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Positive Interaction

Cats benefit from regular, friendly interaction with people.

Cats generally prefer frequent, low intensity contact in which the cat is in control, and can begin and end the contact when they choose. Cats prefer people to lower themselves to the level of the cat. They don't like direct eye contact, and they prefer to approach the human and make the first physical contact. It's a good idea to allow the cat to sniff your hands and get acquainted in that way.

The cat will signal when it is ready for interaction with a human.

Head bunting (when the cat bumps a human hand or leg with it's head) is a signal that the cat wants human attention. If the cat appears relaxed and wants to interact, gentle stroking on the head and around the cheeks is the most appropriate way to make contact. When a cat ends an interaction by moving away, respect the cat's desire and don't force further contact.

Get to know your cat's unique personality along with its likes and dislikes.

Consistent and positive handling of the cat from a young age leads to positive behaviors such as reduced fear and stress and a strong human–cat bond. Remember that cats are not all alike. We must respect each cat’s individual preferences in order to develop a strong bond of trust.

Some indications that a cat is ready for human interaction include:

  • Purring or chirruping

  • Facial rubbing (marking) or head bunting your hand or legs

  • Keeping close to you or following you around

  • Lying on the side and exposing the belly

A cat’s preference for human interaction usually changes as it grows older but it's important to remember, that changes in the desire for contact may also be caused by an underlying medical problem.

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