There is a stigma around cats that are kept as pets. This stigma (centered around the belief that cats are uncaring and cold) is often propagated by both people who have never kept cats and people who have. Now we’re not dismissing this belief as completely false. In fact, it is based on truth to some degree. We’ve already discussed the why’s and how’s of this belief in great detail here. But how exactly do you overcome this?
Quick Recap of Why Some Cats Are So Distant
In case you don’t want to read the post linked above, here’s the short version of it. Cats might appear to be distant and uncaring to the untrained eye, but that is far from the truth. It is just the biologically evolved nature of cats to be reclusive. Cats, unlike so many other species of animals, prefer to embrace the ideology of the lone wolf. Which is itself a bit ironic, as wolves almost always prefer to hunt in a pack.
Cats meanwhile, usually do love their owners. They just have very subtle ways of showing that love. Now this doesn’t ring true for all cats. Much like us, different cats have different personalities. There are some that always like to cuddle and sleep besides their owners. And then there are cats that hide away under a couch whenever they want to take a quick nap. Now we’ll discuss what steps you can take to try to get your cat to become more social and forth coming. Fair warning however; these methods aren’t foolproof. Some cats will forever remain introverted, and it is best you come to terms with that and love them all the same.
Socialize with Them Since Kitten hood
For those of you, whose cat is all grown up, feel free to skip reading this step. This is just more of an ideal case scenario for those of you who might have a kitten or no cat at all yet. The easiest way to ensure your cat grows up to be social and playful, is to condition them to be so from a young age. Touch and pet them as much as you can so they grow comfortable with the idea of being touched by people. Focus especially on grabbing their paws, as you might need to in the future to clip their claws.
Being extra touchy with a kitten would make it want to be petted, stroked, and otherwise cuddled with. Thus, when it’s all grown up into an adult cat, it would still come to you to snuggle. Even if your cat doesn’t cuddle with you, it would at least be comfortable with you petting it, instead of getting up and moving away.
Make Your Cat Feel Good
What we mean by that ambiguous title is that you should stroke, rub, scratch, and pet your cat in ways that it can actually enjoy. Pick up your cat and it instantly tries to get away? Set it down on your lap and begin scratching behind its ears, or rubbing back and forth on its forehead. You’ll notice how quickly your cat will relax into your lap and allow you to continue.
If your cat is trusting enough to expose its belly to you, try giving it gentle belly rubs. Your cat will either hate it or love it, and will definitely want more in the case of the latter. Scratching under the chin, just above the tail, and around the neck can also net you some points with your cat. Some cats also love being brushed with long, slow strokes, so give that a try too. Treat your cat right and enough times and it’ll soon be leaping on to your legs itself, begging for more pets.
The Fastest Way to a Cat’s Heart…
We’re sure you’re familiar with the saying, “The fastest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. Well, it might also apply to your cat. Daily cat food is a given, but treat your cat with delicious and irresistible treats often enough and you might win big. Each cat has its own likes and dislikes of course. But usually, things like boiled egg yolk, boiled or roasted chicken, yoghurt, catnip, tuna fish, and mayonnaise are very well received by cats.
If you throw in these treats from time to time, especially focusing on feeding them by hand if possible, your cat might slowly warm up to you even more. Feeding a cat straight from your hands is a good way to build trust, and stroking or petting your cat while it eats from your hand is a very good way to get your cat to like you.
Play with Your Cat
Now before you charge in all excited and startle your cat, let us remind you that keeping an eye on your cat’s mood is extremely important. If your cat is just relaxing in one spot, and if it swishes its tail when you try to engage in play, back off. As we mentioned above, cats are reclusive creatures. They only some times come out of their shell, especially if they’re not a kitten anymore. Watch for when your cat’s tail is raised, and when it playfully runs from you and hides behind furniture. That is the correct time to play with your cat.
Other than simple games of tag and hide and seek, you can also buy toys for your cat to play with. Be prepared to spend some money experimenting in case you don’t know what kind of toys your cat will enjoy playing with. However, try to buy toys that both you and your cat can play with together. This is an excellent way to bond with your cat and get it to come to you whenever it wants to play.
Respect Your Cat’s Boundaries
To close off, let us reiterate what we’ve stressed on above as well. You won’t get anywhere with your cat if you’re too persistent. Cats don’t like to be bothered repeatedly, and if you keep trying to get your cat to do stuff it doesn’t want to do, it will only get more distant. You have to understand and accept that every cat is different. You might want to hold your cat for hours, but your cat might not want that. Your cat might only like sitting around you, or only being petted but not picked up. You should accept and respect your cat’s boundaries and condition yourself to your cat’s likes and dislikes. This mutual understanding will greatly strengthen the bond between you and your feline friend.
And once again we come to the same conclusion that we have drawn countless times before; understand your cat so it may understand you. Being too pushy and trying to force your cat to like you will only push it further away. You cannot expect your cat to like you if you continue to annoy it. The sooner you figure out what your cat likes, the quicker you can bond with it. After all, don’t human relationships function like this too?