KITTENS

How to Get a Kitten to Like You: 7 Surefire Ways to Win Them Over

little grey kitten
Martha Harvey
Written by Martha Harvey

So, you’ve just adopted a new kitten. He’s the cutest thing you’ve ever seen, and you love him to death already. But he doesn’t seem to reciprocate your feelings. In fact, he seems to be downright terrified of you. Or, he ignores you as well as your attempts to befriend him. You’re desperate for some tips and tricks on how to get a kitten to like you.

There is a common stereotype that says cats aren’t affectionate like dogs. There are millions of cat owners, however, who have observed domesticated cats for years and will vouch for their pet’s love in a heartbeat. Yes, dogs are often looked upon as being friendlier and more devoted than cats, but cats are just as capable of forming a deep bond with their human—if you know how to do it right. We’re here to tell you that it’s not impossible to win your new feline friend’s affection.

The bond between man and cat isn’t something that just comes into being without any preamble. If you want the new kitten to fit in well and get to like you as a friend, you’ll have to do a whole lot of things to make him feel loved and cared for. In return, you’ll have a loyal, affectionate friend. In this article, we provide seven surefire tips and tricks that will help make kitty finally pay you some attention.

grey kitten's paws and face

7 Steps to Forming a Deep Bond with Your New Kitty-Cat

Bringing a new, cuddly kitten into your home as a pet is something really exciting. You’re probably quivering with excitement as you think about all the fun the two of you are going to have together. Don’t simply give up on that vision of yours when you realize that your new feline friend isn’t as friendly as you had imagined.

Cats can be very affectionate; they are just more difficult to read than dogs. Unlike dogs, they don’t wag their tail in pleasure. Here’s what they do instead:

  • Bunting is when a kitten rubs his head against you, leaving his scent on you, and ‘marking’ what is his. This is your cat telling you that he loves you.

  • A kitten or a cat who puts his face near yours is expressing his trust in you. When you see your cat giving you a slow blink, know that he is blowing you kisses.

  • Cats groom themselves constantly, but they’ve got a few grooming techniques set aside for their favorite humans too. They like to show their appreciation for the care you give them by nibbling, sucking, or licking you or parts of your clothing. By doing this, he’s also marking you as his property.

  • When the kitten is around you and he’s holding his tail straight up with the end slightly turned downwards in a curl, he’s saying that he loves you.

Eager to get all the signs above of affection and more from your new friend? Here’s what you can do to get the new kitten to like you:

Step #1: Make Him Feel Welcome

kitten eating from the bowl

We’re going to hazard a guess here and say that you’ve just adopted a new kitten, and the reason he hasn’t warmed up to you is simply that he’s not used to you yet. If you’ve been living with the kitten for a while, and you’ve done everything you can to make him feel comfortable, and yet he’s still avoiding you, you can skip this section and take a look at our other suggestions.

Although, we do recommend that you at least skim over this section because perhaps you can learn something new about how to make a kitten feel at ease in a new environment.

  • Check the area for potential hazards such as electric wires. Make sure that all hazardous substances are safely locked away in cupboards and totally inaccessible to your very inquisitive and curious new friend.

  • Your new friend will need a water bowl and feeding bowl. You may be tempted to buy cute little plastic bowls for your new friend, but you should think long term. These plastic bowls can scratch easily; bacteria will easily accumulate in those scratches. Choose a stainless steel bowl, a ceramic, or a glass bowl. The bowl should be shallow and wide as opposed to deep. Remember that there are different cat breeds, and flat-faced cats like the Persian will require a specialized, breed-specific bowl that makes provision for his characteristics.

  • Ensure your tiny kitten is able to get in and out of the litter box without your help. At first, though, you should place him in the box where he will naturally start to sniff and dig around in the sand. If you’re wondering which cat litter to buy for your kitten, there are several types—biodegradable, clay-based, and silica-based. Whichever one you opt for, the litter must be cleaned and changed often.

  • Cats are naturally inquisitive. Some well-selected kitten toys will entertain your pet so that he leaves your things alone. Don’t forget to include a scratching post as it is perfectly normal cat behavior to want to scratch. Getting a kitten used to a scratching post early in life can save you the frustration of seeing him use your couch as his favorite scratching post.

  • Your young kitten will be going to the vet quite often for vaccinations and possibly if he’s ill. Instead of trying to carry him writhing and squirming to the vet, invest in a cat carrier so that the trip is done in a peaceful, comfortable, and orderly fashion. If he arrives half-strangled at the vet’s in his efforts to escape from your arms, he will forever remember the vet as nightmare fuel.

Step #2: Prepare a Safe Haven for the Kitten

For the first few days, the kitten may be too overwhelmed to get out of his carrier. You shouldn’t force him to come out, but don’t leave him alone either. Gently coax him, and eventually, he will come out. At that point, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve prepared a more permanent safe haven for him.

kitten sleeping on a pillow

  • Ideally, it will be a pet bed with a soft mattress and a washable cover, so that your furry friend will always have a nice, clean bed.

  • Remember that the kitten is used to snuggling up to his mom for warmth and comfort. A good idea would be to place a nice, cuddly blanket in the bed for him to snuggle into and keep warm.

  • You can also put some soft, cuddly toys in the bed for him. Make very sure that the toys don’t have any parts that the kitten can pull off, chew, and swallow.

Step #3: Socialize with Him

Your furry bundle will be forming first impressions about people, with you as his role model. Your treatment of him will affect his opinions of people for the rest of his life—that’s why it’s so important for you to make a good first impression.

man playing with a kitten

You don’t want to have your new kitten grow up to be a wild, aloof stranger who hardly knows you exist and shuns the company of people. This happens when a cat isn’t properly socialized. Getting him used to you, to other people, and to other pets will help foster a balanced, easygoing cat that loves being petted by his human family and who loves giving his devotion and loyalty in exchange.

When you bring your newly-adopted kitten home for the first time, speak to him gently in a calm, soothing, and non-threatening tone. The tone of your voice and your firm but gentle movements will convey a particular message to your cat. You want to be sure that the message the kitten receives is that you’re gentle, kind, loving, and patient. Carefully convey that you’re his friend and protector.

Step #4: Don’t Stare At Him

This can be jolly hard as he is such a fascinating, entertaining, cute bundle of fun. However, remember that in the wild, predators stare unblinkingly at their prey. Staring at your kitten will make him feel uncomfortable, and it can also trigger uncertainty as well as fear.

If you want to interact closely with your kitten, blink your eyes often and turn your head away from him from time to time to put him at ease. If you’re potty training him, don’t stare at him while he does his business—even if you want to make sure that he’s doing it right. Give him some privacy, and praise him if he gets it right.

kitten hiding under sofa

Step #5: Supervise Young Children

If you’ve got young children in the house, supervise their over-eagerness with your tiny kitten. Constant handling of the kitten and endless boisterous games could over-heat and exhaust your little bundle of fur.

You’re his guardian, and you need to be looking out for his well-being. At the age of 8 weeks or so, a kitten needs plenty of rest, and the children need to allow the kitten to sleep uninterrupted.

Step #6: Give Him High-Quality Food

Kitten eating from the bowl

The way to a kitten’s heart is through his stomach. He will love you for supplying him with food that he looks forward to eating. Here, we have a few tips on how to choose a high-quality food for your kitten:

  • Pick food that is appropriate for their life stage. Cat foods for kittens are usually higher in calorie than cat food for adults.

  • There are many different types of cat food on the market, but for a tiny kitten, wet food is recommended. Canned food provides more moisture than dry food, and this is a good thing as it will keep your kitten well-hydrated. Dry foods may well be more convenient as they tend to spoil slower, but they also tend to have a higher carbohydrate content. Look for wet food that is specifically designed to be the ultimate diet for a young kitten.

  • Avoid foods that are bulked up with fillers. Eating fillers won’t make the kitten feel full, so he will keep eating and eating, and this is clearly a bad thing as it could cause him to get obese. It is better to go for quality food if you can afford it.

  • He’s got a tiny stomach, so 4 to 6 small meals throughout the day will be the best way to feed him, and it will prevent indigestion.

  • You can leave cat food in the bowl for a while—giving your cat the chance to return to his bowl for a snack—but by the next day, the leftover food should be tossed out and the bowl thoroughly washed.

  • Bear in mind that there are ‘exciting’ ways to offer your cat his food. When it comes to dry food, there are food puzzle bowls that encourage your cat to think a little bit of how to get the food out of such a vessel.

  • Make sure there is always a shallow bowl of cool, fresh water for your kitten.

  • Cats are very hygienic, and they don’t like to eat next to their litter box. Make sure that the litter box is far away from your kitten’s food and water bowls.

  • You can give him treats but do it sparingly.

When in doubt about the best food for your kitten, your veterinarian is an excellent source of information.

Step #7: Look Out For His Well-Being

This step involved bringing your new kitten to the vet—if you haven’t already—so you can ensure that he is in good health. Your new feline friend won’t like this, so if possible, we suggest saving this for later—when the kitten has relaxed and settled into his new home considerably, to avoid stressing him out. He might dislike it now, but as he grows up healthy and strong, he’ll realize that you were only looking out for him.

All kittens will need to receive a shot against rabies. This shot will need to be repeated a year later. Other vaccines will include distemper and a vaccine for upper respiratory infections. Of course, there are other vaccinations that felines may need, but it depends on the lifestyle your pet will be leading. For example, if your new kitten is going to spend a lot of time outdoors and be in contact with other cats, you’ll need him to be vaccinated against the feline leukemia virus. Consult the vet to decide if any other shots are necessary.

Finally, we recommend placing some form of identification on your kitten, even if you plan to keep him as an indoors-only cat. Many pets without collars and identification discs are never returned to their guardians. An identification tag is such a simple, but effective way to make sure your lost pet has the means to return to you.

vet examining a kitten

It is important to introduce your kitten to a collar as soon as possible so that he doesn’t reject one later on. If you are putting on a collar for the first time and your pet doesn’t object, then good for you. If, however, the kitten objects to it, remove and replace the collar over and over again until the kitten starts feeling comfortable with it on. To ensure the collar fits snugly, test it by allowing two fingers side by side to fit between the kitten’s neck and the collar.

Some people like the idea of having their pet micro-chipped as this is a permanent pet ID. Your pet will be identifiable for the rest of his life. The process is much like being vaccinated. Remember to keep the information on the microchip up to date.

Wrap Up

There are many striking tales that suggest that animals can love you—that they feel emotions such as protectiveness, tolerance, and affection. We’ve all seen certain birds grooming each other and foraging for food together, and there are both birds and animals that seem to exhibit sorrow when one of the pair dies.

Dogs who have known each other for a long time often can’t be separated when their owners are looking for new homes for them. And what about cats? Can a cat get attached to you and demonstrate his love for you?

hapy kitten

It’s true that how a cat shows their love for you is different from how humans or dogs show it, but they’re perfectly capable of returning your love. If properly cared for, cats can be doting. Plenty of evidence from cat lovers suggests that if you treat a kitten or an adult cat with kindness and love, he’ll like you for sure—because cats experience joy, love, and even sadness remarkably as humans do.

What kind of relationship do you have with your newly-acquired kitten right now? Is there a story you can share with us about how you got a scared, newly-adopted kitten to come to love you? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

About the author
Martha Harvey
Martha Harvey

Martha Harvey is a skilled veterinarian and a member of American Veterinary Medical Association from Greeley, Colorado. She has 20 years experience of working in Animal Hospital. Martha loves all of her patients, but her favorite one is the Russian Blue cat Stitch, who lives with her.

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