"This guy just irks me something fierce. Someone get my mommy!"

“This guy just irks me something fierce. Someone get my mommy!”

Cats tend to live by their own rules, and when they don’t like something, it is obvious. This can be particularly demoralizing to budding relationships when the feline apparently doesn’t approve of the new boyfriend or girlfriend. When dogs dislike someone, they may sense something negative about the individual, or distrust them for some reason. However when cats disapprove, it may simply be for more complicated reasons, such as not liking the attention being diverted away from them. Here are some ways to remedy the bad vibes your partner is getting from your persnickety kitty.

Reasons For the Reserve

There are a number of reasons why cats can be disinclined to accept someone new. They might be jealous of the focus you give them, or they might be nursing feelings of neglect. A cat might avoid someone if they smell strongly of a dog, another cat, or even an unpleasant odor from their workplace or gym. Alternatively, your new boyfriend or girlfriend may secretly not actually like cats, and your feline may sense this. It would be worth having that potentially awkward discussion and find out what the other person thinks about your fur-baby. If the guy or girl has had a bad experience with pets, or just isn’t crazy about high-maintenance Persians, chances are the pet is picking up on it. They might hiss or back away whenever the person enters the house or approaches them, or might even try scratching or biting their hand when the new guy tries to pet them. If your cat hisses or growls a warning, then dashes off to the nearest corner to hide, or the highest perch in the room, take note. Fortunately, like people, a cat’s first impression can change if he is shown that the person is a good addition to his life.

Getting In a Cat’s Good Graces

Though they are complex creatures, there are certain things your new special someone can win your cat over. It can be difficult to connect with a shy kitty but with a little patience and consistency your feline should warm to any newcomer who implements these methods.

Prep your person of interest. This might have a little twinge of “crazy cat lady” (did we mention that’s a good thing?) but you could always give your partner a cat-scented cloth. This is merely a wash cloth that your cat has sat on, slept by, or rubbed against. The cloth will have the kitty’s natural scent all over it, and will be the perfect tool to make the stranger less strange. Before they come over next time, have the man or woman simply rub the cat-cloth on their hands, lower pant legs and sleeves. Though they won’t be able to smell it at all, the cat will instantly identify the fragrance as familiar and homey. It will also help mask any “foreign” smell (such as a dog, or another animal), that may be repugnant to the cat.

Catnip tactics. Felines get weak in the knees over this peculiar plant. Though catnip may affect some kitties differently than others, these pets certainly seem drawn to it. Even something as subtle as rubbing some dried catnip on their hands might entice the cat to approach the new guy or girl.

Playtime practice. Give the cat a chance to meet the new person. Let him observe, approach or avoid the man or woman in his own terms and timing. Coax the curious cat by giving the person a particularly interesting toy. This might be a fuzzy fake mouse, a remote control toy, a feather and fishing poke, or a bright bouncy ball. If your new squeeze brings fun toys to the scene, the cat might show more interest in them!

Sweet incentives. Good pet owners reward and train their pets with delicious treats. Whether this is simply by using whole foods such as grilled chicken and fish, or specialty cat treats, one of the most effective ways to gain a cat’s affection is to positively associate a new person with rewards. Keep decent treats in your cupboard for training purposes, but save the good stuff for your new boyfriend or girlfriend. Tell them what kind of sweet morsels you cat goes ga-ga for, and make sure whenever they arrive, the first thing your significant other does, is offer a treat to your kitty. If the cat goes out of the room while your partner is visiting, make sure when the cat comes back in the room, that they have a treat ready in hand. This will help the cat consider the “new guy” as the source of all yumminess, and he may start to go right to him or her before even coming to you! The goal is to help you cat and your loved one become friends, and sometimes the quickest way to appeal to a feline is through his stomach!