An opinionated feline in Edmonton, Canada who lived with a retired cat behaviourist, Greyce provided behavioral advice to cats in need until her death in July 2014. Because her entries are useful even today, the blog remains posted.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Introducing Cat Afraid of New Things to a New Person

Hi Again Greyce!
It's me again. And I have yet another problem. You see it's the holiday season and Themselves are likely to bring some new purrsons in for a visit. I don't 'do' new situations well, as you know. Please help!

Dear Dash,

Don't stress. New purrsons can be a great source of attention - if you wish. But you need to handle them properly.

Assuming that the entire universe is under your control, I would advise the following:

1. Fewer purrsons (like starting with just one) at a time is better for you. So if you can influence Themselves, ask that they select one purrson to start with.

2. Select the right purrson. Now there should be some important criteria used: a) Select someone who is not afraid of cats. b) Someone who is relatively quiet. c)Someone who takes direction well.

Do NOT select Uncle Fred who will do whatever he darn well pleases, scoop you up in his arms and try to swing you around; and when you scratch his eyes out, tell Themselves to throw you in the woodpile.

Do NOT select Panicky Pansy who lets out tiny yelps the moment you come within three feet of her.

Do NOT select Loudmouth Larry or High-pitched Harriet whoses voices will give you the willies.

In the best of all possible worlds, select a quiet individual who will keep to themselves.

3. Said purrson should be briefed in advance about your catsonality and about cat etiquette (see item 6).  Forewarned is forearmed.

4. Themselves can best decide if you would prefurr to wait until after said purrson has arrived and settled into a chair, before being allowed upstairs.

5. Two things will help: Make sure Themselves put that purrson's boots or shoes out of pee range (since you are a nervous pee-er). The new smells brought in might just trigger your need to anoint them.
If the purrson is willing and is wearing trousers, then a spritz of Feliway spray on the pant legs at cat height will help that purrson smell familiar to you.

6. The purrson should then behave according to proper cat etiquette, that is:
a) Ignore you unless to approach directly. None of this chasing after you saying, here pussy pussy.
b) When you approach directly, extend a hand so you can sniff. You make the first move.
c) If and only if you sniff or rub the hand, gently pet you a time or two on your cheeks (so you can spread more comfort pheromones on said purrson).
d) Under no circumstances should they engage in direct eye contact or attempt to go after you.
e) If said purrsons knows cat games, then some gentle play (fishing pole toy or mouse fetch) could be in order. Otherwise they should leave you to make any moves.

7. If things are not going well, then putting you into your private space will be the better option.

Handling More Than One Purrson at a Time

Yes I KNOW it's holiday season and there is apt to be more than one purrson at a time. If so, here is what you do.

If it is up to three purrsons and they are all quiet types who will behave properly, then proceed as above.

If any are obnoxious (from our feline point of view), you are probably better off in a private room where they will not disturb you. Purrhaps some quiet music could assist in drowning out their sounds.And even more so, if Themselves decide to host a party or a dinner.

As for children: I hope they would desist in inviting said beings for now. But if it is necessary, then keeping you in a private room (with your companion, Skeeter) is a much better idea.

And since the basement is your purrsonal space, no stranger should be allowed entry to it unless and until you are most comfortable with them - or unless its a emergency like a gas problem and the company rep is coming to fix it.

Hope this helps,

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