When it comes to our feline friends, we often consider them to be our closest friends of all. And if life—and especially 2020—taught us anything, it’s that our cats are the one constant in our lives that we need most for comfort and companionship. Obviously our cats are bonded to us because we dish out their food, but there are ways we can strengthen our bonds with our cats in ways that they will most enjoy, too. If you and your cat are already joined at the hip, then chances are that you are already doing these things for them!
Here are my top tips to strengthen your bond with your cat…
Kitty likes to play!
Garfield might have preconditioned us to think that cats are lazy and just want to eat, but this is far from the truth. Your feline friend is a highly intelligent being, and their minds must be stimulated to give them the proper enrichment that they need to thrive. Simply playing with your cat on a routine basis can not only help to keep them in tiptop shape, but it’s a great way to strengthen your bond with your cat by offering them something that they love—to play! My Maine Coon mix, Mr. Purple, is ten years of age and still plays just like a kitten would, and I think one of the main reasons for that is that I have engaged in regular play with him since we first adopted him as a young adult cat.
Oh, that brush feels nice!
While cats do not need you to take them down to the beauty parlor, they can all benefit from a good brushing on a regular basis. Brushing your cat is a wonderful way to strengthen the bond the two of you share because it’s beneficial to their health and feels good at the same time! If you have a longhair cat, routine brushing is great for combating hairballs as you’re helping them to eliminate excess fur with a brush and not leaving them to do it themselves. It’s proven that routine brushing can reduce hairballs, and since your cat’s sense of touch is heightened in comparison to yours, it feels super nice for them, too. Just remember to watch certain areas that some cats are highly sensitive too, such as the back at the base of the tail and their belly.
Be understanding of their limits
I’ve always believed that a cat’s love is earned, not given. And while there are some cats which are overly affectionate, not all of them are this way. And you know what? That’s perfectly okay! Cats are not like dogs, and that’s something that people really should consider before being quick to judge them and write them off as being “aloof” or “loners”, etc. But, as we bonafide cat people know, giving a cat their space, and especially giving them a quiet space of their own to retreat should they wish, is actually a perfect way to strengthen your bond with a cat. By giving a cat space, and not forcing affection, it speaks volumes to them.
Think about it like this: oftentimes, young children will be pushy or demanding when it comes to wanting a cat’s attention. For myself, I’ve taught all of my children from an early age to respect a cat’s space, and to not force interactions. And, I can say without hesitation, that my cats adore my children. And why is that? Because they’ve learned to respect their limits and give them space when they need it. Learning to give a cat space is what they want. And as we know when it comes to cats, everything is on their terms anyways!
Provide a perch
When you understand the way that the feline mind works, you’ll be quick to find ways to speak meow. And one thing we know about cats? They love to perch! When your cat perches up high, this gives them a safe and secure space to keep tabs on the world around them. Your cat is pretty much always on guard, and when they are perched safely, this helps them to better relax. If you want to spoil your kitty, consider purchasing them a window hammock/cat seat or getting them a cat tree. If you don’t want to spend the money, you can get creative and put your DIY skills to work, too. But, essentially, providing your cat with a perch is a great way to strengthen your bond with your cat because it will fulfill their natural desire to perch—and that makes kitty very happy!
Give your cat their daily “kitty kiss”
There are lots of interesting ways that cats will show their affection for us. And if you understand how cats communicate through body language, things will get a lot easier to decode. Cat owners and behaviorists have long suspected that slow blinks are like the cat version of a friendly smile. And thanks to researchers and the first experiment of its kind, we have scientific proof that it’s true. If you want a simple way to strengthen your bond with your cat in a language that they’ll understand, be sure to practice those slow blinks with them on a daily basis. It can be a fun little way to connect that the two of you share that’ll build lasting memories for all of your nine lives together.