Cats are amazing creatures and owning one (or many!) can be extremely rewarding, not to mention highly entertaining. The enjoyment factor does rely heavily on how the two of you get along.
If you’re new to cat-ownership you’ll find these Easy Ways to Get Along Better With Your Cat invaluable. And even if you’re a veteran cat owner you could still learn a thing or two.
1. Never Punish Your Cat
All kittens and cats will do things that we don’t like. They are not being deliberately naughty – they are just doing what cats do! They like to occupy the high ground so will jump up onto kitchen counters. They need to flex their muscles and shed dead outer layers from their claws and will scratch at suitable surfaces to do this – like your carpets and furniture. When playing they can nip and claw you. They may even ‘miss’ their litter boxes on occasions.
If you punish your cat for doing things you dislike by shouting or striking it, you will cause it untold distress, possibly really hurt it and spoil any bonding between the two of you. It will not make the connection that its actions are what made you angry and so will continue that behavior. Use positive reinforcement instead. Buy a scratching post and encourage your cat to scratch it via play. Distract it away from your kitchen counters to another area and give it plenty of attention there. Ensure the litter box is cleaned regularly.
2. Play With Your Cat Every Day
Don’t believe people who say cats are aloof and like to be left to their own devices. This just isn’t true. Cats love to receive our attention, especially through play. Make sure you spend at least 15 minutes playing with your cat every day and see how the bond between the two of you grows.
Keep a supply of simple toys to hand and rotate them to keep it fresh. Never encourage your cat to pounce on your hand as part of a game as this will only result in you getting bitten and scratched and the same happening to any unsuspecting adult or child who attempts to play with it. This is then a difficult habit to break.
3. Give Your Cat Privacy in Its Litter Box
We nearly all place our cat’s litter box in a prominent place where everyone can see it. A cat should not be disturbed or even watched when using its toilet. You may have noticed how your cat is always on high alert when doing its business. This is because at that moment it is in a vulnerable position and is on the lookout for any predator that may take advantage.
If you happen to disturb your cat often enough it is more likely to abandon using its litter box and go in places you won’t appreciate. So be kind to your cat and put its litter box in a quiet and private location where it can use it in peace. It will love you much more if you do.
4. Let Your Cat Sleep in Peace
Not many of us relish being woken up from our sleep. We can get quite miserable about it. Cats are the same. Remember, cats like to up to 20 hours of sleep per day and not allowing yours to get enough can affect its mental and physical wellbeing. If you want to cuddle your cat or play with it, wait until it’s awake! If you constantly wake your cat from its snoozes it may start to resent you.
5. Never Stare at Any Cat
Cats consider staring to be intimidating and confrontational. You may love gazing into its big, beautiful eyes but it will think you are being aggressive and will lose its trust in you. This will do nothing for your friendship. This doesn’t mean you can’t look into your cat’s eyes, you just have to slow blink constantly as you do so.
6. Never Corner Your Cat
Cats hate being cornered. They always like the ability to make a quick exit. If you trap one and leave it with no means of escape, it is very likely to react aggressively out of fear and you will very quickly ruin your beautiful friendship. The more you try to catch a cat, the worse things get. It can be difficult, especially if you need to take it to the vet and it’s already spotted the dreaded carrier.
Exercise patience and make it as stress-free as possible. I find it’s easier to get a cat into your arms in another room and then casually walk to the room where the carrier is ready to load. If you are trying to catch your cat just to have a cuddle, just don’t.
7. Never Grab a Cat’s Tail
Don’t ever be tempted to grab your cat by the tail for whatever reason. You may think it’s a way to stop it from running from you or escaping from the house but you can cause untold damage, such as breaking the bones. If a cat’s tail is broken, this can easily result in partial or full amputation as it can’t be mended. This is something to make all children very aware of. Even if no injury is caused, a cat will not be friendly towards anyone who pulls its tail. So just don’t do it.
8. Never Pick a Cat Up by the Scruff of its Neck or Under its Forelegs
Picking a cat up by its scruff is a maneuver strictly for mother cats to transport their kittens. If you attempt to do this to an older cat you will scare it and may even hurt it. A kitten is lightweight and the mother knows exactly where to grab. An adult cat’s neck scruff should not be used to support its weight. Lifting one like this will make it feel threatened and t mat thrash about and injure itself and you.
Lifting a cat by holding it under its forelegs and letting its body swing free is not advisable either as its body weight can strain its abdominal and chest muscles. Always support a cat’s back legs on your arm as you lift it.
If you lift your cat correctly it will be a lot happier with you.
9. Build a Routine for Your Cat
Cats like nothing better thana routine. Your cat will get used to feeding times, times you get up, go out and come home, and time for play too. It will set its internal body clock for these things. If you are constantly changing these events, your cat will not know what to expect. The more consistent you are, the happier your cat will be with you.
Your cat will have its own schedule too, and you should respect that. If it’s on a mission and you interrupt by grabbing it for a cuddle it probably won’t be that receptive. So gradually build a friendship with your cat and over time it will come to you for attention when it wants some and may even sit on your lap. Remember, it is difficult to get a cat to something it doesn’t want to.
10. Learn Your Cats Language!
You can learn a lot about what your cat wants, likes, and dislikes from its body language and the different sounds it makes.
Did you know cats only meow to communicate with people? The longer you live with your cat, the more you will get to know what its different types of meow mean. It will greet you with one type, let you know it’s hungry with another, call you to see what its caught with another sound, and so on. If you respond accordingly, your cat will feel more bonded with you.
When it comes to cat body language, there are a whole host of meanings that can be interpreted. You’ll get used to tail messages, what eyes and ears convey, and the meanings of different body stances. To help you out, we go into much more detail here.
So, there you have it an easy guide to getting along better with your cat. As you can see, it’s not that difficult for you and your cat to be the best of friends.
If you sometimes feel your cat hates you, you might like to read this article which describes 15 things owners do wrong in the eyes of cats.