Cats, in general, are not known for their friendliness. Most are aloof and can give you that snobbish look. However, avid cat fanciers will tell you that these pets can be the friendliest furbabies one can ever have. The secret is to start socializing them as kittens. It would also help if you adhere to some or all of the following tips for raising a friendly and adorable cat.
Show Gentleness and Care Whenever Handling Your Cat
Everything starts with gentleness. Kittens and young cats have very fragile bodies. They can get scared if handled in a haphazard way. It is also for this reason that it is not a good idea to let very young kids hold young cats. Young children cannot yet appreciate the difference between a gentle hold and a choke-like grasp. The same is true with adults who may think that all cats are the same, whether they are old or young.
The secret to building friendliness in a cat is by showing gentleness and caring behaviors. They do not like loud noises as it triggers that prey instinct in them. They know that a predator is around. This also means that if they do something that you don’t like, resist the temptation of yelling or shouting at the kitten. Otherwise, it will frighten the poor animal. Moreover, it does not know why you yelled. All it knows is that the experience is not pleasant.
Start Training Your Cat Early in Its Life
It is not necessary that you train your cat advanced feline obedience. What is important is for them to respond to basic commands. One of the most helpful commands you can teach a kitty or any other pet for that matter is the recall command. When you call the cat’s name, its response should be to come to you at once. When your kitty has mastered this command, it will be a lot easier to let it explore the outdoors. You’ll feel more confident and safer that the cat will come to you when called.
But first, it is important that your kitty already has a name. Place a treat in the palm of your hand and call out its name. Make sure to use a friendly tone whenever calling your pet. Remember that cats know if you are anxious or not by deciphering the tone and pitch of your voice. The moment the cat starts walking towards you, say its name again in a relaxed manner. As the cat takes the treat from your hands, give it lavish praise. This reinforces the notion that responding to the call of its name will result in a yummy treat and lots of praise from you.
Socialize Cats with Other Pets
Most dogs are not in friendly terms with cats and vice versa. However, if you have a kitten and a puppy at the same time, it is possible to foster a lifelong friendship between the two. Growing up in the presence of another species can help a kitten feel safe and confident around the other animal. That is why you can see a lot of online videos showing the remarkable friendship between a cat and a dog. Some can also display certain behaviors that most of us think are impossible.
An alternative will be to get a dog-friendly cat and a cat-friendly dog in the same house. Examples of these are the Abyssinians, American Shorthairs, Birmans, Ragdolls, and Maine Coons. As for dogs, cat-friendly breeds can include the Basset Hound, Beagle, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Labrador Retriever, and Golden Retriever, among others. The point, however, is to start socializing them while they are still young. This increases the likelihood of interspecies friendship.
Be Its Guardian Angel
We know that cats are very independent creatures. They love doing things on their own without the intrusion of others. However, the first few months of a young cat’s life are still characterized by some form of dependence. If you brought a kitten, you are assuming the role of its surrogate mother. It looks up to you for guidance and protection. In other words, you should be ready to assume the role of kitten guardian angel.
Cats are very curious. This curiosity is heightened in younger cats. They love to explore their surroundings. Unfortunately, this also exposes them to a lot of hazards that can undermine their state of health and overall happiness. Being a kitten’s guardian angel means keeping a watchful eye on it as it explores the world. The key is to give the kitten the level of freedom of movement that it wants while keeping an eye out for potential dangers. If something goes wrong, you will be there to save the cat. This builds trust and confidence in the young feline.
Always Be Available
Some individuals bring home pets for the sake of being called a ‘pet owner’. However, one has to become a pet parent if one wants to develop a friendly cat. Friendliness stems from trust. It will be difficult for a cat to trust someone whom it seldom sees. It will also be challenging for the cat to feel confident if its owner is not always around. If the kitten wants something, it has no one to tell it to. Hence, one’s physical presence can help convey trust to the little pet.
It is essential to make the kitten feel valued. You do this by spending quality time with them. You can sit and relax on your couch, put a kitty bed on the floor, and watch TV all day long. The mere fact that you are there is often enough to make a kitten feel more secure. But if you interact with it and let it sit on your lap, then you will be able to build trust and foster friendship a lot easier. Interacting with them more often can lay the foundation for more effective socialization. This means they will also show friendliness to other people because they are already used to the presence of a human – you.
Engage the Cat in More Meaningful Activities
All cats require mental stimulation to lead happy lives. If they are happy, then it would be a lot easier for them to make friends with almost anyone, including other pets. Engaging your feline in more meaningful activities can provide the mental stimulation that they need. They feel happier. They will also associate the pleasant feelings with the activity and your being there with them.
Play with your kitten using age-appropriate and pet-safe toys. Be mindful of any obstacles in the room that can undermine their safety. You may also have to sacrifice some of your time to tend to your kitten’s playtime needs. You may already be tired coming home from work. But if your young feline wants to play, then you will have indulge it. The fact that it wants to play with you is a sign that it trusts you. It also considers you as the kitten’s friend. It would upset the young cat if you ignore its playtime invitation.
There are many ways by which you can show affection to a cat. However, there is one foolproof way to make sure that the young cat gets the message of love, compassion, and care. Scoop up your kitten in a gentle manner, soothing it as you hold it in your arms. Rub its belly in a nice way and stroke the sides of its face. Put the kitty’s back in your arm as if you’re cradling a baby. As a matter of fact, the kitten is your furbaby now.
You may want to wrap the kitten in a nice and warm blanket to make it more comfortable. Stroke its fur while talking to it in a gentle, relaxed, and calm tone. Avoid making a high-pitch sound as cats often interpret this as a sign of distress, like the squeal of a mouse. Cradling your cat like a baby draws it closer to you. It is one of the most effective ways to develop trust while working to strengthen the bond that you’ve established with the animal.
Keep Your Cat Healthy
Keeping your kitten healthy makes it feel more energetic. It will be able to spend more time with you and play its favorite games. It also responds well to training. It also has a much better disposition, allowing it to make friends with cat-friendly canines and other pets in the house. If the young cat is ill, it will not feel good. It may also think that you are neglecting it.
Ensuring the optimum health of a cat means giving it the right food and plenty of water. Keeping them updated with their mandatory vaccine shots while protecting them against ticks, mites, and ticks also help. Giving them a clean litter box and plenty of exercise can all contribute to a healthy kitty.
Raising a friendly kitty is like raising a highly-sociable child. You have to show the cat how so it can be as trusting and friendly as you envision it to be.