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Enhance Your Cat’s Social Life

Friendly, relaxed, confident cats are not necessarily born that way. To a large degree, they can be made. Genetics may have some influence on a cat's unique individuality, but we also know that nurturing can often overcome some of nature's influences. Everyone wants a cat that can be petted by friends, that can be a part of family life, that likes to play, but not every cat guardian knows there is much that can be done to encourage the development of an outgoing, confident personality. Cats that are talked to, cuddled and played with, are likely to be affectionate, lap-sitting companions. Cats that are ignored and seldom handled may become aloof and independent. 

The notion that cats are loners has persisted throughout the centuries. Perhaps this is due to the fact that cats are solitary predators, unlike dogs who are pack hunters. In the wild, the dog's survival depends on his ability and willingness to work as a member of a team to track down prey. The cat, on the other hand, doesn't have to associate with others to obtain a meal. In fact, the cat's method of hunting, which involves stalk, hide-and-wait and pounce cannot be successfully practiced in a group. However, when cats are provided with ample food and shelter and there is no need to compete with other cats for the basic necessities of life, they have proven to be highly social animals. Their sociability is often overlooked by humans because the cat's greetings and displays of affection are subtle. A nose touch, a slow eye blink and a tilt of the tail are not nearly as obvious as the well understood face-lick of the dog, but it is just as sincere and deliberate.

Cats can become bored and depressed if they are ignored. Some develop "negative attention syndrome" and they misbehave just to get their guardians to notice them. If the only time that you talk to your cat is when he scratches the sofa or strolls down the kitchen counter, then you can bet that he will perform these feats when you are near, but not acknowledging him. (Cats and small children have a lot in common!) When you get home from work, take the first 10 minutes to visit with your cat. Forget about checking the answering machine, looking for the mail or making supper. Your day may have been hectic and stressful, but your cat had no choice but to spend many long hours in a quiet house without stimulation. You are, without a doubt, the most exciting part of his day. Talk to him, stroke him and play with him. You both will be happier and healthier. 

Provided by: Cats International 

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