As a collection of cat people, we have some recommendations on how to bond with your cat. It make take time and patience, but it pays off!
Cats are just like people in that every one of them has a unique and different personality. Some cats are more reserved and shyer, others are crazy playful, and some just want to snuggle all day long. Our relationships with our cats will be determined in part by their own individual personalities, but we can also work to make our bonds with them stronger.
The key to making it work is meeting halfway. Use things they like as a starting place and recognize that a cat who has a strong sense of independence or a very high play drive might not ever be the type to snuggle in your lap for a full Harry Potter marathon.
The first rule of bonding with a cat is to give them time and space to adjust to new places. They need to feel safe before they’ll be able to build relationships and bond. For some cats, they only need a few days. Others might need months. It’s important to keep their world small until they are ready to start exploring. We recommend keeping a new cat confined to a small room for at least several days, or until they’re ready to start exploring on their own.
For some cats, petting appears to be uncomfortable. Maybe their ticklish or it’s painful, but you’ll need to watch their body language and how they seem to be reacting to touch to know whether it feels good or not.
Not every human likes their feet touched, for example, and not every cat wants their back or belly, or tail touched. Most cats find having their shoulders, neck, and heads or chins pet or gently scratched. If they like it, they will usually lean into it and often ask for more with nudges. If a cat doesn’t care for the way they are being touched, you may see their tail start to twitch, sometimes they’ll vocalize, they will often try to leave, they may swat at you, or you may see the skin on their back start to twitch or roll.
If a cat tries to leave, don’t stop it.
These safe resting places will be in high demand if you have more than one cat and can be a source of inter-cat aggression if they’re in short supply. Cats often prefer higher places with soft bedding and a lovely patch of sunlight. Most of them love windowsills or the backs of chairs or couches.
At the end of the day, all relationships come down to communication and understanding.
Your cat will learn to accept your quirks, just
as you’ll need to accept some of your cats’
quirks and meet in the middle. The cat will
learn to understand what to expect from you
and you’ll better learn to understand what
their body language and behavior means
Contrary to popular belief, cats are trainable
and can be trained to do tricks and respond to
commands. There are lots of websites dedicated to training cats, but the idea is all the same—you see a behavior or response that you like and instantly reward the cat with something they like.
Constant reinforcement of ‘this behavior is good, here is your reward’ encourages behaviors to be repeated. For many cats, using cat treats or cookies can work well for this.