Whether you’re about to adopt a skittish kitty or just want to strengthen the relationship with your current cat, working on the human-feline bond is always a good idea. Bonding with your cat is a rewarding experience.
If you’re unsure how to go about building that bond, we’ve put together a list of our top five tips. You may have to adjust them according to your relationship with your cat, but you’re sure to find inspiration no matter what stage you are at.
Read body language
Just like people, cats have good and bad days. Knowing when to give your cat space is a crucial element in building the relationship. Just because you’re in the mood to play a game or cuddle doesn’t mean your cat will automatically adapt.
Allowing your cat the freedom to come to you instead of trying to force the experience will make a huge difference. If your cat has dilated pupils, flattened ears, or a swishing tail, now is not a good time to press for contact.
Check your emotional state before engaging
Cats are skilled at sensing our state of mind. You may be able to hide your bad mood from the barista at the coffee shop or even one of your friends, but your cat knows the truth. If you’re having a bad day, don’t make that the time you try to work on an aspect of your relationship with your cat.
This is also true for when you want to teach your cat something new. If you’re feeling stressed out, save it for another day. If you force it, you’ll end up backtracking instead of making progress.
Play with them
Playing is a standard method for bonding, regardless of the species involved. When you have fun with someone, you naturally begin to trust them and welcome time spent together.
There are all kinds of toys and games to try. It could be as simple as a feather on a string or a cardboard box. Laser pointers are also a popular choice. Even self-propelling toys can strengthen your relationship because your cat will associate you, the person who brought the toy, with the entertainment that follows.
Provide a stable routine
Giving your cat a predictable routine is a great way to instill self-confidence. When a cat knows what to expect, they become more self-assured. If the daily routine is constantly changing, that’s likely to cause a high level of anxiety. A stressed cat will not have the emotional bandwidth to worry about bonding.
A confident cat, meanwhile, will be more likely to embrace a relationship with you. Provide as much stability in your cat’s life as you can. At a minimum, you can regulate bedtime and mealtimes.
Use food to bond with your cat
The way to the heart is through the stomach? While that’s not always true, treats are an easy way to gain favor in a pet’s eyes. There’s no shame in using a little bribery in your quest for friendship. Naturally, this trick works best with cats who are highly food-motivated.
Remember, time is your friend. The more compassionate patience you provide your cat, the faster they will grow to trust and appreciate you.