Human behaviour beneficial to cats

I think it useful to remind ourselves of the sort of human behaviour that is beneficial to our cat. Perhaps it is common sense but even commonsense points need to be reinforced.

With respect to livestock, research has identified that the most aversive human behaviours towards domestic animals includes: hits, shouting, slaps and moving quickly.

By contrast, human behaviours which are beneficial to animals and cats include: strokes, pats, resting your hand on your cat, talking to your cat and slow deliberate movements. I would add touching your cat perhaps on her paw when she is resting and snoozing. The research for this information comes from two studies: Coleman et al 1998 and Pajor et al 2000.

In addition, using a soft voice and avoiding sounds that might resemble hissing, avoiding predatory gazing through direct eye contact, displaying slow blinks and movements, and letting your cat control the extent of the interaction and perhaps even letting your cat initiate the interaction, can all be beneficial to your cat.

Good cat management means that the cat’s caretaker is a trusted and reliable person from the cat’s point of view. So for example if the human caretaker/guardian moves home it is much easier for a cat to adapt to her new environment when they see the same friendly person on a daily basis.

As cats can differentiate between the appearance of people by which I mean they can recognise and discriminate amongst humans, they can predict what might happen with the person that they know and trust. If the person brings an improvement to the general well-being of the cat, she will perceive that person as a predictor of something good thereby improving the cat’s life by her/his presence.

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