7 Secrets to Bonding with Your New Cat
For a true cat lover, there’s nothing more exciting than bringing home a beloved new feline friend, or, more disappointing, than having said feline reject you. If you’ve ever adopted an aloof kitty who beelines for the nearest closet the moment you release her from the crate, you’ll want to read these secrets to bonding with your new cat!
1. Give her some space…but not too much
Locking your cat in the bathroom with you until she gets used to you sounds good in theory, but in reality, you’ll make kitty feel cornered. Instead, opt for enclosing her in a small bedroom. Stay in the room but out of her way. Just sit quietly on the floor and let her come to you when she’s ready.
2. Get to know her body language
Cats are masters at communicating through body language. Flattened ears and a fast-moving twitchy tail are signs that kitty is feeling overwhelmed or stressed out, according to Vetstreet. On the other hand, a relaxed tail shows contentment, while a slightly twitchy one says, “I’m mildly interested in you.” If your cat’s tail or ears are saying, “Back off!” then pay attention. Forcing interaction with kitty will only prolong the bonding process.
3. Give them just the right amount of affection
Kittens who are held at an early age tend to be more social than those who have little to no human contact. That said, too much handling can be overwhelming for a cat who is just getting to know you. It’s also important to offer the right kind of affection. For example, some cats like hugs and find them reassuring, while others find them restrictive and intrusive. Again, knowing your cat’s body language will help you figure out how much is too much affection.
4. Get down on the ground
Imagine for a moment how you would feel if a 50-foot giant came along and loomed over you. Even if his intentions were good, you’d still be a bit freaked out! To your cat, you’re the 50-foot giant! Standing over her before she gets to know you will make her feel threatened, even if you just want to be her best friend. Instead, get down on the ground at her level and let her come to you. She’ll feel a lot more comfortable in your presence that way.
5. Be irresistible
Here’s one of the best secrets to bonding with your cat: be irresistible to her! Find out what she loves- be it a particular treat, playing with a laser pointer, or even just chasing a ball. Bring these things out often in your early days together. She’ll quickly come to view you as a source of joy (or tasty morsels) instead of the aforementioned scary giant.
6. Offer plenty of opportunities to hide
As cat behaviorist Pam Johnson-Bennet explains, cats need hiding places not just to help them feel more secure, but for a myriad of other reasons as well. A box offers a safe refuge from noise and activity while a somewhat concealed spot behind the sofa gives kitty a chance to indulge her curiosity about her environment while still feeling secure.
Since cats can’t resist boxes, you may want to set out a few around the house. Close them up, then cut a hole in the front large enough for your kitty to enter (but small enough that she still feels like she’s tucked away from prying eyes).
7. Never, ever, ever punish your cat
This last one isn’t so much a way to bond with your cat as a way to ensure that you don’t completely undo all of your bonding progress! Never use physical or loud verbal correction to train your kitty. In other words, do not hit or scream at your cat for any reason, ever. Maintaining a calm and kind attitude even when kitty knocks over your favorite vase will go a lot further towards helping you create a solid bond. Screaming at or hitting your cat isn’t just abusive; it will destroy all the trust that you’ve established with her.
Above all else, be patient. Some cats bond with their new people practically before the ink dries on the adoption papers. Others take more time before they feel comfortable in their new homes. It’s also important to remember that some cat breeds are just more easy-going than others. For example, the Sphynx cat tends to warm up to strangers quickly while the Bambino cat takes a while to bond with his people.
As long as you follow the tips above and treat kitty with respect, the bonding will happen.
“7 Secrets to Bonding with Your New Cat”
About the Author: Nicole is a writer and editor at CatVills.com, a site dedicated to helping both new and seasoned cat parents lead the very best lives possible with their kitty companions. She’s currently a pet parent to three cats and a dog.
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