It seems to me that bonding with a cat is kind of a science and it appears that the bonding process is different from cat to cat. You read a lot here about Lily. She and I bonded strongly together when she was a wee kitten. She was hurt really badly when a cat tree fell on her and I spent many hours over several days next to her—even throughout the night—during her healing process. She came to trust and (I believe) love me. For most of her kittenhood, she was my constant companion. She was where I was. If I was sitting at the computer, she was either sleeping on my feet or in my lap. I was almost always within eye-shot of Lily. We had definitely bonded.
As she grew older, she’s still my girl, but now a serious bonding agent between us seems to be food. She’s an absolute glutton. She gets three meals a day and she becomes Velcro against my ankles just about any time I’m in the kitchen fixing her food, my food, a snack, cooking dinner—whatever. Most of the time when I’m moving fast in the kitchen or dealing with heavy pots and hot things coming out of the oven, I can convince her to lay down out of the way where she can still watch me. I joke that I need a kitty pack to carry her around in while I’m puttering in the kitchen.
Typically an hour before the cats’ mealtime, Lily starts begging. She hangs out wherever I am and stares and paws at me. If I get up to go somewhere else, she follows me—keeping a very close eye on my every move.
I said that Lily gets three meals a day. Well, she also gets a dried chicken treat twice a day (which was okayed by her kidney doctor), and she has somehow (ah-hem) decided that she needs to help me with my meals. No matter what I’m eating, she will take a bite if given the chance. What I’m getting at here is that Lily and I have now bonded over food. (Or is she just using me?)
What are some of the other things we can share in common with our cats—bonding elements? Play time is one. When we establish a little tradition or ritual with a cat, they begin to respond to you whenever you bring out the feather wand, squishy ball, or whatever. Lily and I have games we play with wads of paper and with the tip of a plastic straw. (I use a straw in my coffee, so cut the end off so it’ll fit in a cup.) Lily hears me get a straw out of the holder and races into my office for fun and games. I snip it with the scissors and, when the tip flies over her head, she scrambles to catch it or she begins batting it around the room. Cuteness.
Dennis has bonded with Sophie over grass and combing. She loves to be groomed, but pretty much only when he does it. And she adores chewing on grass—so much so that we’ve had to cut her back on her habit. Anytime he steps outside in the late afternoon, she begins caterwauling and dancing around the room in anticipation of a piece of grass from the yard. Actually we no longer have a lawn, so her grass is actually a stray weed tendril Dennis might find growing under a shrub. Doesn’t matter to Sophie. She loves her grass.
Lily gets itchy sometimes right before dinner—it’s like a nerve thing. She comes to me and lays flat in front of me so I can use her rubber brush to sooth her discomfort.
These are some of the things that seem to bond us with our cats. How about you? What special moments or experiences do you share with your cats?