Have You Been Petting Your Cat Wrong?
Cuteness in animals has always been the primary reason why humans are attracted to them. In our view, any movement or gesture that is pleasing to the eye makes us want to pet and play with the animals. In the case of pets, our hearts melt when our cat or dog lies on the floor looking at you, or makes subtle sounds, making us feel vulnerable and urging us to pat them immediately.
But the situation may differ from pet to pet. It may be easier to play and pet dogs as pets, but it is an equally challenging task for cat owners because felines are not as sociable as dogs. Many cat owners face an extraordinary dilemma in the form of strong resistance from their pets when it comes to petting or playing. Hence it is vital that we try and understand the reasons for such resistance and contemplate ways to tackle it.
Following are few ways in which cat parents and general feline lovers can break down the mystery of petting their feline furriends:
1) You want ME to obey YOU? Have you lost it hooman?
It’s never going to work! Anyone who wants to play with cats must know, that they are too proud and dominant to ever abide by your wishes. This is the primary reason why petting a cat is a difficult task. It is entirely up to the hoomans to approach the cat and try to play with it. The cat will make it tough because it never appreciates if its personal space is breached without permission. Hence it is vital that instead of petting the cat directly, we must be patient and let it trust your presence first, and then let it mingle around you. The battle is not won yet. The cat needs to feel safe around you, and for that to happen, you must not make any sudden moves. Do not touch it anywhere except the head, else you are surely in for a scratch attack!!
2) Gimme food, you lousy hooman!
The biggest way to make the cat trust you and let you play with it is to provide them with food. Cats have high metabolism because of their over-curious nature, and therefore they are always hungry. Cat owners must ensure they meet their cat’s food demands regularly. Once the feline knows that you are not its enemy and that you can provide it with treats and meals, it will ease on you and let you pet it. Food has always been the most basic way of building trust with cats. It is the best way to let your cat know that you love them and can selflessly provide food. Also, we must remember that we must NOT PET them while they are eating. It is very annoying for them to be touched while munching.
3) Listen to me dear servant, just listen to me!!
Home cats usually mew and yowl loudly, confusing the parents as to what might they want. Since we can never actually understand their language, it is imperative to make the cat feel that you do follow what it is trying to communicate. This can be done by responding to their mews and yowls with understanding gestures, like shaking your head in agreement, placing your palm on their body, providing assurance in the form of warmth etc. Most of the times cats make direct eye contact with their parents, indicating complete trust and acceptance. We must reciprocate the same by looking at them with a smile while talking in a gentle tone. Cats are known to calm down when we are happy and relaxed. They can sense our mood and can understand our bodily mannerism. Hence, we must ensure that we make our cats feel important at all times!
4) I forbid you from touching me at vulnerable spots!!
When cats begin to mingle around us freely, they will roll on their back, exposing their underbellies. This is a way of showing affection and trust towards us. But many people mistake this gesture for an invitation for a belly rub, only to end up facing the royal feline wrath! For cats, the reason to expose their bellies is to express their affinity and friendliness towards us, and not to let you touch it (in the case of fully grown cats). The places where they love to be touched and pet are the top of the head, the base of their ears, their fluffy cheeks, and the glands under the skin leading to their necks. Rubbing and petting them in these areas makes them happy and calms them down. Like every other animal has their way of expressing love, cats usually like to show it by rubbing its skin against yours. And that’s why it is important that we understand their preferences when it comes to areas that should be touched and those that shouldn’t.
5) I like toys, and toys, and, toys!!
One of the ways to let your cat allow you to pet it is to bring it a lot of toys. Since felines are naturally curious creatures, they are always excited at the sight of colorful and furry things. Once the cat knows that you cater to its curiosity well, it becomes easier for you to shower the cat with affection. They will ease at the sight of interesting items and will mingle around you a lot more once they have realized that you are capable of bringing it amazing toys and treats. The primary purpose of toys is that it will calm your cat a lot, making it easier for you to pet and play with it.
Unlike dogs, who are normally very wild and sociable and love attention, cats prefer solitude and respect for their space. The key to building a strong bond with felines is to ‘let them be’ the way they are. It may take longer to form a trusted relationship with a cat, but once it is established, you can be assured that it will never ever break, unless ‘you’ make a mistake!!