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As a cat owner, you may find that you do an emotional dance with your feline friends. One moment your cat is lounging peacefully on your lap receiving affection and purring. Then the next moment, you’re fishing their claw out of your hand. Reinforcing a positive bond between you and your cat is one of the best ways to minimize this behavior. Whether you’re getting a new cat that you’re looking to bond with or an existing cat, here are five ways to strengthen your relationship with your cat.

Ways To Strengthen Your Relationship with Your Cat

  • Have Playtime Every Day
  • Pay Attention To Your Cat’s Body Language
  • Be Patient With Your Cat
  • Use Positive Reinforcement With Your Cat
  • Communicate Like A Cat

Have Playtime Every Day

Playtime is extremely important, especially for cats who spend all of their time indoors. Each cat plays differently, likes different cat toys & cat furniture, and stays engaged for different amounts of time. Finding the toy or activity that stimulates your cat the most is a great first step in building your feline comradery. Avoid “set it and forget it” toys that don’t require you to actively engage with your cat, as engagement is crucial to fostering a relationship. Playing with an adult cat for 30 minutes (or as long as they maintain interest) allows the cat to become comfortable with your scent and the fluidity of your movements. This can help decrease nervous or startled behavior your cat may display when you move suddenly. Your cat will become more familiar with your patterns of movement 

 

Pay Attention To Your Cat’s Body Language

Have you ever noticed your cat’s ears perk up while you’re playing music? Cats have sensitive ears that respond to different vibration frequencies, which means your cat may change behavior based on the music they are hearing. If you notice your cat responding to a specific song or music genre, that sensory connection is definitely worth exploring. Perhaps your cat gets the “zoomies” whenever you play Iron Maiden, or maybe your cat seems most at peace while classical music plays in the background. Noticing what sounds trigger different behavior in your cat can help you cultivate a positive sensory environment that your cat is most comfortable in.

 

Be Patient To Strengthen Your Relationship With Your Cat

If you are struggling with a new or shy cat, physically getting down to their level can help strengthen your relationship with your cat & ease their fear. Most cats like to make the first contact themselves, on their terms. So, sitting still is the best way to encourage this. When your cat gets close enough to sniff your hand, move with caution (or try not to move at all). Sit still until the cat either walks away on its own or shows signs of wanting more attention from you. Even then, subtle and slow movements are the best way to approach a cat after the first contact. Try to spend a little bit of time each day sitting calmly at your cat’s level, showing them that you are a familiar and safe presence. 

 

Use Positive Reinforcement With Your Cat

Cats respond better to positive reinforcement than negative. Keep a bag of treats or a favorite toy handy while you interact with your cat. Rewarding your cat after they behave favorably will teach your cat to associate positivity with that behavior. This will increase the chance of that behavior repeating. Are you trying to strengthen your relationship with your cat but they often seem “mean”? Try giving a treat every time the cat lets you pet them without scratching or hissing. Withhold treats if your cat does anything other than the preferred behavior. Do this enough times and your cat will learn that in order to get positive results (the treat) they cannot scratch or bite you. Keep in mind however that this process can vary in its success, but at the very least your cat will learn to associate a reward (the treat or toy) as coming from you. This in itself can increase your cat’s fondness and trust.

Related: How To Help An Outdoor Cat Adjust to Life Indoors

Communicate Like A Cat

One of the most rewarding ways to engage with your cat and build trust is by practicing slow blinking. Slow blinking is the process of shutting your eyes slowly while looking at your cat. Keep your eyes closed for a moment and then open them slowly. This is often how cats communicate trust with each other. Mimicking that behavior can show them that you trust them and allow them to build up trust for you as well. Cats are at their most vulnerable when their eyes are closed. So, if you are perceived as a threat they will often keep their eyes wide open around you. By performing slow blinking, you are showing your cat that you trust them enough to close your eyes around them. This will encourage them to do the same. Even receiving just one slow blink in return from your cat is a sign that they are learning to trust you and let their guard down. 

 

Strengthen Your Relationship With Your Cat With These 5 Ways!

If you strengthen your relationship with your cat it can help with anxiety and stress for both you and your cat. Of course, every cat is unique, so they may respond better to one method of engagement over another. This process will help you learn your cat’s responses and preferences though. It is worth it to take the time, especially with a new cat, to create and fortify this bond and foster a comfortable environment for your cat and yourself!

 

 

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