How can I get my rescued kitten to open up?

 |  Dec 27th 2007  |   13 Contributions


I just got my new kitten, Minx. She is as cute as
she can be, but I'm worried about her behavior.
She spent the first month of her life in survival
mode, living under the shelter of a pipe drain,
until she was rescued. Now thats she's here, she
seems to be okay, I mean happy to an extent. She
eats fine, and uses the litter box, but she is a
tiny kitten, and never plays. She is also very
timid. At the slightest thing she will run and
hide under the couch for hours. She even spends
the night there sometimes. I want her to be able
to open up and know that I am here to help her and
love her, but I also don't want her to miss out
on the fun of her kitten years. What is the best
course of action to make her comfortable and
happy? Thanks.

Jess
Virginia

Cats, like people, have unique personalities. Some cats are outgoing and seemingly fearless (I picture many orange tabbies that I have known). Others are shy, easily frightened, and introverted. Either extreme, as well as anything in the middle, is completely normal. There's nothing wrong with being shy.

It sounds like Minx had a rough life before you adopted her. Most pets with that sort of background are shy when they are adopted. Once they have a good home, many become more confident over time.

Also, remember that Minx is still a kitten. Just like shy children can grow into confident, outgoing adults, many shy kittens become more sociable and less skittish as they mature.

The best way to help Minx become more confident is to provide a stable home environment with plenty of love. Fortunately, most kittens are pretty lovable, so hopefully that task won't be too much of a challenge.

It is most likely that, over time, Minx will grow out of her shyness. However, there is a small chance that no matter what you do she will continue to be shy and easily startled. If that happens, it does not mean that there's anything wrong with her.

On a different subject, one thing you mentioned does trouble me slightly. It is Minx's reluctance to play. This reluctance could be due to her shyness, but sometimes failure to play can be a sign of a medical problem. If you haven't already taken her to the vet for a basic checkup, I recommend that you do so to make sure that her health is good.

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