How To Bond With Your New Cat

Kitten being friendly with kid

Cats can be very fickle creatures when it comes to their likes and dislikes in the world. A lot of new cat owners have a difficult time forming a bond with their new cat right away. We feel this is particularly difficult for pet owners who have only had dogs before because the way cats bond with a human are quite different from the way a dog forms a bond with its owner. So if you are a new cat owner and you are trying to find a way to build a bond with your new pet, take a look at the article below to find a few simple steps on how you can build a strong bond with your cat.

Allow Your Cat Time To Hide

Spending Time Alone Allows Them Time to Relax

One of the most important ways you can bond with a cat actually sounds a little bit backwards at first but it makes sense when you understand why your cat behaves the way it does. With a cat it is important to let them hide away for some parts of the day. If you are constantly pulling them out from under the couch or pulling them out of the cardboard box they just jumped in you will mess with their natural inclinations. Cats naturally want to hide. It is instinctual for them and makes them feel safe and comfortable. The same way you think your brand new recliner or bed is comfortable, your cat thinks the same thing about hiding away under the couch. In nature cats hide in order to stay safe from other predators and also to surprise unsuspecting prey. So even though you are feeding your cat delicious cat food every night their instincts are still telling them to hide and wait. 

Instead of trying to battle millions of years of evolution by constantly keeping your cat out and exposed, just let them hide away for some parts of the day. If they find a particular place they like to hide for a couple hours it's no big deal. It doesn’t mean that they don’t like you or that they are mad at you. They just instinctually find comfort by hiding away someplace. So don’t interrupt your cat every time they get comfortable if you want them to form a strong bond with you.

Cat looking anxious
It’s important to let your cat have time to themselves so that they don’t get too anxious.

Caring For Your Cat Is A Great Way To Bond

Showing Them Attention and Affection Can Be A Key Bonding Experience 

Another important way to form a bond with your cat is by keeping them on a routine or schedule. Unlike dogs, cats don’t naturally operate in a pack structure. They are kind of loners when they are out and about in the wild. So when you introduce them into a human home they don’t understand what you are expecting from them. In order to help alleviate some of their confusion in their new surroundings and help them get comfortable in their new home it's important to keep them on a schedule. 

You will want to give them food at the same time each day. For instance my girlfriend feeds the cat first thing in the morning when she wakes up for work and I feed him each night before we sit down for dinner. Not only does the routine help you bond with the cat, but actually providing them with the food makes them directly form a connection between you and all the happy feel good chemicals in their brain when they get to eat.

Similarly you will want to spend time with your cat by playing with them, especially if they are a kitten. Young cats have a ton of excess energy and instead of letting them run around like a fuzzy little tornado all day, it is worth taking ten or fifteen minutes twice a day to play with them. Find whatever kind of toy your cat likes to play with and take some time to play a game with them around the same time each day. As a cat owner myself I can tell you on the days I play with my cat and wear his butt out in the morning, he is much better behaved all day. So not only do you get the benefit of bonding with your cat by playing a game with them, you also alleviate the excess energy they would use to get into shenanigans.

Another good way to bond with your cat is by grooming and caring for them. Cats are very proud creatures but they understand you taking the time to care for them is a sign of affection. When getting a new cat it's a good idea to keep some supplies on hand. It's a good idea to keep a brush around so that you can brush them. Some treats around so you can reward them, And some first aid supplies around in case they get injured exploring their new home. 

cat playing with brush
Grooming or playing with your cat can be a great way to help them bond with you.

Allow Them To Initiate The Bonding 

Let Them Approach You When They Are Ready To

Another important way to bond with your cat is to allow them to determine when the two of you will bond. You have to let your cat initiate some of the bonding experiences. Cats are very picky about when they want to be picked up and snuggled on. So if you just sit back and wait for your cat to come to you, you will know they are in the right mood to be showered with affection. If you try to force affection on them when they aren’t in the mood for it they won’t interpret it as you being affectionate, they will interpret it as you being annoying. So when your cat comes and sits on your lap and starts kneading on you to lay down, let them. They want to spend time with you and express affection so don’t turn them away or they’ll learn not to show affection in the future.

One trick I have found as a cat owner is to teach your cat to be affectionate when you give them food or treats. My cat never gets his food until he’s nuzzled up against my hand first. This helps him build the associate between giving affection and being rewarded with food.

cat getting snuggled up
Sometimes you can initiate the bonding but it's important to let your cat show you affection as well. 

Cats can be very tricky animals to bond with, especially if you’ve never had a cat before, and doubly so if you have only owned dogs before. Don’t expect a cat to behave like a dog and constantly want to play and have attention. Cats need time to isolate themselves in order to satiate an instinctual need. Don’t worry if they go and hide away for an hour or so. If you let them have their space they will come be affectionate when they are comfortable and ready to. Furthermore, it is difficult for a cat to understand what you expect from them so keeping them on a routine or a schedule helps them adjust to living in a human household full of human rules that they don’t understand. If you follow the simple advice in the article above you are sure to bond with your new cat or kitten in no time. And your experience as a new cat owner will be all the more rewarding because of it.

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