I have always found cats to be amazing, interesting animals, so very different from dogs. If you have ever seen my training videos or TV series, you know they have always been directed toward dog training. As a trainer of animals for movies, TV shows, and commercials, I have also had many opportunities to train, and be around a lot of many different types of cats. What I have learned about cats, much like dogs, is that you need to develop a relationship with them as well.
Cats are very different types of animals. I think that when people are deciding on whether to get a cat as a pet, quite often, they believe that owning a cat is going to be easier than owning a dog, because cats are so stereotyped as being “independent”. Because of this stereotype, perspective cat owners don’t realize that a cat is a commitment. Quite often, when they realize that their new cat is going to need a lot more care than they anticipated, they don’t have the time for the animal, and inevitably, the cat can end up back in an animal shelter or humane society.
Cats can actually be more complex than a dog. But I think that one of the most interesting things about cats is their personalities. Cats, just like dogs, can have a wide variety of personalities, and are so complex that they can actually be a lot more difficult to read than a dog. The biggest reason for this is that many times, cats just don’t show their personalities.
I do think cats also get a bad rap as being labeled “independent” or “finicky”. When we label someone as independent or a “loner”, it means that the person does a lot better off by himself. Some cats might be a little more independent than others, but all cats need care, love, and companionship. The truth is, quite often cats can be “independent” or “finicky” naturally, but more times than not, cats are made that way as a result of their owners. Believe it or not, there are many things that that you can do as a cat owner within the first 30 days to avoid creating a “finicky” or “independent” cat.
Cats are also very different from dogs in the ways they express their excitement and their fear. The whole idea in owning a cat is to remember: cats do have feelings. They are living, breathing beings, who feel love and pain, and although they might not show it, feel many of the things that we feel. Even though they might not express their emotions as clearly as dogs, believe me, they are there.
Knowing that, it is your responsibility as a new cat owner to make the animal as comfortable as possible as soon as possible in her new home. If you are looking to create a bond of trust with your cat, you build it by getting the cat to want to be with you, and you wanting to be with your cat. And the way that happens is doing the things that the cat likes, and makes him comfortable. It’s that simple. The following chapters will help you with that.
GETTING TO KNOW YOUR CAT
During the first phase of cat ownership, it is so important to just get ot know your cat. Since the next step is developing that relationship, you’re going to want to make sure that you have the necessary time to devote to your cat now so you can begin to learn the things the cat likes, and the things the cat does not like.
What you are going to want to do is first take a look at the things that may scare the cat, or things the cat may not like. Be aware of people or objects the cat may be a little afraid of.
At the same time, try to begin to expose your cat to as many positive things as possible too. My suggestion is to get a variety of toys, and a variety of cat treats. Just give your cat a choice to see the things he likes, and this might take some time.
This period of time is really all about learning, and understanding the animal. Once you have a good grasp of the things the cat likes or does not like, you can then move to the next phase.
DEVELOPING A RELATIONSHIP
I really think this is the stage where most of the fun begins, and the owner really gets a chance to know and begin to undertand the animal. Remember that in the previous stage of getting to know your cat, we just got the opportunity to learn about the animal, and kind of digested what we learned.
During the time you got know your cat, did you see that your cat was afraid of certain types of people? Was your cat afraid of men? Were there certain areas of the house the cats was a little more than others? Were there certain objects the cat was afraid of?
Take the time to think about anything the cat was afaraid of. It is essential that you make every effort to eliminate those things from the cat's life.
During the time you got to know your cat, you also found that there were things the cat did like. You got to experiment with some different types of cat treats. Were there certain treats he liked more than others? You also got a chance to experiment with a variety of different cat toys too. Was there a certain toy your cat liked more than others?
Take the time and think about all the things your cats likes, and incorporate those things in his life.
If you begin to eliminate the things the cat does not like, and incorporate the things your cat does like, you are then ready for the last phase.
BUILDING THE TRUST
Now that you have gotten a chance to incorporate the things the cat likes and eliminate the things the cat does not like, you have simply given the cat every reason to want to be around you.
When you take a look at your best friend, husband, or wife, you did not become best friends in a week or even a month. It took time to build that trust. You got to know the person, you took the time to develop a relationship, and you then built the trust. The same thing applies to animals, and even more so in cats because they have a tendency to be a lot more cautious than a dog from the beginning.
As this trust is built, the cat begins to understand that things ar OK. If the cat may have been a little afraid of something before, hopefully with the trust that you have built with him, he will understand that the person or thing is not so bad.
If you are going on to train your cat, this relationship and trust that has been built will lay an excellent foundation to help begin to train him.
Most importantly, this trust that has been built will ensure a long and prosperous life together for both you and your cat.