Animal Welfare Professionals

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  • 1.  Socializing Shy Cats in Foster Homes

    Posted 10-24-2018 03:25 PM

    Calling all cat behavior experts! Does anyone out here in the catosphere have a tried & true guide for socializing shy cats in foster homes? We have foster homes willing to work with shy cats, and we have shy cats that could benefit from being in a foster home... but we don't have a good set of instructions with benchmarks for success for our awesome foster homes to utilize!

    Does your shelter or rescue have a guide to socializing shy cats with step-by-step instructions or report cards that you give to volunteers and/or fosters? I'd love to check it out!

    Have you watched an awesome video or read a great article with an innovative process for socializing cats over a period of time that you really love? Send it my way!

    Thanks, team cat! 


  • 2.  RE: Socializing Shy Cats in Foster Homes

    Posted 10-25-2018 05:23 PM

    On a very small scale, I've used to socialize three shy foster cats in my home at different times. They all were so scared at first they were exhibiting aggression at various levels. I found their caging and wand technique worked extremely well. All three ended up being socialized enough to be successfully adopted. Hope that's helpful!


  • 3.  RE: Socializing Shy Cats in Foster Homes

    Posted 10-26-2018 07:43 AM

    That awkward moment when the solution to my problem was written *by the organization I work for*

    Thank you for pointing this out to me! 


  • 4.  RE: Socializing Shy Cats in Foster Homes

    Posted 10-26-2018 05:19 AM

    We have used a modified version of this method (we are free roaming so no cages) mentioned below, for our fearful cats at the shelter I volunteer at (Gifford Cat Shelter) and it has worked very well over time. I think it would work well with a cat in a foster home since you would be able to use the methods more often. Best Friends developed this method when they had to quickly socialize a large number of cats from a hoarding case (over 900 cats!).


  • 5.  RE: Socializing Shy Cats in Foster Homes

    Posted 10-26-2018 05:24 PM

    Some orgs offer kitten kindergarten! This sounds adorable . Maybe someone from SF SPCA can give more info on how to get one started



  • 6.  RE: Socializing Shy Cats in Foster Homes

    Posted 10-30-2018 07:46 AM

    I have just fostered a half dozen times, but I think you just have to stress patience. I know I get impatient and just want the cats to love me, but it happens over time. 


  • 7.  RE: Socializing Shy Cats in Foster Homes

    Posted 03-24-2019 08:55 PM

    I initially wrote this up for adopters who were working with cats that had already been successfully socialized in foster homes, but the general idea is the same for foster cats just the process is slower. Would love feedback!


  • 8.  RE: Socializing Shy Cats in Foster Homes

    Posted 03-25-2019 10:29 AM

    This is from advice given via Maddie's Pet Assistant for shy/fearful kitten under 8 weeks of age.

    Thanks for what you're doing!
    -Amber, MPA Project Manager

    Some kittens are shy or fearful because they haven’t socialized with people very much. This can happen if they are orphaned kittens who do not have a mother cat to teach them social skills, or if the mother cat fears people.

    Here are some helpful tips:

    • Move slowly and talk softly when approaching the kitten(s).
    • Keep the kitten(s) in a small room with a hiding place – a carrier or an upside down cardboard box with a hole cut into the side work well.
    • “Make friends” by feeding the kitten(s) tasty treats or wet food.
    • Play together with toys that are interesting and fun, but not too noisy or scary. Wand-type toys are great because you can be further away from the kitten, and therefore less scary, while playing.
    • If possible, gently pick up and handle the kitten(s) often.
    • Do not punish the kitten(s) for being shy or fearful. This can frighten the kitten(s) even more. Use encouragement and praise instead.

    Additional information: