Building a Relationship with Your Cat | PAWS Chicago

Building a Relationship with Your Cat


Creating a bond is an important first step in establishing a relationship with your cat.

Each cat has his own personality and needs, so it’s important to learn when he wants your attention and when he’d prefer a little quiet time.

Cats like to be near you when you are home. Your cat might sit on the couch with you, in a chair across the room or in his bed. When you pass by him, make an effort to pet him and see how he responds. If he wants attention, he will lay in your line of sight. Cats like to be petted under their chin, behind their ears and on their back and head.

A cat’s underside is very sensitive. Petting the sensitive stomach area causes a natural defense reaction that includes wrapping his paws around a person’s wrist, holding on and biting.

Even a normally docile and affectionate cat has limits. He may enjoy petting, but once a particular threshold is crossed, he may become overstimulated. Overstimulation can result in a nip. When giving your cat affection, always observe his body for signs that he is becoming overly aroused. These may include:

  • Fidgeting
  • Tail lashing
  • Flattened ears
  • Retracting lips
  • Warning nips in which teeth do not make contact with skin
  • Growling
  • Hissing

If your cat displays this behavior, do not touch him. Instead, give him time to himself. Read more about cat behavior in Translating Feline Body Language.

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Proper Handling

When picking up your cat, place one hand behind his front legs and another under his hindquarters and lift gently. Do not pick your cat up by the front legs or the scruff of his neck. 
Remember: A cat does not always land on his feet. Always set your cat down gently to maintain trust and a sense of safety.