As a cat owner, you may find that your cat can be hot and cold with their emotions. One minute your cat is hanging out in your lap happily. Then, you’re trying to get their teeth out of your hand the next minute. Reinforcing positive behaviors with your cat is one of the greatest ways to reduce this behavior. Whether you are bringing home a new cat or you’re looking to bond further with your existing cat, here are some ways to strengthen your relationship with your cat.
Play With Your Cat Every Day
Playing with your cat is essential, especially if your cat is indoors most of the day. Every cat likes to play differently and enjoys different types of toys & cat trees. Finding the right activity that gets your cat stimulated most is the first step in strengthening your bond. Avoid getting a bunch of toys that don’t require actively engaging with your cat. Engagement is necessary to bonding and fostering a relationship. The Refined Feline makes many kinds of cat furniture that encourage you to spend time with your cat. Playing with an adult cat for at least 30 minutes a day allows the cat to get used to your scent and movements. This should decrease your cat’s nerves if they get startled when you move suddenly.
Don’t Ignore The Body Language Of Your Cat
Do you notice your cat’s ears perk up when you have music on? Cats’ ears are sensitive and respond to different vibrations. So, your cat may act differently based on the music you have on. Maybe your cat goes crazy when you play up-tempo music, or relaxes more when classical music is playing. Paying attention to what sounds trigger different behaviors should help you create a positive environment that your cat can feel comfortable in.
Strengthen Your Relationship With Your Cat By Being Patient
If you are dealing with a shy cat, getting down to their low level can strengthen your relationship & help ease their fear. Cats tend to like to make first contact themselves. If you sit still that is the best way to encourage them. When they get closer, move carefully (or not at all). Sit motionless until your cat leaves or shows signs that it wants your attention. Still, using slow movements is the best way to approach your cat after this first contact. Spend time each day at your cat’s level and show them that you’re safe for them to be around.
Use Positive Reinforcement, Not Negative Reinforcement
Cats tend to respond better when positively reinforced. Try to keep treats or their favorite toy around when you play with your cat. Teach your cat to associate positivity with that behavior by rewarding them with a treat or toy. Doing so will encourage them to repeat that behavior. If you’re having trouble with hissing or scratching, give a treat every time your cat allows you to pet them without doing that. Do not hand over the treats if your cat is doing anything other than the desired behavior. Doing this pattern enough times will teach your cat that in order to get the treat they can’t bite or scratch. This process can have varying results, but your cat will at least learn to associate a reward with you which will increase trust.
Communicate With Your Cat Like A Cat Would
Build trust with your cat by slow blinking. This is the process of slowly closing your eyes when looking directly at your cat. Keep them shut for a few seconds and then slowly open your eyes. Cats communicate trust with each other in this way so mimicking that behavior can show them that you trust them. Cats are the most vulnerable when they close their eyes. If you’re seen as threatening they’ll often have wide open eyes when you’re around. By slow blinking, you’re showing that you trust your cat to close your eyes with them around. This should encourage your cat to do the same. Receiving even one slow blink from your cat is a sign they’re trusting you and letting down their guard a bit.
These Tips Should Help You Strengthen Your Relationship With Your Cat
Getting closer to your cat can help with stress & anxiety for you & your cat. Every cat is different though, so they might respond better to a certain type of engagement over another. You’ll learn your cat’s responses and preferences though by doing these processes. It’s well worth it to take the time to form this bond for both your cat and yourself!