch him or pick him up. He doesn’t let anyone come close. My father still gets scratches from him if he goes to close or try to touch him, even after months. Funny and rewarding at the same time.


I hope you have more information on how to deal with a shy cat. Shy cats are more delicate and require more patience. It is part of their character; it is not a personal thing with you. They love their owner, but they can’t show it like other cats.

It is similar to humans. Some humans are more outgoing, and some others are timid. If you want to add anything or have a question, leave it in the comments below.

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