Telling people that you love your cat while showing them an endless stream of camera phone pictures is all well and good, but to what extent have you really bonded with that special feline in your life? And how can you strengthen the connection between you and your cat and take it to the next level?
Here are six top tips to get you strutting down a path to forging a closer and more spiritual connection to your cat.
1. Master the slow blink
This might sound a little far along the insanity meter at first, but it is said that you can communicate with your cat by blinking at them. This move was brought to the masses by Jackson Galaxy’s My Cat From Hell TV show. The idea is that if you slowly blink while staring at your cat, you’ll communicate loving feelings towards said feline and — if all goes to plan — they’ll blink back.
Having said that, another theory says that if you very slowly blink at your cat and keep your eyes shut momentarily each time, you can induce your cat to take a quick snooze. So you might just be expediting nap time with this one.
2. Talk it up
Keeping on with the concept of building up a bond through communication, try talking back to your cat the next time she meows at you. Mimic what she says and see if you can get some sort of back-and-forth dialogue going. Let’s be honest: It might sound ridiculous, but you’ve had less intelligible conversations on social media.
3. Take time to play properly
Sometimes at the end of an arduous work day or after a hellish commute home, playing properly with your cat can turn into more of a chore than an enjoyment. After all, the part of a play session that cats enjoy the most is the slow stalking of pretend pray, rather than just bombing about after whatever toy you’ve thrown across the floor for them. (Standard kitten going crazy exception applies.)
So next time you’re getting a little frustrated because your cat doesn’t seem that into your attempts to engage her in a quick play session, step up and slow it down. They’ll thank you later. Possibly by not destroying a roll of toilet paper or knocking tchotchkes off a shelf.
4. Sit close to your cat
When I adopted Mei, my first cat as an adult, I was told that if she hid under the bed or the couch at first, the best way to coax her out was to simply sit on the floor nearby. So I holed up with my laptop, sitting with my back against the front of the couch, and waited it out. The tactic worked, as Mei ventured out after a few hours.
Take a similar approach next time you spot your cat napping or gazing out of the window and go and settle down close by. You might find it also brings you a few moments of calm contemplation to boot. Or that you actually really enjoy staring at birds outside your window.
5. Pet, don’t pick up
Let’s be honest, while it’s fun to pick cats up and walk around with them, most felines don’t exactly enjoy being scooped up in such an unceremonious way. So nix those thoughts of elevating your kitty and instead stick to some good old fashioned, hands-on, conservative petting. Adding that butt scratch thing to the repertoire is a moral choice that you must make for yourself.
6. (Sort of) share your food and drink
Well, don’t necessarily share everything you eat with your cat — after all, many foodstuffs like garlic, onions and coffee are toxic to cats and should definitely not be on your cat’s menu — but letting her sniff your beer or trying a tiny morsel of salmon while you eat at the dinner table is a way to bring your cohabiting worlds closer together.
Likewise, make a point to feed your cat her evening meal at the same time as you sit down to eat yourself — although don’t be tempted to taste test that premium freeze-dried venison you’ve decided to serve up for the four-legged diner.