Cats are funny creatures. One minute they want their space, and the next, they want to cuddle up on your lap. (Or, they completely ignore you until it’s dinner time.) While it may sometimes seem like your cat couldn’t care less about you, they actually form bonds with us and become attached to us1.

These bonds are mutually beneficial, too. Cat ownership has been found to lower stress2, decrease the risk of allergies in children3, and improve your quality of life. Not a bad deal, right?

If you’re curious how to bond with your cat, especially if they’re not overly affectionate to begin with, you’re not alone. You can take steps to help build trust and a relationship with your cat.

Ways to Bond With Your Cat

  • Grooming
    Brush and groom your cat regularly — if they enjoy it. Forcing grooming can damage the bond you share with your cat if they do not enjoy it. If they do like it though, it’s a great way to spend time together.
  • Pay Attention to Quality Time
    Spend time each day petting, snuggling with, and playing with them. But pay attention to your cat’s cues — if they want space, give it to them. Your bond will grow if you respect their cues.
  • Training
    It’s possible to train your cat. Working together to train a skill is a great way to build and strengthen the bond you share. You may even impress your friends, too!
  • Go for a Walk
    You can leash train your cat to go on walks or hikes with you. Not all cats will like leash walking, but it can be a fun way to spend quality time with your cat. Just make sure they’re protected with a safe and effective flea and tick preventative prior to exploring the outdoors. Check to see if the product also provides coverage for intestinal parasites, since cats may have increased exposure to them by being outdoors. And, of course, ensure your cat has an ID collar and/or is microchipped.
  • Flea and Tick Preventatives
    Some flea and tick preventatives for cats require you to wear gloves to apply or to refrain from touching them for a period of time. When choosing a safe and effective flea and tick medication, ask your veterinarian about options that allow for no separation time after application. Who wants to wait that long between cuddling with their cat?
  • Meal-Feeding
    Feeding your cat at specific times during the day, as opposed to free-feeding them, can be an easy way to engage, interact, and spend more time with your cat. It also helps them associate you with one of their favorite things — eating.

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Once you’ve learned how to bond with your cat, you’ll want to protect that bond you share. There are some common things that can undermine the bond you share with them, but measures can be taken to ensure it remains strong.

Further Ways to Protect the Bond With Your Cat

  • Limit Stress in the Home
    Events that cause you to feel stressed (like moving, the holidays, a new baby, or a new pet) can cause your cat stress, too. Try to keep your cat’s routine as normal as possible and respect their need for attention or space.
  • Be Aware of Cat Illnesses
    If your cat becomes ill or has a painful condition like osteoarthritis or dental disease, they may start to act differently, including shying away from you. If your cat is acting differently than normal, they may be in pain. Helping to manage their pain or illness can help them return to their normal selves, and help you rebuild the bond with your cat.
  • Keep Them Healthy
    Bring them for their regular wellness check-ups with your veterinarian to help keep them healthy and parasite-free. Take steps to ensure a stress-free trip before you head to the vet.
  • Watch Out for Inappropriate Behavior
    The bond between you and your cat can be strained if your cat is scratching things they shouldn’t or acting aggressively. Providing your cat ample scratching posts, lots of exercise, and respecting their boundaries can help them control their unwanted behavior.
  • Pay Attention if They’re Going Outside Their Litter Box
    If your cat is peeing or pooping outside of their litter box, it can mean a medical problem, stress, or a problem with their litter box set up. Whatever the cause, it can certainly damage your bond with your cat. Be sure to provide them with ample litter boxes (the number of cats you have plus one) and take steps to decrease stress. If those steps don’t work, it’s time to talk with your veterinarian to see if there may be a medical reason.

If you detect a change in your cat’s “normal”, don’t hesitate to seek professional veterinary care. Learn more about understanding your cat’s behavior and health here.


Georgette Wilson, DVM

Born and raised in New York City, Dr. Georgette Wilson received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and DVM from Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, NY. Dr. Wilson completed a one-year small animal internship at the University of Tennessee. She practiced in the greater New York City area for 11 years prior to entering the veterinary pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Wilson is currently the Zoetis Petcare HQ Medical Lead for the Diagnostics Rapids Tests. In her spare time, Dr. Wilson enjoys travel with her family.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION: See Prescribing Information. The safe use of Revolution Plus has not been established in kittens less than 8 weeks old or in breeding, pregnant or lactating cats. Reported side effects in clinical trials included lethargy and anorexia. Use with caution in cats with a history of neurologic disorders. Revolution Plus contains sarolaner, a member of the isoxazoline class, which has been associated with neurologic adverse reactions, such as tremors, ataxia, and seizures in cats with or without a history of neurologic disorders. In humans, Revolution Plus may be irritating to skin and eyes.

Revolution Plus is a simple-to-apply, quick-drying, small-volume, monthly topical solution that protects against fleas (Ctenocephalides felis), ticks (lone star tick [Amblyomma americanum], black-legged or deer tick [Ixodes scapularis], Gulf Coast tick [Amblyomma maculatum] and American dog tick [Dermacentor variabilis]), ear mites (Otodectes cynotis), roundworms (Toxocara cati), hookworms (Ancylostoma tubaeforme), and heartworms (Dirofilaria immitis) for cats and kittens as young as 8 weeks of age and weighing 2.8 pounds or greater.

  1. Vitale, K. Attachment bonds between domestic cats and humans. Current Biology, Volume 29, Issue 18, 2019, Pages R864-R865.
  2. Allen, K. Cardiovascular Reactivity and the Presence of Pets, Friends, and Spouses: The Truth About Cats and Dogs. Psychosomatic Medicine 64:727–739 (2002): 727-39.
  3. DR Ownby et al. Exposure to dogs and cats in the first year of life and risk of allergic sensitization at 6 to 7 years of age. Journal of the American Medical Association 288(8): 963-72 (2002).