Want to establish or continue a deep and wonderful relationship with your cat? Of course you do! The key to gaining (and keeping) a cat’s affection is to understand and respect her needs. Some of these may come naturally to you, some may not. But trust me, you’ll be well rewarded if you can find a way to adapt your home and life to respect your cat in these 5 ways.
#1 – Consistent meal times
Cats are creatures of habit. They require consitency and dependability in order to feel safe and respected. Food is particularly important to your cat. As a natural hunter, your cat can feel very vulnerable and anxious when she isn’t in charge of sourcing her own meals, especially if you’re not feeding her at a dependable time. She may be left to wonder whether you’ll remember to feed her at all. Get into the habit of feeding her at the same time every day. If your schedule is too erratic for that, consider adding a timed feeder to your home.
#2 – Clean litter box
Your cat’s sense of smell is 40 times stronger than your own, so crouching into a filthy litter box can be an extra-grueling experience. Respect your cat’s need for comfort by scooping the litter box every day. If it’s hard for you to remember to scoop every day, try relocating the box to a more visual area or tacking the task onto something you already do daily– like scooping every night after brushing your teeth, or scooping every morning while your coffee is brewing. If the process of scooping and disposing of the litter is daunting, add a receptacle like a Litter Genie. It’ll conceal the litter, seal away smells, and you’ll only have to empty it every 2 weeks or so (depending on how many cats you have, of course).
#3 – Respect body language
One of the easiest ways to respect your cat is to respect what she’s telling you through her body language. Many people think it’s funny or harmless to continue to hold or kiss a cat that’s struggling to be let down, but it can be very distressing for a cat to not have control. In extreme cases, it can cause your cat to become scared or distrustful of you. Pay attention to her body language and respect what she’s communicating to you. You can often learn a lot about a cat’s mood or needs by simply observing her posture, ears, or tail.
#4 – Provide outlets for natural instincts
Your domestic cat is still very in touch with her wildcat instincts. Some of these instincts, like scratching, can be destructive if you don’t make the effort to find positive outlets for them. Respect your cat’s natural instincts by providing healthy options. Create a stimulating home by making sure you have a good scratching post, interactive toys, and some good perching spots.
#5 – Schedule annual checkups
Cats are pros at hiding illnesses and many people don’t realize something is wrong with their cat until it’s out of control. Respect your cat’s health and livelihood by scheduling annual wellness checkups. They’ll help you catch and deal with problems quicker, greatly improving your cat’s chances of a full recovery.