Unlike dogs, cats do not gain trust immediately, and their location must be won. Experts told us why this happens and what can be done to make friends with someone’s pet.
Treat a cat like a wild animal
“People have bred dogs for more than 100 thousand years, and cats have lived with us for only about five millennia. And until the last couple of centuries, they lived in barns, not in our homes, – explains Tom McNamee, author of the book “the Inner world of cats”. — Different breeds do not differ much from each other and from their wild ancestors. You could take home a Prairie cat kitten and it would grow into a decent pet.”
“We usually consider cats to be the same pets as dogs. But cats have a sense of dignity, just like humans. You need to get to know them slowly and remember that they are still programmed to behave like independent hunters,” says Jackson Galaxy, host of the TV program “My Cat from hell“.
Cats can smell other animals on you, so try to be odorless. They are used to protecting their territory, so try not to block the exits from the room. You can also spray your shoes with pheromone spray, which will calm the animal.
It seems that cats always approach the only person in the room who doesn’t want to pet them. According to McNamee, this makes sense. The usual behavior of cat lovers-all sorts of lisping and attempts to take the animal in your arms-gives the opposite result.
You need the cat to see you as an ally, not as a threat. Here are some tips for doing this:
- Don’t look the cat in the eye. And don’t go near it as soon as you’re in the house. Wait until she approaches you, and at this time look at the floor.
- Don’t tower over the cat. Lower your shoulders and put your hands on your knees or sit on the floor. Let the cat’s owner sit next to you — so it will understand that you are not the enemy.
- No loud noise. Speak softly. Don’t let noisy children or dogs get close.
- Don’t hold out your hand abruptly. When the cat is used to your presence, gently offer her your finger so that she can smell it. Jackson Galaxy advises you to reach out with your hand down and your index finger slightly pointing forward — so that the tip looks like a cat’s nose. The pet will touch it with its muzzle to “get acquainted”.
- Don’t rush. Wait until the cat begins to feel confident with you. It will pass through the middle of the room or rub against you. “Don’t stroke the cat’s sides or pat the top of its head,” McNamee advises. – Stroke the cheeks or behind the ear — there are glands that the mother cat touches when licking kittens.” When a cat rubs against your legs, it does not mean that it allows you to pet it. If you do this too soon, you may lose your trust. However, don’t give up. Even if the cat has run away from you, you can still win the next round.
Activate cat’s hunter mode
Play with a pet using a paper bow on a string or other bait. Hide behind the sofa to make the “prey” look more realistic. This way you will not be too close, and this will help the animal relax with you. Galaxy advises you to use this approach after you have already gained some confidence.
Or you can go straight to bribes. Put the treats on the floor about a meter away from the cat, and then put them closer and closer.
Another good way to gain trust is to feed the cat its usual food. Put it in a bowl and sit nearby. The pet won’t be able to resist.