How To Have A Better Relationship With Your Cat

We all want our cats to like us as cat owners, but they can be tricky beasts! Although some cats are more independent and less outwardly affectionate than others, any type of cat can form a solid attachment with its owner. Our domestic cats are different from other kinds of pets in that they have a particular set of needs and behavioural characteristics.

You’ll be well on your way to getting along better with your own cat if you have a better knowledge of these. If you want to improve your relationship with your cat, whether it’s to get them to be more affectionate or to stop a bad habit, there are a few key areas to concentrate on.

Bringing Home A New Cat Or Kitten

The first few days after bringing home your new friend are very important. They will probably be a little scared and timid until they settle in and learn that your house is their new home. At first, allow them access to just one or two rooms and make sure they can easily access their litter tray and food and water bowls.

Ensure your cat has plenty of hiding places as this will help them to feel safe and secure. Once they seem more settled, gradually allow them to explore the rest of the house.

Socialization

It is important to allow your new cat or kitten to explore your home at their own pace and come to you on their terms. Your cat needs to learn that they can trust you and this will probably take a bit of time and patience. Start by gently stroking your cat if they come to you and build up to picking them up gradually. Never force them to interact with you. Grabbing your cat for a cuddle before they’re ready will only frighten them and undo any trust that you have built so far.

Teach children to be calm and gentle around your cat and take time to introduce other family pets slowly. The most important thing to remember with all new introductions is to make sure your cat always has the opportunity to escape and hide if they want to.

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Provide Sufficient Nutrition

If you have a new cat or kitten, try and find out what food they have been fed prior to you adopting them and if possible, stick to feeding this during the initial few days. Make any changes to their diet slowly over about a week by gradually feeding more of the new food and less of the old food. This will help to prevent a tummy upset, or your cat refusing their new food.

Cats can sometimes be fussy so be prepared to offer a selection of foods until you learn which ones your cat likes best. That being said, try not to change their food too often as frequent diet changes could lead to an upset stomach. Some cats will prefer wet food, some will prefer dry, and some will enjoy a mixture of both! Speak to your veterinarian for more advice if you are unsure what to feed your cat.

Maintaining Your Cat Health

Register your cat with a veterinarian so that you always have someone to contact in an emergency or if your cat becomes unwell. You should also ensure that your cat is up to date with their routine vaccinations. Your veterinarian will also advise you on the best preventative flea and worm medication for your cat. This is especially important if they spend a lot of time outdoors.

Cat Behavior

Getting to know your cat’s body language can help you decipher their likes and dislikes.

Understanding cat behavior and your cat’s body language is the key to having a better cat human relationship. You may have heard the expression “dogs have owners but cats have staff.” This gives the impression that cats are more aloof and do not show affection, but we as kitty parents know that this just isn’t the case! Cats show affection, but in very different ways to the way dogs do.

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If you are new to owning a cat, you might not realize some of the ways in which your kitty is showing you they love you.

a. Slow Blinking

When your cat blinks slowly at you, it’s their way of telling you that they feel completely relaxed and safe in your company. You can try blinking slowly at your cat when he is relaxed and you might elicit a slow blink back in return! Never stare at your cat though, as this can have the opposite effect and is seen by your cat as a threatening gesture.

b. Head Butts

Many cats like to be stroked around their head and chin and will often gently “butt” you with their head to encourage you to pet them there. Try gently tickling under their chin, or scratching behind their ears, you’ll soon learn what your cat responds best to!

c. Tail Position

Your cat’s tail position can often tell you a lot about their mood. Cats will often hold their tail high when they are happy or pleased to see you. If your cat has their tail between their legs it can mean that they are anxious or frightened. If your cat’s tail is thrashing or whipping, this can often mean that they’re annoyed or agitated.

Know Your Cat

All cats are individuals and have different personalities, likes, and dislikes, just like us humans do. Learn where they like to be petted as this may differ from cat to cat. Most cats prefer to be touched around their head and face and don’t enjoy their tummy or tail being stroked.

Even if your cat rolls onto their back and shows you their belly, this is rarely an invitation to stroke it, and beware, you might get swiped or nipped if you try! Purring is often a sign of a contented cat, but bear in mind that cats can also purr when they’re stressed or anxious.

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Spend Some Time With Your Cat

Set aside time every day to spend time playing with your cat or cuddling.

Although they may seem independent, cats can get lonely in the same way that we and other pets can. This may not necessarily mean that they will want to spend every moment sitting on your lap, but just knowing you’re in the house and a familiar routine can help. Cats are creatures of habit and do like having a routine. It’s a cat’s life after all!

Play

Most cats love to play as chasing and catching involve using their natural hunting instincts. Playtime can also be a great way for you to bond with your kitty. Keep play sessions short to just 10 minutes or so to ensure that you don’t exhaust your cat.

Laser pointer toys do not make good toys for cats. Although it might be entertaining to watch your cat chase the light, this is actually incredibly frustrating for your cat as they will not be able to understand why they cannot “catch” the light.

Grooming

Cats spend a lot of time grooming themselves and will usually keep their coats in tip-top condition, but many cats will still enjoy being groomed by you as well. As well as being a great way to bond with your cat, grooming them also helps to get rid of any dead fur and skin and prevent hairballs or matting.

Treats

Feeding your cat the occasional treat can help encourage them to trust you and bond with you. Don’t overdo it though as it’s important that your cat remains a healthy weight! Make sure any treats that you do give are suitable for cats and try to avoid giving human food to your cat unless you know that it is safe, such as small pieces of cooked chicken, or white fish.

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