Despite having a reputation for being aloof, cats crave attention. In fact, recent research shows that cats are incredibly attached to their humans. And when separated from their human caregivers, cats exhibited similar behaviors to those of dogs and infants. In other words, they love us and will show it.
This same study said that 65 percent of cats and kittens bonded to their people, meaning they have attachments to specific humans, and not just humans in general. Because each cat is different, they may express this affection in different ways. So even the most standoffish cat is probably very attached to you.
What can I do to show my cat I care?
Extra affection is the easiest way to express your love for your cat. But pay attention to your cat’s preferred methods. Some cats don’t like being picked up. Others don’t like being petted on their backs. Or maybe your cat only allows petting when she’s eating. If you’re not sure what your cat likes, watch her behavior. Cats who are enjoying scritches will lean into them, close their eyes, and/or purr. Cats who are unhappy may hiss, scratch, bite or simply run away. They might also cower or hide.
Let your cat call the shots
Especially with a new or skittish cat, it’s important to let the cat come to you. But if you’re already familiar with your cat’s preferences, and she’s comfortable with petting, you may be able to seek her out.
I know I sound like a broken record, but every cat is different. Learn what works best for your cat and act accordingly. Simply put, cats have boundaries, and both felines and humans will be happier when we respect those boundaries.
Has your routine changed?
I talked about this in my last blog. But it’s worth restating. If you can’t be home all day because your job takes you away from home, or if your kids have gone back to school, you may need to show your cat a little extra attention. Regular play time, ample affection, supervised outdoor time, and even talking to your cat can help them to adjust to a new routine.
Am I giving my cat enough attention?
Again, this depends on your cat. Some cats are needier than others and will constantly seek you out for petting. Some cats are fine with the occasional head scratch. Others may sit in your lap for hours on end. My advice is to just pay attention. Your cat will tell you when it’s time to be petted, time to play, and time to be left alone.