Whether we are first-time cat guardians, long-time feline friends, or we aren’t a cat guardian, but the people around us, like family, roommates, and friends, have brought cats into our lives, everyone can learn something about how to tell our cats we love them in ways they can understand. This handy guide is a quick reference for anyone who wants to be clear about showing love and compassion.
How can we tell our cats we love them in a language they’ll understand? Let us count the ways!
Of course, one of the best ways to show our cats love, is to make sure they have a healthy diet. And because we love giving our kitties treats, EcoTreats is one of the best ways to share low-calorie, all-natural, nutritional treats that will keep our cat-companions healthy and help them live a long, happy life with us.
Shower them with attention.
This is especially important during a cat’s first few days in her new home. When everything around her is unfamiliar, she’ll need a sense of comfort and security. We can provide both by simply showering kitty with attention. Remember, an attentive approach does not mean we are grabbing at her, forcing snuggles, or getting in her way. Cats need to have alone time, or at least respectful, personal space, to explore and settle in.
We can shake hands with her and let her know we are open to snuggles and petting by placing our finger an inch or so in front of her nose. If she leans in and sniffs, we can graduate to gentle petting. If she continues to enjoy the moment, we can move in for closer cuddles. If she walks away, we have our answer and can try again in 30 minutes or so. Building trust is one of the biggest, most important tasks for us, as guardians. The more trust we build by listening to the needs and body language of our dogs and cats, the sooner we’ll be able to snuggle, jump into training, and enjoy a fun, productive playtime. The key is consistency!
Let’s get physical with our affection.
There’s no mistaking a loving touch, and we should be as generous as we can with it, especially if our new feline friend welcomes it!
In addition to the chin scratches, kitty might also find pleasure in being stroked from the top of her head to the base of her tail. If we’ve done the work to build trust, we’ll be rewarded with purrs of pleasure when we discover her sweet spots! When she finally develops the habit of rubbing herself against our leg, it will be the perfect time for us to also develop the habit of petting her on her furry head. Combing or brushing her fur, clipping her nails, and bathing her also serve as great bonding moments.
Head-bunting is a level of achievement that signifies kitty’s respect and trust in us. So when she finally offers us her forehead for a bunt, or when she lifts her head and goes nose to nose while gently sniffing, we can be certain that she acknowledges our affection and is returning the favor. Some cats also tolerate, if not totally love, being hugged; others don’t, so we should carefully test this theory with a new cat, and respect her space if this isn’t her thing.
Communication is a two-way street.
We should learn kitty’s different vocalization patterns, and what they mean so we can respond to them appropriately. The last thing we’d want is to make her feel misunderstood and neglected. In addition to addressing her specific needs, we can also acknowledge some of her feline chattiness with a simple pat on the head or by stroking her back. We don’t have to meow or purr back, but with proper training, a lot of patience, and consistency, kitty can be taught to understand specific human verbal cues, which should include simple terms and phrases of endearment, as well as words of approval.
Training them is also a demonstration of love.
A properly trained cat makes for a contented cat which, in turn, makes for a contented cat guardian. Training a kitty does not only mean having the least possible number of “accidents” around the house: broken vases, torn drapes, scratched upholstery and furniture, and urine-soaked carpets and slippers, among others. It also means productive, fun time spent with our cat. Playtime actually shapes a cat’s life from her earliest years throughout her senior life. When we get more advanced, we might even try teaching our cats tricks, like how to high-five and how to walk around the neighborhood or go on hikes while wearing a harness. Lastly, training provides our cat with physical and mental stimulation and rewards that she’ll surely enjoy and which will keep her from getting bored. Again, it’s important that we stick to a regular schedule because consistency gives them comfort and security.
Catnip, toys, and other treats.
Catnip is a natural, harmless, herbal pick-me-up that kitty will go crazy over. Toys, cat gyms, and cat trees will serve as effective distractions when we can’t keep her company. Treats don’t just have to be rewards for good behavior during training. Kitty can also enjoy her favorite treat during snuggle time or other regular bonding moments with us.
If we’re showing our cats how much we love them makes us crazy cat people, then so be it. We should take that as a compliment. After all, how many humans can say they show their family, friends, and partners how much they love them in ways their family, friends, and partners can understand. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a handy guide like this for our significant others? At least there’s a guide for speaking cat, and now you know that trust, patience, playtime, and listening are your cat’s “love language.”
- “What Do Cats Think About Us? You May Be Surprised,“ National Geographic
- “How Does Catnip Work It’s Magic On Cats,” Scientific American
- “10 Ways to Show Cats You Love Them,” Huffington Post
- “Sorry, Cat Haters, Science Isn't On Your Side,” Popular Science