Is your timid cat ready for adoption?

A timid cat who lies on their back when people are around is probably ready for adoption.

I’m ready!

It would be nice if everyone was willing to socialise a timid cat from scratch. Sadly, most adopters will have some minimum expectations of their new family member.

To avoid disappointment, we recommend only advertising your cat for adoption when they have achieved certain milestones.

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Some milestones to consider

If at all possible, wait until your cat:

  • will routinely approach you for affection, without food
  • clearly enjoys being stroked and interacting with you and other family members
  • acts like a tame cat, when strangers aren’t present
  • can be put in a carrier (bearing in mind that even many tame cats aren’t keen on this)
  • doesn’t completely freak out in the presence of a stranger
  • can be picked up.

Make sure you explain in their profile that they are timid, will almost certainly hide from strangers and will need more time than other cats to settle in. Read our guide on explaining this positively. Some people will be understanding of cats who don’t like to be picked up, so this doesn’t need to be a dealbreaker.

And not everyone expects a lap cat. We say lap cats are overrated.

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Are the person and your cat a good match?

As with all adoptions, it’s important to make sure that the person and your cat are a good fit, and that they’ll love them for life.

The best way of determining this is by talking to them. Have a chat about things like:

  • their lifestyle – do they have lots of visitors? Parties? Children visiting? Housemates changing regularly? Go away a lot?
  • their past experience with animals
  • what they’re looking for in their new cat
  • what drew them to your kitty – hopefully not because they match the furniture
  • dealbreakers eg scratching sofa, toileting outside the litter tray
  • if vet bills may be a problem
  • where Kitty will stay when they’re on holiday – going to a cattery may lead to a hunger strike; staying at home will be less stressful
  • what will happen when they move house or if they go overseas etc.

If it’s important to them that their new cat mingles with visitors and loves being played with by children, it may not work.

People who have previously been adopted by a stray cat are often understanding.

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Get it right first time

It can be tempting to adopt a cat to someone, even though you have doubts it will work out. You might think that, as the person watches their cat progress from hiding under the bed for a month to mingling, they’ll fall in love with them and want to keep them.

Sadly, many people won’t be this patient. Even though you may have explained your cat’s background, that they’re timid, that they’ll hide for a while, some people may not believe you. They will be shocked when the cat proves to…… be timid and hide for a while.

A failed adoption will stress your cat

It’s incredibly sad when an adoption doesn’t work out. Learning that they want to cancel the adoption, as their cat has stayed under the sofa or bed for two weeks and this isn’t what they were expecting, won’t be a great moment for you, your adopter or your cat.

And the stress to your cat of leaving the home they know to go to a new home, with new people, will be considerable. A confident cat might see going to a new home as an adventure. For a timid cat, it’s an ordeal.

They may well come back very frightened and you’ll both have to do a lot more work to get them to where they were before they left.

We therefore recommend getting it right first time.

It may take longer for your cat to find their purrfect match, but it reduces stress on your cat, reduces disappointment for your adopter, avoids any negative stereotypes of ‘rescued animals’, and upset for you.

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Trust your instincts

The golden rule of adoptions is to always trust your instincts. The person may ‘sound’ great and be saying all the right things – perhaps even coming recommended from someone – but if you feel at all uncomfortable, there is probably a reason.

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