We love our cats but do they love us back? With some cats, their feelings are obvious. They are affectionate, they want to be around you all the time, and you can feel their love for you. Others may be more aloof. Perhaps you just adopted an older cat and want to bond with them.
If you’ve rescued a cat from the street or an abusive situation, it may take them a while to trust you enough to be vulnerable and show love. This doesn’t mean they don’t like you. It’s a matter of self-preservation. Cats need to survive, and they do that by keeping themselves safe.
If your cat lets their guard down with you, shows you their belly, or wants to play with you, you’re doing something right. But if you’d like to strengthen your bond or just give your cat more ways to feel comfortable and secure with you, we have a few tips for you to try.
We hope that our 10 methods will bring joy to both you and your feline.
The 10 Ways to Make Your Cat Love You
1. Be Gentle
Cats don’t like to be picked up, grabbed, or confined when they aren’t expecting it. If you try to pick your cat up from behind without warning, they could become scared or even aggressive. If you want to handle your cat, it’s always best to let them know first by approaching slowly from the front and letting them know that you’re there by petting them gently. Then, you can scoop them up without startling them.
2. Don’t Expect Too Much Too Soon
Your cat doesn’t understand life the way that you do. If you’re moving, you know that you’re packing and will be changing residences. Your cat sees chaos and boxes, and then they are being taken from their home and placed somewhere new. Many cats don’t react well to change. They can become scared and stressed. Make these changes slowly, whatever they are, and allow your cat to become comfortable at their own pace. When you arrive at the new house, give the cat their own space with familiar things to let them settle in before letting them roam the place freely. This applies to changing residences as much as it applies to changing their litter box or food. Mix old and new foods, changing completely to the new one slowly. If you get a new litter box, keep it next to the old one for a while until your cat gets comfortable with it.
3. Read Their Body Language
Cats let us know what they want and don’t want. We just have to pay attention to what they’re saying. Do you notice that your cat prefers to not be touched in a certain area? This means they’d like you to respect that and not touch them there. By softly petting your cat, you’ll see how they respond when you scratch their ears or rub their face. The positive responses, like purring and pushing into your hand, mean your cat appreciates that and would like more. However, if your cat is growling, hissing, or swatting, they would prefer not to be touched and are telling you clearly to back off.
A nice way to gain your cat’s trust is to reward them for trusting you by using treats. If you’re trying to build a relationship with your cat, show them what you like. For example, if you call your cat and they come to you, give them a treat that they love. If you’re brushing your cat, use treats to reward them for allowing it. If your cat is scared and hiding, let them know that treats will be waiting for them when they come out. Treats are the secret to getting your cat to associate you with positive feelings.
Food is not as special as treats, but it’ll work. Feeding your cat good-quality food that they like to eat lets them know that they don’t have to worry about finding their own meals and that they are cared for. They know where their food is coming from because they watch you give it to them. That’s also why they try to wake you up in the middle of the night if they’re feeling hungry. By keeping your cat well-fed, they will love you because you’re their caregiver.
6. Clean Their Bathroom
It would be great if cats could clean their own litter boxes, but since they can’t, it’s our job. Cats like to be clean and prefer their litter boxes to also be clean. To make them feel at home, keep their litter boxes scooped and refreshed daily. Emptying the entire box once a month and washing it with soap and water before refilling it with clean litter is a way to keep it smelling fresh.
Cats groom each other. You may see this if you live in a multi-cat household. It’s a way for cats to show love and acceptance. To mimic this action with your cat, brush them. Not only does it feel good, but it also removes loose hair that they would’ve either lost through shedding or swallowed while grooming themselves. It also keeps their coats healthy and shiny. Your cat will appreciate the effort and may even start to lick you as a way to groom you too! Use gentle strokes with a soft brush at first to get your cat used to the feeling. You can use a brush designed for capturing loose hair if your cat tolerates it.
8. Show Them the Love
Showing affection to your cat through petting, cuddling, and scratching lets them know that you love them. It’s a perfect way to show your cat that you’re not going to hurt them and that they are safe to return the love.
9. Don’t Punish
If your cat does something that you don’t like, punishing them is not the answer. If you strike your cat, you’ll break their trust in you and scare them unnecessarily. This is a chance to show your cat the behavior that you want to see from them instead. Teach them instead of yelling at them. Yelling will create a stressed atmosphere for your cat, and they won’t understand what you’re saying. Is your cat is scratching the furniture? Redirect them to scratch their own post. Is your cat is getting into something that they shouldn’t? Focus their attention on something else, like their favorite toys or a laser pointer. Show them what you want to see from them.
10. Mostly, Understand Them
We tend to make the mistake of thinking cats will be like dogs. Dogs are affectionate, respond to commands, and are usually predictable. Cats are solitary creatures that like to retreat to quiet places alone. We think that this means they don’t love us, but that’s not true. They just love us differently. Give them their space when they want it, and don’t expect more from them than they’re willing to give. You will strike a healthy balance of love and respect in your relationship with your cat.
We hope our tips have given you a few ideas to start strengthening the bond with your cat. They are capable of love and affection; they just show it on their own terms. Don’t be disappointed if your cat isn’t as loving as you want them to be right now. It doesn’t mean they won’t get there one day!
Featured Image Credit: Impact Photography, Shutterstock