How to bond with your cat
Desperate to love your new feline friend but concerned they may not feel the same? Forging a bond with a cat doesn’t always happen overnight and you may need to put in the bulk of the legwork. But the rewards are worth it…
Our simple 7-step guide to creating a strong bond with your cat should help iron out any kinks in your relationship.
1. Eye contact
Not many people know it, but cats use their eyes to communicate with us, and we should do the same.
Cats tend to interpret direct staring as a threat and you’ll often find they tend to favour humans who ignore them. Try breaking a gaze with them, until you reach the point when they feel comfortable enough to do the same next time.
Also try exchanging ‘smiles’ with your cat by slowly closing your eyes and opening them again, until they reciprocate.
2. Read their body language
The difference between a cat in a good mood and one feeling anxious, is usually fairly obvious – the important thing is taking these moods on board.
Happy cats tend to move with back slightly arched, head forward, tail upright and eyes wide open. Catch them like this for a positive play time.
Puffed-up fur, flattened ears, dilated pupils and swishing tail however, are all signs of a more aggressive mood – give them some space.
3. Don’t make the first move
If you haven’t learned by now, cats generally don’t like it when you approach them uninvited. Let them invite you in before bustling into their valuable personal space.
An invite may come in the form of them brushing up against you, or by approaching and sniffing your outstretched hand.
Don’t jeopardise the trust between you by diving in unannounced.
4. Study their character
Not all cats depend on their owners to the extent we’d perhaps like them to. It’s important you get a feel for the level of socialisation demanded by your cat before pushing them to interact.
You’re unlikely to change their mind, so don’t push it. Respond to their reactions – if they swish their tail when petted in a certain area, change things up.
5. Pitch in with grooming
Brushing is something most cats enjoy. It ties in with their natural sensibility for cleanliness and promotes feelings of comfort and safety.
Make sure you’re using the right type of brush for your cat’s hair (metal combs are fine for most short haired cats), paying attention to any knots or tangles in longer-haired breeds. This is also a great chance to check for fleas, ticks, bumps or bruises.
6. Play games with them
No matter how aloof they may play it, all cats should ideally be encouraged into a minimum of 10-15 minutes exercise a day, best achieved through the art of play.
Get to know the type of game your cat enjoys the most – then help them engage with their predatory dispositions. It’ll be just as fun for you.
See games to play with your cat for some ideas.
7. Keep them comfy
Like most of us, cats are far more likely to co-operate and forge bonds when feeling relaxed, safe and comfortable, so make sure you’ve made every effort to welcome them into your home.
Where possible, give them their own room complete with litter tray, bed, toys and food, so it’s up to them when they come out and work on your dynamic.
Above all, be considerate, and you should see the favour repaid.
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