Some cats are just plain shy. Shyness and timidity take root in a number of causes, but can be overcome with tenderness and staying power. You must let your cat set the pace, there is no such thing as a bad cat, but there are lots of uninformed cat caregivers.
Just like people, felines come in many types of personalities. Your cat just may be shy by nature, and may never become the social lap cat you hoped for. But with good fortune, love, and persistence, he/ she may enjoy sitting on your lap for brief periods, every once in a while and these golden moments will be much appreciated...
As with many other behavioral problems, shyness and fear can spring from a medical condition. It's always a good idea to have your cat checked by a veterinarian to disqualify illness.
A typical example is kittens taken from their mother at too early an age. The mother cat trains socialization with humans and other cats over a phase of time. In an ideal world, kittens should stay with their mother a minimum of eight weeks; though twelve weeks is much better for them to become fully socialized.
Your best option with a poorly socialized kitten is to get him/her accustomed to one person in the home at a time, handle kitty gently, petting and talking to him/her in a calming voice. .Give the cat plenty of time to explore his/her surroundings at his/her own pace. Once relaxed, another person can step into the socialization role.
It's a renowned fact that cats are creatures of habit and abhor change, in their surroundings and to their daily schedules. That shelter cat that acted so friendly in his/her safe cage may act quite differently once he/she arrives in his/her new home, no matter how cat-friendly it is. Other environmental changes may be strange noises, moving furniture; and the introduction of new pets into the family.
With any of these transformations, it's best to give the cat a safe room for as long as needed. Kitty may stay under the bed for many days, only coming out long enough for a quick meal and to use the litter box. Slowly, but steadily, you can coax him/her out with special treats, but let the cat set his/her own comfort zone. Gain and earn your cat’s trust. It’s a very good thing to possess.