Arguably, the best part about having pets is bonding with them. But cats are notorious for being aloof and apathetic. So does your cat really need together-time?
Cats Are Like Introverted Kids
Like humans, all cats have unique personalities. What’s more, all cats show signs of affection in different ways, times, and quantities. So it’s important that you get to know your cat’s unique personality - and that may change over the course of her life, too.
Cat’s aren’t pack animals like dogs are, but they do form strong bonds with specific individuals. For instance, think of dogs as your most outgoing, extroverted friend and cats are more like your more reserved, introverted friend. Like introverted humans, cats prefer to form strong, special bonds with select individuals.
This is why many cats will latch onto one particular person in a family or why some cats like to sleep with one particular owner. Oftentimes, the person a cat forms the strongest bond with is the person they interacted with most as a kitten. If you adopted an adult cat, it may be the person who spent the most time with your cat as she was adjusting to her new environment and needed a parent-like figure.
Cats Reflect Affection
Cats are highly intuitive, instinctual animals. At the same time, they’re also highly emotional. Together, these impressive traits allow cats to pick up on and reflect the emotions of those around them.
For a cat, signs of affection are not given freely. Rather, they’re a way to show their human counterparts that they love and need them - or maybe need something from them, like a fresh scoop of food. However, if you’re distant, aloof, or just not interested in cuddling with your cat, she won’t want to have anything to do with you either.
A 2015 study found that cats were significantly more likely to approach their owners if the owner was smiling or acting positively. This and other studies on cat behavior indicate that cats are attuned to the emotions of other beings and they act accordingly. So if you’ve ever asked yourself, “Can my cat understand me?” - the answer is yes, in a way.
While this may be a survival instinct that cats have developed over the years to avoid confrontation with other creatures, we think it’s just plain cool!
Cats Need Together-Time
The answer is yes - your cat does need time together. However, it’s impossible to know how much. Each cat is different and may require more bonding time on some days than others.
As you get to know your cat, respect her boundaries. If you pick her up to cuddle and she walks away, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t love you; it just means, “Not right now.”
There will be other times when your cat comes to you and demands attention. This may be in the form of nuzzling, rubbing against your leg, meowing at you constantly, or any other cat-ish signs of affection.
In time, you’ll start to learn the signs and develop a language of your own with your cat. And that is one of the most meaningful bonds a person can have with another living thing, and is why cats are downright awesome.