Monday, July 4, 2011

Adopting a cat is definitely a worthwhile experience

Adopting a cat is definitely a worthwhile experience. Cats are a unique species, with their own behavior, quirks, temperaments and lifestyles. Many cats are very affectionate and loving and don't require much effort to develop a strong, lifetime bond. However, not all cats have the same temperament and some cats are more friendly than others. If you have adopted a cat who is not as loving as you would like, you need to learn how to bond with a cat to strengthen your relationship with your cat.

If you are wondering how to bond with a cat, you are not alone. There are many cats that will require more effort to help develop the loving relationship that you want. Cats are naturally independent creatures, and are not as needy as dogs are. But, they can certainly be just as affectionate as dogs, but with some cats, it will require your effort. If you live with a cat who you feel just can't be bothered with you, don't worry, there are things you can do to change this. The first thing you want to do to help strengthen your bond with your cat is to spend lots of time with the animal. Try sitting on the floor with your cat as being at the same level with your cat helps the cat feel equal to you. When you stand, you tower over your cat, which can be intimidating. Sitting on the floor with your cat helps to make them feel like you are at their level, which in turn helps make you more approachable. Find out what types of treats your cat really enjoys and then have them available to you, in your pocket or hand, and reward your cat when it demonstrates the behavior you are looking for. This type of positive reinforcement is quite effective and encourages the cat to continue with this behavior.

Another good way to bond with a cat is to groom your cat on a daily basis. Most cats love to be brushed, and this is important for several reasons. Most cats find being brushed as relaxing and affectionate behavior from you will help encourage the same behavior with your cat. It is important to begin brushing your cat when it is just a kitten, or as soon as you can after adopting so the cat learns that brushing is a desired activity. Some cats who have never been brushed, end up not liking it, and once this happens it is difficult to reverse this thought process. Sit on the floor with your cat while you are brushing it, and again, give treats for desired behavior. Not only does brushing your cat daily strongly help with developing a bond with a cat, but it also proves to be a great way to prevent hairballs in your feline friend. Brushing is a great way to significantly reduce the amount of hair your cat ingests, and in turn, reduces the number of hairballs your cat will experience.  This is especially important if your cat is medium or long haired. Brushing your cat not only helps you develop a bond with a cat, but it also helps keep your cats coat healthy and shiny, reduces hairballs, and provides a relaxing experience for your cat. And don't forget, cats with  long fur are going to get older, and often when a cat gets older, it becomes more difficult for them to groom effectively and often hair mats are the result. If you get your cat into a brushing routine, you can also prevent hair mats from forming.

Playing with your cat is another great way to bond with a cat. You want to offer your cat lots of different types of toys to play with, including toys that involve you playing with your cat. Fishing pole type toys are fun because it provides good exercise and stimulation for your cat while you are actively involved in the play session. They have toys that are attached to a plastic pole that you dangle off the ground for your cat to jump and swat at. These types of toys are great for people because they do not require your hands being involved in the play, which reduces the chances of you getting scratched. Just remember that no matter what type of toy your cat plays with, it should be supervised to make sure your cat has a safe experience. Cats tend to swallow things like string, yarn, etc...which can cause obstructions which are a true medical emergency. Never give your cats toys that have small removable parts, string or yarn or other objects that can be easily swallowed. Please refer to my other article on choosing safe cat toys for more information. If you have been wondering how to bond with a cat, play is a great way to strengthen your loving relationship.

You will also need to understand about cat behavior, and why cats do what they do. You can't force a cat to be affectionate. Some cats just don't like to be held, it makes them feel anxious and vulnerable. You can try to get them more used to being held by picking them up on a daily basis, and it also helps to give them a treat while you are holding them, as a reward. But, if the cat is struggling to get away from you, don't try to continue to hold them as you will likely get scratched or even worse, bit. Let the cat go and then try again at a later time. It is also easier to hold your cat while you are sitting on the floor with them. You are less intimidating when you are at the cats level, and this will help reduce any anxiety the cat may be feeling. It is always easier to bond with a cat if you start when they are a kitten. This way they get used to certain activities, and they learn that these activities are a part of their normal routine. Start holding your cat, brushing, grooming and have your cat sit on your lap beginning at a young age and your cat will be more likely to enjoy these activities with you.

If you have a cat that always prefers to be in another room that you, trying going and getting your cat, pick them up and carry them into the room where you want them to be. Some cats just need a little encouragement from you. This helps to make the cat feel like they matter to you, and often you will find that the cat will then stay with you in the room you are in. Sometimes they will run back to where you got them from, but I have found that being persistent and going and getting the cat again and bring them back into the room you want them to be in does work. And again, provide positive reinforcement such as treats or a favorite toy to reward the desired behavior. But, remember, cats do like to be alone sometimes. You may find this technique works sometimes but not others. If your cat just wants to be alone sometimes, that is ok and you should allow the space your cat wants.

It may take some effort from you but if you learn techniques on how to bond with a cat, and practice them on a daily basis, it shouldn't take too long for your cat to respond favorably to you. If your cat continues to isolate itself from you, or just doesn't want to be bothered, call your vet and talk to them. You may need to bring your cat in for a vet exam to eliminate any medical issue as a cause. But, when a medical issue has been eliminated as a possible cause, it will just take your time, patience, and effort to strengthen the bond with your cat. You will find your efforts rewarding when you see the response from your cat that you are looking for, and the bond between you and your cat will just continue to grow

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