As anyone who has ever owned a cat will know, cats have no qualms when it comes to playing favourites, and will usually bond more strongly with one member of the household than others, and make no attempt to disguise their preference!
If you are the person who pays for everything your cat needs, feeds them and does the unpleasant tasks such as cleaning the litter tray and taking them to the vet and your cat still chooses someone else in the family as their favourite, this can of course be very galling! This is even more likely to be the case if your cat happens to find a cat-friendly neighbour who will let them in and offer food or fuss, and your cat ultimately spends as much time there as they do in your own home!
While you cannot force your cat to prefer you over another person nor to be grateful for the things that you do for them, the winning formula when it comes to making a cat appreciate you and actively seek out your company is rather complex, and something that it is easy to hit upon by mistake-and just as easy to miss due to trying too hard!
In this article, we will look at some of the things that make up the winning formula for getting a cat on side, forming a strong bond and ensuring that your cat wants to be with you as much as, if not more than anyone else! Read on to learn more.
If you really like cats, you are probably familiar with the scenario in which you spend ages making encouraging noises and eye contact to try to tempt a cat over to you, only to see them stalk right past you and give their attention to someone who was totally ignoring them!
This is because what to us is seen as an open, welcoming approach is read very differently to your cat-cats like to observe and make their own choices quietly, and if you are looking right at a cat, holding your hands out or talking to them to try to get them to come to you, they will likely feel rather put on the spot.
Making eye contact with a cat is bad manners in cat terms, and is rather too direct and unsubtle, while evading eye contact and otherwise apparently ignoring the cat will allow them to observe you, make their assessment of your feline manners, and reward you with an approach!
The initial greetings and interactions between cats also tend to be subtle and guarded, and the very first thing that cats do when they get comfortable enough to stand within each other’s personal space is to delicately touch noses and sniff each other.
This allows both cats to exchange information about who they are and what they are like, and the nose-touching allows cats to smell each other and make a decision about whether or not the other party is someone they want to communicate with. We as humans tend to try to bypass this stage entirely, going in to stroke the cat in question before making any introductions-but for cats, this is apt to be read as holding out one’s hand for a polite shake, only to be grabbed into a bear hug-off putting and a little overfamiliar!
Allow your cat to make the first approach, and hold your finger out for them to sniff. If they then stick around and rub their head against you, consider this a ringing endorsement and proceed!
All cats have their own preferred way of being stroked and petted, in terms of the areas of their bodies, the pressure used, and how much they will tolerate before becoming over-sensitive. Get to learn your cat’s parameters and don’t try to push your luck! For instance, if your cat rolls over as if they want you to stroke their tummy but you know that this usually leads to a scratch, avoid this area-however tempting it may seem!
Also, when your cat backs off, don’t pursue them-allow them to dictate when the petting session ends!
Mutual grooming is something that cats that know each other well and get on well enjoy taking part in, and you may have found your cat trying to lick you on occasion too, which is a strong indication of love. Taking the time to brush your cat a couple of times a week (or daily, if they like this and you have the time) will often go great lengths to strengthening your bond and ensuring that your cat is more likely to seek you out than anyone else!
Playing with your cat is another interactive activity that you can do to strengthen your bond, as well as helping to provide an outlet for your cat’s excess energy and prey drive. If you spend just a few minutes every day entertaining your cat by flicking a ball of trailing a ribbon for them, they will soon look to you for entertainment when they want some company!
If you are the person that feeds your cat, they will soon start breaking out the moves to make sure that you don’t forget to do so! Giving them treats too can help to tempt your cat into an approach, but don’t overdo it in an attempt to bribe them into favouring you!
Finally, if your cat likes your general demeanour and manner, they are apt to spend more time with you. Cats like people who are quiet and still, so folk who find it hard to sit still, get up and down regularly, use lots of vigorous arm movements in conversation or rush about will find things harder. Additionally, a quiet speaking voice, no loud music and a generally calm demeanour will go a long way too!