This article reaches out to both new catowners and to those who have had a cat for a long time, but not really have that bond that you dream of having with your cat. This article is also perfect for you who are thinking about getting a cat or kitten, and want to learn about them first.
Note that all cats are individuals, and might react differently then you expect. I have to write in general to match how most cats are, but if your cat is more timid, you might need to take it slow and be more patient, and grateful for every little progress.
If you already own a cat that you want to bond more with, you need to understand that your cat now has a certain impression of who you are, since you have been living together for a while. So what you need to do is to prove your cat wrong basically. Maybe you haven´t really paid any attention to your cat until now, so you have to approach slowly and everyday show your cat that you are fun to be around.
This can be done by having 1-2 times a day (preferably before breakfast and dinner) where you sit down on the floor near where your cat are right now, and have a few pieces of some sort of treats that your cat likes very much. Play around with the pieces on the floor (or just one piece, and hide the rest) by using your fingers like hockey sticks.
This is to get your cat to walk up to you by her own free will to see what you are doing, and hopefully want to play along. This might not happen the first time, or the first week even, so BE PATIENT!Those times when she doesn´t walk up to you, just sit there for a while and then get up and leave a piece or two of the treats. That might make her understand that you want to give her this when you are on the floor the next time.
When she DO come to you, first give her one piece of candy to welcome her, and then play with another piece to try and make her want to take it from you, or maybe play along. As she interacts, give her the treat and play with one more to do it again. Some may be tempted to pick her up and hug her now, but if this is something she doesn´t normally like, then I must advice you to not do that yet, it might take you a few steps back in the progress.
After this bonding moment, whether she responded or not, you give her food to really make her understand how nice you are and that you only want the best for her.
Another thing you can do, is to sit in your sofa or bed (again with treats nearby) and call out for your cat. It could be by making noises, call her name or usa a toy that makes sounds. Anything that will make her come to you. And as she comes to you, try to make her jump up where you are, again with maybe a toy or just by tapping with your hand beside you. If she comes up, give her a treat and stroke her (stop stroking her if she starts to show signs of discomfort) and then keep talking to her with a soft, soothing voice. Let this voice be the one you always use as you bond with your cat. Don´t try to stop her if she wants to jump down and go away, again – BE PATIENT! By letting her jump down whenever she wants to, is almost the same as a hug for us humans. Give her treats as she is sitting in the sofe with you, and maybe play with your hand or your feet near her to see if she will play along. Do this everyday, and before you know it, she will jump up to you without you calling for her.
Other bonding stuff you could do is to walk up to her where she sleeps, but as she is awake already, and just talk softly to her while you pet her gently, or just use a finger and pet her paw while talking to her. Don´t look straight into her eyes now, it may seem threateningly to her, especially when you are so close. Do this only for a little while, and then let her be.
As you get to know and understand your cat more and more as this progress, you can change each step to fit your schedule.
And let me just again tell you, BE PATIENT! 🙂 I know it is hard, but that will always be the key to succeed with this.