Use a taming wand for cats who are scared of hands

Stroking a frightened cat with a wand or feather, instead of hands, gets them used to touch.
Hands coming at you is scary for a frightened cat. It also means the human is pretty close.
You can increase the distance between you and your scaredy cat, so it’s not quite as terrifying, using a ‘taming wand’.

Making a taming wand

A bamboo garden stake with soft fleece fabric wrapped around it works well. Hold it on with an elastic band. If it spins when you stroke, wrap a sheet of ‘grippy shelf liner’ on the inside.

A taming wand or feather makes touch less confronting for a cat who is scared of hands.

Try to keep the wand under their chin level. Explore where they’re comfortable being stroked – head? Body? Chin?

Fluffy stuff too threatening?

Try taping a feather to a long stick. It’s soft, it’s natural and it’s small.

Using the back of a backscratcher is also an option.

Watch a demonstration

Watch Rupert relax as he’s wanded. He starts out quite concerned, with frightened and unblinking eyes and a worried look on his face, but gradually feels safe enough to not look at the person, then look away. When he folds his arms underneath his body, he no longer feels that he has to be prepared to flee, or fight. Winning!

Transition from the wand to your hand

When they’ve discovered the joys of being stroked and are ‘head butting’ the wand or leaning into it, gradually start moving your hand down the wand to be closer to their body. One day, when they’re not looking, stroke them with your hand at the same time as the wand.
They may freak out if you go straight from the wand to your hand, so take it slowly.

Scared of the stuffing?


Try using flower essences

Flower essences may also help them overcome their fears.

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