Dogs have long held the title as man’s best friend and often are thought of as the friendlier, more affectionate, smarter of the two most popular companion animals.
Cats tend to be more aloof and are considered too cool for the bonding experience. Cats are often misunderstood and their independent nature is mistaken for coldness and disinterest in a relationship with humans.
However, cats can become very bonded to people and they can be extremely affectionate. Like people and dogs, cats have very distinct temperaments and personalities.
Some cats will want to be lap cats and will purr and let you know they crave attention, while others are happy just to be in room and near you, but not to cuddle.
Here are some bonding tips for making friends with a feline:
Kittens learn key social skills between 2 to 9 weeks of age, so the early weeks are the perfect time to bond and to introduce to other family members, cats, and dogs.
If you are adopting an adult cat, give him time to explore or restrict him to one room until he is comfortable. Some cats may walk in your home and feel at ease from day one, while others may be nervous, even terrified, and hide for a few days or even weeks. The time period for settling in is different for each pet. Give your cat the space and time he needs to feel comfortable.
Don’t expect the cat to bond equally with every person in the home. Some cats get more attached to a particular person.
It’s best not to free feed by leaving food out 24/7. By being the food source for your cat, it will help with bonding and your cat will trust you and depend on you as his food source.
Fun Feline Facts:
Cats live about 14 to 16 years, so plan on taking care of them for a long time.
Meowing is not their method of communication. Rather, purring, hissing and shrieking are how a cat gets his message across. Cats also communicate through body language and mark things with their scent.
Cats in their prime usually can jump about 5 feet off the ground. As they get older and arthritis sets in, 75 percent of cats won’t jump at all anymore. Medicine, supplements, and losing weight can help ease arthritis pain for cats.
All kittens are born with blue eyes, and their eyelids stay closed until they are 10 to 14 days old. They usually get their true eye color by eight weeks.
Cats are just as cool as dogs, they just need a little more time to feel you out and make sure you’re a keeper.
Jan. 10: Barcadia Adoption Event for Animal Rescue New Orleans, noon to 3 p.m. at 601 Tchoupitoulas St. Adoptable dogs on site and 20 percent of sales will be donated to ARNO. For information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jan. 10: Neighborhood Pet Adoption, sponsored by the LA/SPCA, will be hosted from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Petco, 3018 Holiday Drive. LA/SPCA adoption counselors and volunteers will be on hand to help you select the right pet for your family. Call (504) 368-5191 or visit la-spca.org for more information.
Jan. 10: Critter Cinema, sponsored by the LA/SPCA will be hosted from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Louisiana SPCA, 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd. Great fun for animal-loving, pizza-eating, movie-watching kids. It’s a chance to get cozy with kitties and puppies, enjoy G-rated critter movies, make friends with other young animal lovers and snack on pizza and popcorn at the LA/SPCA. Open to youth ages 5-10, bring a sleeping bag, pillow and PJs. $30 per child. Pre-registration is required, call (504) 368-5191, ext. 207 or email email@example.com. For information, visit la-spca.org/crittercinema.
LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish, you can send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact information to lost firstname.lastname@example.org. In Jefferson Parish, email email@example.com and bbourgeois @jeffparish.net, and in St. Bernard Parish, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. Contact ARNO at animal email@example.com, www.animalrescuenew orleans.org or call its recorded information line at (504) 571-1900.