Newsday Tuesday – How to Bond With a Cat

So you want to build a bond with a special cat. What’s the first step? Probably understanding a little about cats and your cat in particular. Yeah, you can do a DNA test to find out why she does some of the things she does, or you can take her lead. When she wants attention, take time to give it to her and give it in a way that resonates with her. Follow her instructions.

If she pushes her head against your hand and your knee, she probably loves a little scratching on top of the head and around her ears. Some cats adore full-body stroking. She’ll tell you if she doesn’t. Kitty tummies are often off limits. Our calico, Olivia, is amazingly affectionate, but if I run my hand over the soft, luscious tummy fur, I may get a bitey, scratchy warning.

Lower yourself to your cat’s level. Get down on the floor with her or on the sofa. If she’s new to the surroundings and just getting to know her way around your home, you may have to start bonding while she’s hiding under the bed or the dresser. Talk to her in soft tones. Wriggle a piece of ribbon or wand toy to entice her to interact with you. Use your voice to gain her trust. If you’re patient, she’ll eventually come out. Go slow—remember, she’s in charge.

If you’re keeping her in a room away from the other cats and/or to help her become accustomed to the home slowly without overwhelming her, visit often. Even if you don’t see her when you go in, sit with her and talk to her. I believe in mind talk with a cat. You might envision yourself holding her in your arms and visualize her relaxing as you stroke her fur. Bring treats. At first, she might not eat until you leave the room or the area, but with patience, you might soon be able to lure her out with the treatsto where you can touch her—show her that the human touch can be wonderful.

Bless you for giving your time and attention to this frightened cat or kitten and good luck to you both. Most of you reading this today have brought a cat or a kitten from feeling stark fear to becoming a purr-baby in your lap. So you know it can be done. And what a beautiful experience it is—so rewarding and so well worth it for you and for the cat or kitten.

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