Did Your Cat Say You Could Do That? Why Consent Is Important

One of the biggest mistakes people make with their cats is doing things to them that they do.not.want. If you are wondering why a cat is aloof or hides when people come over, it’s because they’ve learned that humans don’t understand consent.

The concept of consent is already being applied to dog training (Google dogs and “cooperative care,” if you are interested). The odd thing is that this has not become an established approach in the world of cats. Because cats want consent and cooperative care even more than dogs do.

Like all creatures, cats need to feel safe. And for cats, that sense of security doesn’t mean having the human attend to their every need (although that, admittedly, is nice!). To truly feel safe, a cat needs to feel in control. Not necessarily of the whole house they live in, but in control of their being, control of their destiny.

So many cat interactions with humans are the diametric opposite of that. They get held against their will. They get chased around the house and stuffed into carriers. People continue to pet them, even though it’s clear they haven’t given permission, or they’ve given signals they’ve had enough. A cat that acts out or behaves defensively does so because they feel they are not in control. Think of situations where a cat hissed, whapped, or hid from humans. You’ll see that I’m right.

To have a really full and happy relationship with your cat, make them a team member in their daily life and care. And by team member, I mean they are the head of the team and you are the helper.

Learn your cat’s signals when it comes to being petted and held. Once you know them, it’s actually better to stop before they signal to you. That way, they can choose to continue, and it gives them a sense of control.

Understand your cat’s preferences in toys, meal routines, and daily activities. Giving them what they want gives them a feeling of security. If your cat believes that you are listening to their wants and needs (the two are tightly intertwined), they will trust you more.

If possible, train your cat from the start that the carrier is not something scary. A cat is usually forced into a carrier (sometimes after being chased around the house), and taken somewhere that they are handled in ways that are frightening and sometimes painful. So make the carrier, and being in it, something that earns rewards and offers adventures that don’t involve the vet. This lessens the trauma.

You know another thing that lessens the trauma of veterinary visits? Building that overall relationship of trust and consent with your cat. The reason I can do events and therapy cat visits is because I trust my human implicitly. I know she will keep me safe. To be honest, I don’t like the vet any more than any other cat! I mean, that thermometer! But I know my human has my back so even though it might be temporarily uncomfortable, I’ll be okay.

Consent. It’s one of the most important parts of a cat-human relationship.

This post was inspired by a recent article in Psychology Today. You can read it here — it has some good tips about the carrier!

Other posts you’ll enjoy:

Five Ways You Damage Your Bond With Your Cat (and What to Do Instead)
My Human Is My BFF – What’s Your Cat-Human Relationship?
The Cat-Human Bond Is Deeper Than You May Think

The post Did Your Cat Say You Could Do That? Why Consent Is Important appeared first on Summer’s Fabulous Cat Life.

​ Consent is something you don’t see discussed often in the cat world! And it should be. Here’s why.
The post Did Your Cat Say You Could Do That? Why Consent Is Important appeared first on Summer’s Fabulous Cat Life. Read More 

Summer’s Fabulous Cat Life 

 Read More