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5 Ways to Help a Cat That Doesn't Like People

 by jaime on 16 Jul 2014 |
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While some felines will practically fall over themselves trying to communicate their love or obtain your affection, other cats simply don't seem to like people at all. If your cat has an unknown history, or a wariness or dislike of people, it may unfortunately relate to past experiences of abuse or neglect. However, even cats that have experienced a pleasant upbringing may develop aloof or skittish personalities. Here are some tips if you own a cat that seems to mistrust or dislike people. Often, forming a good relationship with just one person can pave the way to a better view of humans in general.

1. Try sitting together on a regular basis

If your cat doesn't like people, then being pulled into your lap will not be tolerated. Instead, try to find a more cautious way of sharing space. For example, try sitting down near your cat during a sleepy moment when the animal might be more receptive to your presence and to gentle petting. Eventually, you may be able to transition to cuddling: though, some cats never develop an enjoyment of being held.

2. Make sure that your cat associates you with meals

Although it seems like a cheap tactic, you may sometimes find that you can buy your cat's trust by making sure that you are the one to provide food. If you always put the food dish out, your cat will learn that you are important, consistent and will continue to provide care.

3. Back off when told to

If your cat feels threatened or annoyed then you may see hissing, growling and flattened ears. However, some cats will just use one of these warning signs at a time and if your pet is just a little uncomfortable then you might notice jerky tail movements and see that the cat is ducking away from your hand. Any time your advances appear to be unwelcome, a willingness to back off will demonstrate that you are less threatening and help your pet to feel more in control of the situation.

4. Be careful about eye contact

If you stare into your cat's eyes for a long time, this indicates a desire to assert dominance (even though you may be thinking nothing of the kind). To show your pet that you are friendly, unthreatening and kind, look down after making eye contact. Some experts also advise showing your cat long, slow blinks during eye contact.

5. Engage in gentle play

A poorly socialized cat that struggles to relate to humans may not be interested in playing with you at first, or you might find that play ends in a painful scratch or bite. Where possible, try to reward your pet if the cat takes part in fun play that doesn't involve any form of attack on you. It can be smart to give your cat the occasional treat to reinforce good behavior, but try not to overdo it due the unhealthy nature of most cat treats.

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