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One of my three Himmies is a VERY shy little female. I got her and her brother from a rescue at the same time when they were babies so they have never been abused. Her brother is outgoing and quite a character. She, on the other hand, took 15 months in my home before she would allow me in the same room with her. For a long time she wouldn't even make eye contact. She is now comfortable enough to sit next to me with her head in my lap. I can stroke her but she flinches if I move too quickly and I can't even think of picking her up. I have a quiet home and she and her brother both get along extremely well with my other cat. He is three years old and they are now two. Is there any hope she will eventually be less afraid? I feel for her and would like her to be less anxious. I have used Feliway and it doesn't seem to affect her.
 

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It sounds like she was never really a feral, so it is unusual that she is so afraid of people. She's made progress, so is going in the right direction.
It took about 2 and a half years for my very feral 8 month old kittens to relax and enjoy a good petting session. But as much as they love to be loved on, I still can't pick them up.

Your cat will come around by degrees, I think.
 

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Some cats, for whatever reason, just don't like to be picked up. I had a kitten once that I knew when it was a couple of weeks that it would be a show kitten. She was a blue patched tabby, but from the time she was born, she complained if picked up. She was picked up a lot by myself and a good friend who had young kids that were gentle, as I wanted her to get used to being picked up by different people. She didn't struggle to get away just complained about being picked up and then didn't want to be held for too long. Tho she did like to get in my lap for a nap or cuddles. I trained her to stand properly as a show cat and to walk on the judges' table (as was required by Manx at that time). She showed herself off well, but every time a judge picked her up she complained. The judges just smiled and passed it off as "typical tortitude". She never ever did stop complaining if picked up, but she did well in the shows anyway and achieved her grand championship. So, I wouldn't worry about your shy Himmy, she may come around eventually, but also she may not and that's just the way she is. Just love her anyway.
 

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I'm happy to hear about the length of time it took to improve... of course I wish it took shorter, but it gives me hope. I have two mutts but they sound comparable behavior wise. The female, has shown some curiosity but tends to not come out, or stay out if I am around... for now, after traumatizing her with a week of medicating, I am leaving her be, but its hard because she is so cute and tiny. Hopefully she grows out of it at least to the point yours has, that sounds like tremendous progress and I can only hope mine gets to that point.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Scaredy Cat

Thanks, all. I dearly love my shy little Mishka and will continue to try to slowly bring her out of her shell. She is so funny - she runs to be near me and throws herself on her back as if she wants to play but if I move to touch her she runs away. Talk about conflicted! I am willing to accept she may never be any bolder but I just want her to be happy and not afraid. I'll keep working with her. Meanwhile my other two keep her company so she never has to feel alone :)
 
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