How To Raise A Good Cat – 9 STEPS TO A CUDDLY FRIENDLY CAT
Just like pit bulls are misunderstood, I’m a firm believer that cats misbehave because of human error. Cats aren’t born with the instinct to be an asshole. They take on the personality of the owner and their environment like a sponge.
Without a doubt, there is a method to how to raise a good cat. But you can’t just employ one trick for a week and then call it a day. You have to continuously condition to cat to become a good cat.
Thus, if you want a cat who is friendly, cuddly, and social, I encourage you to follow these 9 steps for a month, 2 months, however long it takes.
What is a “Good Cat” Exactly?
Well, everyone has a different idea of what a good cat is. But universally, the basic traits of a good cat include a cat that’s friendly who doesn’t bite or scratch when you get close. A cat that is social with humans and other animals in the house. And a cat that is quiet and follows the rules you set for them.
I don’t think others would argue that on top of those traits, a super duper great cat means a cat who doesn’t scratch the furniture or knock things off the counter for no reason!
Now, let’s finally get started on the 9 steps, one by one.
How to Raise a Good Cat – 9 Steps
Because a cat acts the way you do, as in, they take in the personality of their owner, you are largely responsible for how they behave.
When I first adopted Nala from the shelter, she was a teen mom who had recently given birth to a litter and her and her litter were found on the mean streets of LA.
I never got to see her babies. I think she didn’t get to see them either when the animal shelter took them in, which breaks my heart.
Being only about 7 pounds when she should’ve been about 8.5 pounds, she was tiny and missing her babies. As a result, it took a while to gain her trust.
Now, she comes when I call her name, she climbs into my lap when I call her name and pat the blanket over my legs, and she always sleeps between my legs at night.
Nala is an exemplary cat. It helps that she is a very smart cat. Charlie, on the other hand, needs more work. Charlie has become a bit troublesome actually, so I have to tend to his needs.
Since I’ve gone through the steps before with Nala, I know what works and will be using the 9 steps below on Charlie. Although, Charlie is not as bright as Nala, so I think it will take more time and patience on my part.
Step 1: Follow Their Natural Instincts
A routine schedule for food and water is critical to raising a good cat. Jackson Galaxy, the reknowned television personality cat whisperer, always talks about the circadian rhythm. He says that a cat needs to have a routine schedule that consists of playing, then eating, then grooming, then sleeping.
This is the most basic instinctual behavior of a cat. Think about it. A cat in the wild, before the species was domesticated, spent most of his/her time sleeping and sunbathing. Then, when they got hungry, they looked for prey, and hunted them. This is like “playing” for a house cat.
After they successfully hunted their prey, they ate their prey. So, for a house cat, we feed them after playing with them.
After cats eat, they lick their face with their paws, because well, they think their saliva is clean… Then they think, well, might as well lick my whole body!
And following meal time and grooming comes a nice, long nap. Then they do it all over again.
Just like the natural cat instinct, in order to raise a happy, healthy cat, you have the responsibility of creating a routine as similar as possible.
Look, I get it; it’s hard to implement if you have a full-time job. I can definitely be better at this, too. But try your best, will ya?
In addition to a routine schedule, other basic instincts to incorporate into your cat’s life is a balanced nutrition. Follow the feeding guideline of a good brand of cat food.
Scratching posts and a high perch area is also important for their cat instinct.
And finally, change their litter everyday! Cats don’t dig up the same area outside where they buried poop before. They are clean-freak animals, so they only poop and pee where the litter is fresh. It’s the least we can do for the happiness they bring us.
Step 2: Eliminate Anxiety and Stress
The second most important thing to implement into your cat’s life is to create an environment that eliminates all stress and anxiety for your cat. Or as much as you can to a very minimum.
I swear, this is when I’m just amazed how much of a cat I am. Like, not a cat person, but cats and I have such a similar natural personality. Cats are just your average introverted people like me.
Anyway, when a cat is stressed or anxious, he/she will hide, be jumpy, and always balled up with his/her hind legs ready to jet. How can you get a cuddly, friendly cat if they’re always ready to bounce?
In order to create a stress-free environment, think about what makes an environment stress-free for you. And then look at the environment through your cat’s lens.
This includes a serene and calm environment. Quiet and clutter-free. A calm tone of voice. No loud noises or strangers in and out of the space.
Your cat should feel that his/her home is a peaceful place where he/she can roam around without thinking they might get attacked at any moment.
Step 3: Earn Their Trust
Once you’ve created and maintain an environment that is calm and quiet for your cat without them feeling like there is a predator around the corner, it’s time to earn their trust.
For some cats or kittens who are very easy going, you can quickly earn their trust. But most cats are weary of your intentions. (Just like me…) So it will take time to earn their trust.
First, talk to your cat in a calm voice. NEVER, EVER raise your voice or yell at them.
Secondly, stroke them in the right place. Or rather, DON’T stroke them in the wrong place. For example, don’t stroke the back of their body. This area is very stimulating for cats, so they’ll raise their bums and then actually run away if you do pet them there.
Thirdly, don’t move suddenly. Do things slowly and where they can see if they’re around you. For instance, if they’re sitting in front of you watching you while you read your book, don’t abruptly raise your arm to scratch your head. They might think you’re attacking them. Instead, raise your hand slowly to your head.
Fourthly, while you’re holding them or hugging them, if they want to go, LET them go. Don’t hold on to them against their will. This will definitely definitely not help you earn their trust.
Step 4: Create a Bond with Your Cat
Earning their trust is one thing. It is the foundation to getting closer to them. A bond with your cat is very special. For example, after years of creating a bond with Nala, she only lets me pet her. She hisses at anyone else who tries to pet her.
The only exception is my sister, because she looks a lot like me, haha. But when she realizes she’s not me, then she shows her teeth.
In order to create a bond between you and your cat, there are 2 very important things you can do.
First, play with him/her. This includes playing with an interactive toy. Determine whether your cat likes to chase a toy that flies or crawls. You can check out my recommended cats’ favorite toys for ideas. It’s really strange how these cats are designed for pretty much all cats to like playing with them.
Or, playing with your cat can be via hide and seek. To play hide and seek with your cat, shuffle your feet quickly and move from one side of your cat to the other. Be careful not to step on your cat’s paws or tail!
Go back and forth like this and your cat will start pawing your legs.
Secondly, groom your cat. You don’t have to go to the extreme to groom him/her. It can just be brushing your cat’s hair and clipping their nails. It’s also nice if you rub their skin with dander removing wipes, because they’ll join in on grooming themselves as well. Check out the grooming tools I recommend if you don’t have them yet.
Step 5: Shower Your Cat with Love and Affection
After you’ve established a bond between you two, the next step is to lead by example. When your cat is at the stage where they trust you and they genuinely like hanging out and playing with you, shower them with love.
As much as your cat allows you to, give them kisses and hugs.
Converse with your cat sweetly. They might not speak the same language, but they absolutely know the energy you convey to them via your voice.
Don’t worry, it’s not weird to talk to your cat. I promise. I do it all the time!
Step 6: Make Your Cat Purr
Cats purr when they’re content or when they’re injured and are trying to heal. Because they purr when they’re happy and content, making them purr will condition the cat to associate you with being content.
My cats purr quite easily when I kiss them or pet them. But they especially turn into putty when I scratch the top of their head and behind their ear until their head falls into the cup of my hand. This is pretty normal for all cats when they’re not feeling anxious.
I also put their face in both my hands and look at them in their eyes. Then I gently rub my hand back slowly to behind their face. I repeat this over and over and they close their eyes and purr really loudly.
When they’re sleeping, you can also calmly go near them and stroke the side of their face, their chin, and the upper portion of their body. If they twist their body to expose their belly, then that means they like you. Although, unlike dogs, they’re not inviting you to rub their belly.
You can also put your hand in front of their face for them to rub their face on your hand. Do this a few times, and they’ll start to purr.
Step 7: Condition Them to Like Touch
Stroke them just a little bit every time they come to eat. Just in the beginning, a few strokes, so that you don’t annoy them.
Give them scratches behind their ear when you’re playing with them.
Step 8: Start Off with Cuddling When They’re Sleepy
When you feel that you really have a bond now with your cat, introduce them to the idea of cuddling with you when they’re sleepy and less aware of what’s happening.
When they’re sleeping, lie down beside them and put your hand on them.
Or when they’re sleepy, gently pick them up and bring them to where you’re sleeping and put them in the nook of your underarm.
I guess you’re tricking them, but they don’t know what’s good so you’re simply introducing something good to them!
Step 9: Plush, Comfy Area Around You
What I mean by a plush, comfy area, is that as we all know, cats are lazy and love to sleep. So, they seek out a comfy area with plush blanket or cushion to go and take a nap in.
So, when you’ve established a bond, your cat trusts you and your cat is ready to reciprocate the affection you’ve showered him/her with, then when your cat is looking for a plush place to relax in, he/she won’t rule out your lap.
With Nala, what I did was when I was sitting on the sofa, I stretched out my legs, put a soft throw over my legs, and I picked Nala up from the floor and put her on it between my legs. At first, she was a bit confused, but she started massaging the throw, so I knew she liked it.
After that incident, whenever I want Nala to nap between my legs, I put a throw over my legs, call “Nala!” and then pat the area I want her to jump to. And nine out of ten times, she does!
Final Words of Reminder
It is extremely important that you don’t ever yell at your cat during this process or in any event if you want to earn your cat’s trust and create a special bond with them.
And if possible, during this time of training, refrain from introducing your cat to a new environment like the car or new people or new animals. You can once your cat fully trusts you.
Remember that any training involves patience and persistence. If you diligently and patiently follow these 9 steps, you will be rewarded with a cuddly and friendly cat. Good luck!