One of the best things to come home to after a hard day’s work is a pet that curls up lovingly on your lap.
Cats make some of the most delightful companions and can show you the sweetest affection. In fact, some studies have shown that owning cats in particular can help lower your stress and anxiety levels, as cats have a positive calming effect. Not only that, cats are also thought to boost children’s immune systems – this is why cat cafés are in trend now! Yet, cats also have an unpredictable nature that makes them fascinating mysteries to even the most enthusiastic cat lover. So, how do you get them on your side?
If you’ve just brought home a kitty, are thinking of getting one for yourself or a family member, or if you already have one and simply want to pamper it, here are some great tips to make your cat love you!
1. Cat-proof your home
The first golden rule of cat-rearing is to make your home a safe space. Cats can be really playful, especially when they’re young. While they don’t fancy taking walks like dogs would, they will have no problems releasing a ton of energy in the house. So, cat-proof your home!
Stow away loose cables or cords, and keep small ornaments and devices out of reach. If you live in the upper floors of an HDB or condo, ensure that you have window grills installed. And if you want to be extra careful, put up additional wire mesh panels to prevent your cat from climbing through the grills.
You can also keep those mischievous claws away from your sofa by getting a scratching post. Check out this clever United Pets Cat Scratcher – Table Leg with Toy ($32.35, U.P. $53.90), that you can attach to your dining table. Space-saving and cat-charming, what more can you ask for?
2. Create a kitty crib
Once you’re sure that every nook and cranny of your home is safe, dedicate a cosy kitty corner that will make it feel secure. Add a simple litter box, cat litter and soft blankets for it to cuddle in snugly.
The sleek Pidan Igloo Cat Litter Box ($129.90) isn’t just a comfy haven for your cat, it’ll also fit right in with a minimalistic home deco! You can also get the 6kg Odourlock Ultra-Premium Clumping Cat Sand) ($16.90, U.P. $21.12) to help manage unpleasant scents coming from the litter box.
Pro-tip: Leave one of your old T-shirts in the kitty corner to help your cat get used to your scent!
3. Regulate mealtimes
Start a regular diet and meal schedule for your cat as early as possible. Once it gets used to the timing and portion of each meal, there will be less tendency for it to overeat – yes, cat obesity is common too! While there isn’t a fixed rule of thumb on how often a cat should eat, try a feeding regime of about one or two meals a day.
Remember that cats are meat eaters, so a high-protein diet is recommended. Wet canned food has a higher meat content while dry kibbles (pellet-shaped ground meals) contain more carbs. For a more balanced diet, you could mix wet and dry foods. And although cats are able to consume some human food, avoid feeding them your leftovers as these could contain ingredients that are harmful to cats. Onions, garlic, chocolate, grapes and raisins are big no-nos.
Pro-tip: Place a fresh bowl of water beside its feeding tray and at your cat’s favourite spots in the house.
4. Bond over fun
Be sure to set aside time for play! This may sound simple, but playing with them shows your cat that you are fun to be with.
You don’t have to lavish your cat with extravagant toys. Simple cotton balls are enough to keep them happy! But stay clear of small, detachable items that can be broken off and swallowed. Move the toy around in rapid and unpredictable ways, akin to a mouse or bird’s movements, to entice your cat to catch it. Occasionally make the game challenging too, so your cat can enjoy the hunt until it goes in for the big pounce.
Check out the Speelgoed Soft Cat Playball De Luxe ($3.90) – a great toy that’s extra soft yet durable.
5. Show Tender Less-is-more Care
When you’ve tried everything but your cat still walks away from you or shoots you a cool stare when you try to pat it, fret not!
Cats can be unresponsive at times, so the natural tendency is for you to load up on the affection. But take a leaf from a dating rule-book by playing a little hard to get! Let your cat approach you in its own time and when it does, gently offer your knuckle so it can sniff out your scent. Ensure that you’re always on the cat’s level and not towering over it so it doesn’t feel threatened. And observe your cat’s likes and dislikes – does it start to purr when you stroke its head or is the sweet spot under its chin?
Then as your cat opens up to you, bring on your A-game and start brushing its fur! This is a surefire way to charm your cat while removing excess hair from its body. The Foolee Easee Deshedding Tool ($45.90, U.P. $54) is a fantastic brush with two interchangeable combs that’s suitable for cats with short or long fur.
6. Use treats strategically
We can’t resist yummy munchies and our feline friends adore treats just as much. While you shouldn’t be overfeeding your cat, occasional snacks never hurt any cat! Reward yours with a small portion of healthy and tasty treats like the Purebites Freeze Dried Wild Salmon ($5.50) whenever it catches a toy to make their victory all the more satisfying.
7. Turn on the catnip magic
Known scientifically as Nepeta Cataria, Catnip is a herb from the mint family with a wondrous scent that puts many cats in euphoric kitty bliss. Catnip should not be overused but if your cat reacts positively to it, you can use it to help train your cat. Simply rub some catnip onto the scratching post to lure your cat there and keep it from playing with other furniture at home. You could also use it as a reward during play or to soothe your cat in new surroundings.
Get the organic Petlinks System Catnip – Pure Bliss ($11.80), which comes in re-sealable tubes to keep the catnip fresh.
Bonding with your cat takes time and patience, so don’t sweat it! Enjoy getting to know what makes it tick while giving it ample space to be on its own. After all, cats are independent creatures. And when it reciprocates with that first affectionate head bump, you’ll know that a cat’s love is well worth the wait.
*All products are available at Pet Lovers Centre.