Cats aren’t very well-known for being loving and affectionate. Most people would probably describe cats as aloof, disagreeable, and introverted. The problem is that most people don’t understand how cats think and view the world around them.
Many people will look at cats and compare their behavior to dogs, who are thought of as extroverted and friendly. Cats are introverts, though. It takes a lot of time and patience before most cats show affection to the people they know.
So, how do you get cats to like you? As good pet parents, we want to make sure our pets can be comfortable in their homes, and one of the greatest joys of being a pet parent is when our new kitty or puppy decides to snuggle with us.
At Spot Pet Insurance, we understand how important having a good bond with your fur baby is, and we want to help you learn how to help your new cat trust and love you.
Although we can’t give you an exact timeline, since every cat is different, we can help you figure out what to do to help your cat adjust, teach you how to make yourself a non-threat, and read your cat’s body language. With these tools, you should be able to get your cat to like, if not absolutely adore, you.
What should I do when I bring my kitty home for the first time?
When you bring home a cat, you need to be aware of how they perceive the world. Cats like routine. They find it comforting to know where everything is and what’s happening. However, when you bring a cat home, they feel like their world has turned upside down.
They’re in a new place with new people. They don’t know where they can safely observe what’s going on, and they don’t know why everything’s changing. Taking things slowly and preparing for your new furry friend is a good idea.
You don’t want to overwhelm your cat. That’s why avoiding introducing them to too many new things at once is a good idea. Take things one step at a time, and your new kitty will be on their way to feeling comfortable and safe, and a safe cat is a happy, friendly cat.
How to prepare a safe environment for a cat
For your cat to feel comfortable in their new home, they must feel safe. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a space already prepared for your cat. A cat tree or even a cardboard box with two doors in it can provide your kitty with their own area to keep watch on everything that’s going on around them.
Your cat’s space should be something like a hidey-hole. It should be a place that isn’t easily accessible to anyone else in the family and is kind of out of the way. This hidey-hole should also have at least entrances/exits, so your cat has an escape route.
Another important thing to remember is that cats like having a clean environment. They’re super clean themselves, ensuring their hair is clean and in its proper place, and they like it when their surroundings are too.
By making sure that their home smells good and looks clean (even though they do get their fur everywhere), you can help your cat feel a little more comfortable. It’s especially important to ensure that their litter box is cleaned daily, whether you do it yourself or buy a self-cleaning litter box.
Slow and steady
Entering a new home is already a huge change for a cat. New people and new places can be pretty overwhelming, after all. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep as much of your cat’s routine the same as possible when they first move in.
For example, keep giving your kitty the same type of food they were eating before around the same time of day that they would normally eat. You don’t want to add to the stress of the move by changing the food they are familiar with.
If you are planning to change other things in your cat’s routine, like the brand or type of food they eat, take your time. Don’t make all the changes at once. Instead, wait until your kitty gets used to one new thing and then move on to the next.
What are some ways to help my cat think positively about me?
After ensuring that your cat is comfortable in their new environment, the next move is to help your cat associate positive things with you. Although you should also work on other ways to bond with your cat, having good things happen to your cat when you are around can help your cat love you more.
This doesn’t mean you need to be in their face constantly. It’s just a good idea to be in the same room when something good happens or positively interact with them from a safe distance. Cats aren’t fans of people invading their personal space, especially people they aren’t sure about yet.
Food and treats
One of the best ways to give your cat a positive memory of you is to give them treats. If you normally have a cat treat on hand, your kitty will be more likely to come up to you and maybe cuddle or start up a conversation.
Although we wouldn’t recommend bribery as a general tool for daily life, it is acceptable to bribe cats to like you, at least until they get to know you better. That said, you don’t want to give your cat too many treats since they can cause health problems in large amounts.
Another good way to help your cat associate you with good things is to be around when it’s time for your cat to eat. This doesn’t mean you should hang around the food bowl since we want your cat to feel safe.
Instead, being in the same room as your cat’s food is a good idea. That way, your presence is felt in a non-threatening way, and your cat can enjoy a delicious meal.
Playtime is also a good way for your cat to associate you with good things. By playing with them, they can have fun in a safe, comfortable way.
Cats aren’t like dogs, though. Dogs tend to like more personal play, like wrestling or tug of war. Cats are more independent, and while they might be willing to try to nip your fingers if they’re comfortable with you, they prefer toys that allow them to practice hunting.
A great option to get started might be a laser pointer. They can chase the red dot, and although they may not know that you’re the one controlling it, they will recognize that they can safely play when you’re around.
How can I get my cat to come up to me?
If you’re a cat person, you’re probably excited to cuddle with your new kitty. Unfortunately, your cat might not be as excited as you are. Like everything else, you need to be patient and take your time. Your adorable cat will appreciate it.
The best way to get your cat to trust you enough to want cuddles is to let them come to you. You can hold out your finger for them to sniff at or just sit on the floor nearby, but it’s best to resist the urge to pick them up or shove your finger in their face.
Cats are going to want to smell you first. It’s their way of learning more about people, which kind of works like a form of communication. Let them come to you and sniff around without disturbing them.
It’s best not to make any sudden or quick moves, especially if it looks like you’re going to pick them up without permission. A cat will let you know when they’re okay with you interacting with them more or if they want you to leave them alone.
If your cat has decided that it’s okay for you to pet them, pet them on the back or top of the head, under the chin, or around the cheeks. Although some cats like being stroked on the back, other cats don’t, as it can be very stimulating.
When you first start petting your cat, keep it brief and wait for their approval before continuing. The same applies if you want to figure out their petting preferences, whether they like being pet on their backs or prefer the top of the head.
Your body language
One thing that you will want to be aware of is your own body language. Cats will often approach people that don’t like them or are allergic because these people avoid making contact with them and won’t try to pick them up or pet them without warning.
Cats can be pretty good at reading people. That’s why it’s always a good idea to let cats make the first move and avoid trying to pick them up or anything until they give the okay.
Make sure not to stare at your cat. It can make them uncomfortable since staring usually means you are a threat. If you think about it, cats watch their prey intensely before pouncing, so they interpret you constantly watching them as a threat.
It’s better to glance at them occasionally, with a gentle expression, than to stare intensely.
When speaking to your cat, use a soft voice that’s reassuring, as you would use when trying to calm a crying child. Although some dogs like using a high-pitched voice, cats will generally not like this.
Reading your cat’s signals
If you want your cat to like you, you must learn to read their body language. Cats may not be able to talk to us with words, but, like us, they can show us how they’re feeling by how they carry themselves.
For example, happy and safe cats will purr, rub themselves against you, and even try to climb up onto you. Usually, if a cat moves closer to you, that means they like you and will allow petting or let you pick them up. They think of you as safe.
If your cat wants to bond with you, they will rub their forehead against you (bunting) and knead you.
Sometimes cats will purr when they are anxious or upset since it can also be a way to self-soothe, kind of like a child sucking their thumb.
Cats who are uncomfortable and/or feel threatened will back away. They will also:
- Flatten their ears
- Have twitching ears and tail
- Curl up tightly with their tail around them
- Have fur that stands up
Cats will let you know whether they’re feeling safe or not. You just need to pay attention.
Maintaining the bond between you and your cat
Many non-cat lovers will tell you that cats are difficult to figure out and uncaring, but that is far from the truth. You can learn how to bond with your new kitty, but you must treat them respectfully and pay attention to their cues.
Cats will tell you with their body language whether they are comfortable with you or not. The key to having a good bond with your cat is ensuring they feel safe and comfortable. Other ways you can help them are by providing a safe environment with places to hide away if they need to and by making sure their routine is maintained as well as possible.
You can also get your cat to like you by helping them associate you with good things, like playtime or meal time. You can also bribe them with treats. If all else fails, you could try making a treat trail to your lap for your cat to follow.
Cats are wonderful and loving pets. You just have to be patient and give them the time they need and the respect they deserve. If you’re looking for more tips and tricks in cat care, you can check out our helpful resources.