Will some cats only love one person? Is there really such a thing as a one-person kitty? Can a cat learn to love someone new? How can I make friends with a cat who prefers someone else?
Many cats are equal opportunity lovers and will give affection to any human who is around. Other cats may be most comfortable with familiar people, but be scared or cautious around strangers. Cats can be very adaptable, and from my years of working with shelter cats, I can tell you that so many cats can adapt and love new people, especially when patience and an understanding of cat behavior are applied!
Got a kitty who is playing hard-to-get? Here are some tips to have a better relationship with them!
Some cats do seem to bond very strongly with just one or two people. This may be due to how they were socialized when they were a kitten, or due to a long history of positive experiences with that person.
Cats can be wary of new people, and some cats just need time to trust.
Don’t be too overbearing. We know that cats prefer to call the shots when it comes to human interactions, so give them space.
Let the cat approach you, and keep petting limited to the areas they like best. Most cats prefer pets to the cheeks, chin and forehead, and may not like petting to the body or lower back.
You can’t make a cat like you more by forcing yourself on them!! If they are afraid of you, picking them up to “show” them you are safe will only make them more afraid of you.
Bring gifts: One way to a cat’s heart is through food. Take over meal-feeding, and deliver the cat’s favorite treats.
Model the favorite person’s behavior: If your cat loves your partner, watch how they interact. How does your partner talk to your cat? How do they approach and pet him?
Study your cat: watch their body language carefully and look for signs of irritation or stress, such as ear twitching, head turns, a swishing tail, dilated pupils or tense muscles. Back off if you see any signs of stress.
Make sure your cat feels safe in her environment. This means easy access to litter boxes, vertical space, and quiet areas to eat and eliminate in. Cats need hiding spots where they can decompress if possible: this could be a cat bed in your bedroom, or a cubby of a cat tree in a sunny window.
Find other ways to bond with your cat: this could be through clicker training or interactive play with wand toys!
Hopefully, these tips will help you understand your hard-to-get kitty, and build a better bond with them...even if it is at THEIR pace, not yours!
[#BeginTLDR#] Many cats are equal opportunity lovers and will give affection to any human who is around. [#SplitTLDR#] Cats can adapt and love new people, especially when patience and an understanding of cat behavior are applied![#SplitTLDR#] If your cat loves your partner, watch how they interact. How does your partner talk to your cat? Try modeling their behavior if your cat struggles to warm up to you. [#EndTLDR#]
We consulted Dr. Mikel Maria Delgado, a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and a postdoctoral fellow at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis. Mikel has worked professionally with cats for almost twenty years, starting in the Cat Behavior Program of the San Francisco SPCA, and more recently through her cat behavior consulting partnership, Feline Minds. She’s also co-author with Jackson Galaxy of the 2017 book “Total Cat Mojo,” and has published her research in several academic journals.
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