Foster Diary

Building Trust with Shy Teddy: A Foster Story

Learn the secret to how I’ve unlocked my shy foster Theodore.

Love Meow interviewed me to tell the story of my foster Theodore, a shy foster through Stray Cat Relief Fund.

Theodore came to Liz’s Kitty Boot Camp with a very sad looking face. He seemed extremely sad, depressed, and shutdown, I soon realized he was just very shy.

Outdoor or Indoor?

Theodore was trapped in North Philly, I strongly felt he was someone’s pet and was likely dumped. He wasn’t assertive at all, which is a necessary trait to survive outside (even if you’re being fed by a caretaker). Although shy, he accepted human touch, which means he was properly socialized as a kitty. And then once I found a way to connect with him, I was almost certain he was someone’s pet at one time.

The Key to Teddy’s Heart

When I’m working with extremely shy cats, I try to find a way to “unlock” them. Treats usually helps, and sometimes play, especially if they were outdoor cats. With Theo, the key to his heart seems to be cuddling. There is no way an outdoor cat would tolerate snuggling with a human unless they were exposed to it before. It’s not something they would ever encounter living outside, and it would also be dangerous to allow a person to snuggle them outdoors. Outdoor cats need to be smart and always aware of their surroundings so they can get away from predators and threats if needed. Yes, they may allow petting and sometimes holding, but all out 40-minute snuggle sessions would be a rare exception.

He is still nervous around me if I’m walking around the room or petting him in his bed. But if I pick him up and cuddle him under a blanket, he falls asleep and even purrs sometimes. He’ll even spread his back legs so I can rub his belly. I think he’s nervous around people, but feels more comfortable when his body is surrounded and in contact with something.

When I took Teddy for a dental at Heart + Paw Northern Liberties, the staff absolutely adored him. They passed him around like a baby and he stole all of their hearts. They hope his future adopter lives close by so they can see him again. He’s such a special boy.

I want to thank Love Meow for writing this article about Theodore. He’s the sweetest boy and I’m excited to see where he ends up! Read the whole story here and take a look at my other adoptable here.

By LizsKittyBootCamp

Hi, I'm Liz, and I'm a cat behaviorist who provides advice and insights on cat behavior.

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