The Urban Cat League has produced excellent ‘Tough Love’ videos on socialising timid cats.
They show a rescuer removing flea-infested kittens from their nest under a building and gradually getting them used to being with people, eating with them, being picked up etc.
You will use very similar principles for adult cats, though it will take longer.
Watch the videos now and get yourself off to a great start..
Mike removes the kittens from their nest and settles them into a large crate, near where they were born. This is the first time they’ve been away from their Mum. For some of them, it’s the first time they’ve seen sunlight.
Mike shows how to use extra-special treat food to encourage the kittens to interact with him. It’s all about taking things at their pace.
Now that they’re comfortable being stroked, it’s time to overcome their fear of being picked up. Again, food is the key.
TinyKittens uses rooms, rather than crates, to socialise cats. Each cat has at least one hiding place. They have white noise playing in the background as well as scents from the cat’s former home (the cats are from a community of outside cats, who they feed after desexing). They also use Feliway.
Each cat shares a room with at least one other cat from their community.
They then use ‘snuggle sessions’ to get the cats used to human touch. Cats are encouraged to move onto a blanket on their carer’s lap from the hiding place, are kept wrapped in the blanket with their face covered, and the carer gently strokes them. Very slowly, respectfully and gradually during the long session, they remove the blanket from the cat’s body and face, depending on their reaction.
Watch the Plan B video. This is the first time the cat has been stroked, and she stays on the carer’s lap for more than two hours!