Cats get a bad rap for being aloof and unaffectionate, but cat lovers know there are a few tips and tricks to get on a feline's good side and make a friend out of these notoriously nonchalant creatures. Getting a cat to like you can be even more rewarding than securing the easy love of dogs. Here's what you need to know about becoming besties with your new kitty.
Solid relationships are built out of small moments. Get the basics right by mastering your greetings. Cats greet other familiar cats with kunik. They rub noses to begin their interactions, and you can imitate the gesture by bending and slowly reaching your hand out towards your cat's nose without touching it. Your kitty might sniff at you before working up towards a rub or a lick. Keep up these gentle hellos, and you'll get some acknowledgment.
Listen, we all have our moods, and there are certain things we just don't like. Your cat's the same, and you must learn when to back off. Not all cats will want to be petted when they first arrive at your home. Your cat might make it obvious when it's displeased by hissing or biting, or you'll notice other hints of discomfort such as swatting, ear-flattening, or tail-twitching. Your cat will warm up to you when you're mindful of its boundaries and attentive to its needs.
Kittens need exposure to humans within the first two months of their lives. Even a few minutes of daily positive interaction can make a difference to cat behavior over the long term. Socialization develops inter-species trust and breaks down fears. Cats enjoy attention and playtime, and if you shower your kitty with both, it will see you as a member of its family and love you before long.
Cat personalities vary just as human ones do. You and your fur baby need to be on the same wavelength. If you're rescuing an animal, spend time figuring out whether you'll be a good match before committing to an adoption. You can foster the cat and see how you get along in your home environment.
Cats are curious and like socializing, and they also like the chase. If you give your cat space, it will come to you when it wants company. Cats simply need time to get used to new faces, and they're not keen on people who are too touchy-feely when they haven't been given the green light. When cats are comfortable, and no longer view you as a potential threat, you might spend hours with a heavy animal on your lap as you watch TV or work. Be sure to provide a clear exit route so your cat can depart the scene when it feels like it.
Cats prefer being stroked on specific areas of their bodies, like their foreheads, cheeks, and behind their ears, while avoiding the belly and tail. What do cats do when they're having a fantastic time? They purr, knead their paws, and slowly blink those inimitable cat eyes. You know you're on the right track when you get these reactions.
Cats are intelligent animals and won't be content to spend every waking moment staring out your windows. Once initial wariness is out the way, the fun gets going. Use stimulating toys to brighten your cat's day, release some of its predatory energy, and keep it mentally and physically healthy. Food puzzles are great, as are simple devices like lasers. Your cat will love chasing the red light and appreciate you for facilitating the game.
Dogs have evolved to make and sustain eye contact with humans. This is not true for cats, who see prolonged eye contact with anyone as a sign of hostility. So, don't hold your cat's gaze. Take your cue from your lil' buddy's slow blinks, and blink your way into its heart.
When they're not tending to themselves, cats often groom each other. Join the groom fest and your cat's clique by purchasing a cat brush and getting in there like Marcia Brady. Gentle strokes coupled with a soft and calm voice are welcome but don't overdo it. Either way, your cat will let you know when it's had enough.
If you're cat-sitting, try not to meet a new cat while the scent of other animals lingers on your clothing. Spray pheromones on your shoes to calm your new companion, and don't loom large over it. Sit on the floor and look around so the cat can check you out. Be patient and come armed with treats and bribes.
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