Most cats are like introverts. It takes them longer to warm up to people, but when they finally reciprocate your attention and affection, the joy you feel will be incomparable. Whether you’re a person who’s about to adopt a new cat, a cat lover who just wants to befriend someone else’s cat, or a cat pawrent who wants to improve your relationship with your feline pet, there are surefire ways you can make a cat love you. Try any of these tried and tested techniques:
1 Fulfill your cat’s basic needs.
Start off by showing a new cat you care by providing her with nutritious meals given during set times, a comfortable place to sleep in, and regular medical check-ups. Keep her out of harm’s way by removing plants, chemicals, or human food that may be toxic for her, and keeping your bathroom and pantry cabinet closed at all times. By fulfilling your cat’s basic needs, you’re one step closer to making her love you.
2 Let the cat come to you on her terms.
Never force your attention on a cat or she might run off to hide for hours. It’s best if you let her initiate a petting session by sitting on the floor, waiting for her to approach you, offering your index finger, then petting her in safe areas using light, gentle motions. Observe her body language for subtle changing signals, and allow her to withdraw freely before she reaches her tolerance level.
3 Play with your cat.
Interactive toys can keep your kitty physically and mentally stimulated. These can help your pet relieve stress and boredom, prevent behavioural problems from developing, build muscles, and improve circulation. Discover how your cat likes to play, and what kinds of toys will suit her best. There are many commercially sold toys to choose from, from wands and balls to puzzle feeders and wrestling toys. But if you love making things, you can go the handmade route and create customised toys for your cat! (Try any of these easy-to-make suggestions: Toilet paper roll toys, kitty playspace, pipe cleaner toy, sock fish toy, cardboard house, and feather cat toy.)
However, it’s not enough for you to buy her preferred toy type or build one using the materials she’s fascinated with. It’s important that you find time to play with her regularly. Dr. Carol Osborne, DVM of Chagrin Falls Veterinary Center & Pet Clinic recommends playing with your cat four times a day, with each session lasting for about 10 minutes.
4 Provide her with sources of entertainment, even when you’re not around.
You can also entertain your cat by providing her with scratching posts where she can regularly stretch and strengthen her body, and areas around the house that she can declare as her own. Include high perching spots, cosy sleeping nooks, or dark hiding spots depending on her personality and needs. If you have a balcony or backyard, why not build her an enclosed outdoor catio? Creating this elaborate cat house will prove to her that you care for her, even when she craves for some alone time.
5 Groom your cat regularly.
Though cats are naturally clean pets, they need your help to stay healthy. Grooming your cat at home is one of the easiest ways to check if all is well with her. But more than that, grooming helps you form a stronger bond with your cat. You can groom your cat by brushing her fur regularly.
6 Keep her litter box clean.
Aside from regularly grooming your cat, it’s also important to keep her areas spic and span, especially her litter box. To keep it clean and odour free, tidy the litter box at least once or twice a day, or right after your cat has used it. Replace the litter each week. Completely empty the litter box, and wash the frame with fragrance-free soap and water. Do not use any chemicals with harsh smells that may cause your cat to avoid using her litter box.
7 Surprise her with an occasional treat.
Whether you’re dealing with a friend’s kitty or your own shy feline, there’s a greater chance for a cat to warm up to you if you have her favourite treat in hand. This can be in the form of a stinky cheese cube, a sliver of cooked chicken breast, tuna flakes, or freeze-dried meat. However, it’s not advisable for you to give a cat treats all day long. Certified feline behaviour and training professional Dr. Marci Koski, PhD recommends using cat treats strategically “to either reward good social interactions with you, or to entice a shyer cat to move towards you and get to know you better.”
If you plan on feeding more treats to your cat, make sure you adjust the portion of her meals so she doesn’t put on unnecessary weight. Obese cats are said to have a harder time grooming themselves, and are more likely to develop health problems such as diabetes and joint pain.
8 Be observant of your cat.
Take note of the times of the day your cat is more open to human interaction, and, alternately, when she prefers to be left alone. Observe her body language to determine if she is feeling content (e.g. purrs, kneads, and slow eye blinks) or irritated (e.g. ears turn back, skin ripples, and tail swishes), and adjust your approach accordingly.
Feel free to combine the techniques and let us know which ones worked best for you in the comments section below. Before you know it, you’ll be able to read any cat with the slightest effort, and make her love you furever!
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