Relationships between cats and owners

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Relationships between cats and owners have a similar dynamics than the relationships between babies and parents: The parents act as caregivers and the cats as dependant furry babies. Cats have needs, and they understand that humans are the way by which their needs will be satisfied. This does not mean that cats view humans as their slaves; it only means that cats feel the same vulnerability as an infant, and they share that timid egoism that babies have toward the world as they are psychologically incapable of putting themselves in someone else’s shoes or head. Also, their needs are not limited to being fed; they want to feel protected and loved. Sounds similar?

While cats are not hesitant to communicate those needs to their owners, they do adapt their speech according to their owner’s personalities. They take into account what works best with their owners, what is well understood, instead of just screaming their needs with no regard to the person at the other end. Cats do listen, and they try to interpret their owner’s actions to get feedback. For example, an owner who talks a lot to his or her cat will most probably end up with a very vocal cat, while an owner that is very attentive to his or her cat’s actions might have a cat which discretely stands in front on his bowl when hungry.

And this communication adaptability goes beyond communicating needs: Cats and their owners strongly influence each other’s actions and personalities. Have you noticed how outgoing owners tend to have more active and sociable cats than timid and introverted owners?

Cats and humans do share an incredible bond. Interestingly, this bond is even stronger between women and cats, regardless of the cat’s sex. Cats tend to go toward women, and this is true even if the owner is a man. Would you say this is true under your roof?

Read more from Veronique

TWENTY STEPS TO BEING A GOOD PET OWNER

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1. Choose a type of pet or the breed which is compatible with your lifestyle.

2. Your pet is totally dependent on you for food, water and shelter.

3. Make sure you feed your pet at regular times with a diet suitable for its age and species.

4. Fresh, clean water should be available at all times. Make sure the water container cannot be accidentally tipped over.

5. Provide shelter from rain, the cold in Winter and the heat in Summer.

6. Make sure your pet receives any vaccinations required for protection against contagious diseases.

7. Regularly worm your pet.

8. If you do not intend to breed from your dog or cat have it desexed.

9. If you do decide to breed from your pet, be prepared to keep the offspring until you can find responsible homes for them.

10. Do not let your pet be tormented by fleas — during flea season use an appropriate flea control product.

11. Groom your pet on a regular basis to keep it free from mats and tangles. Even shorthaired pets enjoy a brushing.

12. If you suspect your pet may be unwell seek immediate veterinary advice.

13. Comply with all local government regulations for keeping pets.

14. Ensure that your dog is securely confined on your own property.

15. For your cat’s safety make sure it is indoors after dark.

16. Carry a ‘pooper-scooper’ bag to clean up after your dog when out walking.

17. Do not allow your dog to bark unnecessarily.

18. Make sure your dog and cat wear identification tags at all times, or are microchipped.

19. Teach your pet dog manners. Enroll in your local dog training classes.

20. Provide your pet with appropriate exercise.

Read more from Petcare Information and Advisory Service Australia