What is the right way to teach a silent hello to my shy cat so he will have confidence to come up to me?

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One of the greatest mistakes you can make with a shy cat is looking directly into his eyes. Under the rules of feline etiquette, that is not only rude, but threatening. If you are dealing with a shy cat, sidelong glances and slow blinks are a better option.

When a cat progresses to the point of meeting your eyes and offers a blink, that is the equivalent of a kitty kiss, but you need to let the cat make the first move. Before that? As hard as it may be, the cat will most appreciate being studiously ignored.

Cats are astute at interpreting body language. Stay calm and relaxed around the animal. Do nothing to startle the cat, and speak to him in a low consistent voice. Drop the baby talk. Cats actually don’t like that because their ears are sensitive to high frequencies humans can’t even detect. Use a normal tone of voice and apply the cat’s name only in relation with positive talk and praise.

Understand that some breeds and some specific individuals regardless of breed will just be more shy than others. If the cat really is spending all its time under the bed, make sure that nothing is happening in the environment that is frightening him and have him evaluated by the veterinarian for any undetected medical conditions.

Cater to the cat’s natural body rhythms. Felines are most active in the early morning hours just before and just after the sun has come up and again as dusk is falling. Although cats are not nocturnal, they do like the night and you may have a greater chance of bonding with your shy cat by dimming the lights, getting your home quiet, sitting on the floor, and letting the cat come to you.

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