Building a Friendship with your Finicky Feline

by | Cat Care |

“Dogs come when they’re called; cats take a message and get back to you later.”

-Mary Bly, Author

There are so many endearing qualities our feline friends can have. Affectionate, intelligent, athletic, inquisitive… the list can go on and on. Just like people, cats have individual personalities that can shine through at the best of times, or show their displeasure by a variety of methods at their worst.

Many cats can be prone to aloofness (which is defined as reserved, indifferent or disinterested) at some point another in their day, week, or occasionally throughout their lifetime. It can be frustrating as a cat owner to have your best friend stare at you from high atop the bookcase or shelf, unwilling to interact with you until they decide otherwise.

For a cat that has the occasional bad day, this mood can be easily dismissed. But for the new cat owner, or with a cat that persistently prefers his or her own company to yours, this can be puzzling or even discouraging. Food may attract their attention briefly, but to create a real bond between a cat and their person there needs to be more to the relationship than bribery.

  • Does your cat have more toys than the nearest pet store? Having toys can be stimulating, but how often do you sit down and actually use them to play with your cat? The more you play with him or her, the more often they will want to play with you and seek you out for attention.
  • When you’re tidying up around the house, what is your cat doing? Are they hiding from you, afraid you’re going to shoo them away from the oh-so-enticing feather-duster, or awaken them from a cat-nap by suddenly turning on the vacuum cleaner? Nobody likes to be scolded for being curious, or be scared by loud noises. Always be conscientious of where your cat is and what they are doing; they are a member of the household too. Making them feel welcome and secure will make your house really feel like their home.
  • Speaking of cleaning up, does your cat feel comfortable using their litter box? Cats need a clean, private washroom area and this can be done by making the litter box easily-accessible but away from high-traffic areas in your household. Some cats are particular about the brand of litter you use, or the frequency in which you clean it. The litter box must be the appropriate size for the cat, and be cleaned a minimum of twice daily to ensure cleanliness for your cat and your household.
  • Make sure you pet your cat every day. Not a scratch on the head, or a quick back-rub welcome when you get home from work. Put aside some time where you can snuggle and pet your cat. Some cats love to get into your lap and be pampered more than others, but be sure you make yourself available to pet and be affectionate with your cat. Not only is it good for him or her, but studies have shown it lowers blood pressure and reduces anxiety in people!
  • Nothing is tastier to cats than catnip. Yummy! It contains nepetalactone, which is a natural chemical that causes many cats to do all kinds of fancy feline maneuvers. The effects of fresh catnip usually lasts between 5 and 15 minutes, with organic catnip producing the strongest scent to cats. Cat-friendly toys that have zippers or velcro closures are ideal for stuffing catnip into. If your particular feline turns up his or her nose at catnip, try honeysuckle or lemongrass instead. (NOTE: Only buy honeysuckle toys at the pet store, making your own honeysuckle toy can be hazardous to your cats health as some species of the plant are NOT cat-friendly!)

These are just a few tips on how to improve your relationship with your fickle feline. If you want to learn more about cat behavior and care, pick up a copy of Arden Moore’s “Happy Cat, Happy You” which is a great source of feline facts.