Making friends with a Feline
Cats can be quite independent creatures that treat us mere humans with total disdain, especially if we are late with their dinner!
Cats do not like excess attention especially if it is not on their terms. Do not try to interact with a cat as soon as you see it. Allow it to acknowledge you and decide if it wants to engage with you.
Coming down to a cat’s level ie. lying on the floor will encourage the cat to at least recognise your effort and it may be something new and exciting that no-one has tried with them before!
When cats want to engage with a human they may rub up, jump against or try to lick the human, if this happens move very slowly, the kitty will likely allow (and enjoy) a nice scratch at this time. Some cats though can be quite fractious, the moment you touch them they run away – just be patient and they will understand you are not trying to hurt them. With these specific cats do not try to pick them up or enforce handling as they will not trust you easily again.
Cats are well known to jump up onto a lap of someone who is not particularly fond of cats. It seems cats’ sense that they will not be touched, poked or prodded by these people and will be left alone undisturbed to have a nice long catnap.
Never force interaction with a cat in a space where the cat is cornered or feels trapped – this will very quickly make them scared and scared cats become spiky cats really quickly!
Purring also does not always mean they are happy – sometimes cats will purr when stressed. Be aware of the situation around the cat before deciding that the purring is because they are enjoying your company!
There are lots of toys that will naturally stimulate a cat’s curiosity. Playtime stimulation of both the mental and physical senses is very important. Furry or feathered toys especially those that make noises or crinkle will stimulate a cat’s hunting instinct. Most cats love a ‘snaky’ type toy as well – flicking it just like a long tail will often encourage play behaviour. Cat stands and jungle gyms give cats an opportunity to climb – even trees outside can be trimmed so that there are sturdy branches to accommodate cats climbing behaviour. Play time can be rewarded with a protein rich treat, just like a real hunt would be!
Always make sure that your cat is healthy because illness is one of the most important reasons for cats not being as sociable as normal. It is also a good idea to get your cat checked out every year and in cats older than 10 years we often will recommend blood health profiles as well. If there is a sudden change in behaviour get your cat checked out immediately. Cats do not suddenly become less sociable or angrier without a good reason.
In a few rare cases some cats will just be very independent and not highly sociable as a rule. It is best to accept these cats as they are and not try and force them to become more sociable. Time is often what most of these animals need.
Lastly – remember that cats are not small dogs – they were once treated as gods and have not forgotten this.