Burton The Cat Answers Your Questions: Part 3 - Meeting New People
Here we are! Part 3 from @Burtonthecat's mom Christine who kindly offers up some kitty-related guidance and wisdom. We all know our kitties can be skittish around new humans, and today Christine gives us some pointers on helping your cats make new friends (or at least helping them become more comfy around strangers)!
Check out Part 1 about adventures in leash training here and Part 2 about flying with your cats here!
Today we talk about how to get your cat(s) comfortable with new people - a must for cats who travel on planes! Here's how Christine did it:
There's no real science to this. But I might have some words of wisdom.
My boys are very gregarious and extremely curious - not afraid of strangers and not very scared of much. This helps. If you have the kind of kitty that runs when you have company: I'm sorry they might not ever be comfortable with strangers, and being outside might totally traumatize them.
I think it also helps that we have a busy home with people constantly coming and going- we run a vacation rental from parts of it, host weddings, and photo shoots and stuff. I'll tell you though- from the furniture delivery guy to the cable guy, my boys love everyone. They love on people, head butt them, and give kisses liberally.
That is step one. Step two (and I mentioned this in my previous post about leashes) is frequent and constant trips. To anyplace. Every day. Start small. Take kitty with you whenever practical. Know they will have bad days. And never push kitty. Kitty is in charge here and they do become easily overstimulated. Try only short car rides at first.
Then, try visiting a friends house as a test. If kitty hides and is scared of its new surroundings, you might have more work to do. If they immediately explore and take over: you're ready for the next step.
For safety: Never leave a cat on a leash unattended. Also remember they are relatively defenseless, meaning they can't bolt away from danger easily. Since these are natural instincts for kitty, you have to help them out by being prepared for danger (or an excited child or dog) and pick them up. If they learn they are safe in your arms they will usually retreat here. I've suffered my fair share of scratches. Keep kitty's nails trimmed!
Cat dad takes Diego to a Mexican food restaurant @diegosmexicanfood almost everyday. This gets him practice, is a quick trip, and occurs very frequently. We also take Burton to the local Rite Aid frequently.
I think the real magic is Burton's personality. It's not for every cat. Hope this helps all you cat moms and dads out there who want to adventure with your kitties!
Let us know if you have any tips in the comments!