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The joke among cat lovers is that the cat owns the person, not the other way around. Cat owners are some of the most loyal pet parents, but are cats also possessive of their owners? The answer may well surprise you.
So, are cats possessive of their masters? Yes, cats are possessive of their owners. While cats can be incredibly independent creatures, they are just as willing, and arguably happiest, when bonded to their owners. Social interaction is vital for every pet; this is essential if you want a close bond with your cats.
As cat owners, the key is knowing how we decide to interact with our cats and understanding how they interact with us.
In this article, I’m going to share some unique ways to interact with your cats and build a healthy bond with them! I will also share how to handle a cat who may be overly possessive of you or other people in the house.
Socialize with your cat
Once cats are weaned from their mothers and brought into a humane home, what you choose to do next makes a big difference in how your cat responds to you throughout its life. To foster a bond with your cat, you should spend at least two 20-minute sessions a day engaging in each of these interactions with your cat:
● Talking – Admittedly, at first it seems weird to talk to your cat, especially if you are not used to it. The good thing is that your cat will enjoy the interaction no matter what you say to it. I always talk to my cats in a high pitched voice and tell them about my day, interrupting with a meow or two when they respond.
● Playtime – Especially when young, cats bond through play.
Whether they’re playing with a string, a toy, or just your hand, cats learn to trust their owners through these play sessions.
Even with my older cats, who never play for more than a few minutes, I still allow them to play every day.
● Petting and physical attention – Cats are incredibly tactile creatures that greatly appreciate physical attention from their humans. Again, it’s kind of a bonding ritual. Petting your cat, at least for him, is like being groomed by his mother when he was young.
By socializing regularly and methodically with your cat, your cat, in turn, will begin to bond very strongly with you. It’s also understandable that a cat that is used to spending time with you will become possessive if you break the routine. In this case, it helps to help your cat gradually adjust to the time he will be spending with you. By doing this, they will be more willing to allow you to interact with others.
Understanding feline vocalizations
Several studies have shown that cats mainly, if not exclusively, meow for humans.
Communication between cats includes some vocalizations, but usually more of a variety of growl/whine/hiss type sounds. Meowing, for some reason, seems to be reserved for people.
As a general rule, I always try to respond to my cats’ meows. Cat meows are unique and they will develop several different ones to catch your attention. They are generally not the same for every cat and seem to be entirely personal, and most likely based on how quickly they get a reaction from you.
I have a pretty daughter who has a very distinct meow that she uses when she wants food or attention, and a very different, husky, loud meow when she has brought me some kind of “gift” – the wandering lizard or snake that roams our sunny veranda. I always recognize my cats’ meows because I know they were created to communicate with me. By always answering, it allows me to bond more closely with my cats.
Cats also vocalize through meows and purrs. Purring is usually a sign that your cat is happy and content, but it can also occasionally occur if your cat is not feeling well, as it helps to relax the animal. When I physically interact with my cats, if they start purring I will continue to rub and scratch them.
If they don’t, I’ll take a step back and observe their behavior. Cats also trill, click and meow to communicate. However, these types of sounds are not necessarily strictly intended for humans. They will use different vocalizations to express contentment, excitement, and sometimes fear.
Possessive cats and body language
Another way to bond with your cat is to understand their body language. Cats are quite unique in some of their behaviors, but other body language behaviors are typical of our feline friends.
● Slow Blinks – A very subtle but telling behavior is blinking. If you notice your cat keeping eye contact with you and blinking slowly, blink. You will see a pattern of “communication” with your cat. It makes sense to him and suggests confidence.
● Headbutt – Wild cats and undomesticated big cats also butt heads with each other. The bump can be a simple push across your face or head, or a sweeping motion across your face. It’s a proof of your cat’s love and a way to mark you as part of his cat family.
● Tail Positions – Cats communicate through their tails. A cat that approaches you with its tail raised is interested in interacting or curious. A low tail or between its legs may communicate fear or some concern. A tail that swings wildly back and forth usually means it’s irritated.
Understanding and reacting appropriately to your cat’s body language will help your cat build a relationship of trust and loyalty with you.
Are male cats more possessive than females?
A question I often get is about male cats and female cats.
In general, male and female cats are equally possessive of their owners. Male cats and female cats show the same amount of affection. The degree of affection your cat shows depends on several factors. This includes:
- Time spent together
- Overall physical health
There are instances where female cats may show less affection while in heat. They tend to be less interactive than males who become more affectionate at this time.
How Cats Show Loyalty
So what does all this mean? Do cats see their owners as big cats with less hair? Do they feel that their owners are part of their family, or just there to test their patience and tolerance of their existence? How do cats show loyalty?
For anyone who’s ever owned a cat, you’ll probably notice that cats usually choose “their person.” So how do they decide? First, it’s best to understand how cats view humans in general.
Cats, domesticated many years ago, are not beasts of burden like dogs are. When dogs are introduced to a home, they see their humans as part of their pack. Within each pack, there is a leader, the Alpha. Dogs show loyalty through this pack behavior and are loyal by design to the pack, primarily to the Alpha.
Cats are very different. Cats are naturally independent creatures and are not part of a pack, although they can happily co-exist. There is no hierarchy of control, any cat or person being the alpha. Cats see their owners as equals.
They love you and are loyal to you because you communicate well with them. Sure, they depend on you for food, shelter, and safety, but cats primarily choose who they are based on communication. If you communicate better with your cat, you will be their person and, as such, earn their loyalty.
How they choose to communicate is unique to each cat. Some cats love vocal attention, play time, physical touch. Some cats are lap cats and some are content to be in the same room as you.
If you learn, by playing, observing their body language, listening to their vocalizations, and as such, communicating well with your cat, they will gravitate towards the person who best understands their needs. Once a cat has decided they are loyal to you, the bond is incredibly strong. Cats show loyalty by staying close to their human companion, meowing, purring, and rubbing up against their chosen person.
Most cats look to their owner for love, attention, food, and play. In return, they are wonderful companions. They lie in your lap, sleep by your side, and really seem to care.
Cats are great emotional companions, especially during tough times in life. If I was sad, sick or alone, my cat would not leave me. I often hear similar stories from other cat owners, who believe, like me, that cats can be emotionally sensitive and will often offer comfort when needed.
Build a bond with your cat
While it’s true that building a loving bond with a cat can take a lot of commitment and work, it’s definitely worth it. Cats won’t freely give you their love and loyalty, but as anyone who has bonded with a cat will tell you, cats are one of the most loyal animals on the planet.
Please take the time to bond with each chat individually. If you have a cat that has chosen you as their master, you know that you are loved, even if that love takes a lot of work! There is simply nothing better than the love and loyalty of a cat.