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HomePet NewsCats NewsDoes my cat like me? Karen Wild explains

Does my cat like me? Karen Wild explains


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Animal behaviour expert Karen Wild discusses how to tell if your pet likes you.

Some research from Lincoln University a while ago earned some headlines about cats not really ‘caring’ about their owners, and there was uproar.

This isn’t what the research had said, of course, and was a provocative headline that wasn’t fair to the research at all.

Cats are not ‘socially obligate’ – in other words, they don’t show a great need for social contact, other than to reproduce. Not all cats want to live with other cats as a result, are very independent and most certainly do not like to share territory. This doesn’t mean they don’t ‘love’ us, and I am sure your cat adores you of course – you are their carer! It does mean that we should see them as individuals that want to make their own choices, rather than us forcing our affection on them.

A Cat
A cat

Cats can be difficult to read, but there are a few signs that can help you determine if your cat likes, loves, or just tolerates you.

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Cats show love by purring, kneading, and head-butting. They also enjoy spending time with you, cuddling up on your lap, and meowing when you come back home. They also may bring you gifts like toys or dead mice, nudge your hand for pets, or even curl up in your lap for a nap. Cats also follow their owners around the house, or give you loving glances. Soft eyes, purring, but it doesn’t mean they want you to come over and stroke them, as they quickly change into clawed beasts if we dare to touch their tummy!

You never can tell how your cat might like strangers. Some visitors, a cat will avoid. Others, they will actively come over and greet. It’s not accidental that cats often go to the person that really doesn’t like cats. Why? Because cats prefer people to hold back and not try to stroke them. This brings a feeling of confidence, so the cat feels safer approaching those people than ones that try to be ‘friendly’.

If your cat is hiding when someone enters the room, that could be a sign of discomfort. It’s best to give your cat space from the person in question. You can help keep them calm by introducing them to new people and animals slowly, allowing them to come and go as they see fit (the cats, not the people).

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Make sure that children do not chase, pester or otherwise disturb your cat. Let your cat choose places to sleep that are safe and quiet, away from little hands.

In time, any cat that is reluctant can learn that they can choose who they socialise with. If we respect this choice, and learn how cats show their affection, we will have happier, more ‘loving’ cats in our families.

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