Category Archives: aloof cats

The Myth of the “Independent Cat”

By Julia Williams

As stereotypes about cats go, the two I dislike almost as much as that Crazy Cat Lady thing are “felines are so independent” and “cats are not affectionate.” If I had a dollar for every time I read those and similar statements in some blog or article on the internet, I’m pretty sure I would be living on a tropical island (or at least someplace where the winters aren’t so inhospitable.) Time after time, cats are described as aloof, unfeeling, unfriendly, not desiring human companionship, able to take care of themselves, wanting no interaction with their owner, etc. etc.

I have to wonder who all these people are, and have they ever lived with a cat? I’ve shared my home with 11 cats over my lifetime, and none of mine have ever been any of those things. On the contrary, they’ve all been friendly, loving souls who clearly crave and love human companionship. I also know countless many people –family and friends in real life as well as pet blogging acquaintances – who have formed close, loving bonds with their feline friends. Surely all of our affectionate, human-loving cats were not flukes! Yet that myth of the feline as a totally independent creature incapable of love is everywhere.

One the one hand, I have to laugh since it’s such a ridiculous notion to me. On the other hand, it’s kind of sad because who knows how many homeless cats in shelters are overlooked by people who hear and read that nonsense many times over… and actually believe it. They rush little Sally and Billy past the cages with the cats without so much as a glance in their direction, because they want a family pet that the kids can interact with and share love and affection, and everyone knows that isn’t what cats are like, right? Of course.

So the family adopts a dog instead and the children never know that a cat could be a fun, funny, loving, sweet, and wonderful pet that would enrich their life in so many ways. It’s a crying shame. Oh, it’s great for all the shelter dogs that find a forever home, to be sure. Yet it’s mighty unfair to all the cats who’ve done nothing to deserve this negative label.

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How to Bond with Your Cat

By Julia Williams

One of the most prevalent myths about cats is also one that, as a lifelong cat lover, I can unequivocally refute. Cats are said to be aloof, independent creatures that shun humans and don’t form close bonds with them. Many people joke that the only use cats have for people is to keep their food dish full. If that were really true, I imagine there would be a lot less cat owners in the world. Cats can and do bond with humans. This is not to say there aren’t aloof cats among us. There are, yet I believe the vast majority of them are not born aloof but become that way as a result of their environment or lack of human interaction.

Not counting the “family cats” of my childhood, I’ve been a mom to 12 different felines, and have had a close relationship with all of them. Learning how to bond with your cat is not rocket science. It’s more about knowing a few simple things about cats that will help you forge a mutual close relationship.

Respect Your Cat’s Individuality

This is by far the most important thing you can do if you want to have a good relationship with your cat. It’s crucial because cats are individuals and each one has very different likes and dislikes. Moreover, they don’t enjoy being forced to do something they don’t like. Imagine what would happen if you took a child who disliked roller coasters on the Matterhorn ride at Disneyland. They’d scream, cry, kick and make your life miserable. The same principle holds true with cats.

Some cats love being held and hugged, while others don’t. One cat may love having its belly rubbed, while another might think this is a form of torture. If you want to bond with your cat, you need to first learn what it likes and what it doesn’t like. Then you can spend your time doing the things your cat prefers rather than trying to force it to do things it doesn’t enjoy.

Although you may want a cat that enjoys being petted while sitting on your lap, you may actually have a cat that prefers being petted while it’s lying on the bed or the floor. Unfortunately, you get what you get, and you can’t change your cat’s preferences by wishing or by force. This is one reason I love having more than one cat. My three cats all like different things, so I get to enjoy a little of everything. For example, one cat doesn’t like being held or kissed but will sit on my lap for petting, for as long as I indulge him. One likes to be cradled like a baby but is not a fan of the lap. One loves to be brushed while two do not. You get the idea. It’s all about what the cat likes, not what you like!

Spend Time with Your Cat

You simply can’t expect to bond with your cat if you don’t interact with them on a daily basis. This is especially true if you work outside the home and are gone for most of your cat’s day. If you come home, plop on the couch to watch TV and don’t pet your cat or play with them, do you think they don’t notice? It’s preposterous to think that cats don’t have feelings and don’t know when they’re being ignored. They certainly do, and they don’t feel all warm and fuzzy toward the people who ignore them. Greet your cat enthusiastically every time you come home. Engage them in play with their furry mouse or feather toy. Show them that they matter to you, and you may be surprised to see that they actually meet you at the front door!

Talk to Your Cat

Even though your cat will not understand everything you say, they can and do learn certain words. Aside from that, they love hearing your voice and they know that you’re speaking to them and paying attention to them. You can talk to them about anything and everything because what you say doesn’t matter nearly so much as how often you speak to them and are focused solely on them.

These tips are all things I have learned from many years of having cats in my life. I really believe that anyone can form a close bond with their cat if they desire it, and are willing to do a few simple things to nurture the feline-human relationship. When you treat your cat like family, respect their individuality and see them as sentient beings that want to give and receive love, your relationship will blossom.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Fact or Fallacy: Most Cats Are Aloof

By Julia Williams

The biggest misconception about cats, in my opinion, is that most of them are aloof. The feline is thought to be a haughty creature that doesn’t show any outward signs of love for their owners. Many people also believe that cats abhor human companionship, and only tolerate us because it’s the easiest way to get food. Some even say cats think they’re superior to humans, and that if we don’t cater to their every whim, the cat will promptly pee on something to remind us who is in charge.

My experience with cats, on the other hand, has proven otherwise. In fact, after many decades of living with, loving, and being loved by dozens of cats, I’m convinced that only aloof people have aloof cats. Cats are highly social animals, and many aloof cats were simply taught to be that way. Quite often, the typical “aloof” cat is one who was raised by people who weren’t home very much, and when they were, they paid little attention to the cat. Any pet raised this way – including dogs, bunnies, horses and hamsters – would come to regard humans as largely food providers and not much else.

My cats have never been aloof, and yours don’t need to be either. I’m not some sort of miracle cat whisperer; I just understand cats, and I know how to raise them to be trusting, friendly, happy and affectionate creatures.

The most important thing I’ve learned about cats is that you have to respect their individuality. When you stop buying into the labels and treat cats as the unique creatures they are, a meaningful relationship can unfold. Also, you can’t expect a cat to be as outwardly demonstrative of their feelings as a dog. The cat isn’t being aloof – it’s simply not in a feline’s nature to jump all over you and feverishly lick you to pieces when you come home. But my cats DO meet me at the door, and they meow and purr, and prance around me looking for attention.

The other major aspect of raising a non-aloof cat is that you have to respect its likes and dislikes. For example, my cat Mickey doesn’t really like to be held. If I try to hold him for very long he will squirm and kick to let me know he wants no part of this. He will also turn his face away if I try to kiss him. But Mickey absolutely loves to sit on my lap, and will let me pet him and brush him for hours; he generally only jumps down when I need to get up for something. So if a person’s definition of aloof requires the cat to let them hold him or kiss him, then Mickey would be aloof in their eyes. When you give him affection in a way that he is comfortable with, he can’t get enough of it.

By contrast, Annabelle and Rocky love being hugged and kissed but won’t sit on my lap for more than a few minutes. Are they being aloof? No, they’re simply being animals who have very clearly defined likes and dislikes, and they’re not about to let humans force them into doing something they find objectionable. People are no different, by the way. When you respect them and accept their individual preferences (which might differ from your own), they’re much more likely to want to be around you.

Further, cats that are raised by people who make no attempt to understand their nature and/or show them affection, will take a long time to let their guard down. They will be “aloof” because their survival instincts demand it. Even so, most of these felines can eventually learn to love. The key is patiently demonstrating that you can be trusted and that you respect their individuality.

My cats almost always come when I call them, and they generally want to be in whatever room I am in. I remember one night I wasn’t feeling well and was tossing and turning in bed. The cats were lying next to me, and their warmth and proximity (which I normally love) added to my discomfort. Frustrated, I grabbed my pillow and went to lie down on the couch by myself. It wasn’t more than five minutes before all three cats had come into the living room to lie down beside me on the couch. I just had to laugh. My cats are definitely not aloof – and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.