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Respect the Paw: Bonding With Your Cat Through Feline Etiquette

Published: March 18, 2022
Home / Training / Respect the Paw: Bonding With Your Cat Through Feline Etiquette

If you share your home with a cat, then you already know how different they are from any other pet. Intelligent, fun-loving and affectionate but never quite completely domesticated, cats are fascinating animals that have their own set of feline rules and boundaries when it comes to living with other cats as well as people. If you want to strengthen the bond you have with your cat, learning how to respect her by following a few feline etiquette rules can improve communication and help you to better understand your four-legged friend. 

Learn Your Cat's Body Language 

Cats will tell you how they feel about people, places and things by their body posture. Their ears and tail are especially expressive and use them in different ways than dogs do. This includes:

Even cats that are not openly affectionate will show their trust in you by napping in a nearby chair or laying at the foot of your bed at night. Providing your cat with her own plush blanket, like the Cloudpuff Luxury Pet Blanket by Sleepypod, can let her know you care about her comfort and security. It also lets her know you appreciate her presence and gives her a bit of space to control. 

Respecting Touch Boundaries 

Many cat owners do not give a second thought to scooping up and hugging their cats whenever they feel like it, but this can actually damage a growing bond between a feline and a human. Cats prefer to greet you first and then accept affection. Greet your cat by crouching or sitting down and avoid reaching down to pet her head, as this can seem like a threat. A cat that appreciates your greeting will likely rub or bump against your hand and allow you to pet her. 

Grooming your cat from a young age can help establish touch boundaries and teach you how to recognize when your cat no longer wants to be touched. A Kong Zoom Groom brush can provide your cat with a comforting massage while you brush away loose hair and help her prevent hairballs that could impact her health. Grooming your cat on regular basis can help her accept your touch more easily, which is often important for a young or shy pet. 

Gauge Her Tastes 

Not all cats enjoy the same flavors, although all are carnivores and do not require any vegetable matter in their food. For example, your cat may like fish but prefer tuna over salmon flavors. Offering her tidbits of different foods and discovering which types of food she prefers can make her a happier cat at mealtime and prevent fussiness.

You can ask your veterinarian whether wet food or kibble is best for your cat's individual health needs and then try different flavor combinations, such as Inception Turkey and Herring Recipie Dry Cat Food. The variety of flavors in this food, along with the added taurine that cats need for eye and heart health, can satisfy adult cats that enjoy crunchy kibble-based foods. 

Offer Enrichment 

While some cats prefer to spend their days napping in your lap or in a favorite chair, others become bored easily and may turn to destructive behavior, such as knocking items over and scratching furniture. You can respect your cat's intelligence and natural curiosity by providing plenty of enrichment toys and activities.

A cat tree is one way to offer your cat its own space, as well as a place for them to exercise, play and sleep. Cats love high places, as it allows them to observe their world from a safe place, just as their wild cousins climb trees for the same reason. A Furhaven Skyscraper Cat Tree gives your cat a variety of different play and sleeping options, including a cuddly hammock and attached toys. 

Train and Set Boundaries Gently

No cat likes to be handled roughly and your feline pal is not likely to respect the house rules when training frightens her. While cats might not accept training as easily as dogs, it is still possible to teach them house manners. Litter train early and provide your cat with places to encourage their natural grooming instincts, such as rope or canvas-covered scratching posts.

You can show your cat you care by using positive reinforcement during training sessions. Using cat treats like Blue Buffalo Burst With Savory Seafood to reward good behavior can go a long way in showing a cat you'd rather work with her instead of forcing her to do things. 

Avoid Teasing As Play 

You may see videos on social media sites where cat owners record their pets whether they like it or not, even when the cat's body language makes it obvious they do not want to be poked or teased. Over time, this could cause a cat to resent her owner and even avoid that person. Most cats enjoy play, and learning what catches her attention can make playtime fun for you both. 

An interactive toy can encourage your cat to use her instincts and intelligence in a more positive way. Kylie's Brights Triangle Flower and Bee Toy Box includes catnip-filled toys on springs and fun holes for your cat to explore, along with a puzzle you can teach her to solve. This type of play is more likely to help you bond with your cat and earn her trust. 

Respecting your cat can strengthen the human-animal bond and support her mental health as well. The above tips, along with assistance from your vet, can keep your feline friend happy and healthy for years to come. 

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