shy cat kitten hiding under blanket

When you bring home a new cat or kitten, you might find that they’re not adjusting as quickly as you want. Instead of ruling them out as a shy cat, you’ll need to remember that they were brought into a new environment, with new people, smells, noises, and more.

When cats or kittens are at our adoption center in the Mantua PetSmart, they get to know their surroundings, feeding schedule, the volunteers that come in and play with them, and the low background music of Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life”.

To then take them out of that environment and put them directly into a house with people they’ve only spent a few minutes with, can be scary.


Give her time to adjust. Your cat may have been happy & relaxed in the shelter or their foster home, but since then, they may have been examined by a vet, put in a cat carrier, taken a car trip, and now are in a total alien universe filled with strange sights, sounds, and smells. Every cat is different, just like every home is different.

As long as your cat is eating, drinking, using the litterbox (even if it’s under the bed!), and not showing any signs of illness, it is generally safe to leave them in their hiding spot. Many cats will venture out at night when you are sleeping and the world is quiet. If she’s hiding in a closet, You can dust baby powder at the closet door to look for paw prints in the morning, to see if she’s ventured out.

Limit new things. There should be a safe place for her to take her time to get adjusted to how your house sounds & smells. Wait to introduce your shy cat to friends, family, and other household pets until she’s out from under the bed.

Get her used to you. If she’s under the bed, or hiding behind the bathroom sink, sit in her starter room with her and read a book, or work on your laptop.

Associate you with good things. If she likes wet food or cat treats, push some into her hiding place a few times a day, and just sit nearby as she eats it.

Playing soothing classical music in the kitty’s starter room can help your shy cat come out of her shell. The music may help lessen other noises outside the room that she’s finding frightening.

3 Days to Decompress

  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • May feel scared or unsure of what’s going on
  • Not yet comfortable to be “himself”
  • May not want to eat or drink
  • Shuts down and/or hides under furniture
  • Tests the boundaries

3 Weeks to Learn Your Routine

  • Starts settling in
  • Feels more comfortable
  • Realizes this could be their forever home
  • Figures out their environment
  • Gets into a routine
  • Lets their guard down; beginning to show their true personality
  • Behavior issues may appear

3 Months to Start to Feel at Home

  • Finally feels completely comfortable in their home
  • Begins to build trust and true bond
  • Gains a complete sense of security with their new family
  • Sets into a routine

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.