How to encourage your kitten to come up to you?

By Nadine Oraby | 2020 Update

Let’s agree:

Calling you kitten and not having them come to you can be annoying.

You might have tried numerous techniques from the internet, but nothing seems to work.

So how exactly do we encourage our kitten to come up to us? You have to work to make your kitten comfortable with you. Developing a close bond with your kitten is the only way to get them to come up to you.

But how exactly do we do that? If you want to find out, read on below:

Giving them a comfortable environment

Here’s the truth:

An uneasy and anxious kitten will never like to interact with anybody. In order to make your kitten realize that they’re safe, you have to create a quiet and non-threatening environment for them.

Creating a welcoming environment for a kitten is not that difficult. All you have to do is to ensure that they’re someplace where they have all the available necessities. You can put up a cat tree and a small bed for them, along with dishes for food and water, and a scratching post.

Another thing you have to ensure is that this area is quiet and preferably less busy. Ideally, you should first introduce your kitten to your bedroom, as this is the most peaceful places of all. Also, you should avoid having kids running around in this room as the quick motion and loud sounds can scare them.

When you provide your kitten with a comfortable and peaceful environment, they’ll feel safer and will be more likely to trust you and engage with you.

Maintain some distance with your kitten

Once you’ve got your kitten comfortable, you can start being in the same room as them. During this time, it’s essential that you don’t go crazy and try to constantly grab them. You have to maintain a respectful distance from them so that they don’t consider you a danger to them.

Sit a few feet away from them and carry on with your own activities. Don’t go and hover over their head, but if you want to go closer to them, try sitting or laying down near them and see their reaction. If they’re not bothered by it, continue sitting in that position and let the kitten get familiar with you while you read a book or use your phone.

Even if you see that your kitten is getting comfortable with your presence and is unbothered with you sitting near them, do not engage with them. If you’ve reached this level of trust and you mistakenly thrust your hand towards them or try and hold them, their trust will break off entirely and you’ll be back to square one.

But if they do come and contact you at this stage, it’s important that you stay calm and avoid any sudden movements. Let them come near you and explore your scent. This will make them realize that you’re an ally and not a threat.

But even if they don’t engage with you, don’t get disheartened and follow the next step.

Play a few games with them

Games are a great way to interact with your kitten and get them to become even more familiar with you. Although we don’t recommend you jump straight to playing fetch with them, there are some games you can play to make your kitten more comfortable with you.

The two best games you can play with a kitten to make them more comfortable with you are prey catching games and laser pointer games. Prey games are played with a wand toy which is basically a long stick with a fluffy soft toy hanging onto the end of the stick through a rope. You make a waving motion with the toy which entices the kitten to chase it and pounce on it.

A laser pointer is also another very useful tool to make a kitten more comfortable with you. Just wave the pointer around and watch your kitten go crazy and jump here and there while they chase the red dot.

The reason why both of these games are so effective is that they allow your kitten to interact with you without coming in close proximity with you. Playing games and interacting with your kitten also builds trust and confidence in them and they might even approach you after playing games. Basically, these are shortcuts to getting your kitten to like you faster.

What to do when your kitten approaches you

Chances are, that by being near your kitten and playing some safe games with them a few times, they’re going to approach you. When they do this, it’s crucial that you control your excitement and don’t overreact and scare your cat. Here are some steps regarding what you should do when your kitten approaches your:

1. Hold out your finger: The way that cats interact with each other is by touching their nose. Therefore, you have to make a similar motion so that your kitten doesn’t consider you as a threat. When you see your kitten coming closer to you, hold out one finger loosely and very calmly try and bring it closer to your kitten. If you’re successful with this technique, they’ll come and sniff your finger upon which you should move to step two.

2. Pet them if they’re comfortable: Now if your kitten comes and sniffs your finger, it doesn’t mean it’s giving you an invitation to pet them. However, if your kitten does seem quite comfortable or you’ve repeated step one a couple of times, you could try and pet them.

Now when you’re petting your kitten for the first time, you must remember some things. First, you should only pet them in two places; behind their ears and cheeks. These are areas where kittens usually get licked by their mother so it helps build further trust in them. The second tip is to keep it soft. Don’t start scratching them harshly or rubbing their whole body, as it will scare them.

Getting your kitten to approach you

After you’ve been playing games with your kitten, chances are they’re becoming more and more comfortable with you. You’ll notice that you’re able to pet them for longer and your kitten doesn’t hesitate to come near you or climb on you.

The truth is, that this level of trust takes some time and effort to develop. Also, some kittens might bond faster with their owners while others may take a while. Therefore, it’s important to remain patient and consistent with your efforts to make your kitten comfortable with you.

Tips to getting your kitten to come up to you

If you’ve been trying all of the above-mentioned steps but have still failed to develop any sort of connection or trust, you might be doing a few things wrong. But even if you aren’t, it might be that you’ve got a stubborn kitten, although that happens rarely. Regardless, here are a few steps all kitten owners can follow to further encourage your kittens to come up to you and speed up the entire process:

1. Try not to make eye contact with them

Although eye contact helps humans develop a deeper connection, it’s actually the opposite with kittens. If you start staring your kitten in the eyes whenever it tries to approach you, you’ll probably scare them off.

This is because cats associate eye contact with an unknown person as a threat and thus scares them off. When you’re near your cat during the first few stages, always try not to look them directly in their eyes and let them approach you on their own.

2. Avoid calling them or shouting

Kittens will be quite sensitive to noise, especially when they’ve moved to a new place. If you’re trying to loudly call out your kitten’s name in order to encourage them to come up to you, chances are you’ll fail. If you want to talk to your kitten, make sure you do so very quietly to avoid scaring them off.

3. Give them treats to motivate them

If you’re going to keep a kitten, you should know what wonders treats can do. When raising a kitten, you need to encourage them for good behaviour. And the best way to do so is giving them treats. So whenever your kitten comes near you or lets you pet them, hand over a treat to them.

Your kitten will start associating the treats with getting petted and will be more encouraged to do this the next time. And once your kitten starts associating treats with good behaviour, you’ll be able to easily train them with more things by giving them a reward for when they follow your command. Going into adulthood, this will especially be useful when you need to litter train them and teach them other stuff.

4. Take care of them

Taking care of your kitten and their needs goes a long way in building a close bond with them. You should always be the one who feeds them with their daily meals. If you can, feed them some treats from your hand if they’re comfortable with it. Food acts as a very strong force in building a bond with your kitten as they tend to associate the one who feeds them with a person of trust.

You should also regularly clean their litter and groom them from time to time. Some kittens like being brushed, but if yours doesn’t, you can always use other methods to develop a closer relationship with them.

Conclusion

The process of developing a bond with your kitten takes time, patience and effort. Although kittens are typically easier to bond with than adult kittens who already have travelled between different owners or shelters, you still need to carefully follow steps to ensure that you get the fastest results. Also, getting your kitten comfortable with you from an early age can go a long way. Not only will it make training in adulthood easier, but your kitten will also grow up into a more social and friendlier cat.

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