Behavioral problems

My Cat is Antisocial - Tips to Make Cats More Sociable

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. April 21, 2021
My Cat is Antisocial - Tips to Make Cats More Sociable

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Is your cat endearing and affectionate with you, but becomes either shy or even grumpy when other people are around? It is a myth that cats are completely independent. A healthy cat with their care needs met should form strong bonds with their human family. Some cats, however, have problems being sociable. They may even have issues relating to anyone, other cats and ourselves included. Much of this has to do with their experiences early in life, something which can be difficult to counteract, but not always impossible.

At AnimalWised, we look into why my cat is being antisocial and provide tips to make cats more sociable in general.

You may also be interested in: How Do I Make My Cat Listen to Me?
  1. Poor socialization
  2. Lack positive social ties
  3. Not giving and receiving love
  4. Not playing together enough

Poor socialization

Another myth about cats is that they cannot be trained. While they may take a different approach to training compared to dogs, not only is education possible, it is essential for a feline's well-being. Socialization is one of the most important elements of their education as, without it, cats will not know how to relate properly with other animals, people and their environment in general.

Unfortunately, too many kittens are taken away from their mother and siblings too early. The most important socialization period for cats begins at about 2 weeks of life and lasts until as much as 14 weeks. This does not mean, however, that the socialization period ever stops completely. Throughout their lives cats will learn how to adapt and relate to others.

The process will begin naturally as the kittens learn to play with their mother and siblings. During this time, they learn how to communicate, test boundaries and gain trust in others. Play is a vital part of this process, but so too is their mother's teaching and boundary setting. By taking them away before this process is complete, or in some cases before it even begins, we take away this vital education.

Some cats will struggle the rest of their lives to relate and is often the reason some cats can appear aloof. This feeds in the to reputation of strict independence they have developed. However, if a cat has been lacking in socialization, we can still develop bonds of trust.

By using positive reinforcement, we can help cats to know that interaction with us will not cause them any harm. On the contrary, we will reassure them they have no need to fight and will be rewarded by the relationship. It is something which we can do more easily ourselves than with other cats, since we won't always know how another feline will behave.

To know a little more two cats being sociable with each other, take a look at our article on how to introduce our cat to a new cat.

Lack positive social ties

For some felines, the reason why they are not being sociable is because they don't have the right influence at home. If we are not sociable with our animal, then it is understandable they will follow our lead. This relate to the independence myth since some cat guardians think they don't need or want our attention, so we leave them to their own devices.

Not only do we need to spend time with the cat, all the other members of the household need to step up. Again, it is understandable if a cat only wants to hang out with us if we are the only ones which spend time with them.

We can ask the rest of the household to help out with their basic care needs to show the cat everyone is there to help. Having their basic needs met in terms of food, protection and interaction will help the cat to see others as providers. This will reduce their insecurity and prevent them from being so antisocial.

Although we may have busy schedules, we need to ensure we set time aside to interact with our cat. We also need to pay attention to the little details. One thing we can do to make our cat more sociable is to give them their food in smaller portions, rather than once a day. This way, when we open the feed bag, can or pouch, we can talk to them encouragingly and help them associate us positively.

My Cat is Antisocial - Tips to Make Cats More Sociable - Lack positive social ties

Not giving and receiving love

Another contributor to a cat being antisocial is withholding love. Although we might think their basic care is providing food, a roof and security, affection is just as important. If we do not allow our cat to both give and receive love, we are not meeting our responsibility as cat guardians.

Cats will show their affection in various ways. These include rubbing against our legs, licking us and sleeping next to you. Some signs might be a little confusing. For example, if a cat bites us when we are asleep, it might simply be they love us and want to spend time with us. This is why we need to ensure we allow the cat to give affection, but create the right boundaries in which to do so.

Make the feline feel how important they are in the family. Pet them, give them treats, interact with them and brush them. This latter point is very important. Not only does grooming the cat help their coat to stay in condition, but it is a great way to improve our bond.

How we show love is as much about what we don't do as what we do. Never scold or shout at a cat, especially after some time after they have done something we perceive as wrong. Don't kick them off the bed or be physically violent in any way. This is negative reinforcement and will only cause them to be even more antisocial in the future.

Not playing together enough

One of the most important reasons why a cat can become antisocial is because they are bored. If we don't stimulate the mind of our cat, as well as their physical being, they will develop behavioral problems. If they don't think we will provide them any stimulation, not only might they leave us alone, but they may become frustrated. A frustrated cat can become aggressive in the right circumstances.

Fortunately, there is an ideal solution to this problem. We need to play with our cat more. Whether using toys, playing with a piece of string, letting them run around us or even utilizing intelligence games, we can ensure our cat's minds are kept as active as their bodies. This should be fun for all parties involved and every member of the house should be encouraged to play with the cat.

If, for any reason, you cat doesn't want to play, you will need to know why. Our article on why your cat doesn't want to play anymore, explains the reasons for this situations and lets you know what you can do about it.

If you want to read similar articles to My Cat is Antisocial - Tips to Make Cats More Sociable, we recommend you visit our Behavioral problems category.

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John Dewitt Finster
My cat Lola is 17 months old. I have had her for 8 months. She has never been the most affectionate or social cat. She gives me a good greeting when I come home from work or it is feeding time but other than that she doesn't seek attention. She plays with me some and I give her love and attention without over doing it. I live alone with no other pets. Lola never, ever sleeps on the bed with me or sits on my recliner with me. She refuses to greet me when i wake up in the morning other than a half a minute on the bed once a week when i sleep in late on a weekend. If I pick her up gently and place her on the bed she jumps right off . She sleeps under a chair in the bedroom but often just walks away as i get up. She is not afraid of me and lets me pet her (usually briefly) and seems generally happy, always walking around with her tail up and i can tell she loves me. She is not a bad cat at all and i love her. Is there any more I can do to help her, especially the part about greeting me on the bed when i wake up in the morning? which is what bothers me the most. thank you. John
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My Cat is Antisocial - Tips to Make Cats More Sociable