Do Cats Bond With Their Owners?
We all know that cats are solitary animals who can survive quite well without human intervention. A look at any feral cat population, or those farm cats who live in the grain or hay shed keeping the mouse population down, will illustrate this perfectly. However, cats have become used to ‘belonging’ to humans through society. For generations now the majority of cats are born into a family then moved onto other family situations. How did you get your cat? I can almost guarantee it wasn’t a wild one you decided to adopt.
You will want your cat to develop a bond with you, to learn to trust you and even love you in a cat way. While it can be easy for you to develop a bond with your cat, how do you get your cat to develop a bond with you?
Cats are particular and very finicky about who they will accept and bond with. I don’t know of anyone who can tell you why cats will choose one person over another. There was an interesting experiment done a few years ago where a person who was a cat lover was told to sit in a room and make no sounds or movements towards the cat that was let into the room. They just sat there and let the cat do whatever it wanted. The same experiment was done with non-cat lovers. The strange thing was that the cat made overtures (rubbing against legs, purring etc) to the people who didn’t particularly like cats more often than to those who were ‘cat people’. The experiment was repeated a number of times with different people and different cats and the results were the same – the cats went to the people who didn’t like them!
Cats in the home will usually bond with one person and tolerate others in the family. This will usually be the person who feeds them from the kitten stage. They will trust this person as they are providing sustenance as well as affection. They have trained the kitten to use the litter box and praised it for doing so. They have given affection such as stroking while feeding. Next time you feed your cat, pause and mentally watch what you do. Do you bend down and stroke the cat while putting the food down? Or do you just put the dish down then call the cat.
Cats will also bond with the person who keeps them safe. If you have young children who might inadvertently ‘play rough’ it would well be you that ‘rescues’ the cat from those situations.
Perhaps you talk to your cat during the day. Each time I see my cat I’ll always talk to her in a gentle voice and tell her how lovely she is. I’ll also stroke her as I walk past, or just rub her under the chin. I never yell at her, even if she gives me a nip to tell me to stop stroking her. These nips are gentle, she never breaks the skin but she leaves me in no doubt as to what she wants and doesn’t want at that particular time.
Cats can and do ‘change their person’. When we were a two cat family our cats changed in that Tikki became my daughter’s cat while Cassie bonded with me. Cassie was originally to be my daughter’s responsibility and Tikki had always jumped on my lap or bed. As Cassie bonded more with me, Tikki changed to Julia. We shared the feeding, whoever was closest at meal time put the food out. We both petted the cats but Tikki started sleeping more on Julia’s bed while Cassie came to me. They both chose who to bond with. Tikki still came to me when she was ill so the bond wasn’t broken, she just chose to spend more time with Julia.
Having a cat choose to bond with you is a wonderful experience. And during the ensuing years, you’ll find that the bond between you has grown very strong and the joy you have with each other will be precious.
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