Bonding With Your Cat
Bonding with your cat is not a straightforward task. It can be hard to tell what your cat is thinking or feeling. You might even find yourself envying dog owners sometimes. After all, their pups seem to love them immediately! There is something special about having to work for your relationship with your cat. Here are a few tips to make sure you’re headed in the right direction as you start to strengthen your bond with your feline friend!
Give Them Space
We know your first instinct is to pick them up and cuddle them. Cats are just so cute! However, to a cat, such boldness is more likely to be seen as invasive than endearing. Your cat will probably prefer a lot of alone time, especially if they have just come to your home. Make sure that you give them that space. Give them places to hide; they usually appreciate higher platforms. If you don’t provide them, your cat will find some, and you might not like where they decide to perch.
Join the Comfort Zone Slowly
For as independent as cats are, they like to have something resembling a routine about their daily lives. Rather than taking them out of their comfort zone, add yourself to it. Instead of wandering off to do something else after giving them their food, sit down next to them. If they let you pet them while they are eating, do so. If not, sit as close as they will tolerate and talk to them. They might start to warm up to you as they get used to hearing your voice.
Let Them Initiate
Try to encourage them to initiate interaction with you! You can always get down on their level, so you feel less like a potential threat to your kitty and offer your hand or treats; treats are an often accepted bribe. Talk to your cat as often as you can. You may feel like your cat cannot understand what you are saying, but kitties can pick up on your tone and facial expressions. Be sure to use their name as often as possible, especially if they are getting used to a new name.
Respect Their Limits
Never force your cat to play with you! You want your cat to be engaged and having fun! Be aware of the signs that they are through with attention: flattened ears, thrashing, or twitching tail, and dilated pupils all indicate that they are not having as much fun as you are. They may even be purring while exhibiting those, but keep in mind- cats also purr to soothe themselves.
Show Them the Fun
You don’t have to be a passive party! There are a few ways you can try to encourage them to initiate bonding. Try to fit in a play session at least once daily. Experiment with a variety of toys until you find the one that your cat engages with the most. If they aren’t in the mood, wait until they are.
If your cat enjoys brushing, try adding a daily grooming session to their routine. Brush softly and slowly. Cats bond with one another through grooming, so this should be a very effective way to bond as long as they are comfortable with it. It may take some time before they will let you brush them since some cats like grooming more than others.
Oh, and don’t forget the treats. Be careful not to over-treat them, but you should always reward good behavior with treats, as well as end your grooming or play sessions with a few treats. It will solidify in their minds that it was a good encounter!
One Last Reminder
Be patient throughout this process! If you rush in too soon, you could end up undoing any progress you have made already! Just let your cat set the pace, and you’ll be there before you know it!
How do you know when you’ve bonded? There are a couple of signs that you will notice. Two major ones are kneading and bunting- that’s when they rub or bop you with their forehead. They may also start sitting or sleeping near you. You may even be lucky enough for them to sleep ON you! That’s always a great sign.