Join Date: May 2008
Location: St. Albert, AB, Canada
I agree that he does need to get a little more comfortable, but you have to be very careful about how you do it. If you force him too much, or go too fast you could actually make him worse rather than better.
Start by picking one of your friends or family members. This person needs to be naturally calm, able and willing to follow directions, and patient. Have them come over fairly regularly, but come in without saying anything; new voices can be very scary for nervous cats. Have them sit on the floor in a room where he has very few places to hide, but has plenty of room to avoid the person. The person is just going to sit on the floor and read...or sit and do nothing.
Since you're the person he trusts you'll do all the work in the beginning. place lots of yummy treats on the floor all around this new person (who will hold extremely still and be very quiet, and not look at the cat at ALL.) and then bring him onto your lap near, but not facing, this person. pet him, feed him treats, but hold him in your lap. When he stops fussing or acting anxious let him go. if he sits still as a rock you're waiting for him to either accept a few treats or relax his muscles a bit, maybe close his eyes or snuggle into you.
As soon as that happens you can let him out of the room or into his favorite hidey-spot. NOW that he's hidden the guest can get up and leave or go into another room and start acting like a normal guest.
Do this until he will walk around the room, ignoring this weird person-statue, and maybe even sniffing them. When he gets there you can get the person to hold treats out to him, still without looking or trying to touch him. When he'll take treats from this one person start all over with someone else.
Work slow, and it'll build his confidence.
One other thing I did with our nervous kitty was taught her a few easy tricks that helped her know what to do when she was nervous. If she was reaching up to sit pretty, or following her touch-stick, or doing a sit she felt much more comfortable than if she was left to choose what to do around people she didn't know or trust.
Torri will always be shy, and it will always be my job to make sure she feels safe. I usually just put her away in her safe room when we have people over. We have quite a few friends who have never seen her because I either don't know them well, don't trust them to follow my directions, or simply have the wrong personality traits to be calm and gentle with my sensitive girl. I'm ok with that, Torri is sweet and nice to me and my BF; I don't care if she likes other people.
She's come a long way in the past few years, so as long as you work with Kitty he should mellow with age.
Becky and the cats: Jitzu (11), Torri (9), Doran (8 ), and Muffin (8 )
The boys at 8 - not