6 Tips for Getting a Cat to Like You

You may think cats are enigmatic animals, like so many other people. However, if you know what to do, it's really not that difficult to become friends with a cat. Here are some advice on how to successfully bond with a cat, gleaned from research and my own knowledge as a researcher and cat behavior expert.

1. Give the cat the last say.

We all want to pet cats when we encounter them, but two Swiss studies suggest that the best course of action is to let the cat initiate the interaction.

A cat is more likely to approach and less likely to retreat when people reply when people wait and pay attention to something else, like a good book, according to research conducted in 51 cat-owning homes in Switzerland. (This preference explains why so many cats are drawn to allergy sufferers—allergy sufferers typically try to avoid petting them.) An earlier study from 1991 discovered that when the cat both starts the activity and determines when to finish it, interactions are more favorable and stay longer.

2. Speak to a cat in the manner in which they do (sort of).

Cats that get along well with one another lick noses to nose. By extending a non-threatening fingertip at their nose level, a few inches away, you can imitate that behavior. Simply stoop down and softly extend your hand without hovering. Numerous cats will approach you, sniff your finger, and possibly even rub against it. That is a warm welcome right there.

3. Don't feed your cat too much.

Many people believe that giving their cat food will make them lose their love, but a 2016 Cornell University study of obese cats revealed that, at least temporarily, the reverse is true. Seventy-five percent of cat owners said their dieting felines were more friendly, purred more frequently, and were more likely to sit in their lap after 58 overweight cats were put on a diet for about a month. The cats also begged and meowed more as a result of this cute behavior, but by week eight, both the good and negative behavior had subsided for around half of the animals. 

Keeping your pet on a diet may or may not make them cuddlier, but it's a terrific way to keep them healthy and prevent issues like diabetes, joint discomfort, and uncleanliness. (Overweight animals find it difficult to groom themselves; if they can't keep their butt clean, do you really want them sitting on your lap?)

4. Retain your cat inside.

A 2013 Italian study found that cats who spent more time indoors and were given daily access to a small garden for one hour were more "in sync" with their owners than cats who had unrestricted access to the outside. When their owners were more likely to be active, like during the day, the indoor cats were more energetic. They were less active at night, when people prefer to sleep. (While many people mistakenly think cats are nocturnal, in reality they are crepuscular, active at dawn and dusk.)

5. When adopting, keep in mind both your own and the cat's personality.

If you wish to adopt an older animal, spend some time getting to know them at the shelter first. According to adult cat adopters, a cat's personality was a major factor in their decision to bring the cat home permanently and also affected how satisfied they were with their new friend. Even better, raise one first. You'll get a better idea of an animal's true personality while they are in your home because shelters can be stressful. Because not all cats are properly socialized as kittens, each cat may have their own set of guidelines for the kinds of interactions they are comfortable with.

6. Pay close attention to how they behave.

The body language of your cat can convey a lot. iStock/Getty Images/Rawpixel

In general, apply common sense. Keep an open mind and pay close attention to how they react to your actions. Feline body language can be subtle—something as minor as an eye-blink can indicate contentment, while ear twitches might signal irritation—but as you become more familiar with their clues, you'll find yourself far better able to predict how they're feeling. You'll find that you've gained a cat's trust if you change your conduct properly.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post

Recent in Technology