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Cold Shoulder Kitty: Socializing a Cat

 by zack on 06 May 2013 |
3 Comment(s)
The human to kitty cat connection can be quite caustic on occasion.  Unlike their canine counterparts, cats, while cute, are known to be quite hostile to humans they haven’t bonded with. Unfortunately, bonding with an angry kitty isn’t exactly an easy endeavor. It takes patience, perception, and more than a few cat treats. In an effort to curb chaotic human/feline relations, today we’ll talk about the steps necessary to courting a particularly cautious cat.

To begin with, it’s important to note that not all cats are going to bond with everyone. Bonding with a cat is a delicate process, complicated by the fact that many of them are just downright finicky. However, with a little bit of can do attitude, and a lot of effort anything is possible.

Unless your cat's feral. If that’s the case, you’re up a creek.

But for today’s purposes let’s assume that you didn’t kidnap a bobcat from the forest, and start with some simple methods to bond with a cat. Some cats will walk right into your house like they own the place, others will be terribly frightened. You’ll need to isolate the latter in a small room so as to keep them from being overwhelmed. Fill this room with cat toys and treats. Don’t approach the cat, but patiently let it approach you. This may take a while, but it’s all part of caring for cats.
If you’ve got a kitten on your hands then it’s important to expose it to as many people as possible and always arrange these circumstances to indicate a positive experience around human beings. Cats are very impressionable and inquisitive in their first month and a half of life. So if you manage to create some happy early memories of play time with people, it will likely create a lasting impression.

Cat bonding can be elucidated with both petting and play. However, not all cats are created equal and many will far prefer one to the other. Figure out what your cat’s preferences are and shower them in their choice of affections. If a cat isn’t a fan of close physical contact, try the trusty laser pointer, or a toy with a long string. Eventually, your cat will become comfortable enough to approach you for physical contact.

Another important facet of socializing a cat is the feeding. Cats associate their owners with provisions, and it’s probably the most important part of the relationship. Always establish specific feeding times, and never leave food out for the cat all day. If you do, your prominent role in the cat’s daily routine is severely marginalized. Finally it’s important to pay attention to the signals the cat is sending. Tail twitching? Are its pupils dilated? Best to give the kitty some space.

Keep these tips in mind and you should no trouble socializing a cat. Just stay patient, and you’ll have a caring kitty companion in no time!


Tom Nicholson - Comment
Tom Nicholson03 Jun 2013Reply
Thank you, very interesting. I have taken in 2 stray cats and need all the help i can get.I am 72 years old and these two are a blessing. I have had them both fixed and they have had all thier shots. i call them my kids. lol. Thank you and keep up the good work. Tom.
Betty Schueler - Comment
Betty Schueler04 Jun 2013Reply
I do cat rescue and have managed to tame feral cats, to some degree. One thing people need to realize, when dealing with cats, is that 10% of them are genetically shy. Human contact, to them, is often an emotionally stressful situation that brings physical pain to them.

The way I work with them is to ignore them while having other, well-socialized cats, nearby to model good human-feline interaction.

I find they watch, as I interact with the other cats, and after weeks, to months of watching, will eventually take a chance and participate in a game of lazer tag.

All of your other suggestions work very well and I incorporate them into my socialization process. Unfortunately, these cats will never become really comfortable around humans so it is best to think of them as beautiful, living artwork in your house.
Cat Ladys Man - Comment
Cat Ladys Man05 Jun 2013Reply
Good information, feral adults can be made to trust lots of food, patience, but I think the ones that come around have been abandoned at one time.This article is why I do not contribute to SPCA here in New Brunswick I understand a 4 day assessment then destroy them if there not social enough,give me a break, my $$$ go to adoptive non destroying rescue centers @ ones that neutralize feral cats then put them back in the colony.

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