The 5 Best Ways to Make Sure You Have Your Cat’s Respect

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cats and respect

You Disrespectin’ Me, Little Kitty?!

Cats are complex pets that can sometimes be considered individualistic. Unlike dogs, cats usually won’t rush to greet you when you come home from work or follow you all over the house every time you make a move. For many new cat owners, their pet’s relative disinterest in their comings and goings can make it feel as if their cat doesn’t respect them, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

A cat’s behavior toward you doesn’t mean she doesn’t respect you. Cats act differently than dogs because they aren’t pack animals. They don’t need a leader to feel complete.

For many, the feelings of lack of respect from their cats is actually being mistaken for lack of trust. Luckily, building trust with your cat isn’t that difficult. Here are the five best ways to make sure you have your cat’s respect (and trust).

#1: Don’t Try to Dominate Your Cat

You can get a dog to respect you by showing dominance over it because dogs are led by their pack leaders. This approach won’t work with a cat. Instead, you should take a significantly calmer approach when dealing with a cat. For instance, avoid making direct eye contact with her when you approach her and don’t make any sudden moves or loud noises. When talking to your cat, use only your voice, speak softly, and avoid moving your hands around. And whatever you do, do not trap your cat in a corner or try to force her to do anything.

#2: Build a Routine With Your Cat

Even though your cat can act unpredictably, they love predictability in their day. Building a routine with your cat will help make her more comfortable in your presence and your home. Try feeding her at the same time every day and you will find she will eventually come running to you even before you fill her bowl. 

#3: Be Affectionate With Your Cat

Cats might seem like loners, but they crave love just like everybody else. Therefore, the sooner you start showing affection with your new cat, the quicker she will grow to love it and look forward to it. While your cat is still a kitten, get her used to being petted and cuddled with and give her toys that will help keep her busy. When starting out, use very slow hand motions and speak calmly to help soothe your cat, so she can start relaxing. Never try to force affection on your cat or you could risk losing all the trust you have gained to that point.

#4: Practice Positive Reinforcement

Scolding your cat after she does something wrong is not an effective way to teach her. Odds are your loud voice and movements will only force her to run and hide. Instead, practice positive reinforcement when she behaves well. Praise her using your voice and/or give her a treat or some catnip. Over time, your cat will learn that she gets attention and treats from you for being good but gets nothing from you when she does something bad.

#5: Use the Clicker Training Method

The clicker-treat training method has been proven to be an effective way to positively reinforce a cat. Every time your cat does something right or responds in a positive manner, you click a clicker and then give your cat a treat. This can be an effective tool for training your cat to perform certain tricks. Just keep in mind that cats become bored very quickly. If you are trying to train your cat, keep the sessions short.

How to Tell When a Cat Disrespects You

You might not believe it based on your cat’s behavior, but your cat will never purposely disrespect you. She’s a cat; she doesn’t know what it means to be disrespectful. In most cases, disrespect is simply mistaken for bad cat behavior. For instance, if your cat jumps on your counter while you are pouring yourself a bowl cereal, she is not doing it purposely to disrespect you, she is doing it because she hasn’t been taught not to.

Almost all bad cat behavior can be remedied through the above measures. But in some cases, a cat’s negative behavior could be being caused by something more serious, like an underlying health problem. If you tried all the above techniques and they haven’t worked, or your cat experiences a sudden change in behavior, then you should schedule a visit to the veterinarian, so she can get a thorough check-up.

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