How To Bond With Your New Senior Cat
Many things get better with age – including your cat! If you’re thinking of adopting an older kitty, we’ve got a few tips that will help you bond.
With so many sweet senior kitties looking for homes in shelters, there are many opportunities to bring an adult cat into your life. The great thing about these cats is that you know what you’re getting because their personalities are already developed. With a senior cat, what you see is what you get.
But there’s still a bonding process that’s necessary when you first bring a senior kitty home. After all, a senior cat has already been through a lot, had established some sort of routine that is now being disrupted, and now needs some time to readjust to all of the changes in her life. Check out the tips below on how you can bond with an adopted senior cat to make the process easier for both of you.
Give the Cat Some Time and Space
Just as you would give a new kitten some space, you need to give a senior cat some distance as well. Let her come to you when she’s ready, rather than forcing her to be petted, held, picked up, etc.
If you make an effort to interact with your cat but she isn’t in the mood, it’s best to just give her the time she needs to adjust to her new environment and the new people around her. Eventually, she’ll come around, especially if you give her the space she needs and if you’re patient, gentle, and understanding.
Once your cat learns to trust you, she’ll bond more easily with you. Start by proving that you care about her by giving her a warm bed to lie in, a nice scratching post to use and call her own, and plenty of yummy nutritious food and treats.
Related: The Health Benefits Of Cats
Consider not leaving food out all the time for her to munch on. By providing regular meals, you become the cat’s provider, which helps reinforce trust and bonding while also preventing your cat from overeating and gaining too much weight.
Also, pet your cat gently, talk to her in a soft and reassuring voice, and see if she wants to play with toys that you provide. All of these small steps will add up and prove to the cat that she’s in a safe new home with people that really do love her.
Provide a Hiding Place and Her Own Room
Cats who are adopted need to adjust to their new homes gradually, and many end up hiding because they’re so afraid of the new sights and scents in the unfamiliar environment they’re in.
One way to reduce this anxiety is by providing your cat with a hiding place to call her own, such as a cardboard box with a cat bed inside. Boxes are secure spaces in which cats can feel comfortable and safe, and your cat’s scent will eventually cover the inside of the box so that she can have a claim to some territory in your home.
You can keep this box in a small room that your cat can stay in while she adjusts. Make sure the room has food and water bowls on one end and a litter box on the other end, as well as a scratching post and other objects that can make her feel at home. Once she’s comfortable approaching you in the small room and she appears at ease and ready to explore, you can let her venture out into the rest of the house.
Most of all, be patient and don’t restrict yourself and your cat to a limited time to bond with one another. Every cat is an individual with a unique personality, as well as a unique past. A cat that was neglected and/or abused in the past, for example, may require a lot more time to bond with you after establishing a level of trust again. Work at your cat’s pace and you’ll be rewarded in the end with a new best friend.