How to Comfort a Scared Kitten (the best thing you can do)

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It’s important to build trust with your new kitten as soon as you bring them home. But if you get them home and they’re scared, you want to comfort them and ease their stress.



How to make a kitten comfortable

The best way to make a scared kitten comfortable is to pay attention to their body language and act accordingly. If you being near them or petting them is making them tremble more, give them some space and even allow them to hide until they feel comfortable enough to come out.


There are many things to keep in mind when dealing with a scared kitten. The following are



#1 – Let them be

You know you have the best intentions for them. And all you want to do is make them feel better.


But usually, the best thing you can do is give them their space.


Their animal instincts are kicking in. They don’t know who or what to trust and they may be partially scared because they don’t trust you…yet.


Give your scared kitten their space, and take cues from them as to how much space they need.


If they seem more agitated and fearful when you’re around, it may be best to set them up in a safe room (see #2) and leave them in the room alone for an hour or two.


If they seem okay to have you around but are scared of their surroundings, you may just need to give them a little space.



#2 – Give them a safe space

If you’re bringing a new kitten home, you should have a “safe room” set up. This should be a small, quiet room that has everything they need:


  • food
  • water
  • litter box
  • bed or soft spot to sleep
  • kitten appropriate toys


This room gives a tiny kitten time to adjust to their new surroundings without being overwhelmed. A full house has too many objects, smells, unfamiliar spots the kitten’s predators could be lurking. Of course, you know the house is safe and free of predators, but your kitten doesn’t.


Once they’re over the initial shock of being in a new environment and are comfortable in their small safe room, you can let them explore other rooms of the house.


It’s the best and quickest way to make a kitten feel safe and comfortable in their new home.


This was the kitten’s safe room the first day we brought them home. As you can see, they felt quite comfortable in it. They had food, water, and a litter box in there. And we sat in the room with them when they were awake and they were interested in playing within the hour.


New Kitten room



#3 Let them choose

Not every situation allows, but if possible, give your scared kitten options so they can choose what makes them feel better.


>> If they’re hiding under a bed and you’re trying to get them out, they’re trapped. But if you leave them alone, they have the choice to come out and see you or stay under the bed until they feel more comfortable.

>> If you sit by them or place your hand by them, they can choose if they want to be near you or move away.

>> If you pet them and they cower or move away, give them the option to not be pet or held by you. If you pet them and they stay where they are, they likely appreciate the gentle touch.


Offer options that can help you understand what they need.


  • Place food near them so they can choose to eat or not (same goes for water and a litter box)
  • Set toys out to see if they want to play
  • Give them safe options for hiding, such as a box or toy tunnel
  • Place a soft bed in the corner of the room so they can feel protected from behind but lay down if they feel like it and look out into the space


Don’t force anything and let them guide the way.



#4 Reduce stimulation

If your kitten is scared due to a change in environment (e.g. driving in a car or being in a new space), try to remove distractions and external stimuli.


  • reduce or remove moving objects
  • turn off music
  • reduce talking
  • reduce space
  • reduce objects


If there are other people around, ask them to leave the room or put your scared kitten into a room where it can be just you and them.


Turn off any toys that move, make noise, or have flashing lights.


It can also help to make the space your kitten is in smaller. A big space will feel overwhelming. A small, quiet, and relatively empty room will be easier for a kitten to take in.


A room full of objects is full of different unknown smells for a kitten. Fewer things for a kitten to suss out will make it easier on your kitten.



#5 Offer rewards

When the kitten shows signs of being more comfortable, signify to them that it’s a good thing so they’re encouraged to further relax.


Simply having a more upbeat and excited tone to your voice can do the trick, while still speaking softly. Tell them “yes, good job!” as they come out of hiding or start to nibble on their food.


You may also offer them a kitten-friendly treat.


If they’re hiding place it in a spot so they must come out of their hiding spot to get it. They will then associate good things with coming out.


If the kitten isn’t hiding but you want them to be more comfortable around you, place the treat just out of reach from you, or a distance your kitten feels comfortable grabbing it. With each treat, move it closer and closer to you, until they’re eating it out of your had.


If your kitten is in a carrier and on a car ride, you can still give them treats. Just be sure not to give them too many, or they may be sick. Cats can get motion sickness so it’s possible they’re more nauseous than they are scared.



#6 Remove scents

If you have other pets in the home or had pets living in your home before your kitten’s arrival, be aware that your kitten can smell their scents.


Give your kitten fresh bedding, clean bowls for food and water, and new litter.


Being able to smell other animals’ scents may be adding to your kitten’s stress. So you don’t want to put the dog’s bed in your kitten’s safe room.


If you know other pets have peed in the house, invest in a UV flashlight to find hidden urine spots. Then be sure to use an enzyme cleaner to completely remove the smells (soap and water won’t cut it).

Cat enzyme cleaner


You can purchase some here:


SM Check Price on Amazon



SM Check Price on Amazon




Keep scents in mind before you put your kitten into a carrier too. If the carrier was used for other pets, it will be full of unfamiliar smells.


Even if the carrier is brand new, it will have smells we don’t necessarily pick up on. Smells from being in different environments, handled by different people, it may have even been used by another pet but returned to the store.


Don’t use anything with a strong smell to clean a carrier, as cats are sensitive to smells. You simply want to remove smells, not cover them up.


A spray with an enzyme cleaner will do the trick.


You may even try a pheromone wipe or spray to add scents that help calm cats.

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I have tried Feliway products and will say; they’re not miracle workers.


They’re not going to subdue an anxious cat, but they will help when combined with these other tips.



#7 Try toys or food

When our fight or flight response (sympathetic nervous system) kicks in for a legitimate reason (e.g. we’re being chased), we’re not going to eat or play.


So encouraging your kitten to eat or play not only acts as a distraction, it can also help calm their sympathetic nervous system.


Place wet kitten food close to your kitten and keep your distance so they feel comfortable enough to move towards it. (kittens shouldn’t eat dry food until they’re 6 weeks old, but even then, keeping your cat on a wet food diet is better for their health)


You can also try moving a toy in front of them. Something soft and quiet will work best, such as a wand toy.


Take their cue; if they seem interested in it, keep playing. But if they seem scared of it or it seems like it’s adding too much stimulation, save the toy for when they’re more comfortable.



#8 Talk to your kitten

Use a soft voice and talk in a calm and soothing manner.


Again, take cues from your kitten. If they seem more frightened when you talk, it may be better to keep their environment as quiet as possible.


But if they seem okay with your voice, keep talking. You may even try making a purring sound to see how your kitten reacts and if it soothes them.



#9 Soften your gaze

Staring at an animal can be taken as a sign of aggression. Your scared kitten will feel more comfortable if you don’t look right at them, or you soften your gaze, narrow your eyes, and blink slowly and frequently.



#10 Take deep breaths

It’s likely you’re feeling stressed in this situation. Not only does stress make it harder for you to think clearly and find solutions, it’s also making your kitten uncomfortable.


Animals can’t understand what we’re saying, but they can feel our energy.


Take a few deep breaths and calm your mind.


It will be good for you, the situation, and your kitten.


You may find this video helpful:



I hope these tips help you comfort your scared kitten!


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