Cats are usually silent companions, much more laid back than dogs. But like all companion animals, cats can bond very closely with their humans.
Cats show affection to their loved ones by “talking,” purring, rubbing up against their human, lap-sitting, licking you, kneading you. They also show trust and affection in a way you would rather they didn’t – by sticking their butts in your face. Their “scent” communicates the days activities to you. But we must remember that cats are individuals, each with their own personalities and quirks.
Kittens and young cats should have lots of interaction with many people to accustom them to being with humans. If a kitten or cat seems frightened, have an area set aside – a quiet room – where s/he can feel safe and secure. Use toys or favorite treats to lure a cat out of hiding. Sit down on a chair or the floor so that you don’t appear so big. Speak softly and scatter some treats. Curiosity eventually gets the better of most cats and they will want to see things for themselves, so wait patiently until s/he comes to you. Don’t make any sudden movements that may frighten the cat. The cat will soon learn that you are not a threat and will trust you.
Newly adopted cats can be kept in a room until they are ready to explore the rest of their new home. Be sure to cat-proof the house before the new member arrives so that there are no accidents.
Most cats don’t adjust easily to any changes. Our calico cat, Peaches, was a great example of cats dislike of change.
When we moved to a new home, the painters inadvertently left a door open and because Peaches was terrified, she ran out. We were not familiar with the area, but went about our search, asking neighbors and posting signs. We were very fortunate that one neighbor said there was a cat scrunched up in a hole outside her house. She left food for the cat, but it wouldn’t come out while she was there. When the neighbor showed me the spot I called Peaches by name. Hearing my voice, she came out of hiding, ran to me, safe and none the worse for wear.
The moral of the story is introduce your cat slowly to any changes, whether it is a new home, a new person, even minor changes in bed, litter, food or moving any of them.
Never punish a cat for unwanted behavior – that’s the easiest way to break the bond you’re trying to establish. A firm “No” can tell the cat you’re not pleased. Time out in a crate or separate room can help if a cat is behaving aggressively. Have your cat examined by the veterinarian to make sure there are no medical reasons for the behavior.
Most important, be patient and be kind and gentle. Eventually your cat will respond by becoming a loving companion.