Caturday Picks – Cattus Ignorus

Coming back from vacation or being away for extended periods often cause the syndrome Cattus Ignorus aka getting the cold shoulder from your cat. I understand that the “So you left me? Well now I will ignore you as punishment” attitude is a world-wide phenomenon and one that I recently experienced this week, it lasted a day but I was appropriately offended and proceeded to think of ways to make it up to Spinner. Lavishing more attention, extra play time…a few new peace offerings gifts?

Since cats are notorious for ignoring the gift and preferring the box it came in, you are going to need to impress…and hope for the best.

Interacting with your cat will be vital for re-establishing your bond and the Cat Whack A Mole toy is both fun and physical. Your absence will be a distant memory after a few sessions of this game.

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Cat Whack A Mole by Think Geek $9.99

Remember to keep playtime both fun and safe by storing this toy away when not in use. Leaving it unattended may entice your cats to try to squeeze their heads through openings some of which are just large enough for a small cat or kitten.

If you want to give something that will allow your cat to look down on you from, then the cleverly named Indiana Jones Cat Bridge should be on your list.

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If you build it they will…CatastrophicCreations on Etsy starting from $172.00

Handmade and customizable this cool bridge will give your cat a place to comfortably drift off to sleep dreaming of his next adventure or….keep you at arm’s length until they have forgiven you for leaving.

Bring cats and birds together safely with the One-Way-Mirror Bird feeder, it is a great way to keep kitty entertained and distracted for hours. The one way mirror on the other side ensures the birds never know who is looking at them.

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Bird! One-way-mirror bird feeder by Wind & Weather $32.95

Set up multiple feeders around your house or apartment and rekindle your bond by sharing the view and your mutual love of feathered friends.

Coming back from a vacation usually means catching up on work or emails and you know as soon as you sit down at a desk your cat will be there to happily distract you.  Why not get them a gift that says you appreciate their company.

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Kitt-In Box by The Refined Feline $29.99

Inviting your cat to a place where you would normally discourage them – your desk will be easy! Now kitty can sleep, nest or look at you disapprovingly as you work.

If all else fails and your cat just wants to be alone, then the fuzzy cat bun will give them a cozy hide-away until they are ready to let you off the hook. This item I believe was made famous by Maru the cat.

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Fuzzy Cat Bun from Amazon Japan

I think any of these items will help cure a case of Cattus Ignorus and be cat approved additions to your household.

Using Play to Bond With Shy Cats

I have been cat sitting for well over a decade now and during this time I have met many cats all with individual personalities. As a rule of thumb, especially for cats I am meeting for the first time, I like to take the “no pressure” approach, which means never forcing contact with a cat that doesn’t want it. I let them come to me.

This is Jack enjoying ear rubs

Jack 1Jack  has a very outgoing sister named Ginger who is calm, self-assured and relaxed, Jack is the type of cat that takes a little more time to get to know, but when you do he becomes a cuddle bug!

He loves to play and decides when he wants to interact with you. He gives me the look and a little chirp that says, “Get me my mouse toy!”  A favorite game involves me tossing the toy and Jack doing acrobatic moves and laps up and down the hall to retrieve it. Playtime has noticeably made him feel comfortable enough around me to now enjoy closer contact like ear and under arm rubs, chin scratches and even gentle brushing. I noticed he is less tense, he seeks me out and I can pick him up without any struggle.

Other signs of his confidence came when Jack started rubbing against my legs, he would look me directly in the eyes while gently blinking (doing the slow eye blink back to cats also helps). I found that getting down to floor or cats level, is also less intimidating.

The big breakthrough came when I quietly sat with Jack just after playtime and I saw his paws making biscuits. I stayed a short distance away so he wouldn’t feel overwhelmed and he responded by walking over and laying down in the crook of my arm while purring – I didn’t dare move. This would be the first time he did this.

He then decided to perch on my leg, eyes soft, relaxed ears, tail and body – this was a cat at ease, It was priceless. I was just as happy as Jack, actually maybe more.

Patience, paying attention to body language and importantly play (in Jacks case) has helped me bond with this shy sweet cat. I know he is having a fun and positive experience just like his sister Ginger.

Remember every cat and situation is unique but understanding the basics and using positive reinforcement such as play helps.

Looking for other tips on how to bond with a shy cat?