IF YOU ARE TAKING IN A TIMID CAT, SOME PREPARATION IS ADVISED.

1. BLOCK OFF ALL POTENTIAL HIDING PLACES before the cat is released into your home. Behind the boiler. Under beds. Open fireplace. Under wardrobes and other furniture. Go around the house and think where a cat can hide. They can squeeze into the most unbelievably small places.

2. GIVE THE CAT SOMETHING TO HIDE IN.  Timid cats MUST have a hidey-hole. A high sided cardboard box is ideal, turned upside down with a hole for access. The box should be in a quiet part of the home.

A timid cat may take weeks before it feels confident enough to come out and sit in the room. It is very important that the cat is allowed to gain confidence at its own pace. These dos and don'ts may help you to settle a timid cat in with you:

DO make sure all windows are kept closed in all rooms the cat has access to. If the weather is hot, make a simple frame with wood and chicken wire, and fix this to the open window.

DO approach the cat very slowly and speak very quietly.

DON'T play loud pop music or shout around the cat.

DO offer food on your hand, stretching out as much as possible to keep the greatest distance between your body and the cat. Speak soft reassuring words at this time. Do not look at the cat's face when you do this, keep your head turned away.

DON'T worry if the cat refuses food, even for some days. It may prefer to eat in the dark so leave food overnight near the hidey box. However, it may not eat at all for a while. Refusing food is a basic temporary survival instinct. No food=no body waste=no smell=safety from predators.

DO site the toilet tray in a dark, secluded place near, but not too near, the hidey box. About 3 feet away is fine. No nearer.

DON'T look your cat straight in the eyes.  In cat language that is a threat.

DO blink slowly if you make eye contact. That is telling the cat that you like it and will not hurt it. You may find the cat will blink back at you.

DON'T allow the cat to know you have noticed it when it ventures out. Ignore it and pretend you have not seen it. If you greet it, it may run back into the box and not come out again for days.

DON'T allow the cat outdoors until you are sure it is well used to you and has gained some confidence. Otherwise you may never see it again.  This may mean keeping the cat indoors for several weeks initially.

DON'T expect the cat to become a lap cat. You may be lucky, but many timids remain scared of close contact. Your reward will be the cat's lifelong trust and loyalty to you.  Winning the trust of a timid or feral cat is hard work but these cats are loyal for life. A bonus - timid cats usually like other cats.