How to gain a cat’s trust

Tips and advice on being a better cat owner

Lauren Aquino, Features Editor

Unlike dogs, cats share a different bond with humans; it might be more difficult to get a cat to open up to you. Cats are more sophisticated, considering their capabilities of handling themselves and being independent. Although it may take some time, be patient with your cat. For first-time cat owners, or anyone who wants to learn more about these felines, here are some tips I have used as a cat owner on how to gain a cat’s trust.

Let the cat familiarize its surroundings

When a cat first enters your home, they might be feeling shy and timid. Cats hide in small areas because they are unaware of where they are. It is important that you let them roam around and to try not to approach them. Instead, let the cats approach you. When the cats feel comfortable enough, they might rub against you. Never chase a cat, that will only frighten them and they will run away.

Communicate with the cat and monitor their body language

It might sound odd, but there are ways to communicate with your cat with only body language. One way cats communicate with their owners is the slow blink. When a cat looks at you and blinks their eyes slowly, they are showing their love to you. Do the slow blink back to make the cats feel safe around you. Cats will show that they feel vulnerable with you if they lay down with their belly out. This is an indication of trust.

Know the areas to pet a cat

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Cats can be very sensitive when it comes to how they are pat. It is important to know what areas each cat likes and dislikes to be pat. Just like the previous step, cats will show their bellies to you, but it is not an invitation for you to pat them. Most, but not all, cats dislike belly rubs. This all depends on your cat. You can tell if a cat is uncomfortable with a pat because they might scratch or hiss at you. But do not be alarmed, remain calm or it can cause them to get stressed. Cats will purr or rub against you if they like to be pat in a certain area on their bodies.

Play with the cat

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It may seem like all cats do is sleep, but that is not true at all. Cats enjoy playtime and can be very social. There are several toys that can be purchased for your cat’s enjoyment. If there’s one thing they like the most, it is chasing after something. It doesn’t even have to be a toy, it can be miscellaneous items at your house like a bottle cap or a laser pointer. Playing with cats keeps them active, but don’t play too rough. Cats might get too tired, so know when to stop.

Give them special treats

Cats enjoy a special treat here and there, but you need to know the time to give it to them. If you give your cat a treat after they have done a bad thing, it will reinforce bad behavior. So, be strategic when you give your cat a treat. They also enjoy catnip, a plant given to cats to enhance playtime or can relax them.

Have the essentials

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There are a couple essential items that cats need, especially if they are living indoors. Cats need a litter box so they can bury their feces and urine in the sand. Litter boxes can be purchased at pet stores and there are several designs to choose from. I would suggest getting an enclosed one to reduce the odors. Don’t forget a litter scooper to get rid of their waste.

Like every animal, cats need food. Make sure you give your cat a proper diet. And lastly, buy a scratching post. This one might be optional, but I strongly encourage you to get one. Cats’ nails can get very sharp so a scratching post will help keep their nails filed and prevent them from scratching any furniture.

Cats are playful and loving house pets to own. With proper training and approach, you can be an expert in gaining a cat’s trust.