Friday 2 April 2021

How do I make my cat love me?

How do I make my cat love me? You can answer the question in one sentence. Love her or him. If that is your starting point you will respect your cat as a cat but you will treat her as a member of the family. They are open to being friends and bonding. Just open the door to them. In respecting her you will understand her behaviour and requirements. 

You will understand that she needs to behave naturally to be happy. And if you provide that environment and she is happy she will be inclined to love you. And if you give her the best quality food that you can it will also help to make her love you. But above all all your actions must be the actions of a person who loves their cat.

Love bug feline

So you will pet her in a way that she likes. You will learn what she likes through observation and by trial and error but all the time it will be gentle and respectful. And you will learn her rhythms and routines. You will learn her fears, her likes and dislikes. You will prevent the circumtances that make her fearful. And everything that you do in relation to her will be based upon what you've learned with the objective of making her happy.

A domestic cat must be able to behave as naturally as possible in the human home. Any animal who is prevented from behaving naturally will find it difficult to be happy. They will be more inclined to be anxious. The inherent abnormality of the human home can create anxiety in domestic cats. Human caretakers have to overcome this. The home should be as calm as possible. Multi-cat homes need to be proficiently managed. You'll need skills.

There should be a minimum of intrusive noises and activities. Reassurance can come from routines and rhythms in the life of the cat's caretaker. Cats will pick up on this and follow them.

If you love your cat you will provide her with some high vantage points were she can rest in safety. They love moving vertically. Meet that desire. You will also provide some hiding places where she can rest and hide when she feels anxious. You will allow her on your lap if she wants to be there even if it inconveniences you. You will allow her to come on to your bed at night because in terms of scent the human bed is the centre of the universe.

If you have a close bond with your cat, which is your objective, your scent is very important to her. Domestic cats rely far more than we do on their sense of smell. It is perhaps more important than their eyes in identifying objects.

Because it is so important and because the bed is in the words of Jackson Galaxy a "scent soaker" she should be allowed on it and even inside it with you under the covers. Don't balk at allowing this to happen. Put away any squeamishness. It will improve the bond between you both and in doing that it will make her happier and you as well.

A lot of cat owners think that they should lock their cat out of the bedroom at night. I strongly disagree with this for the reasons mentioned above. Like I said at the beginning, you respect your cat and treat them as felines but you should regard them as members of the human family. You would not keep your child from coming into the bedroom at night so why should you do the same thing with your cat? If getting into the bed is impossible for you build a little bed for her in the bedroom.

You want your cat to find her mojo, the raw wild cat inside of her which should be expressed as near as possible in the way would that it be expressed if she was free-living in a wild place. Many domestic cats live inside the home full-time. This puts extra pressure on owners to make their world as natural as possible.

Cat window box
Cat window box. Pic in the public domain.

If permissible and if the budget allows at least build a window box which is a construction that sits inside a window frame but juts outside so that they can sit in it and smell the air and be closer to nature. Better still build an enclosure attached to the house. Once again this allows a cat to experience nature at least to a limited extent. This in turn allows a more natural existence for them. This brings pleasure and with pleasure they are more likely to love you.

Catio in the Middle East
Catio in the Middle East. Image in public domain.

Never shout at your cat or punish her. They don't understand punishment. They don't like loud noises and they will pick up your animosity towards them if you shout at them. Use a melodious and gentle voice with her. Cats do not need to hear a cat-like voice to understand or appreciate you. It should be a calm voice which is reassuring. A lot of what we do in regard to our cat is to reassure them because they are quite nervous creatures although it does depend upon the individual personality.

Don't punish your cat. Poster: Ruth aka Kattaddorra.

As mentioned, feed them the best quality cat food that you can but don't overfeed them. Do not try and buy their love with human treats to an excess. Give them the odd treat but not too much because if your cat becomes obese that is not an example of loving your cat. It is an example of indirectly and perhaps inadvertently abusing your cat because obesity brings health problems. You would be harming your cat if you allowed her to become obese. There is an epidemic of feline obesity partly because many people themselves are obese and they have failed to recognise what obesity really is.

Obesity brings feline Type II diabetes and other illnesses just like it does with humans. The coronavirus pandemic has targeted obese people. By far the majority of people who have died because of contracting Covid-19 are obese people. You want your cat to be healthy. A healthy cat is more likely to be a happy cat and a happy cat is more likely to love you.

If a cat is miserable because she is unwell it will be impossible for her to love anybody because she will be too unhappy. And finally, at the end of her days you will probably have to decide to euthanise her. The timing of this process is vitally important. 

It should be an objective decision in the interest of your cat and not of yourselves. Sometimes people delay this decision because they do not want to say goodbye to the cat that they love. This can prolong pain and distress in a cat through a chronic illness. Seek the advice of a good veterinarian who has at least 10 years experience and who knows felines and is sensitive.

Be with your cat when she dies. Your last duty as a loving cat guardian. Image: PoC.

And finally, on the day that she is euthanised you should be there with her, to comfort her and to say your goodbyes. This is your final duty, the duty of a person who loves her cat and who is loved in return.

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