How to Make Your Bond with Your Cat Stronger

Cats may seem absurd, aloof or simply independent to us.  There is more to them, and maybe you have yet to experience it or you simply want more affection.  We crave their attention.  We love those snuggles and we love feeling their soft fur.  You've probably often asked yourself, "I wonder how I could convince Garfield to interact with me more?".

Here are 5 ways to increase the depth of your bond with your cat - ready?

1. Spend Time Alone with Cat Everyday

It's important to find time everyday, even if it's only 5 minutes, to sit alone with your cat.   When I say alone, I mean in a room, without distractions like kids, spouses, loud trucks passing by, other animals, etc.  During this time, just sit with him or her.  Only interact if the cat chooses to interact with you.  You can solicit engagement by slowly blinking your eyes then looking away as a sign of trust, as well as laying on the floor.  Your cat determines the activity - not you.

Observe when your cat is most interested in you during the day, and pick this time as your alone time with him or her.  Is it when you come home from work?  Is it right after meal time?  Is it in the morning, right after you get out of bed?

Lady Asti and I having a quiet moment alone.

Lady Asti and I having a quiet moment alone.

2. Go on an Adventure Outside Together

In recent times, cat culture has pushed cat guardians to keep cats indoors mainly out of concern of safety and health - which are both totally valid.  It is true your kitty will likely live longer by being kept indoors.  On the flip side, we have removed the cat's natural environment.  Most cats would love some time outside, so wouldn't it be wonderful to let them have that time with you?  Just imagine, strolling down the boulevard at sunset with your special feline friend.  Maybe you'll even meet some new human, canine, avian or reptile friends!  You will both enjoy this bonding activity!

Before embarking on your outdoor adventure, be sure to go in proper fashion.  There are three options: limited free roam, leash walking and a pet stroller.  

  • Limited free roaming includes setting up a cat-safe fence (see links at the bottom of the post) and enjoying time together with your cat on your patio, backyard, etc.  A great activity if you are interested in reading outside in nature while your cat basks in the sun or sits in your lap.
  • Leash walking is a great option for boisterous, outgoing cats who respond well to clicker training and/or are not distracted or scared easily by noises, smells, etc.
  • Pushing your cat in a pet stroller is a great option for cats who aren't very adventurous, but still enjoy the sights and smells.  It's also a great option if you live in an area with lots of dogs on a leash, because your cat is elevated and enclosed from well-meaning all-too-friendly pooches who are clueless about feline etiquette.  As I like to say, it's a stress-free way to "stroll together & soul together".
Lady Asti and I on our walk outside.

Lady Asti and I on our walk outside.

3. Talk Out Loud to your Cat

Yes, you may think this is silly, but there is some awesome rewards in it for you, too.  There's a few things that talking out loud to your cat can do to increase the closeness of your bond.

First of all, your cat has probably already learned to meow at you when he or she wants something from  you.  Take that opportunity to talk back, and reward the cat with the play, food or pets that it desires.  You have now positively associated meow, talk and play/food/pets together.  You've learned of one way to communicate with each other.  

Second of all, on a spiritual level, when you talk, you are also setting an intention.  This intention is what your cat (or any other animal, for that matter) can pick up on and understand.  So, yes, when you call your cat those funny nicknames like Poopybutt, Fatty, and Dumby - they understand those words, because they understand the intent you had behind them.  It's all energy.

Jack and I having a little chat about our day.

Jack and I having a little chat about our day.

4. Playtime Before Mealtime

Playtime is a mimicking hunting prey, and it's the most fun activity a cat can engage in.  If you make time to share that exciting moment with your cat, everyday, you will reap the rewards of companionship.  Imagine if your favorite activity was skydiving, and everyday your favorite person said "Ok, let's go skydiving because you love it, then we'll go eat a spectacular meal once we've worked up that appetite".  You'd think that was pretty pawsome, right?

Now, just to clarify, cats do not hunt in groups.  Unless it's a lion, which I sure hope you don't have a lion.  You are sharing in an experience by being present during the play and providing the stimulation, but you are not "hands on" in the play time.  That means, your body should not be "in the play", only the "prey" (toy) should be.

Playtime with Bailey and Lady Asti.

Playtime with Bailey and Lady Asti.

5. Clicker Training

I would vote that clicker training your cat is the fastest way to increase your bond together.   There are lots of books written on how to clicker train, so I will not dwell on that here.  If you have multiple cats, like me, train them one at a time otherwise it turns into a food fight.  Just know that the activity is very exciting, rewarding and fun for your cat.  It's like a fun game with food to them.  I don't know about you, but I love games that involve food for myself, too!  

Captain Jack Sparrow and I clicker training for high five.

Captain Jack Sparrow and I clicker training for high five.

Now, go enjoy your kitty time and click on a few links below to learn more :)

Suggested Related Resources:

Why Adopting a Mature Cat is the Best Decision...

What greater gift than the love of a cat?
— Charles Dickens

I have 3 wonderful furry felines that I share my home with.  I love them very much, and they lead me to believe that they love me too.   What all of you may not know, is that I adopted all 3 of them separately as adults.  I highly recommend adopting adult cats, and this is why...

Bailey was about 3 years old when I adopted her from the Houston SPCA in November 2009.  My husband (boyfriend at the time) and I had just moved in together to a new apartment, and we were ready to expand from 2 beings to 3 beings.  Adding one without childbirth and dirty diapers.  My husband had never lived with an animal, so I was on the lookout for a mellow, soft and lovable feline.  We found her easily!

Her coat is extremely luxurious.

Her coat is extremely luxurious.

Jack was about 2 years old when I adopted him from the Houston SPCA in December 2012.  When I adopted him, he had burns on the pads of his feet from urine and feces that he was forced to walk on daily.  Through an animal communicator, at The Lightfoot Way, I discovered that he was neglected and starving in his last place of residence (I don't call a hoarder house, a home). He was aggressive towards other animals.  That day when I saw him at the shelter, though, I knew he needed to come home with me.  We were going to work through his issues together.

He's perfect now.

He's perfect now.

Asti was about 1 year old when I adopted her from the Harris County Shelter in April 2014.  My husband and I had just moved into our new house, and we had plenty of square feet to share with an addition.   I knew Jack was looking for a playmate, since Bailey didn't like to wrestle-play.  I saw her at the Petsmart adoption center for a few weeks, and kept coming back to her for some reason.  After 3 weeks, she was still unadopted so I changed that!  I honestly believe she chose me.

I couldn't resist this adorable face!  Look at her!

I couldn't resist this adorable face!  Look at her!

Asti now.  Looking cute is her game.

Asti now.  Looking cute is her game.


Why do I prefer to adopt adult cats?

 

  • They have reached maturity.

That means less chance of peeing on your bed, chewing cords, scratching your antique loveseat or waking you up for a feeding.  They know who they are, just like you know who you are.  That's what you look for in a life-partner, right?  They are proud to be that affectionate, stubborn, entertaining lap-cat.

  • They did nothing wrong.

There are 2 reasons why a cat ended up in the shelter: it was found as a stray or feral, or it was a owner surrender.  In either case, I guarantee you that the cat did nothing wrong.  The cat didn't "deserve" to be homeless.  In an owner surrender, I firmly believe that the human could have been more well educated about cat behavior and needs.  I do not accept that a cat is given up because "he/she was scratching the carpet".  Get this one, I have even heard "my cat no longer matches my decor."  Seriously, someone said that in a surrender.

  • They have a story just like yours.

Each of us have weathered our own storm.  Whether it be a bad break-up, a loss of a child, emotional neglect, sudden death, natural disaster such as a flood or fire, or domestic violence, etc.  You name it, and I bet there is a cat in every shelter that shares your story.  Wouldn't it be great to work through that trauma together?  The two of you can heal together.  That is beautiful.

  • They are appreciative.

When you adopt an adult cat to share that big life moment, such as getting married or moving into a new house, they know what's going on.  They are old enough to understand they were chosen to be a special part of your big moment.  They will remember it; I promise you.  So will you, every time you look at them.  You might even get a headbutt. 

  • They are strong.

They can defend themselves.  They will hunt to find you a gift in appreciation.  They can fall from 10 feet high and not injure themselves (unless you have a manx cat, like me, then that is not the case!).  Basically, they can kick-ass.

  • Their eyes tell a story.

Remember when you fell in the love the first time?  You would look deep into your lover's eyes and you get lost?  That's what it's like with your mature feline friend, every day.

  • They respect your schedule.

Wouldn't it be nice if someone knew your daily schedule better than you?  Well, if you adopt an adult cat, I bet they will pick up your schedule in under a week.  They will remind you hourly of where you should be, especially if that location is their food bowl.

  • Financially, it's cheaper.

The neuter/spay is likely taken care of.  The vaccinations are likely taken care of.  Now just sit back and relax.  That yearly check-up exam is all you'll likely need!

  • There is more selection.

Most people come into a shelter looking for a kitten, and there are only so many kittens.  There are a lot more adult cats.  Simply looking at the numbers, you have a wider selection of cats to choose from when adopting an adult.  You really can find the purrrrrfect friend.

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