Don’t worry – this is going to be a relatively short article, which isn’t usually my style. But there really isn’t any need to have one of those ’10 Things you must do…’ or whatever to cover this.
Although there are, of course, many things you can do to improve the quality of your cat’s life, just one simple action stands out – and you’re about to learn it. Bonding with your cat is one of the most enjoyable parts of cat ownership.
My Experience With Cats
I’ve owned cats all my life. When I was a kid I used to dream about owning a white cat. They fascinated me back then and still do now.
Every cat I’ve ever owned has had its own personality – something that has made it different from all the rest and something that you will talk about long after they have left you.
For the last (almost) 15 years we’ve had the pleasure of owning a white Maine Coon (so my dream did eventually come true) until he was taken away suddenly a few weeks ago with terminal liver failure.
We will all miss Charlie big time, he’s been a big part of our family’s life for longer than our son has been around – but life must go on and we still have his naughty ginger brother, Harry, to look after.
Harry seems different since Charlie died. He’s not eating as much and his personality has changed.
No one knows what cats think when they’ve lost someone close and maybe we’re looking too much into it. We’re spoiling him rotten though and try not to leave him alone.
Some Things Come With Experience
Owning a cat is actually quite simple and if you are a caring person with common sense and are prepared to allow them into your life for the next 15 years or so, then you’ll do just fine.
However, there are some things that unless you’ve been around cats for a long time – you just won’t know.
These are things that you learn ‘on the job’ and aren’t in any instruction manual. Bonding with your cat makes cat ownership more special.
Nervous and Anxious Cats
The following trick works particularly well with felines that are, for whatever reason, anxious or nervous. This might be because they had a difficult early start to their life or perhaps were mishandled by children.
Too often I see parents allow children to treat cats almost as if they are toys and allow them to handle them in the same way.
Whatever the reason behind the nervousness and/or anxiety in your cat though, there is something you can do about it.
It will need patience but it will work. Usually, you will see pretty much immediate results but it can sometimes take longer to make a real change to the personality of your cat.
Some people swear by these calming collars. They get great reviews on Amazon – click the link to read them (opens in a new window).
What Do You Need To Do To Bond With Your Cat?
This is actually a combination of two things combined into one and is ridiculously simple to implement – and what’s more, it’s completely free!
Slow Blinking and Yawning
Yes, you read that correctly and bonding with your cat is really as simple as that. However, you need to do it in the right way and at the right time.
Follow these simple step-by-step instructions to make your nervous cat feel a lot more at ease!
What you’re ultimately going to achieve here is to make your cat feel more relaxed in your presence.
Rather than your cat worried about what’s going to happen after they see you, they will eventually associate you with a feeling of comfort and safety.
- When you enter a room where your cat is, they will probably stare at you, particularly if it is anxious. It is important that you don’t try and stare them out. As soon as your eyes meet, very slowly close them. Keep them closed for a couple of seconds and then slowly open them.
- You may notice (and certainly will if you continue with this) that they blink back at you.
- Repeat this ‘slow blink’ and occasionally after you’ve done it, slowly look away for a few seconds, before looking back at them and slow-blink again. Everything should be slow and comfortable, with no sudden movements.
- Once, during every interaction, after blinking, very slowly do an exaggerated yawn. This should be accompanied by blinking and you should not make any ‘yawn noises’ which might confuse or startle your cat!
The key with the above is to make sure everything is done as slowly as you can, even walking into the room. No sudden movements and remember to keep your distance.
Your cat can’t see much detail at short distances so make sure you perform the above from the other side of the room. Your cat must know that if they want to escape, they can.
After you’ve done this a couple of times, just slowly leave the room. This will allow your cat to associate your presence with only good things.
The thing to remember is to not stare at your cat and it’s also okay to say his/her name whilst you do this in a soft, quiet voice.
The Technique Works
I have never known this technique not to work. Sometimes the cat will just stare back at you but most of the time you will get some kind of positive reaction.
That reaction may come in the form a slow blink back from your cat or they may do something else.
With ours, this usually results in them rolling onto their back (check out my other article all about this behavior) with their paws in the air.
This is the classic sign that they feel comfortable in your presence. It does not, I repeat does not mean they want you to tickle their belly!
This is a bad idea and usually results in them grabbing your hand with all four paws and ‘killing’ it!
Just try it. I don’t just do this with my own cats but when I visit others. I’m always the one who bonds the best with other people’s cats and it’s not because I have some kind of superpower!
I believe it’s simply because of this technique. It puts the cat at ease quickly. All I ask is for you to try it out!