Cinder’s Advice: Bonding with a New Cat

In December 2013, my husband and I adopted a one-year-old tortoiseshell from Hearts United for Animals. Cinder has taught us so much about cats that it seemed proper for her to have her own advice column.

QUESTION: How can one bond with a new cat?

Zoom! Zoom! That’s me racing from one part of the library to another. The library is the room where my pet parents restricted me during my first week with them. My owner was laughing as she chased me. When I ducked under a computer desk, she dropped to her knees and crawled after me. Next, I hid under a printer stand. Ha! She was too big to follow me. My owner tilted her head one way and then the other, calling my name and acting as if she didn’t know where I was. I peeked out at her, in case she really didn’t know where I was. Then I dashed past her again, ready for another game of chase.

Purr! Purr! On one of her visits to see me, my owner brought me a white furry mouse. She put it in front of me. Was it real? I gave it a sniff. Ah, it’s just a toy. I batted it with my paws. Then I rolled over on my back. The toy still in my paws, I pulled it to my face and then wrestled with it. The toy fell. I bounded to my feet and batted it again. My owner threw the mouse across the room and I raced after it. I flicked it away and then chased it down, over and over, until I grew tired. My owner embraced me in a hug, and I let her, briefly. Then I squirmed away. I needed space. Then I rubbed my nose to hers to thank her. What a wonderful world I have!

You might think that cats don’t bond with their owners, but we really do, and here are ways you can encourage your cat to bond with you:

  • Share your scent: Smells define a cat’s life! It shouldn’t surprise you that we want to know your unique scent.
  • Get down on our level: The lower you are, the more comfortable cats will feel with you. If you sit quietly and allow us to approach you when we choose, we’ll appreciate this action.
  • Spend time with us: One of my sisters likes to go for stroller rides with our owners. I don’t. My other sister likes to lay on their laps. I don’t. But I do like to wrestle my owners. We’re all different in the type of attention we want, but we also all want it.
  • Play with us: Each time my owners spend time with me in the library, they bring food or they come to play. The food lets me know they care for me; the toys let me know life with them will be fun.
  • Pet us: Even if I don’t like being hugged, I do like being stroked. Also, petting is the best way to get cats used to grooming, which is one of our most social behaviors.
  • Let us hear you: There are many ways to communicate with us. Say hello. Meow when we do. Sing to us. Just talk—about anything and everything. We like to hear your voice!
  • Watch us: Even though my sisters and I have our unique mannerisms, we also have a lot in common. Take time to watch us and soon everyone will think you’re a cat whisperer. 😉
  • Let us sleep with you: Cats enjoy love the warmth of our owners. We also love beds—whether our own, the dog’s, or yours!

In my next column, I’ll tell you about my teeth adventure. Please keep watch for it!

Have cat questions of your own? Submit to: allisontalkspetsATgmailDOTcom