Rituals Can Strengthen the Bond with Your Cat

January 30, 2015

cat rituals trishBy Julia Williams

Recently, a Facebook friend posted a link to an article about cats that really got my goat. It claimed a scientific study had determined that cats hate it when you touch them and only pretend to love humans for the fringe benefits we provide. “While cats may look all fuzzy and adorable on the outside, research shows that they really are the cold, unfeeling monsters the world thinks they are,” the article stated.

It’s not the first time an obviously anti-cat person went on a diatribe about what awful, unloving creatures cats are, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. What I found particularly egregious about this one was the use of “science” to back up the author’s negative feelings about cats.

I told my friend that this was the most ridiculous article I have ever read. It was ridiculous because anyone who loves cats knows that every statement the cat hater made was untrue. We don’t need science to tell us that if we take the time to understand our cats as individuals and find ways to bond with them, that they will – and most certainly do – love us back. My cats Mickey, Rocky and Annabelle are positive proof of that.

Cats are creatures of habit, and they love rituals. Moreover, rituals are a great way to bond with your cat and demonstrate how much she means to you. Some of the rituals I have with my cats would probably be deemed silly by some people, but they are things I do daily with them, and I believe my cats would miss these rituals if they stopped. I would miss them, too.
cat rituals sergio
I suppose if I were totally honest, I’d admit that the rituals are as much for me as they are for my cats. However, the rituals help us bond and they make us all happy, so I can’t see a downside.

Before I share a few of my favorite rituals with you, let me just say that developing your own rituals with your pet is a matter of personal preference. Just do what works for you and your cat, and everyone wins. Know your cat well enough to understand what she likes and doesn’t like, and take it from there. The rest is easy peasy.

One of my rituals came about after I read Gwen Cooper’s wonderful book, Love Saves the Day. In it, the cat’s owner passes away while at work, and the cat is left wondering what happened to her beloved “purrson” and why she isn’t coming home. So every time I leave the house I find each of the cats in their chosen sleeping spot, hug them, kiss them goodbye and tell them that I love them. If I didn’t return, I would hope their last memory of me is the loving gesture of saying goodbye. No, I don’t think they comprehend it quite like that, but they are aware that I am leaving the house and saying loving words before I go. Call me foolish, but I do think this means something to them.

I also go to each cat right before getting into bed at night, and do the same thing. They know this means lights out and time to settle down for the night. Mickey and Rocky stay in the living room in their cat beds, but within minutes of my head hitting the pillow, Annabelle jumps on the bed. I tell her “Tuck yourself in, girlie” and she snuggles next to my chest with her paw resting on my arm. She created this ritual herself; I don’t carry her to my bed or make her cuddle with me, but every night there she is, obviously loving the bond we share.

Rituals with food are always a hit with cats. I started giving my cats their CANIDAE treats around 10 p.m. every night, and before I knew it this was a bona fide ritual that I would not dare give up because there would be a full scale feline riot. In fact, they all start bugging me at 10:05 p.m. if I’m late with the treats. As far as I know they can’t tell time, but they most certainly do know when the cat treat ritual is supposed to happen, and they do not let me forget.

Rituals can strengthen the emotional bond you have with your cat. They don’t have to be complex or time consuming, they just have to be done consistently. Your cat will look forward to these rituals and your connection will grow deeper by the day. Contrary to what the cat haters try so hard to make everyone believe, your cat really does love you back!!

Top photo by Trish Hamme/Flickr
Middle photo by Sergio_leenen/Flickr
Bottom photo by Mike Gifford/Flickr

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  1. Fred says:

    My cat has very complex rituals and they become more complicated by the day. For example he waits for me to tell him to jump on the kitchen counter, then he does, then I serve his food, then he’ll jump down again, then I have to take the bowl outdoors and there he will eat it. This is only one example. He’s a dominant cat. If I do it wrong he will bite me.

  2. You are so right, Julia! Every night, Moosey has to lay in the same exact spot between Tracey and me.

  3. Carolyn says:

    i couldn’t agree with you more, Julia!! The rituals that I have established with Austin are practically sacrosanct! AND our relationship has deepened I think because of them. It leads to understanding and a real bonding!